Age Of Reason?
By Shorty LaBrea
What is it about Hollywood that makes it necessary to greatly exaggerate
ages in films? We have reached a point where Sean Connery and Catherine
Zeta-Jones being an item in this year's crime-drama Entrapment does
not seem to be all that unreasonable. Let's do a little math... Sean
was born in 1930... Catherine in 1969. See my point? There are countries
younger than their age difference. In fact, Sean did most of his
James Bond roles before she was even born. (Of course I still think
his shining moment was as the singing farm-hand in Darby O'Gill
and the Little People. Missed that one? Check Disney Channel
around St. Paddy's Day.)
There seems to be plenty of these old-guy-gets-a-much-younger-woman
movies floating around in Hollywood. How about the 23 year difference
between Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas in The Horse
Whisperer? Or 27 year difference in Six Days, Seven Nights?
Not only does the man's man, Harrison Ford, get a young chick but
she's a lesbian too! Some guys have all the luck.
These pairings are painted with Hollywood's rosy tint to seem like
a very normal and everyday event. I find it interesting to note
that often in the opposite case, an older woman with a younger man,
which is seen far less frequently, there is often a reason given
for it in the script itself. Take a look at the 14 year difference
between Susan Sarandon and James Spader in White Palace or
the (grand)mother-of-all age differences in the 1971 film, Harold
and Maude. Ruth Gordon was born in 1896. Bud Cort was born in
1950. You do the math.
The twists of the time-table are not limited to adult couples.
Have you ever noticed that Hollywood teens seem much more mature
than the cracking voice and awkward clumsiness of Peter Brady? I
have reached the ripe old age of 25, which means that I am just
about at the point where I can play a high school senior in a Hollywood
film. Ralph Macchio playing the character of Daniel in the first
three Karate Kid movies is the classic example of this age-ism.
Ralph was 23 at the time of the first installment in 1984 and 28
by the third. Not quite a "kid" anymore.
Kevin Bacon is also a good example. That same year as the first
of the chop-socky family films was released, a little movie by the
name of Footloose came out. Mr. Bacon was a youthful 26 at
the time. No wonder I couldn't compete with him for the affections
of the girls in my school. A year later, another Footloose
star, 20 year-old Sarah Jessica Parker, starred in Girls Just
Want to Have Fun with 22 year-old Helen Hunt, 19 year-old Jonathan
Silverman* and 14 year-old Shannen Doherty.
Now we reach the truly great moment... in 1986, Francis Ford Coppola
directed a time-travel film that answered the question, "What would
you do if you could do it over?" In Peggy Sue Got Married,
that answer was definitely: marry a young stud, give birth to hot
age-defying daughter, then run around for the rest of the movie
handing out lyrics to songs that have not even been written yet,
and give information on big-selling products of the future with
such an air of casualness that Doc Brown would probably have a coronary.
So what's the deal you ask? KATHLEEN TURNER, our beloved
Peggy Sue, was born on June 19, 1954. Her husband Nicolas Cage (nee
Coppola) arrived kicking and screaming into this world on January
7, 1964. Ten years, no big deal you say? Look at Sean and Catherine?
Well, how about this one... Kathleen and Nicolas' love child in Peggy
Sue Got Married is played by none other than Helen Hunt, born
June 15, 1963. Time-travel DOES have its advantages, particularly
when the daughter can be 6 months older than the father.
Sure, maybe I'm being hyper-critical. Maybe I'm not being a good
little member of the viewing public and suspending my disbelief
for a moment to be lost in the magic of Hollywood. Hang on a second...
let me give this a try... ok, we take two guys' guys (as long as
we don't have to pay too much for them), give them names of a motorcycle
and a pack of cigarettes, throw in a beautiful woman and a bunch
of explosions. What do you think? I'm sorry. There's not enough
beer in the whole world.
*our second Jonathan Silverman name-drop
in this issue.
Any affiliation, association, or endorsement of
Mr. Silverman or his work is purely incidental.