If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017) Review

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Uplifting Heartwarming Documentary.

If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017): 7 out of 10: Carl Reiner seeks out some fellow ninety-year-olds to see if they have anything in common that may explain both their longevity and their spirit for life.

This documentary is heartwarming at its core. Interviews with sprightly ninety-year-olds living every day to its fullest will warm one’s cockles. One particular subject (a 100-year-old sprinter) almost brought me to tears. Those seeking the secrets of eternal youth may come away disappointed as don’t get sick seems to be the primary advice (Walking and being social are also promoted).

If the documentary has one flaw, it is that Carl, with a few notable exceptions, sticks with his fellow showbiz people. One could easily get the impression that the key to longevity is to be a Jewish stand-up comedian. It is notable that when the documentary visits those outside of the showbiz world; it is more effective.

The documentary also makes some unusual choices. There is a lot of Jerry Seinfeld in the film. He is overall fine but seems out-of-place because of the subject. There is a weird story about a nude Yul Brynner that comes from out of left field, stays for a while, and goes back to left field, never to be mentioned again. And then there is Dick van Dyke.

Dick van Dyke is 93 and energetic and a perfect subject for this film. Dick van Dyke married Arlene Silver, who is half his age. (Literally, she is 46 years younger than he is) So far, so good. We get interviews with the couple and video of the wedding with Dick van Dyke looking very sharp, tearing up the dance floor. Unfortunately, the movie seems not to know when to move on. If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast then takes us to the Capitol Records studio (The one on that famous stacked record building in Los Angeles.) Where some very talented musicians do their best to make Dick van Dyke and his new bride sound like talented singers. It is painful and not a good way to end your movie.

In conclusion, kudos to the documentary for including one subject who has significant health problems (Kirk Douglas) and boo for not even mentioning Jimmy Carter in a documentary about active nonagenarians. In reality, most people in this age group are not writing books or going on tour. There is a bit of a false front being shown that the documentary gingerly acknowledges. (I would also note none of the subjects had outlived their money. A genuine fear in that age group.) This is an uplifting heartwarming documentary where everyone is sprightly and healthy and loved and the only sour note comes from Dick van Dyke singing.

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