Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Something’s Gotta Give

There was a time when I was but a lad of ten when I thought that my aunt Evangeline was old. She was 18 years old. I adored her. She was—and still is—the coolest aunt. She took me to movies, gave me money on my birthday, taught me that houndstooth only works if you are wearing a Chanel suit.

Now that I am in my thirties (and my aunt in her forties), I look back and see that I had been so incredibly naïve: houndstooth works in trench coats too.

It’s a cliché, but when you’re young, you cannot wait to get older and when you’re old, you spend all your time trying to avoid jury duty.

When I was eighteen, I thought I knew everything. When I turned thirty, I realized I knew nothing. I have never gone skydiving. Or gone to the Ballet. I have never had English shepherd’s pie, Scottish mince pie, Irish hair pie. There are so many things that I still want to accomplish but The Real World won’t cast me in their show.

These days I look at the mirror inspecting my hair, leaning forward, turning my head this way and that. Did I lose any while I slept? I wondered how much longer before I have to wear flamboyant glasses to disguise my thinning hair. Is that guy splashing about in the pool in the Hair Club commercial really happy with the way his ass looks in speedos? If I can make it to forty with my hair intact, I promise, I won’t complain about the hair growing out of my ears.

The thing is, I don’t feel old. My left knee maybe. And the right one. Come to think of it, my ankles too. okokok, I don’t feel old, but my body is already booking a plane ticket to Florida.

The movie “Something’s Gotta Give” is about Harry (played by Jack Nicholson), a middle-aged man who only dates women in their twenties. He finds himself falling in love with playwright Erica (Diane Keaton), somebody whom he has never found attractive: a middle-aged woman. Diane Keaton, with all her “Annie Hall” charm intact, is wonderful in this film. She gamely does physical comedy but also plays her character with a deep wisdom tinged with fragility. I laughed out loud several times in this film. There was a scene where Erica cries and laughs alternately while writing her play that had me on the floor. Jack Nicholson also does a good job, playing a very sympathetic character much against type. I confess, I really don’t like Jack Nicholson and I usually tend avoid his movies. I don’t know why because he has surprised me so many times in movies like “As Good As It Gets” and “About Schmidt” where he has played characters that I have sympathized with. However, it is Diane Keaton that is the star of this movie and rightfully so: she reveals in her character the young person inside the old shell, the eternal Youth that never grows old.

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