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Sexagenarians and the City

August 10, 2006 By:
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New Year, old games: Lois (Dyan Cannon) and Harry (Joseph Bologna) in "The Boynton Beach Club"
It's a 60s' love-in!

But these lovers are more apt to throw a hip than be called hippie. And it's not just a 60s' love-in; some are in their 70s, too.

"The Boynton Beach Club" is for those golden oldies who have paid their dues in life and love, and are still looking for a record club to call their own.

Some bring their newfound flames forget-me-nots; some just ... forget.

But whatever the status or style of the boys and babes of "Boynton Beach," there's no doubt that love stories -- no matter the age -- always need a crutch in a cache.

Or, to paraphrase Erich Segal, the BBCers all love the 3 Bs -- beach; early-bird special; and the bossa nova.

Florence Seidelman has the steps down, stepping up for boomers and beyond in her first film as producer, now playing at area Ritz theaters.

As a filmmaker, the Abington abecedarian didn't know her A's from her C's before taking on her first screenplay. So, like so many a novice in the know, she headed to the source of all stories: her local Barnes & Noble.

That, she says of her noble ambition, is where she learned how to write, reading a book on making a movie 101.

Movie 102 was to show it to her daughter, Hollywood hotshot director Susan Seidelman.

And now, as "Boynton Beach" kicks sand in the faces of those who think life stops when the Social Security check arrives, check this out: Seidelman is 75, and already thinking of her next movie.

It's been six months since we last chatted and her film -- ultimately, with a script by daughter Susan and Shelly Gitlow -- was about to premiere in Boynton Beach and all over South Florida. "We go all over giving out flyers," says Seidelman of the early bird not so much getting the worm as hooking theater owners with her movie moxie.

Hit or miss? It hits home: "When a close friend of mine died, her husband was in terrible shape," recalls Seidelman of the film's inspiration.

Joining a bereavement club, he eventually came out of his shellshocked shell. But, Seidelman cautions, this is not his story, "and it's not about his wife. They inspired the film. The film is dedicated to her" -- as well as another friend -- "but is not about her."

What it is about is going on when life goes under; it's on familiar turf. Indeed, if the shooting location looks familiar, well, it is the second version of a "Miami Vice" lifestyle to open this month -- albeit its drug of choice is Viagra, and the men are more tubby than Tubbs.

While there are Jewish aspects to the script -- Oscar contender Len Cariou is seen wearing a yarmulke at his wife's funeral -- it is more catholic in tone, making the universal statement of what happens when a loved one dies and the universe seems to stop.

If anyone seems unstoppable, it's Seidelman, who went to college and earned dual master's degrees at a time when others her age were no longer seen as school belles.

"I'm having fun, and my friends are having the time of their lives," relates Seidelman of the septuagenarian screen savers, many of whom she used as film extras.

Extra? Read all about it! "BBC" played in one theater in South Florida for some 20 weeks; in Boynton Beach for four months.

Sexagenarians and the city? "We opened in 10 theaters, and it [grossed] $10,000 in each," says Seidelman, sounding more like a Variety scribe than a woman scribbling recipes at home for the ladies who lunch.

"I'm running around like a kid!"

Who's kidding who, she'll acknowledge; not everyone at the age of the BBC members is as healthy and happy and sexually active. But life does go on after tragedy.

Her "BBC" isn't broadcasting sap, nor is it making grave statements; it's just contributing clear-sighted perspectives with an older cast to die for. "I hope the vitality transcends the screenplay," says Seidelman, whose longtime husband Michael is producer-in-charge of moral support.

The film certainly has its transcendent moments, inspiring others to create real bereavement clubs after seeing this reel one. Adria Light is one of the inspired, a Seidelman friend taking action in Atlantic City, where the film also has opened; the city's Jewish Family and Children's Service is an agency considering starting such a group.

How does Seidelman sandwich it all in? Whereas six months ago, she wryly came up with one type of sandwich she'd like named after her at the local Boynton Beach deli, Seidelman has gone more continental since. Given the film's universal statements, she thinks her sandwich should also contain more cosmopolitan condiments.

"I'd like it to be on panini, representing the Italian, with some goat cheese for the French. Sun-dried tomatoes, Italian again, some sprouts ... and call it 'the International.' " What are the Jews -- chopped liver? "And a spread of chopped liver," she adds. "There, that sounds good!"

As tasty a morsel as would be served by members of "The Boynton Beach Club" as it caters to the busy lives of its bereaved boomers.

· · ·

The passion of the Cristol?

No, tequila, it appears. And the champagne and caviar nightmares that plague pell-mell Mel continue as he repents for his DUI of "Driving Under Idiocy."

What women want -- and all Jews, too -- is real contrition for the anti-Semitic rants that read as if from a bad script. Then again, there is hope that the "secret" police report that was uncovered has been misinterpreted, and that "F*** the Jews" really refers to Gibson's cry of "Find the Jews" in the hope that a good Jewish lawyer would help him out of this mess.

But "Movie Mania" may be naive. After all, Mad Mel doesn't need help finding Jews; he knows where they are -- they're his target practice.

In a statement released after he went to a mikveh -- okay, so, it wasn't a mikveh -- Gibson noted: "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot."

And you ain't exactly Braveheart anymore either, bud.

(Excuse me ... my cell phone. ... It's Mel again. ... One apology, two apologies -- what's this, the sequel? What? Dinner at your place? Who'll be there? The Steins ... the Goldbergs ... the Cohens ... the Rabbinical Council of America? Let me think about it.)

Anyway ... as for his earlier arresting comment that "The Jews are responsible for ... wars in the world," well: Mel, Mel, Mel ... how glib. Everyone in Hollywood knows that that was Tom Cruise's movie.

Jay Leno kibitzed the other night that Gibson's anti-Semitic slurs probably put the kibosh on his next film: "Fiddler on the Roof."

Not far from the truth. On the one hand, Leno was joking; on the other hand, ABC did cancel its agreement with Gibson that he helm a new mini-series.

On the Holocaust.

Where does this stuff come from?

But not all is lost for the road worrier on this big bump in his careening career. Rumor has it there's a great script circulating out there that Gibson would be perfect for.

It's title?

"Foxman's Revenge." 

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