Funny Old Guys
Frank Tarloff was a man for whom there were “no more victories.” At 83, he could no longer work in the television industry that he and his friends had helped to create — but which now had no use for them. Every Tuesday, he and his group of close friends — former writers, comedians, and producers — would meet for lunch to reminisce, lament the state of TV and film today, compare their medical conditions, and just enjoy each other’s humor and company.
This poignant and deeply affecting documentary, filled with the sparkling humor of its subjects and a perceptive eye for compelling moments of revelation, follows Frank and his friends through the last months of his life.
Frank had his share of triumphs. He had fought and beaten the Blacklist, won an Academy Award for screenwriting, and been a successful television script writer for more than 20 years. His friends — Bernie West, Freddie Frieberger, Mike Morris, David Shaw, Bernie Kahn — had written and produced such series as “Star Trek,” “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Maude,” among many others. But all that was 20 years or more behind them.
The film follows and Frank and the rest of the group over a year-long period, during which he learns he has terminal cancer. The first member of the group to face imminent mortality, Frank has an epiphany and decides that by facing death squarely and by discussing it with his characteristic humor, he can help his friends face death when their own times come.
The poignancy of this experience, and the love and concern these men share for one another, is compelling and revelatory, and is captured with great sensitivity and insight by award-winning filmmaker David Zeiger. “Funny Old Guys” will inspire discussion in a variety of courses in psychology, sociology, death and dying, and aging.