A Baby Boomer’s Disappointment: “Just Getting Started” Movie Review

Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Jane Seymour, Johnny Mathis, and Rene Russo – all starring together in the movie “Just Getting Started” set in my hometown – Palm Springs. A baby boomer’s delight, right?

Of course, I was excited to see this movie. The premise had some possibilities. Freeman plays Duke Diver, the manager of a luxury Palm Springs retirement community packed with retirees, who has some mysterious secrets from his past.

Some sight gags in the beginning of the movie, like Christmas carolers dressed in Dickensian clothes wearing flip-flops, made me smile a bit. But then “Just Getting Started” went terribly wrong. This movie was not just boring and unfunny, it slammed us boomers.  Pun intended, I’m just getting started!

Is anyone else tired of the elderly portrayed as horny, desperate, and lonely? The women in this movie are dismally portrayed as dejected, just waiting around for the attention of their male counterparts. Don’t they have anything else better to do?

There was a creepy scene in the beginning of the movie with Glenne Headly (who I remember from Lonesome Dove and sadly discovered died this year at the young age of 62) standing on a ladder with Freeman ogling her and making inappropriate comments.

This is especially sad since it was announced today that Oscar-winning Freeman, who starred in some of my favorite movies like “Shawshank Redemption,” has been accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment by eight women. Freeman apologized to anyone “who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.”

Another disappointment: Although the opening scenes were shot in my California desert, the rest of “Just Getting Started” was clearly not filmed here. I found out later that most of the movie was shot in New Mexico. They even ripped off the name of the famous atmospheric Melvyn’s restaurant here, once a magnet for Hollywood’s elite like the Rat Pack, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, and Jerry Lewis, and slapped it on a building that obviously was not the original restaurant.

Aside from my local umbrage, this movies was just sad. I couldn’t keep watching it. But I hear it only got worse. As a review on Roger Ebert’s website said, the movie “awkwardly evolves from being a horny oldsters on the loose caper to a macho one-upmanship contest and, finally, a crime film about foiling a mob hit beset with dreary car chases, a literal snooze-fest stakeout, a rather tame cobra stuck in a golf bag and perhaps one of the least-exciting bomb explosions ever captured on film.”

In a year that produced Oscar-winning performances of boomers that didn’t fit into the typical stereotypes, “Just Getting Started” is especially disappointing. Last year, Jeff Bridges, 67, starred as a Texas Ranger tracking down a pair of bank-robbing brothers. Viggo Mortensen, 58, played a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous education that challenged his philosophy about life. And Isabelle Huppert, 63, played a woman who turned the tables on her attacker. That seemed like a nice change since we baby boomers are not grumpy, over-sexed, old codgers cussing up a storm like we are often portrayed in Hollywood. We are active, productive, and vibrant members of society.

As I pointed out in a previous blog, “These days, if Hollywood ridiculed an ethnic group, the LGBT community, or the disabled in movies, people would be in an uproar. So why do people quietly tolerate the way movies make fun of older people?”

“Just Getting Started” is streaming now online, but my advice? Skip this one.



Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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14 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for the review, Julie. This sounds like so many of the last several decades idea of “comedy.” Most comedies are more rude, vulgar and juvenile than they are funny.

  2. Carmela Dutra says:

    I actually was not familiar with this movie until I read your blog. I don’t watch too many movies out nowadays with a toddler so most of them we Redbox. You are right, Hollywood does seem to portray the older actors or ones they deem “elderly” as being a foul mouth, grump, over/under crazed sex people ogling members of the opposite sex more than half their age. Also, I did not no Vigo Mortensen was 58! I love him! He’s a truly gifted actor.

  3. Diane Dahli says:

    Thanks for this insightful review, Julie. I had always admired Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie), so I was horrified to read/hear about the accusations made about him. Maybe they have the wrong person, I thought. But no. If he agreed to perform in this movie, he may have been revealing his true stripes!

  4. Hi Julie, Perhaps Hollywood needs to rethink their agenda on a lot of things. I am over the so called ‘humour’ coming out in the shape of box office movies. Stereotypes need to be dropped, we need fresh and new ideas not revamped same old garbage. Thanks for your truthful and insightful review, I’ll steer clear of this one.

  5. K. Lamb says:

    Julie, thank you for enlightening us on the movie. It does not sound like one that I will be running off to see despite the great assembly of cast members. That’s always disappointing, especially when you are excited to see a movie made in your hometown.

    13 Reasons Why was made in my town (or as you experienced—PARTS of it) and it is interesting to see how Hollywood changes local venues to fit their needs.

    • juliegorges says:

      Interesting that 13 Reasons Why was made in your hometown. I’m sure I’m not alone in being disappointed about local historical spots being changed!

  6. Thanks for your post today on this movie Julie.
    With all that has happened in this past year or so in the news, I would have to say I completely agree. This type of behavior is never okay anytime, for that matter.
    I don’t watch movies hardly ever anymore. Had we paid for this money, that would of been a shame as we only treat ourselves to a few now days.
    Thanks for the heads up before we wasted our money.


  7. Tracy Bryan says:

    OMG! Not another one? I am so tired of hearing about these creepy actors- so happy that the victims are speaking up. Ya, this movie sounds so inappropriate and what a disappointment. I always get a little leery of “grumpy old men-ish” kinds of movies. It’s like their last stab at perpetuating the old boys club-ugh! (Sorry, did I say that out loud?) Anyways, yay you for sharing your review and warning those of us who haven’t seen it!

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