Bonus Years in Film

You can’t separate a boy from his toys, no matter his age

I’ve known Bill Lesko for more than two decades. But not really, I discovered. Last week, I found out why: Lesko and his partner, Martha Fox, a retired elementary school math teacher, are always on the go. Lesko is always interesting – beginning with his six-years of volunteer work to restore and crew the SS…

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Waiting for God (BBC TV Series 1990–1994)

30 min each –  Comedy When Tom Ballard moves to Bayview Retirement Village, he meets Diana Trent, a feisty old woman who complains about everything and wants nothing more than just to die. The two form a friendship and eventually a romance, helping each other out of tight situations. Stars: Graham Crowden, Stephanie Cole and Daniel Hill

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Up (2009)

96 min – Animation | Adventure | Comedy –  29 May 2009 (USA) By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong promise to his deceased wife to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70…

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The Lion in Winter (1968)

134 min – Drama | History | Romance – 30 October 1968 (USA) 1183 AD: King Henry II’s three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won’t commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him. Director: Anthony Harvey Stars: Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins

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The Bucket List (2007)

The Bucket List (2007)   97 min – Adventure | Comedy | Drama – 11 January 2008 (USA) Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. Director: Rob Reiner Stars: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman and Sean Hayes

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Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

128 min – Comedy | Romance – 12 December 2003 (USA) A swinger on the cusp of being a senior citizen with a taste for young women falls in love with an accomplished woman closer to his age. Director: Nancy Meyers Stars: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves

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On Golden Pond (1981)

109 min – Drama | Romance – 22 January 1982 (USA) An aging couple, Norman Thayer, a retired and cantankerous professor, and devoted wife Ethel have long had a summer cottage on a lake called Golden Pond where they are visited by an estranged daughter. Director: Mark Rydell Stars: Katharine Hepburn , Henry Fonda  and Jane Fonda

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High Noon (1952)

85 min – Drama | Western – 30 July 1952 (USA) A marshall retires his badge to become a storekeeper but is compelled to return to help his town in the face of a deadly enemy, despite his own town’s refusal to help him. Director: Fred Zinnemann Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Thomas Mitchell

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Harry and Tonto (1974)

115 min – Adventure | Comedy | Drama – 15 January 1975 (France) When his apartment building is torn down, a retired lifelong New Yorker goes on a cross country odyssey with his beloved cat Tonto. Director: Paul Mazursky Stars: Art Carney , Ellen Burstyn  and René Enríquez

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Grumpy Old Men (1993)

103 min – Comedy | Drama – 25 December 1993 (USA) A lifelong feud between two neighbors since childhood, only gets worse when a new female neighbor moves across the street. Director: Donald Petrie Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret

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Gran Torino (2008)

116 min – Drama – 9 January 2009 (USA) Disgruntled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski’s prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino. Director: Clint Eastwood Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang and Christopher Carley

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Death of a Salesman (TV 1985)

130 min – Drama An aging traveling salesman recognizes the emptiness of his life and tries to fix it. Director: Volker Schlöndorff Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid and John Malkovich

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Cocoon (1985)

117 min – Adventure | Comedy | Romance –  21 June 1985 (USA) When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigor. Director: Ron Howard Stars: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn  

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About Schmidt (2002)

125 min – Comedy | Drama – 20 December 2002 (USA) A man upon retirement embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter’s wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected. Director: Alexander Payne Stars: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis and Dermot Mulroney

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A vigil is a good time to reflect on life’s transitions

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland. The vigil. It began 12 days ago when we received a phone call from family friends who’ve retired in Florida.  They had stopped by to visit my mother, known to her friends as Ginny.  Ginny  is “97 and three-fourths” – her words…

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