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A movie seniors can really enjoy

by Sam Bauman
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Seniors don’t go to the movies very much. All the surveys show that, which is why so many films these days are comic book transplants — that’s the audience that pays for a super-hero movie.

But there is a movie out there now that seniors and everyone can really enjoy — “The Fault in Our Stars.”

It’s a bittersweet romance story of two teenagers living with cancer. It is based on the fifth novel by John Green and takes its title from Shakespeare’s Act 1, Scene 2 of the play “Julius Caesar”, in which the nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

The story is narrated by a 16-year-old cancer patient named Hazel, who is forced by her parents to attend a cancer support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with the 17-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and leg amputee because of cancer.

An adaptation of the novel, it is directed by Josh Boone and stars Shailene Woodley (Hazel), Ansel Elgort (Gus) and Nat Wolff.

Woodley performs almost the entire movie wearing oxygen tubes in her nose — you tend to not see them after a while. Yet she’s smiling almost all of the time. How she does this is amazing, always looking tom-boyishly happy. Her cancer is in her lungs; Elgort’s is in his leg but it is not emphasized.

It would have been easy to lurch such a story into sentimentality, but Boone steers the movie away from such weakness. It all takes place in Indianapolis, a prosaic place for such a warm and rich story.

Woodley isn’t a Hollywood beauty but instead radiates charm and sincere emotion. She is an “eyes” actress, who achieves her feelings with a flick of her eyes. She’s truly someone to watch in the future.

She’s aided by Laura Dern as her mother and Sam Trammel as her father. And Willem Dafoe plays a drunken author who Hazel meets in Amsterdam to discuss a novel of his that she admires. Inevitably, there’s a section as the teens visit the Museum of the House of Anne Frank that is disturbingly effective.

I know all too well the seniors’ effort it takes to take in a movie. Believe me, this one is worth it. So much more meaningful than the excess comic book stuff.

Comma Coffee concerts

Last Tuesday was the monthly concert by the Mile High Jazz Band under the direction of pianist/director David Bugli. This was a combined music and poetry night with locals offering their works between musical selections.

This is a perfect outing for seniors who can remember the music of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, among other big band leaders. There are also modern charts for big bands such as the Mile High with its 20-plus players.

There’s nostalgia at these concerts but it’s all very modern and kids as well as seniors turn out for the night. If you missed last Tuesday, mark your calendars on July 8 for the next one.

What’s on at the Brewery?

Time was several years ago when the Brewery Arts Center was the pulsing heart of Carson City arts and entertainment, but executive director John Shelton explained last week to the informal old men’s club meeting at Grandma Hattie’s, recent years have been a retrenchment time for the BAC. Funds were short and a reduction in performances necessary.

But that hasn’t cut the BAC from many of its activities, such as teaching art and pottery and holding art shows just to name a few.

Shelton said he’s looking into some innovative things such as a regular night of classical or cult movies.

If you’ve got any suggestions, he’s willing to listen at 883-1976.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.