Sam Bauman: Movies for seniors to share with grandkids |

Sam Bauman: Movies for seniors to share with grandkids


In days of yore, Sunday dinner was family time, when three or four generations would gather to share memories and current life. Sunday family dinners are often a thing of the past, what with the NFL and soccer luring Americans to the TV screen. So now we need new ways to bond the generations. One not often employed is for seniors to join grandchildren at the movies. Yes, seniors seem to have largely abandoned films for stay-home TV, but the opportunities are there.

At the local first-run cinema Galaxy the slate is lengthy, some good for senior-kid enjoyment, some not. “Fault in the Stars” is a fine film about teen love but not a good sharing film for younger ones. “22 Jump Street”is a bro film, not particularly good for sharing. Then there’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” where a reluctant Tom Cruise saves the world. Nope.

“Maleficent” is a retake on Disney’s Sleeping Beauty,” but the most notable thing in the movie is Angie Jolie’s magnificent high cheek bones. And “Jersey Boys,” the Frankie Valli biopic, is mostly for seniors who remember the singer.

That leaves us with two choices, “Transformers: the Age of Extinction,” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

“Transformers” is the fourth outing of the series and now it’s about Mark Walberg, a farmboy inventor who buys an old semi truck, which turns out to be a rusted Transformer left over from the previous film, in which the Transformers saved a badly damaged Chicago. This is largely computer images of massive destruction again in Chicago and in China. Yep, China. Film cost $165 million before marketing costs.

Mark is assisted here by Stanley Tucci as an industrialist who wants to build his own Transformers (where the originals came from is kind of distantly explained). And Kelsey Grammar is a CIA agent who is out to expel all Transformers from Earth. Also aboard are Nicola Peltz as Mark’s daughter, her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor, handy as a race car driver).

The acting level is far overshadowed by the computer wars pitting Transformers good and battling (although a couple of Godzilla monsters are added for flamethrower effect). Example of the fine acting: when at one point CIA boss Grammar is told of the threat of bad Transformers he rolls up his sleeves and says, “Time to get to work.” That’s acting?


Randy Miller of Carson Valley and I met a couple of weeks ago to discuss his planned hike up Jobs Peak. I had written about my journey to that lofty peak years ago and he thought I would offer some ideas. As I hiked from the other side I wasn’t much help but had a guide that might help and loaned it to him. Here’s part of what he wrote:

“Well, I made it to the top on my second attempt. My first try was up Fay Luther but I made several errors along the way. I got a late start, the temperatures were in the mid 90s, and instead of drinking the water I was carrying, I just took sips to conserve it. At 9,500 feet I realized that it would not be wise for me to continue since I’d probably be returning to the trailhead at or after dark. Turns out I was fairly dehydrated as well.

“Yesterday I set out again from Jobs Peak Ranch trailhead, maneuvered around the private property, and made my way to the peak via Jobs Peak Canyon on the north side. There is no trail or markers to follow (at least that I could find) so the going was pretty tough and I spent a lot of time and effort making progress through trial and error. By the time I got to the east ridge, winds were probably about 80 knots and it was raining. It didn’t get any better up to the peak but I made it, signed the log with numb fingers, and headed back down through the same canyon. It was much more difficult than I had anticipated.”

Tough hike and I remember getting lost at the top and utter exhaustion. But it’s one I’m proud of, along with Mt. Tallac.

And speaking of hikes, there’s an easy and rewarding one coming up along my old favorite trail, Dead Man’s Creek, takeoff point to be announced, but the trailhead is opposite Washoe State Park. Date is July 12 and the hike is for families who want to watch sunset and moon rise from the gazebo at the top of the moderate difficulty, mile-plus trail. Only a max of 30 will be able join in and reservations at (775) 687-4319 are a must. Dogs OK on a leash. Lots of birds in the area, pick up a park bird list at the ranger station. There is some free parking but in the park the fee is $7, $2 off for Nevada residents.

Think I’ll sign up.

After thoughts…

Wonder how they ever made “The Wizard of Oz” without all the computer images that are a large part of movie making these days. Take away the computer wizards and there would be little left of “Transformers” and the like. But then we don’t have Judy Garland these days.