Archive | Age Matters

Leave It to Slim: Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

Leave it to Lauren Bacall, who died August 12 at age 89, to slink out the back door just as the whole country was distracted by the news of Robin Williams’ suicide. The lady knew how to make an entrance and – maybe more importantly – she knew how to make an exit, too. But though she led an astoundingly full life, I’d still like to catch her by the well-tailored sleeve and whisper, “Not so fast, Slim.” We didn’t just lose the only person who could hold her own with Humphrey Bogart. Fast-talking dames everywhere just lost an important big sister.

She was born Betty Perske, a nice Jewish girl in Brooklyn, and we could argue it was her father’s early disappearance that led her into Bogie’s arms when she was nineteen years old and he was a hard-drinking, thrice-married forty-four. But anyone who’s seen the duo’s onscreen chemistry knows that’s too pat an assessment. Bogie was more than twice her age, sure, but those two were of a piece. Certainly no one could match his supreme self-possession until she fixed him with that famous come-hither stare. No wonder director Howard Hawks, whose wife discovered Bacall on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, marketed her as “The Look.” Continue Reading →

A National Holiday for Julia

August 15 marks Julia Child’s 102nd birthday. That’s hardly a banner anniversary – remember the media celebration two years ago for her centennial? – but Julia Child deserves a red-carpet bonanza every year. Certainly her birthday should be recognized as a national holiday by the food world. If not for the late cookbook author and television host, its media empire wouldn’t exis, at least not in all its current glory.

For we have Julia to thank for all the Americans who eat something besides TV dinners every night. (The powers-that-be at Swanson may not feel so grateful.) Of course, we also have Julia to thank for the glut of food porn, er, television that comprises an industry unto itself. The entire Food Network should credit Julia as its real founder. Without her, there’d be no Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, Tom Colicchio, Barefoot Contessa, or Pioneer Woman in our public eye. There’d probably not even be an Anthony Bourdain or a “Hell’s Kitchen.” (There’d still be a Rachael Ray, though. With her aggressive cheer and predilection for shortcuts and catchphrases, Ray is one gelatin mold away from being the new Betty Crocker.) Continue Reading →

The Age Gap Is Getting Old

Though not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, Magic in the Moonlight is one of Woody Allen’s slightest efforts in quite a while. Its central star is the French countryside where it is based, with a distant second played by Colin Firth as an ill-tempered illusionist and Emma Stone as a medium who bewitches him with her bright blue gaze and seemingly legitimate psychic abilities. The dance between a depressive rationalism and magical thinking is a familiar Allen trope, and he brings nothing new to it here. What fun there is to be found stems from Firth sinking his fangs into another Mr. Darcy-like role as well as an unusually demure Stone; early reviews have largely amounted to the critical equivalent of a suppressed yawn.

Certainly the twenty-eight-year age gap between Firth and Stone has caused nary a stir. And that’s really something given that their age difference is actually two years greater than the one between Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway, whose on-screen romance in 1979’s Manhattan caused such a flap. (Of course, Stone and Firth’s age difference still pales in comparison to the thirty-eight-year age gap between Allen and his real-life wife, Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former girlfriend Mia Farrow.) So what does it mean? Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy