Directed by: Stephen Walker / 2008
It might be here before I know it, but I sometimes like to fast forward the crow's feet map and think ahead of myself and my generation’s golden years (you know, us 20-to-30-something "Gen-X” slackers?). I very much look forward to having all of my time for myself, not squandering away in some day job (financial and health fingers crossed, of course). I will work on my arts and crafts, watch as many movies as I'd like to, play video games, eat out often, travel at free will and of course continue to rock out to Bruce Springsteen and all of the music that I plan to move with me, even if that means into the nursing home. Though, this morning I saw that a group of seniors beat me to the rockin' punch by almost fifty years! And I stand in full salute for the best film of 2008 so far. Decked out in blue jeans with white shirts New England’s Young @ Heart Chorus belt out ballads and anthems, covering the last 40 years of great rock 'n' roll standards to sell-out audiences around the world. From grand theaters to correctional facilities, the Young @ Heart Chorus prove that there is still a great fountain of youth flowing through their foundation of bones, brains, energy and enthusiasm. "Young @ Heart" spends seven weeks with the group; at home, through lively and sometimes frustrating rehearsals, live performances and even in sickness and sadly in death. Despite it all the shows go on, performances shine and respects are paid on stage, off and in the audience. Whoever proclaimed that rock music was of the Devil needs to watch "Young @ Heart", among other things (ah-hem, get kicked in the skull by me). At the average age of 80 years young, these sweet hearted charmers are fired up with heavenly spirit, singing out a wide range of songs by The Clash, James Brown, Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth and Coldplay (to name a few). In fact, the group breathes new life into the original compositions, at times creating versions that feel more lived-in and more immediate. One elder in particular pulls from deep down a beautiful and poignant reflective rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You" that is just as good as anything that Johnny Cash put to his last five records and it kinda makes me like Coldplay a little bit more. It will move you to tears. "Young @ Heart" is a brilliant triumph and touching portrait on life. These days it's easy to become a little disgruntled by either the state of the world, the economy...even people in general. But, I give a big hug to "Young @ Heart" for delivering a full tank of positive thinking, celebration, wisdom, heart and a whole 'lotta SOUL. See this movie and you'll scream, "I FEEEEEEEEEEEEEL GOOD, like I knew that I would...” You will certainly want to rock out, even if or when you’re in the golden years.