Sunday, September 28, 2014

How Awesome Are These Old People?

Pope Francis recently stressed the importance of elderly people, and that message was echoed by priests across the world. No, this post isn't just an excuse to mention the pope with whom I have so much in common. However, it is an excuse to count down the 10 coolest old people in pop culture.

Let's do this, because there's (literally) no time to waste.

10. Old Lady Rose (Titanic)
Old Rose deserves recognition for two things. One, she mercifully doesn't get naked like her younger self. Two, she makes one of the coolest noises ever as she drops the Heart of the Ocean into the sea.

9. Frank Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)
When Kavanaugh and I drafted our favorite TV couples, I took Frank and Marie with my last pick. Here's what I wrote about Frank back then:

"Frank and Marie represent everything we find funny about old people, albeit with some exaggeration. Frank is the hilarious patriarch who's not afraid to say what's on his mind. ('You want to know the meaning of life? You're born, you go to school, you go to work, you die.') He can't stand his wife, and he plays the stodgy grandpa years before Jay Pritchett arrives on the scene."

8. Little Old Lady (Dumb and Dumber)
The whole point of this post is to prove that old people can still serve a purpose. Namely, they can rob you blind if you don't see it coming. We don't even need the most recent issue of the Rhode Island SLUT to spell that out for us.

7. Mr. Herlihy (Big Daddy)
Although he's less evil than the elderly thief in Dumb and Dumber, Mr. Herlihy is a tough S.O.B. nonetheless. He can drink a man half his age under the table or throw that same young buck through a wall.

6. The Skellderly Skell
The Skellderly Skell is one of the five classes of skell. Here's how I once described this ilk:

"Like dogs, skells age faster than normal humans. I'd say one human year is equivalent to about two skell years. Skellderly Skells, more than most people, exhibit life's wear and tear as they age."

5. Old Noah Calhoun (The Notebook)
Every young lady wants a man like Ryan Gosling, and every old lady wants a man like Grown-up Gosling. Grey hair and bad breath can't stop Noah from remaining the consummate romantic.

4. Jackie O'Shea and Michael O'Sullivan (Waking Ned Devine)
My mom always says that if you're not Irish, it's difficult to understand the seemingly absurd Waking Ned Devine. After all, who would joke about death, plan a fake funeral, or let a little boy drink whiskey at a wake? You'd have to be out of your mind. Still, even Irish people have difficulty suspending disbelief for the scene of Michael riding a motorcycle naked to dupe the lottery official.

The bottom line is that those two old cooters are hilarious.

3. Walt Kowalski (Gran Torino)
Clint Eastwood absolutely owns this role. The stereotypical crotchety old man tells kids to get off his lawn, but when Clint says it, it seems original and fresh

2. Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Shawshank Redemption)
Wisdom is the positive quality most often attributed to the elderly. Well, Red epitomizes that trait. Case in point: when Red is asked if he's been rehabilitated, here's his answer:

"Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means...I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?...There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit."

To tell you the truth, transcribing that wisdom bomb just almost caused my computer to explode.

1. Grandma Theresa (My Life)
I could go on and on with stories about my grandmother, but this video is pretty representative of her humorous contributions to society:

Even though she'll never be able to access a computer to read this, it's important for Grandma Theresa to be honored on the pope's Elderly Persons Day. She's a modern-day saint and a real-life movie character, rolled into one elderly body. I love you, Grandma.

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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav

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