AJFF Review: Enjoy the Feast of Life With ‘Obit’
ArtsAtlanta Jewish Film Festival

AJFF Review: Enjoy the Feast of Life With ‘Obit’

Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White and others enliven "If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast."

We all spend our days worrying about growing old and facing our impending mortality instead of trying to live each day to its fullest. “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” paints a far different picture on aging.

The documentary is hosted by Carl Reiner, who at 95 still writes every day and has published five books since turning 90. Along with Mel Brooks, 90, and Norman Lear, 93, he leads us on a journey through the eyes of several celebrities and personalities who remain vibrant at 90 or older.

Reiner, Brooks and Lear tell us that humor is essential in life. They say that “if you can’t laugh, then your life is empty.”

The documentary aims to change our mindset from growing old to growing better with age.

The following is a small sample of the inspiring personalities in the film:

  • Ida Keeling, 102, is an American track and field athlete who continues to compete.
  • Stan Harper, a virtuoso classical harmonica artist, arranger and composer, performed until his death at 95.
  • Irving Fields, an American pianist and lounge music artist, performed three days a week until his death in 2016 at age 101.
  • Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-man, is an American comic book writer, editor, film executive producer and publisher who continues to write daily at 95 and wants to meet mortality in front of his typewriter.
  • Betty White, the American actress and comedian, looked spectacular at age 95.

The highlight of the film is the segment featuring Dick Van Dyke, the actor, comedian, singer, dancer, writer and producer, who at 92 remains as vibrant as ever. In a moving scene, Van Dyke is shown with his wife, Arlene Silver (40 years younger), recording a song called “Young at Heart” together at Capitol Records. It’s the perfect summation of the documentary.

The documentary gives proof that age is just a number. Every day you can wake up and have breakfast is a good day.

(Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screening: Jan. 28, 11:10 a.m., Perimeter Pointe; Feb. 2, noon, Springs; Feb. 4, 3:45 p.m., Springs; Feb. 6, 3:40 p.m., Tara)

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