Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors

[This post originally appeared at Time Goes By, written by Ronni Bennett. Thanks to Ronni for allowing me to reprint it here.]

Not infrequently, I grumble out loud around here about how few roles, especially major roles, there are in film for elder actors. Our generation doesn’t get much representation on what in our youth was called the silver screen.

But not so in 2015. As the year-end round-ups of the arts are being published, it is gratifying to see how many of our contemporaries have been not only getting work but in some cases being nominated for awards.

This is a list of some of the biggest names and the movies they have starred in this year. It is in no way meant to be comprehensive, and I arbitrarily chose 65 to be the low-end age cutoff. Maybe you have seen some of these. (A few random trailers included) Continue reading “Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors”

The Grand Marshalls from NYC PRIDE Parade Announce Themselves

I do love Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellan, who are starring together in the PBS comedy Vicious. The comedy in Vicious is about a bickering old gay couple with a funny love-hate relationship. But Jacobi and McKellan are charmingly themselves making this announcement.

If you are in New York in June and attend PRIDE events, give them a wave from me.

Give us more charming and lovely men on TV

It’s been fun watching Derek Jacobi on Sunday night’s on PBS. First in Last Tango in Halifax where he is a sweetheart of a man. Then in Vicious where he is a parody of a parody as half of a gay couple (with Ian McKellen).

I wrote this in last week’s recap of Last Tango in Halifax.

I know actors love the meaty parts, the villainous parts, because they are so much fun to act. I hope Derek Jacobi enjoys playing the charming and lovely Alan as much as I enjoy watching him at it. Charming, lovely male characters are so rare. We need more of them.

I want to expand on this idea.

Jacobi’s character in Last Tango in Halifax is kind, thoughtful, and generous. He’s supportive of the women in his life and of women in general. He’s the same way with the men in his life. I’m not sure when I’ve ever seen a man written quite this way in a film or TV show. Kudos to the show’s writer Sally Wainwright for creating Alan Buttershaw.

One reason why I love Last Tango in Halifax so much is because the relationship between Derek Jacobi and co-star Anne Reid is rare and beautiful. Not perfect, but perfectly loving. What a rare thing this is to see on television. Why isn’t there more of this? We need so desperately to see men who act this way held up before us as examples.

Vicious

Vicious, on the other hand, is over-the-top satire. It pokes fun at the way gay men have been portrayed in film and TV for years by taking it to the extreme. It’s ridiculous. It’s supposed to be. The two men have been together for decades, yet can do nothing but cut and jab at each other. Most of the time.

Both of these Derek Jacobi vehicles make a point. They both look at what a man is, what a man should be. One by offering a palpable example of good. One by showing us just how silly past stereotypes are.

It’s delightful watching Jacobi and McKellen do comedy. It isn’t something we see often. But I love the quiet message in Last Tango in Halifax more than the reverse-psychology message in Vicious. Not because Jacobi is playing a straight man in one and a gay man in the other. I’d love to see him play a gay man with as much character and love as we get to see in the Alan Buttershaw part. I have a feeling both he and McKellen would jump at a chance to play a part like that.

A Few Good Men

What we need are more examples of good men – both straight and gay. Good men instead of big-muscled killers. Good men instead of men who only use women as window dressing or as object.

Give us more good men.