While We’re Young

I caught the chef segment of CBS This Morning. Joe Isidori brought along the food, and he talked about his father. Some of his signature dishes were The Greg Norman, the All-American burger, Black Tap burger salad, brussels sprouts, creamed corn, onion rings, and the Sullivan Street Disaronno sour, a cookies and cream milkshake, and a Nutella milkshake. They showed how Big League Chew bubble gum is made. Over at the office, I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend. The Top 10 songs from May 4, 1974 were “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely,” “The Show Must Go On,” “Tubular Bells,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” “The Streak,” “Dancing Machine,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” and “The Loco-Motion.” I caught the 4:20 showing of “While We’re Young.” It had Ben Stiller as Josh, a documentary filmmaker who has been working on the same project for ten years. I felt that he was the same person we saw in “Greenberg.” It looked like Ben Stiller was Noah Baumbach’s Marcello Mastroianni. It was funny how Josh was attracted to filmmaking, because he couldn’t think in a sharp and coherent manner. He couldn’t make an argument. It was nothing but frustration for him. Naomi Watts was Josh’s wife Cornelia. Naomi was amusing, although the hip-hop dancing was a bit too much. I kept thinking about her in the Woody Allen film of a few years ago. In fact, where “Frances Ha” was reminiscent of “Manhattan,” “While We’re Young” was reminiscent of “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” We see one person whose work is fraudulent, and another person who seeks to get at the truth, but he screws up. There is a scholar who appears in the film. Ben Stiller’s performance isn’t quite as interesting as what we’ve seen before, namely in “Greenberg,” but I thought the confrontation scene at the end was very good. Charles Grodin was the father-in-law. Watching him made me flash back to “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Midnight Run.” I actually looked forward to his scenes. The movie was a bit too much about filmmaking for my taste, but I could feel some of the personal quality of the script. The sequence with the shaman and the vomiting was something that I didn’t really like too much. I thought the humor was flat. Josh discovers that he has arthritis, and his doctor is not terribly sympathetic. I don’t know what kind of a doctor Noah Baumbach has in real life, but this doctor seemed like a movie creation. Somehow, I was not surprised that Peter Bogdanovich made an appearance towards the end. I noticed the use of Paul McCartney and David Bowie songs continued. We heard “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” in “Greenberg” and “Modern Love” in “Frances Ha.” This time, it was “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” and during the end credits, “Golden Years” and “Let ‘Em In.” I wondered what was behind these choices. What I thought was funny was the two young people misquoting the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.”  The sight of Ben Stiller on roller blades made me think of Charlie Chaplin on roller skates in “Modern Times.” I think I would have liked the picture better if Greta Gerwig had been in it instead of Amanda Seyfried. On the whole, I liked the film, although I felt that Baumbach should have broken away from a few of his trademarks. It was about six o’clock when I got out of the theatre. Back at home, I watched the episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Leonard chooses to go to Wil Wheaton’s party despite knowing that Wheaton is Sheldon’s mortal enemy. I saw that the Wonder Woman episodes on Me TV went into the Seventies. I slept through nearly all of the Star Trek episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Kirk left behind a crying woman at the end, something he seemed to do a lot in the series, in fact. She was talking about learning and watching the lights in the sky. There was a Burt Bacharach special on KQED, and I knew that I had to catch it at midnight. The songs, especially “Walk On By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” really meant a lot to me. It brought back a time when my brother and I were learning about music. I liked seeing those old television appearances by Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. I was impressed with the way Karen Carpenter could play the drums while singing. It was so sad to see Dionne Warwick singing with Glen Campbell. I’d like to see more of those clips from the old Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell shows. I’ll always remember the first time I heard “This Guy’s in Love with You” on the radio, because I thought it sounded so unusual. I heard about the birth of Kate Middleton’s daughter. Do people really believe that she’ll be named Alice? I also heard about the death of Ruth Rendell. Some of the people who died on May 3 include Jerzy Kosinski (1991), Jack Weston (1996), Suzy Parker (2003), Zulu (2004), and Jackie Cooper (2011). Today is a birthday for Frankie Valli (81). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 3, Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for “Gone with the Wind” in 1937. In 1975, Tony Orlando and Dawn were Number One on the singles chart with “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).” In 1976, Paul McCartney played his first concert of the Wings Over America tour in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1980, Blondie had the Number One single, “Call Me.” In 1991 final, the final episode of “Dallas” aired on CBS.

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