This week I’m attending a medical conference in Sedona, Arizona,
and hiking the beautiful Red Rock country. But I’ll take a
moment to comment on the film they showed during the flight out
west. “Diminished Capacity” stars Matthew Broderick as a Chicago
journalist suffering from a post-concussion syndrome, who takes
time off to visit his mother, and winds up in an adventure with
his Uncle Rollie, (Alan Alda), who has Alzheimer’s disease.
It sounded like a nice premise to contrast the cognitive issues
both men are facing. However, this is little more than backdrop
for what becomes a comic caper to sell a valuable baseball card
(to keep Uncle Rollie out of the dreaded “Assisted Living”!),
and a romance with the lovely Virginia Madsen.
I didn’t expect much more from Hollywood, but one thing bugged
me. Alan Alda’s acting was good enough, but they insisted on
portraying him as very eccentric, and left him very unkempt,
with a scraggly beard and hair that never got washed or combed.
Is this our view of Alzheimer’s disease? Sounds like we have a
little work to do!
Next time, a review of John Barth’s new treatise on what it
means to age in a gated American community…