Day 7: 'Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel'

Ask any dude in America, eh, the world, whose life they wish they could have, and there's a high probability they'll say Hugh Hefner. Sit them down for this fascinating documentary Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel and they might give it a second thought. Day 7 was spent at the luxurious Billy Wilder Theater watching the debut of this epic look into the life of the world's most famous playboy. An extra treat: Hugh Hefner himself was in the audience and spoke at a post-show Q&A. The gent's 84 years old, but besides some hearing issues, he's sharp as a tack and looks two decades younger. It's amazing what the company of beautiful women and good genes - Hef's mom lived to 101 - can do for a body.

Here's the rub. This documentary, while undoubtedly a love letter, doesn't make you want to be him...at all. It sheds a lot of light on the other side of Hef - the perfectionist publisher who surrounded his playmates with great articles by great writers (Ray Bradbury, Alex Haley) and championed civil rights (Count Basie couldn't get a Southern gig, but found open arms at the Penthouse). It's welcome insight. But still, one senses  that the kid side of Hef that admired beautiful women, didn't receive too many hugs at home, and is still chasing romantic love with girls 60 years younger, isn't completely happy. Also, those buxom bunnies, while undeniably gorgeous, keep getting in the way of Hef's valid legacy as a social activist and someone who sincerely values integrity and friendship.

He's accomplished many things, and given his resurgence with stuff like The Girls Next Door, there's not much rest in sight for the not-so-wicked octogenarian. One hopes some day that Hef can take a break from being Hef, and just be an old guy with a woman who loves him and all of the great grandkids around. After some time with him and his movie, I'll think of him mostly as the one person who, when no individual, corporation or movie studio stepped to the plate, realized that millions of people around the world still have dreams tied up in our city, and so, Hef wrote a check to save the Hollywood sign. Undisputably, a class move...
 

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