Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Film Club - David Gilmour

The Good: David Gilmour lets his son 16 year old Jesse drop out of school. The catch to this agreement is Jesse has to watch three movies a week with his dad. But Jesse doesn't get to pick the movies. This is what intrigued me on the book jacket because I love movies. It doesn't hurt that Gilmour was CBC's tv movie critic through most of the 90s. I was also drawn to the fact this was a memoir about a father and son relationship. I've always wondered what father's and sons discuss when they actually have conversations. I don't know about you but my dad and brother tend to keep talking to a minimum and when they have to yay or nay things with a sort of grunt or nod of the head.

I liked how goofy and comical and true Gilmour was in how he dealt with life. I really felt for how he handled the situation with Jesse and his various problems. It brings to light the dilemmas parents face when raising their children. Different choices lead to different outcomes and not always with the intended result. The most interesting parts for me were the conversations over the movies. I learned that a lot of male conversation has a lot to do with what's not said. It's called 'withholding' and doesn't just apply to men.

The Bad: I was really expecting more. The book felt short, almost truncated. I think the main reason for this was Jesse was 16 at the beginning and several years passed within the book but fairly large chunks of time were skipped over. I know Gilmour most likely highlighted the interesting and important parts of those years but I wonder about what was left out. I wonder about what movies were left out.

The Ugly: I thought this would really be my kind of book. What could be better than a father and son bonding over movies? I was especially looking forward to the movie discussion. But when it came down to it, the discussion was short and most of the films discussed were what I would call 'art house' films. They weren't mainstream and I'd never heard of quite a few. I had no way of identifying with David or Jesse when discussed these books. Although, I do agree with what they said about Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", having just watched it over the weekend.

Granted, they did discuss movies like "Psycho", "On the Waterfront" and "The Shining". I think my main problem with this book is that I expected more from the movie side when the book is marketed and written as a memoir. Only a few movies watched over these years are actually mentioned in the book. My expectations were blown out of proportion, making the book feel like a letdown. While it's a nice little book about a father and son, it doesn't necessarily break new ground in any area.

Rating: 3/5

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