Tag Archives: Dick Van Dyke

Keep Moving: And Other Truths About Living Well Longer by Dick Van Dyke

Keep Moving: And Other Truths About Living Well Longer by Dick Van Dyke – 3/5 stars

If deciding between this one or My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business, an earlier memoir by Dick Van Dyke, read this one. It is shorter, contains many of the same stories, and actually was a little bit more interesting. Not that I consider that saying much. See my review of My Lucky Life.

Dick Van Dyke gives more opinions in this book. He takes a stand and I like that. He talks about his favorite presidents, historical events he lived through, and his daily routine. It actually provides a picture of who he is, not just people he knows.

But I think it falls into the same trap his earlier memoir does. I really feel like his earlier memoir lost me when he started justifying his divorce from his first wife. ‘She didn’t understand.’ ‘He was caught between two strong women.’ ‘Show business was his life! He needed someone who understood that.’ etc. etc.

Here the justification is not why he left his wife but why his third wife is 43 years younger than himself.

(Frankly, I’m more curious as to why he never “got around” to marrying the palimony woman. There is a good story there. You don’t live with a person 30+ years and just “forget” to get married! Especially not her!)

But anyway, if this book has a theme besides thoughts on growing old, it is a justification of his new wife (who is about the same age as his grandchildren.) 

I enjoyed it. It was a fast read. And I think my favorite takeaway came at the beginning where he says, I paraphrase, “When you are in your 20s, you have Plan A. When you are in your 40s, it is Plan B. And when you make it to your 70s, you finally realize there is no plan at all.”


My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke

(Wrote this review a few weeks ago but honestly it is this or my rambles about the evidence quiz I just completed. Consider yourself fortunate.) 

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke – 2/5 stars

I struggle with giving this book a low rating: I mean, it is Dick Van Dyke! He is classic. He is defining. We all cheered loudly when he appeared in Mary Poppins Returns because he is, simply, an icon of multiple generations now. Picking up this book, my question was not if it would be great but how great.

The thing is…there is not much of interest here. Oh, I suppose as a recap of Dick Van Dyke’s life it is interesting enough. He worked hard, embraced many cool opportunities, and overcame quite a bit. But it fails to satisfy in any regard.

  • As a look at life in Hollywood, it provides very few details besides a list of people he met, worked with, or particularly liked.
  • As a narrative of his varied acting experiences, he gives very few (almost no) details besides how much he loved the Dick Van Dyke Show. (Did you know everyone thought his co-star was his wife? He will remind you of it. Often.)
  • As a story of his life, it provides the facts but often with little more than you would expect from a Wikipedia page. His wife’s early miscarriage, his own alcoholism and affair, the loss of a granddaughter…none of it gets more than lightly brushed over.

If there is one reoccurring theme, it is his seemingly deistic perspective on “love” and “good works.” In short, his worldview boils down to everyone should be the affable, non-confrontational person that Dick Van Dyke is. And really, what this book is.

It is a very bland, very polite, very grateful, but altogether uninspiring story. Which is too bad. It didn’t need lots of Hollywood gossip. But it did need a little more vulnerability to make it more than an informational, and yet somehow uninformative, story.


Be Like Jack: Thoughts on Mary Poppins Returns

I saw the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” today with a friend. 

Mary Poppins Returns (2018 film poster).png

Plot synopsis from IMDB: “Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.”

A few things I liked:

  • It mirrored the original movie (and the books) quite well but doesn’t copy.  It is a continuation of the story. 
  • The music is fun and whimsical.
  • Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins is more smiley than Julie Andrews’s. She seems to care more for the kids and have more fun with teaching them life lessons.
  • The new Banks kids look ready to stumble into Narnia.
  •  Lin-Manuel Miranda’s character, Jack, is joyful to watch and I dare you not to fall in love with his happy eyes and cheerful demeanor.
  • Dick Van Dyke is over 90 and he still dances the happiest little jig in his cameo. 

Dislikes:

  • Jane Banks’s clothing. Good colors but hideous patterns and combinations. 
  • …That might be it.
  • I did find the songs a little too on the nose for the storyline. Nothing existed just to exist, it all tied in somehow with a moral lesson. 

Final thoughts:

I was skeptical about the character of Jack – who is the Bert stand-in as companion in this movie. The genius of Lin-Manual Miranda aside, you cannot surpass Bert. Or perhaps you can. But Jack (who is connected to Bert, but you should watch the movie to find out how) does not try to surpass him. He develops a character all of his own. He is the rare adult character who recognizes what Mary Poppins can do and marvels at it but does not need to be taught by it. 

And that, I think, is why his character really is the best in the movie. He worked with Mary Poppins in the past. He knows Bert. He comfortably takes part in all the adventures as a matter of course. Yet he still marvels and laughs with joy at it all. He is not like Michael and Jane, who forgot about their adventures with Mary Poppins. Neither is he like the children, who need to learn some life lessons. He bridges the gap between childlike wonder and adult responsibility. In doing so, he shines as an example of what a good adult should/could be like. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this happy sequel.