Weekend Movie Guide 05/20: How to Live Forever (Like A Pirate)
Dorian Gray believed a portrait & a deal with the devil would grant him a long life. Photojournalist Mark Wexler's latest documentary, How to Live Forever, searches for more doable ways to add decades. Spoiler Alert: there's no silver bullet against silver hairlines (as the film readily acknowledges with the winking subtitle, Results May Vary). The film is instead an entertaining snapshot of society's different views toward aging, which explores two questions: could we live for hundreds of years? Do we even want to?
Mark Wexler belongs to the Baby Boomer generation, and How to Live Forever draws its inspiration from their anxieties about aging. That being said, there's plenty to engage viewers closer to May than December. Wexler displays good humor while employing a number of therapies, both external (cryogenics, exercise) & internal (neurobics, laughter yoga). Some stress strict regimens, others indulgence. Biologists describe the human body as a machine that requires regular maintenance & repair. Seventh-Day Adventists believe their devotion to God & adherence to the Sabbath insures a lasting whole. Okinawan fishermen eat lightly & work diligently into their nineties and beyond. Septuagenarian porn star Shigeo Tokuda credits performing in hundreds of "elder porn" videos with revitalizing his body & spirit. Suzanne Somers stays spry with a hormonal cocktail. British centenarian Buster Martin prefers a pint & a smoke.
With so many polar opposites, How to Live Forever can feel scatter-shot. But in its refusal to endorse any option as the "official" way to beat aging, the film transcends questions about the physical body. It shifts its focus to whether a long life is preferable to a full life. When Wexler asks people on the street (all under 100) if they would take a hypothetical pill to live to 500, the answer is an overwhelming yes. They crave more knowledge, learning & excitement. When he asks this to the centenarians, their answer is a resounding no. They share a common sense of purpose & satisfaction. When the late Jeanne Calment (holder of the world's longest verified lifespan) was asked how she spent her days, she answered simply: "I think, I dream, I live my life."
Fittingly, a quest for the Fountain of Youth is also underway in Disney's latest tentpole, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Johnny Depp & Geoffrey Rush are back, with Penelope Cruz on-board instead of Keira & Orlando. No complaints here! Spaniards & mermaids threaten the expedition, but the darkest waters of all surround Deadwood's Ian McShane as the dreaded Blackbeard. Chicago director Rob Marshall takes the reins from Gore Verbinski, while Jerry Bruckheimer holds steady as producer.
Looking for something further off the beaten path? Check out our weekly guide to the best of LA's repertory theaters, midnight movies & special events. See you at the movies!
L'Amour Fou (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Royal Theatre) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Bloodworth (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Earthwork (Laemmle's Music Hall 3)
Hobo With a Shotgun (Nuart Theatre)
How to Live Forever (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Midnight in Paris (The Landmark)
Poetry (Laemmle's Music Hall 3)
Spork (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
How to Live Forever
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
That's all for this week. Thar she blows!