The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son
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At the start of this brilliantly unconventional family memoir, David Gilmour is an unemployed movie critic trying to convince his fifteen-year-old son Jesse to do his homework. When he realizes Jesse is beginning to view learning as a loathsome chore, he offers his son an unconventional deal: Jesse could drop out of school, not work, not pay rent - but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.
Week by week, side by side, father and son watched everything from True Romance to Rosemary's Baby to Showgirls, and films by Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, Billy Wilder, among others. The movies got them talking about Jesse's life and his own romantic dramas, with mercurial girlfriends, heart-wrenching breakups, and the kind of obsessive yearning usually seen only in movies.
Through their film club, father and son discussed girls, music, work, drugs, money, love, and friendship - and their own lives changed in surprising ways.
kitchen tiles. Pencil tip bouncing on the vinyl tabletop. Gradually, I became aware of a kind of hum in the room. Where was it coming from? From him? But what was it? My eyes settled on him. It was a kind of boredom, yes, but a rarefied kind, an exquisite, almost cellular conviction of the irrelevance of the task at hand. And for some odd reason, for those few seconds, I was experiencing it as if it were occurring in my own body. Oh, I thought, so this is how he’s going through his school day.
attack. Duel compels you to look at it. It seems to say to the audience, There is something of primordial importance going on here; you have feared this very thing before and now here it is again. Steven Spielberg was twenty-two when he directed Duel. He’d done some television (a Columbo episode served as his calling card) but no one anticipated that he was going to tear up the material with quite this relish. More than the truck, more than Dennis Weaver’s escalatingly frightened driver, the
something, like suddenly recognizing somebody right in front of you. “What?” I said, alarmed, sounding cross. “Do you think I came off like a wimp asking her that? Asking if she still loved me?” “No. But you know—” I thought about it for a second, how to phrase it. “Know what?” he asked quickly, as if I had a knife under my jacket. “It’s just what I’ve been saying for the last year or so. Which is that important conversations are never best conducted when you’ve been drinking.” (Jesus,
something bad is going to happen.” “And what’s that called?” “Suspense,” he said. “Like Hitchcock building a second staircase in Notorious.” He rimed it off; the blasé certainty pleasing him. For an instant I had a feeling he was daydreaming that Chloë was hearing all this, a third person in the room. “Who was Bergman’s favourite cameraman?” “That’s easy. Sven Nykvist.” “What Woody Allen film did Nykvist shoot?” “Actually, he shot two. Crimes and Misdemeanors and Another Woman.” “What did
where exactly would Jesse be sleeping? And then there was the tone of voice, its inappropriate gravitas. The voice of a young man confessing to stealing a car. I slept uneasily that night. Near eight in the morning, still bugged, I called Jesse’s cellphone; left a message; said I hoped he was well; could he call his father when he got a chance. And then, apropos of nothing, I added that I knew he was feeling terrible, but that drugs of any kind, cocaine in particular, would probably land him in