Sunday, October 2, 2016

Movie sop for seniors: Rosemary Rodriguez's SILVER SKIES hits Florida theaters this week


It's true that we seniors enjoy seeing ourselves up there on the (as we used to call it) silver screen, but I suspect a lot of us may bridle at depictions such as those in the film that opens this week in Florida theaters. SILVER SKIES is the name of a Southern California apartment complex that doubles as the movie's title, and it is filled with seniors of relatively humble means who suddenly find themselves threatened with eviction when the property is sold to someone planning to turn it into expensive condos.

The biggest draw for the aged here will likely be the once-upon-a-time starry cast of now elders that include the likes of George Hamilton, Valerie Perrine, Barbara Bain, Alex Rocco, Mariette Hartley and Howard Hesseman (among others). And, yes, it is interesting to see how these actors have aged from the time of their career height until now. But as written and directed by Rosemary Rodriiguez, shown at right, the movie lurches clunkily from caricature to caricature, comedy to bathos, and coincidence to coincidence, with occasionally more-or-less believable moments in between. That last is due mostly to the work of the actors on view.

Ms Rodriguez's script is simply bad -- obvious and predictable -- as it tackles subjects that range from gentrification and the real estate market to senior sex and senior sexual abuse, and then abjectly fails to give these the kind of nuance that would make them seem anything more than crass and manipulative. Think of it as an old-fashioned TV sit-com, using today's hyped-up sexual situations and their accompanying language as fodder.

We get it all here, including Alzheimer's (via the character played by Mr. Hamilton, above). While I realize that this disease can render its victim sometimes incapable and at other time more competent, the range this character depicts seems much more due to the needs of the plot than to anything remotely real or genuine.

The cast comes through as well as possible under these circumstances, with Ms Perrine (above) looking as lovely and tart-like as ever, Ms Bain appropriately old-but-caring and Ms Hartley still exuding intelligence and class. After only maybe a half hour of viewing, my spouse likened Silver Skies to suicide-by-movie, but we soldiered on. Arriving toward the finale, the film did seem to improve somewhat, but I suspect that may have been due to the fact that we were, at that point, so worn down by it that we welcomed whatever might come -- so long as it ends.

If you are desperate for something "senior," the film -- opens this coming Friday, October 7, in the Miami area a the AMC Aventura and Sunset Place, in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood, in Sarasota at the Regal Hollywood, and in the Ft. Myers/Naples area at the Regal Belltower and Hollywood Stadium.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seen this movie a few times at festivals throughout and couldn't disagree with you more on all of your points. You obviously know NOTHING about Alzheimers so why talk or criticize it? My favorite is this "Arriving toward the finale, the film did seem to improve somewhat, but I suspect that may have been due to the fact that we were, at that point, so worn down by it that we welcomed whatever might come -- so long as it ends." If it was that bad WHY DID YOU CONTINUE TO WATCH? Obviously it was compelling and provocative enough to finish watching! I for one turn ANYTHING off within 30 mins of my knowing is bad!

James van Maanen said...

Actually, Anonymous, I have known some Alzheimer's victims over the years, a number of them, so I do know something of this awful disease. And I finished watching this movie because I felt I had an obligation to do so. I had received a free DVD screener, in exchange for reviewing it. which means I watch it, come hell or high water. I am sorry I didn't feel it was a better film. But them's the breaks.

We all do our best: you included, I am sure.