BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties, and beyond.


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The Book Club is a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours


It’s been eight long months since I’ve been to a movie theatre as there’s simply nothing I’ve wanted to see. And boomers are traditionally big movie fans. We have so many memories of wonderful Saturday afternoon matinées as kids watching westerns, Looney Tunes and The Bowery Boys. Our movie memories probably also include steaming up the car windows at drive-ins or covertly holding hands with high school crushes in a dark theatre on Saturday evening.

Image resultSci-fi, monsters, violence and super heroes are just not my thing. So, I was delighted when The Book Club was released starring four wonderful boomer broads—Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Jane Fonda (although at 80, Fonda’s technically not a boomer). It’s about time a movie was released that appealed to our demographic. It opened against Dead Pool and Avengers on a long weekend which gives you an idea of popular movie fare these days and cinemas are wondering why box office sales are down.

The Book Club follows four sixty-something women who have been friends and fellow book club members for several decades. Candice Bergen plays Sharon, a divorced federal court judge whose ex-husband is predictably engaged to a blonde twinkie half his age. Nothing new or innovative here. Diane Keaton plays herself and a character coincidently also called Diane, an attractive, widowed mother of two grown daughters who treat their mother like a frail relic. A trite premise and not particularly convincing with Keaton in the role, but so the story goes. They’ve decided it’s time she moved away from her friends to occupy a granny flat in the basement of one of her daughters’ homes. Carol, played by Mary Steenburgen is a frustrated wife in need of some lovin’ from her husband played by Craig T. Nelson. Jane Fonda’s Vivian is a wealthy career single lady who owns a successful hotel and allows men into her life only as needed for recreational sex.

When Vivian presents Fifty Shades of Grey as the book club’s new reading assignment the other three women are skeptical. I was worried the movie might treat reading this book as too shocking for the group and was prepared to be indignant. Baby boomers, as you recall invented the sexual revolution in the sixties and that line of thinking would just be incongruent with reality. To the script writers’ credit, the group’s disapproval stemmed from irrevelance which was more believable and credible. Reading the Fifty Shades series ignites some minor reevaluations of their lives. Sharon the judge tries online dating; Carol tries Viagra on her disinterested husband; Vivian tries keeping her distance from an old lover, beautifully played by Don Johnson; Diane conveniently meets a handsome single man on a plane, which is a rather gratuitous twist considering how remote the chances of something like that happening actually are.

Jane Fonda, playing Vivian was the least impressive of the four book club members.

The movie had some genuinely good belly laughs and although a bit predictable, was overall rather enjoyable. Candice Bergen was by far my favourite of the four actresses. She looked like a more beautiful version of most of us—no longer the svelte character she played in Murphy Brown and her Book Club character was the most believable and appealing. Diane Keaton was Diane Keaton and her character was damn lucky to meet Mr. Right. Mary Steenburgen was OK but I’m personally not a huge fan of her style and delivery. Jane Fonda was the least agreeable of all four characters. Fonda played Vivian much the same way she played Grace on TV’s Grace and Frankie—tense, angst-ridden and over-acted. Despite her excellent plastic surgery, Fonda could barely move her upper lip which was distracting.

Famous movie stars don’t necessarily guarantee stars by movie reviewers.The Globe and Mail gave The Book Club only one measly star which I thought was a bit harsh. On the way home from the theatre, a radio review I listened to was similarly dismissive of the movie. But the radio review was offered by two young guys which explains their take on its appeal. Hardly reliable or fair. My boomer gal pals and I had a nice afternoon. The movie was light, funny and entertaining. It won’t win any awards but there was plenty to relate to and we considered it great fun. Giant kudos to whoever for having the courage to produce a movie with all four leading ladies over the age of 65. Take that, action hero fans. I only hope I don’t have to wait another eight months to find another movie that has even the remotest appeal for baby boomers. Remember, we’re still here!


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Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.


The only thing more annoying than those television commercials for personal alarms is when you actually are down and can’t get up. Who hasn’t gotten stuck at least once on your hands and knees trying to retrieve that scrap of something from under the kitchen table or the dog’s ball from under the couch? The other day I got stuck on the floor after getting down to put felt pads under furniture legs. In fact, it’s reaching the point where I’m sometimes challenged to even hoist myself up out of a chair. The parts just don’t work like they used to. So many everyday functions I used to take for granted now require effort and a bit of choreography. During my daily walks with the dog, I’m conscious of every step—feet hurting, joints creaking, cracking or not responding the way they used to. Sigh!

Jane Fonda’s Instagram pictures confirm she’s really not that different from the rest of us.

It happens to the best of us. Jane Fonda recently posted a picture of herself the morning after a red carpet event wearing the same gown she had on the previous night. She had been unable to unzip herself and was forced to sleep in the dress. It’s reassuring to know that someone as glamorous, strong and capable as Jane Fonda is also affected by mechanical failure from time to time. We also appreciate her candor in showing her ‘morning after’ face that backs up the old saying by so-called beautiful people, “I don’t wake up looking like this”.

And on the subject of muscles that have atrophied, am I the only one who’s also having trouble writing now? I mean by hand with a pen and paper? I’ve discovered that today’s young people are not the only ones unable to execute cursive writing. Even scribbling out a few Christmas cards was a challenge. I spend so much time typing (that word surely dates me) everything on my laptop that I’ve almost forgotten how to use the mechanism that drives my handwriting. My hand stalls; the words don’t flow gently from my pen. In fact, my penmanship has become atrocious. Gone are the days of personal letters and notes beautifully written by hand using a fountain pen with lovely  “washable blue” ink. We’re all using laptops, tablets and phones. In reviewing my own handwriting as I go through old scrapbooks, I can see my evolving personality over the decades. The beautifully executed cursive letters Mrs. Thompson taught me in Grade Two changed over the years—from forehand to backhand, to straight-up-and-down; from careful to downright sloppy. Use it or you lose it. (Click here to read In praise of cursive writing.)

We’re now witnessing a diminishing in the efficiency of our basic motor skills despite our best efforts at keeping active and mobile. Many boomers have already had hip and/or knee replacements which has restored our mobility to some degree. I consider my own double hip replacements a huge blessing. Not that long ago we would have been permanently immobilized and perhaps housebound if we didn’t have the option of being given new joint replacements thanks to our health care system. In fact, even the word ‘joint’ has taken on new meaning in our senior years. As we creak and groan through retirement, we can now celebrate the possibility that our creaks and groans may soon be alleviated by legal medicinal ‘gummy bears’ which don’t require that we inhale. Getting “up” with a little help from our friends may have taken on new meaning, if you know what I mean.

To read the full story about Jane Fonda’s ‘morning after’, click here.

You’re beautiful mes très chères.

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