Six years ago, I came upon a report on CBS's newsmagazine 48 Hours that focused on actor Nick Nolte. This was pre-DUI arrest, pre-date rape lawsuit Nolte. At the time, I wasn't necessarily familiar with him outside of his work in films such as The Prince of Tides and Blue Chips, I was immediately drawn in. Nick Nolte, I realized, was a total crazy. In went the cassette tape. I pressed "record," which, upon doing so, has since provided me with a small piece of subversive media that will forever remain dear to my heart.
The report focused exclusively on Nolte's determined attempt, at the time, to (wait for it) halt the aging process. Yes, Nolte (formerly declared by the reputable staff at People Magazine as The Sexiest Man Alive, a designation as important to our country as christening Regis Philbin with having The Most Brittle Pubes In Town) is set out, with tenacity and purpose, to live the life of a thirty-five year old man in the body of a sixty year old.
The concept of the piece, alone, was enough to satisfy someone as snarky as myself (and my friends, to every one of whom I've shown this video since). But, like any good reporter, Peter Van Sant (and his brilliant editors) delved deeper into learning about how Nolte went about achieving a goal some might call "unreachable" or "illogical." Or "absolutely fucking nuts."
Items of Note:
“I defy those people that can eat six portions of vegetables a day and six portions of fruit,” says Nolte, who spends thousands of dollars a year in his quest to live forever. “I accept the dying process. I would just like to be as healthy as I possibly can at each step and phase along the way."
And, oh yeah, he smokes. Whatevs!
The story is reported from such an editorial distance that one must wonder how this isn’t an Ed Helms piece. It’s even a challenge to decide who’s being victimized: a seemingly helpless, naive, and trembling Nolte, or the witch doctor who is undoubtedly robbing him of house and home, but only while voluntarily wiping the drool from his patient’s mouth as he walks on a treadmill.
Nolte’s first “test” takes place on the aforementioned treadmill, a scene that reporter Van Sant blindly refers to as “[something] out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
Yeah, I'm going to venture to say that the real thing might be a tad more disturbing.
For a sixty year old man, it’s safe to say that, without his shirt on, Nolte looks...perfectly fine, if not in excellent shape for a man of his age. He, however, disagrees and half-jokingly claims he’s come to terms with his “decrepit existence.”
Well, when you put it that way...
Credit is due, though, toward Nolte. He's obviously very dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, and clearly wants to prove to himself that he can maintain a young, virile body. But the best part - for me - comes during Nolte's face time with the automated computer test. The quick cuts to Nolte banging away at buttons are smiliar to watching a diapered monkey fingerpaint (cute, yet sad), but it's during the breath capacity test that Nolte really drives it home.
One cannot help but feel for this man, as right before he passes out, he actually takes a moment to look up at the computer screen just to check on his progress, as if he's even near the state of mind to evaluate the scientific nonsense that surrounds him.
Dr. Renna proves the idiocy of both himself and his patient by summing up all the procedures, pill-popping, and tests as “a beautiful thing.” According to him, Nick Nolte, at sixty, is functioning with the “brain composite” of a 45-year-old man.
Apparently, Nolte is simultaneously functioning with the “brain composite” of a 13-year-old Japanese girl, as well:
Although you might actually feel bad for Nolte, focus should be shifted toward the real victim here:
Nick Nolte may appear to be a rubbery ex-addict on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but no dog should have to endure being that man's best friend. Especially in an Elizabethan fucking collar.