Thursday, May 14, 2015

When did Charles Grodin become ancient?


I suppose there's a reason Charles Grodin's rapidly advancing age took me by surprise when I saw While We're Young on Saturday:

The guy has barely been in anything the past 20 years.

Of course, I didn't know that until I looked up his recent work. And I also would have been more prepared for it if I'd been caught up on Louie, but only watched the first two episodes of last season last night (now that it's available on Netflix). In fact, it was seeing him on Louie that pushed this topic up to being blog-worthy.

I thought, "Man, he doesn't look well for a guy who must be around 67 years old."

Nope. Charles Grodin is 80.

It shouldn't be a huge surprise. I mean, Grodin was a contemporary of Robert DeNiro when they were in Midnight Run, and DeNiro is 71. I guess I just didn't know Grodin was nine years older than DeNiro.

Plus, we've gotten used to DeNiro aging as the man has been in approximately 11 films a year for the last 15 years.

Grodin?

The Ex represented an anomaly for him in 2006, and I do remember seeing him in that, come to think of it. (I reviewed that movie and specifically referenced how funny he was.)

Before that? The Clifford movie and the dubious sequel to A Christmas Story, alternately titled It Runs in the Family and My Summer Story. Both were released in 1994.

Wikipedia offers no explanation for his acting hiatus, and I don't feel like digging through the rest of the internet to find it. It does seem odd, however, that a 60-year-old man (the gender distinction is important) appearing in successful movies (the Beethoven movies were coming out around that time as well) would just hang it up. He did host a radio talk show in the late 1990s, but even after that talk show ended, it was another eight years before The Ex. And then another eight years again before While We're Young, with some TV work sprinkled in there as well.

So the answer is, Grodin has been becoming ancient for a while, we just haven't been privy to it.

Well gosh darnit, that's a shame, because this guy is still hilarious. I've only seen one of the apparently four episodes of Louie Grodin appears in, but it's vintage Grodin. He's a physician who basically dismisses the idea that there's anything that can be done about Louie's back pain because the human spine was never meant to accommodate walking. He tells Louie that it will probably hurt him for the next 20,000 years of evolution.

His role in While We're Young is not strictly a comedy role, but he does get to deliver at least one killer line: "I've been sitting here watching a six-and-a-half hour movie that I thought was seven hours too long."

While he's still young enough to bless us with his great comic timing, here's hoping Grodin finds his way into one or two more dynamite roles before he retires for good this time.

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