Thursday, May 29, 2008

Week of May 30-June 5

What’s On At The Tropic

By Phil Mann

If you’ve seen the trailer, which has been running at the Tropic for weeks, you know what YOUNG @ HEART is about. This documentary follows the rehearsals of a chorus of older singers (average age 80, oldest 92) as they prepare for a rock concert. Implausible, yes. Inspiring, yes, yes, yes. As Rene Rodriquez says in the Miami Herald, “forget the rocking chairs, just rock!”

This unlikely movie, made for $60,000, has already grossed $2,000,000 and it’s climbing the charts every week. The reason is clear if you listen to viewer comments. “The premise for this movie sounds a little cloying and frankly wasn't a big draw for me, but I've just seen Young at Heart and I believe! This energetic bunch of septua-, octo- & nona- genarians dive into rock, punk, disco and more, and you'll be surprised what a goldmine they find” (from L.A.) “By the end of the movie you will find yourself on your feet and cheering as you choke back your tears. This movie is a brilliant testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.” (from Tacoma) “Several times I started to stand and applaud, only to realize that I was looking at a movie screen and wasn't actually a member of the concert audience.” (from Grand Junction, CO) “experience rock and roll in its purest form I've seen in a long time: aged yet wise, like a fine wine. One of the year's best.” (from New Jersey) “A foot stomping, hand clapping kind of thing… These elderly crooners are a blast to spend time with.” (from Buffalo, NY) “This is about the most fun I have had at a movie in a long time… I dare anyone to keep a dry eye during Dylan's "Forever Young" or not bust out a smile during Bowie's "Golden Years". (from Dallas) “I left the theater almost in a state of grace.” (From San Francisco) And so on… Since opening in April on a single screen, the movie is now up to 174. Watch it for an improbable crossover breakout this summer.

It must be feel-good week, because Helen Hunt’s directorial debut feature, THEN SHE FOUND ME, is another Audience Award winner. Hunt is also credited as the screenwriter, along with movie veteran Alice Arlen (Silkwood), and she stars in the film. She’s a middle-aged schoolteacher who, having lost her adoptive mother and broken up with her husband, is reunited with her birth mother, played by Bette Midler. Now how would you like to discover at 39 that Bette Midler was your mother, and have her become your life coach? True to Hunt’s roots from Mad About You the film has a comic edge, but it’s no sitcom.

If all this makes you feel too good, you could catch Peter Lorre starring in his career defining role as a serial killer in Fritz Lang’s M. This 1931 movie, being shown on Monday night in the Tropic’s new classic film series, was Lang’s first talkie. He became so famous that Hitchcock was originally known as “the American Fritz Lang.” But on Lang’s death in the 1970’s, his obits called him “Germany’s Hitchcock.” Sic transit gloria.

More info at
[from Key West, the Newspaper -]

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