Elwood Carlisle is a man you won’t soon forget. He’s been a bodybuilder, drug addict, nature lover, postal worker, and is now an actor — a career he started at the age of seventy-four. And what have you done with your life?
To call Carlisle eccentric is like calling Las Vegas garish. Words cannot adequately describe the force that is this man. He is prone to shouting, “Fantastic!” He is over six feet tall. His arms often fly into the air on a whim, and his love for life is a thing to envy. Now that he’s an actor (really just appearances in music videos, small roles in B-movies and extra work), he feels like he’s found his calling. He believes he is destined to be a household name, and he may be right, but it won’t be because of his roles. No, if Carlisle becomes famous it will most likely be due to this surprisingly touching and funny documentary (and his appearance on Leno’s late night show).
Carlisle is something Hollywood needs more of — a real person. For an industry obsessed with age and looks, Carlisle is definitely not its ideal matinee idol. He does, however, have more gusto and honesty than people three quarters his age, and he brings something to his roles not a lot of actors can claim — life experience. His personality makes it unlikely he’ll ever land a role big enough to get him known (one person even admits that he feels as if Carlisle may scare some directors), but he is already the stuff of legend — he just may not know it yet.
There are two groups of people who need to see this film: high school kids and the people who frequent senior citizen centers. Young people need to know that older people still have worth, and they need to see the value in pursuing your dreams. Older people need to know that retirement doesn’t mean death. If there’s anything Carlisle can show us, it’s that. Sure, he’s been in a Ricky Martin video and has acted with Ron Jeremy, but he wouldn’t have done any of that without believing in himself and ignoring conventional wisdom. If ever there’s a poster child for going against society’s norms, it’s Carlisle.