I suppose that it is a good sign that, as soon as i finished this book, i ordered it from Abe Books as part of a birthday present for JAG. That’s gotta be a sign of success, even by my rather strict criterion!
Normally, based on the title alone, one would expect me not to enjoy this. I mean, what is to enjoy in a book about films? I am well-known within my family for having no patience with films, often quitting them a few minutes in because they haven’t bothered to catch mine attention, and i reckon i can better spend my time elsewhere elsehow. So i am not certain why i picked this up in the library, other than ~ and i promise, i don’t remember that this was the case, i’m just guessing ~ i may have done so to see if it was written by the Pink Floyd guitarist. It wasn’t; this Gilmour is a resident of Toronto, and that, i suppose, may have caught my attention once the book was in mine hand, as a fellow Canadian. Whatever the motivation, i did pick it up and, while still in the library, read the first third of the thing before taking it out.
So, what is it? Well, as the subtitle indicates, it is the story of a father, Gilmour, and his son whom he allows to drop out of school on the condition that they watch three films a week together, films of the father’s choice. It really isn’t clear what, other than desperation, put the idea of this approach into Gilmour’s mind, but against all odds it works. The two talk, Jesse, the son, goes through some difficult times ~ as does Gilmour himself ~ but eventually comes out the other side and, as far as one can tell, has made a certain amount of a success of his life. Gilmour gives a partial list of the films they watch, and an index to them in the back, with some interesting comments as he tells Jesse what they should be looking for while watching them; as he used to be a film critic, one can assume that he knows whereof he speaks.
The interesting point, from my perspective, other than the father/son relationship i’ll address shortly, is that i found myself wanting to watch at least some of these films, or regretting that i’ve not had the opportunity to do so, perhaps thereby continuing mine education in an area where i am evidently, evidentially, lacking. Dirty Harry, for example; i know the famous line, who doesn’t, since Reagan quoted it? but i’ve never seen the film, for one reason or another ~ lack of opportunity, Lynne’s distaste, &c. ~ and now might find myself looking for the opportunity to do so. Perhaps, as i’m giving JAG the book, we’ll rely on some of Gilmour’s recommendations to guide our viewing, as that seems to be what we do fairly regularly when he visits.
So, on to that relationship. The disappointing fact is that i find myself in a very similar position to that of Gilmour; the details are different, as he is remarried, actually has another child who plays absolutely no part in the story, is on good terms with his ex-wife; the general sweep, though, is the same: Broken marriages, a son who is having difficulties in life, and an inability to know what to do to help that son, on the part of both parents, all are features of my life and his. I’m not sure that we are in the position to do anything as radical as Gilmour did ~ apart from anything else, i am employed and he was not, and JAG is in school, and Jesse essentially was not ~ but it is stimulating to see that from a difficult situation good can arise and result, that boys, sons, can struggle through difficult times and emerge as mature adults. Thus, in the end, i am delighted that i have read this book, and i will see if i can leverage it, in some way, into a stronger relationship between JAG and myself. Woo-hoo!