Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Live Life Long and Love Horses

Forever is a Long Time

By Skip Sheffield

Who wants to live forever?
Not I, but hmm, the older I become, the more I realize life isn’t just for the young.
“How To Live Forever” is a documentary about really old people. We are talking seriously old, like 100 years or more.
Once he passed the half-century mark and his mother passed away,filmmaker Mark Wexler began seriously contemplating his mortality. Why do some people live much longer than others? There is no simple answer, though it is obvious if you abuse your body you will lessen your chances of longevity. Yet in his three years of world travels Wexler found some confounding contradictions. Take Buster, a 101-year-old British bloke who has been smoking since age 7 and still enjoys pints of beer when not running marathons. If there was ever a pillar of health and physical fitness in was Jack LaLanne, but the beloved fitness guru died after this film was made, of pneumonia at age 96, on Jan. 23, 2011.
Wexler visited the world oldest woman, Edna Parker, in a nursing home in Shelbyville, Ind. She too has died since this film’s completion, at age 115.
Wexler visited Okinawa, which has some of the happiest, healthiest senior citizens in the world. Wexler noted they kept busy; they had good nutrition and low-stress lifestyles.
On the other side of the coin is actress Suzanne Somers, who advocates ingesting massive amounts of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, human growth hormones and melatonin.
It would seem that attitude has a lot to do with longevity. Food critic Jonathan Gold declares the eating is the “great pleasure of life,” and you can tell it’s the truth for him.
You will find no hard, fast certainties in “How To Live Forever,” but it certainly is food for thought.

“Buck” a Real Horse-Whisperer

“Buck’ is another documentary opening in our area. Buck Brannaman is a lifelong cowboy and horse trainer who has a well-documented reputation as an effective “horse-whisperer.” Brannaman became a national figure when he signed on as a consultant to writer Nicholas Evans and film producer Robert Evans for Redford’s 1998 film “The Horse Whisperer.”
If you love horses, you will love “Buck.” I happen to love horses, and I discovered quite early I have an affinity with the magnificent creatures. As it turns out that is the key to understanding horses. You can’t fear them and you can’t force them to do your will.
“Everything is a dance,” Brannaman explains, and he proceeds to show how with love and gentle persuasion you can get a horse to bend to your will.
Brannaman specializes in re-training damaged, unruly horses in clinics he teaches all over the country. He is a mild-mannered man, but Brannaman can scarcely conceal his contempt when he learns a horse owner has abused her horse. In the course of filming, director Cindy Meehl uncovers the fact that Buck and his brother, who were childhood rodeo stars, were beaten regularly by their alcoholic, abusive father.
So “Buck” is as much about the man as it is about his near-mythical powers with horses. Brannaman may be the first cowboy in America who is as much at home with Oprah Winfrey as he is in the saddle.

Three and a half stars

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