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How to Live Forever (2009)

Baby boomer Mark Wexler travels the world searching for the secrets of long life.

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Director Mark Wexler embarks on a worldwide trek to investigate just what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever. But whose advice should he take? Does a chain-smoking, beer-drinking centenarian marathoner have all the answers? What about an elder porn star? Wexler contrasts these unusual characters with the insights of health, fitness and life-extension experts in his engaging new documentary, which challenges our notions of youth and aging with comic poignancy. Begun as a study in life-extension, HOW TO LIVE FOREVER evolves into a thought-provoking examination of what truly gives life meaning. Written by Anonymous

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October 2009 (USA)  »

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$3,716 (USA) (13 May 2011)

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$58,764 (USA) (9 September 2011)
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A mortal character study
15 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Early in Mark Wexler's documentary, How To Live Forever, he shows us a crude drawing of a roller-coaster that has the many stages of life on it. It goes "Diapers, Disneyland, rock and roll, masturbation, sex, marriage, career, colonoscopy, retirement, seafood buffet, "ow, my back," drool, confusion, and diapers." He states he used to look on at the roller-coaster and laugh, but sadly, life itself has caught up with him, and day by day he finds these simple statements becoming more and more true to life.

Wexler is 52, the son of famed cinematographer Haskell, appears to be physically fit, packs in enough knowledge and interest in the subject of a long life and mortality to make a very compelling documentary on the issue, and sets out to interview numerous elderly Television icons and centenarians all across the world. Throughout his journey, we are great with effervescent souls of all ages, one of them being the oldest living human, at 115. We get an inside long at the "Ms. Senior America" pageant where to be eligible to compete, you have to be sixty or older. We get interviews with Suzanne Sommers (who states the seven dwarfs of meta-pause are itchy, bitchy, sleepy, sweaty, bloated, forgetful, and all-dried-up), Ray Bradbury, and fitness guru Jack LaLanne who, even in his later years, is quick, spunky, and intelligently astute.

One of the film's highest points is when we are taught the surprising lifestyle of the Okinawan people. It is not surprising if they hit the age of 100, because they have a nutrient filled diet, they are active because it's the right thing to do, not because they want to lose weight, and have very little stress because of calming activities, such as gardening, fishing, and dancing. One of them is animator Tyrus Wong, who flies kites of beauty and complexity and dives in with a net, underwater, in an attempt to catch fish. He is 98 years old, by the way. He's a loner, but so graceful, cheery, and calm that it is almost as if life never got the best of him.

Then of course, we encounter the mascot of the film; Buster Martin, a 101 year old chain-smoking, beer drinking Brit, who claims to never drink tea, water, or anything other than a mug of the good stuff. He is an avid marathon runner, whose training program consists of five beers and five cigarettes, and hastily tells Wexler "I ain't like you normal people." In April of 2011, Martin died at the alleged age of 104.

One of the last people we meet is 100 year old Elanor Wasson, who speaks with such gratitude and knowledge it truly is remarkable. An outspoken Atheist, Wasson believes the Earth revolves around karmic revenge, the law of love, and freewill and free-choice. "God didn't let it happen. We let it happen by making bad choices." I couldn't agree more.

How To Live Forever is a wholly entertaining documentary, looking at many fields of the subject of mortality such as anti-aging medicines, the subject of living past 100 (at one point, humans were only expected to live to be around 23), certain life-changing dietary efforts, and a plethora of charismatic people who have beaten the odds, many of them providing piercingly accurate insight and intelligence about the world around us.

NOTE: The film was released theatrically in 2009, and has just been released to DVD in 2012. During these three years, it has come to my attention that Ray Bradbury, Buster Martin, Eleanor Wasson, and Jack LaLanne have all passed away. It's almost as if they were featured in the film to give their opinions on their age and the appointed issues, and then passed away.

Starring: Mark Wexler, Buster Martin, Jack LaLanne, Eleanor Wasson, Ray Bradbury, John Robbins, Tyrus Wong, and Suzanne Sommers. Directed by: Mark Wexler.


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