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21 June 2013

Oh boy, what movie should I rent?

Young301I've often thought I missed my real chance to get wealthy as a film critic.

If I were in it for the money alone, I wouldn't have wasted my time writing about which movies to go see or rent, I'd just hang out in front of a popular video store and offer my expertise for cash on the spot.

A film critic as street performer, if you will.  Crowdfunding, I believe, is the term being texted around these days.

The process would go something like this:  You, confused by what movie to rent, would get out of your car in the parking lot of Blockbuster or other video store (when those were still around) and slouch toward the door.

Nine times out of 10 you knew you'd be overwhelmed by hundreds, perhaps thousands of choices inside.  And, most of the time, you had already forgotten what title your spouse, significant other or child told you to get.

And then, there I'd be, right by the door with suggestions for latest arrivals, a really good foreign film, a classic or even, dare I mention it, a documentary.  You would give me a dollar and move inside to rent your movie with confidence.

Oh, and I would get rich (counting on hordes of happy return customers, of course).

I said all that to say this.  If I were standing in front of your favorite video store today, I would urge you to rent the superb documentary titled "Young @ Heart" that graced movie screens in 2007.

"Young @ Heart" chronicles the final weeks of rehearsal as the Young at Heart Chorus of Northampton, Mass. prepares for its annual concert series.  This is not your usual chorus.  For one thing, the average age is 81, and many of the chorus members have major health problems to overcome.  Oh, and did I mention these vibrant seniors sing everything from James Brown to Sonic Youth.

The scene where they melt the hearts of young prisoners with their version of "Forever Young" will fill your heart with joy.  "Young @ Heart" never gets better, though, than when the late Fred Knittle, a former World War II machine-gunner, sings a haunting version of Coldplay's "Fix You."

Knittle died at the age of 83 in 2009.  He is survived by his wife, four children, 12 grandchildren, thousands of movie fans and one film critic you may know who desperately wanted to attend his funeral, but couldn't due to circumstances beyond his control.


Vacation Movie School

Remember Vacation Bible School when you were a kid?

Boy, I do.  Mom would drop my brother and I off at the First Baptist Church in Grand Prairie on a weekday -- and a morning at that -- for Bible study shortly after regular school broke for the summer.

And, if we could recite all the Books of the New Testament, we'd get a snow cone.

That's sort of what's going on with what I'm calling Vacation Movie School, except for the mandatory memorization and, sadly, the sugary blast of a dripping grape or red snow cone as a reward.

You need to sign up in the next week or so, but some seats are available for my "Hollywood's Hot Movie Scandals" non-credit Emeritus plus 50 class at Richland College next month.

The admission fee is a mere $22.  Over the course of four Tuesdays in July (the 9th through July 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon) we'll dig into some of the biggest scandals that rocked Hollywood over the years.

MM352On July 23, for instance, we'll take an in-depth look at the meteoric rise to stardom and the sad end to actress, sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.  The death of the "special friend" of a couple of famous Kennedys and Frank Sinatra was ruled a "probable suicide."  But was it?  Hmmm.

The four-week series, which will also put scandals involving Lana Turner (July 16) and Ingrid Bergman (July 30) under the microscope, kicks off July 9 with the sordid tale of the crash to blacklisting and ruin of silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in the early 1920s.  But what's the real story?

The Richland Emeritus plus 50 classroom only holds 20, so if you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ensure yourself a seat by signing up today.  Click here for registration info for "Hollywood's Hot Movie Scandals" (Course No. SRCZ 1000 84915), or call 972-238-6146 or 972-238-6147.

I can't promise snow cones, but there will be snacks!


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