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I’m a bit of a film buff, so when I saw a tweet from LA Live announcing a film festival with some upcoming movies I was looking forward to seeing (most importantly, with tickets only costing $5), I signed up immediately and got some friends to come along. What I didn’t notice, however, was that the festival was called “Movies for Grownups,” and was sponsored by the AARP. As I sat in an audience largely populated by the over-50 crowd, I watched women sit in large groups laughing over the latest gossip from their book club and an older gentleman walk up the steps of the movie theater slowly, balancing a cane in one hand a very large soda in the other, yelling at his wife to choose seats because neither spouse could hear one another. I couldn’t help but think, “I really hope this doesn’t happen to me.” Never had old age become such a reality as at this AARP film fest, and never did joining the AARP look so good (According to their advertisements before the screening, they offer great discounts, job support for the professional over 50 years of age, and social functions much like this one!).

I saw some fantastic films – Philomena (do yourself a favor and see this movie) and 12 Years a Slave to name a few — but the best story comes from the last screening I went to.

I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the new Ben Stiller film based off the short story of the same name. It’s an enjoyable movie to watch, the inspiring kind that uses great music and inspirational moments to make you feel excited about life. And, after the film, Ben Stiller was on hand for a Q&A session. While most of the questioning was done by a critic for the Hollywood Reporter, a few lucky audience members were able to ask questions (Unfortunately, I wasn’t a part of this group). However, following the Q&A, Stiller was willing to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. So, I bolted to the front of the theater, nudged my way through the crowd (Luckily old age had made them less aggressive), and took a selife with Ben Stiller.

Jared with Ben Stiller

So where am I going with all of this? Obviously, Los Angeles is a great city for film, but there’s so much to do in the city, a lot of which most people have no idea about. A lot of the events I’ve gone to I’ve only found out about by stumbling upon them (following venues in L.A. like LA Live, Staples Center, The Hollywood Bowl, and others on Twitter is a good idea). So go out there, explore, find something really cool, and make your own exciting life experiences with excessively emotional background music (And then maybe you, too, can take a selfie with Ben Stiller).

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