It’s not until October, but it’s hanging out there with an air of inevitability. It will no longer be possible to finesse the semantics in my favor and say that I’m in my “early 40s.” “Mid-40s” will now be the only accurate term for me, and soon enough, the semantics will easily be finessed in the opposite direction to characterize me as “in my late 40s.”
While this is dispiriting in some respects, watching Road House makes it feel a little less so.
There are two actors in Road House, which I saw for the first time last night, who also turned 45 in the year the movie was released, 1989. In fact, Sam Elliott is only four days older than Kevin Tighe, born on August 9th and August 13th, respectively, in 1944. They are both still going strong today at age 73. They were 44 at the time the movie was released on May 19, 1989, but they officially hit their mid-40s three months later.
And my God do I look younger than they do.
These guys were old versions of 45. Actually, they were old versions of 44 at the time the film was made, or maybe even 43, but probably not. Just check out the pictures below:
Those guys do not look the same age as I do.
I’m not going to share a picture of me so you can judge for yourself. Switching from an anonymous blogger handle to my own name a few years back was a big enough deal for me, and I still don’t mention the names of my wife or my kids on this blog. Some things need to remain private.
But trust me, I look a lot younger than these guys. Granted, people do say I have a baby face. But these guys look like they could be at least ten years older than I am, maybe more.
And there’s no judgment in that. I would switch faces with Sam Elliott any day of the week. (Kevin Tighe, maybe not so much.) It’s not that I think they look decrepit, because Elliott is downright hunky in this movie. Just look at the way he runs his hands through that mane of salt and pepper hair. But it’s the sexiness of an older man, not a spring chicken like myself.
I might not have noticed it as much if the movie didn’t go on and on about how old Elliott is supposed to be. He’s the mentor to Patrick Swayze’s character, Dalton, the guy with the first name that’s begging for a great last name but never gets one. Swayze himself is no baby in this movie at age 36 going on 37, but you don’t get the sense he’s only eight years younger than Elliott. That’s just crazy.
Anyway, there are a number of lines of dialogue about how Elliott’s character, Wade Garrett (who does get a last name), is getting to be past his prime in the “cooler” business. (A “cooler,” I guess, is like the supervisor of the bouncers, the guy who is in charge of cooling heads and escorting people off the premises with a minimum of ego and violence.) THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE CONTAINS SPOILERS. Later on, the character played by Ben Gazzarra, after dispatching Wade Garrett through one of his minions, talks about “putting an old man out of his misery.” (And Gazzarra was one to talk, pushing 60 in this movie – though to be fair, he does not look significantly older than either Elliott or Tighe.)
It makes me think about that thing where Tom Cruise was the same age in one of his recent Mission: Impossible movies as Wilford Brimley was at the time he appeared as a grandfather in Cocoon, and how there was a world of physical difference between the athletic, health-conscious Cruise and the more normal, portly gentleman with the walrus moustache. Now I’m not saying I’m Cruise to Sam Elliott’s Wilford Brimley – I’d not only take his face, but also his physique and that hair, to say nothing of his voice. But I do think I look like a boy in comparison to him.
Good, I guess? Yay, I’m not the oldest looking nearly 45-year-old out there. And despite my baby face, I’m doing the best to make myself look grizzled, as my sideburns are almost completely white, yet I keep them around.
I guess I’m probably somewhere between Tom Cruise and Wilford Brimley, which is probably the best I can hope for.