memories of the ’80s – Cocoon

Cocoonposter.jpgThree pals living at the Sunny Shores retirement community in Florida find the fountain of youth thanks to aliens is what brought many fans to the theatres in the mid-1980s for the film Cocoon.

Based on the book Cocoon by David Saperstein and adapted for the big screen by Tom Benedek, the film Cocoon centers around three friends played by Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn.

The three renegades, looking for some adventure from the retirement home, sneak over to use the swimming pool next door at an abandoned house, as a place to hang out away from the prying eyes of their fellow neighbours. Their discovery of alien pods being stored in the pool brings them to the attention of Walter (Brian Dennehy), who is a leader from the planet Antarea.

He explains to the threesome that his people are peaceful and had established a colony on earth, and he’s come to take the pods back to their planet, storing them in the pool until they’re ready to leave with everyone.

The threesome keep the secret, but the lifeforce that is in the pool begins to affect them, making them healthier, stronger and more vital. They include their wives in the secret, but soon its no longer a secret and the threesome have to figure out a way to help the Antareans and not put them at jeopardy by themselves, their neighbours and the local police.

Directed by Ron Howard, the film’s comedic styles and yet sweet revelations of the life of senior citizens made for box office gold. With Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy and Gwen Verdon as the wives/girlfriends and Steve Guttenberg as the ship captain who is helping Walter, the storyline was science fiction, and yet seemed plausible in modern day Florida.

Released in June 1985, and made for a budget of $17 million, the film grossed over $85 million and led Don Ameche to be nominated and win an Academy Award for Best Actor in  a Supporting Role ( as well as the film winning a Best Visual Effects Academy Award.)

For this young girl, it didn’t seem like it would be my kind of film, but its sweet storyline peppered with science fiction made me laugh and made me think its all possible.

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About Waheeda Harris

A freelance journalist with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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