As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Watching movies with my dad

Posted by Hedwig on June 24, 2008

As you might know, I’m currently on something of a break in the south of France with my father. And well, the thing with my dad is: he likes movies, but he never feels like watching them. He’s rarely sorry when he does, but he often just doesn’t have the motivation. Especially not if their over an hour and a half. So for this trip, I assembled some movies that a) had a clear, pitchable element and b) weren’t too long. So far? 2 down. 5 to go.

First up: The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)

The pitchable element: a lesbian sex scene featuring one of his favorite actresses, Catherine Deneuve.

The length: 93 minutes

The verdict: What a strange film this is! It’s a horror film of sorts, but without, really, any horrific moments. It’s a vampire film, but the word “vampire” is never uttered, and almost none of the clichés are used: there are no fangs, no crufixes, they can be seen in mirrors and on photographs, and the sun is not a danger.

Somehow, directors love to defile Deneuve’s impeccable, almost untouchable beauty. Here, too: her impossible, perfect coif comes undone, her face is stained with blood, and in the end… In the end, the movie just rehashes a trope old as the greeks: eternal life is nothing without eternal youth, and not being able to die is probably more horrific a thought than having, irrevocably, to do so.

Tony Scott’s clearly chosen style over substance from the beginning, but is that really such a bad thing? I wasn’t quite captivated by the story, but I was arrested by so many shots. It’s too bad David Bowie is hidden in aging make-up for most of his (already limited) screen time. My father was less enthusiastic than me (although he had to grant the lesbian scene was good), but I’m glad I finally saw this cult classic.

Then: A Fistful of Dynamite aka. Duck, you Sucker (Sergio Leone, 1971)

The pitchable element: it’s a Leone Spaghetti Western

The length: 157 minutes, quite a bit above the cut-off, but I proposed cutting it in two if we felt like it, and we ended up watching the whole thing.

The verdict: This is clearly a messier film than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, and unlike those two it could easily -and without loss – have been shorter. It’s also the most unever in tone: at some points it’s almost a slapstick comedy, but the revolution stuff in it is quite grim. James Coburn, whose Irish accent kind of comes and goes, turns out to have the perfect Leone face: deep crevices and grime can’t quite disguise his charisma, and his eyes look good in close-up. Rod Steiger is ‘the Ugly’ to this hero: a thief and a murderer, but not one without a heart, or without insight: his speech on revolutions is great.

There are no real iconic scenes or shots here, nothing coming close to the level of the two films I mentioned, but for what it is – a B-movie with some political intent – it’s actually pretty good. It drags in spots, but there are enough scenes (the first twenty minutes, the bridge ambush, etc) to make it worthwhile.

The rest of my selection? Tune in later to find out.

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4 Responses to “Watching movies with my dad”

  1. Scott said

    The Hunger is a crazy film. I love that your relationship with your dad involves watching lesbian sex scenes. My dad and I would awkwardly stare at our feet until the scene was over.

  2. I’m guessing Berlin Alexanderplatz isn’t on the list.

    And the south of France? I envy you deeply and profoundly.

  3. sarcastig said

    Hehe, no, Alexanderplatz I probably couldn’t convine my dad to watch. And yeah, one of the big advantages of living in the Netherlands? The south of France is a day’s drive away.

    And yeah, @Scott, I watched The Dreamers in the cinema with my dad on one side and my mom on the other. Again, the advantage of the Netherlands: you’re confronted with so much sex (including a very casual, matter-of-fact programme on one of the public channels called “injecting and swallowing”, which, well, doesn’t use euphemisms and doesn’t blur anything out) that it stops being that big a deal.

  4. I finally saw A Fistful of Dynamite about a year ago in a theater. It has been shorter and I think it’s better longer. It doesn’t immediately satisfy like GBU, like you say there aren’t the same iconic moments, but there’s something about this one I really love. I especially like the opening introduction of Rod Steiger where you start out thinking he’s one thing and he turns out to be another.;

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