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The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son
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The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  3,556 ratings  ·  606 reviews
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 ...more
264 pages
Published September 13th 2007 by Dundurn
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cathleen
I quit. I cannot stand to read any more. I had been looking forward to reading this and was very much hoping to include it in the library's blog, but I can't do it. I kept pushing and reached the half-way mark, but no more.

A father allows his teenage son to drop out of school on the condition they together watch three movies (of his dad's choice) a week -- no job required, no pretense of schooling. The movies themselves are only cursorily discussed, which seems one of the biggest flaws both with
...more
Kris
May 18, 2008 Kris rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kris by: Veryshortlist.com
I don't think I've read a more self-serving, craptastic piece of writing--it barely touches on how they felt about the films they watched together. Instead he pompously tells his son to watch for things in the films (things that HE likes or notices, but he doesn't seem to ask his son what his SON liked), then gives a 4 sentence wrap up at the end. Most of the book is the authors pointless (to the story) search for a job and how he lectures his drug abusing drinking son about how he'll "get over" ...more
Jen
Jun 02, 2008 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, film buffs
Recommended to Jen by: John Nettles
Shelves: non-fiction
There is a limit to what you can force your child to do, especially once they've reached the age of 16 and are taller than you. David Gilmour recognized that fact and (bravely) let his son Jesse drop out of school on the condition that, together, they watch and discuss three movies each week. A former film critic for the CBC, Gilmour makes his movie selections with the intention of teaching his son as much as he can in the time they have left together.

Being neither a father nor a son myself, I m
...more
Mike
As far as I'm concerned I'm fairly easy to please. I am a snob in most every way; however I tend to put forward that facade more so than is actually true as opposed to apparent. That said....

This book is God awful. David Gilmore is easily one of the most self-righteous and self-absorded authors I've ever read (with particular concern and attention being paid to the fact that his painfully obvious solipsism is without any romantic suggestion to the likes of Updike, Mailer, Hemingway, etc.) He is
...more
Melissa
I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about this book. There are so many writers out there who are now writing memoirs about their experiments in living. I am not so sure that they aren't conducting the experiment just to get material for a book. David Gilmour, an out of work television host/film writer, decides to let his teenage son drop out of school on the condition that he watch 3 movies with his father a week. He doesn't have to get a job, do anything to help his struggling (divorced) p ...more
Steven
One of those books that I picked up on a bit of a whim at the library that was deliciously light weekend fare that could be read in a couple of quick sittings. The premise of this one is rather remarkable - a Canadian father offers to let his son drop out of school if he watches three movies a week. There are quite a few things in this book that really disturb, not the least of which is the fact that the son is hard to like. He drinks a lot, is an aspiring rapper, and it is hard to tell whether ...more
Peter Derk
What? I read a book that isn't a comic book? Has the world gone mad?

Well, sometimes I like to get away from my regular, capital-L literature featuring metallic men and men who fly around in jet suits and metallic men who have the metal in their skeletons instead of using it as skin.

The Film Club. Recommended to me by a friend a really long time ago, I got around to it on a trip and read most of it in two plane rides.

Welllllllll that's not entirely true. There was also a 3-hour airport delay wher
...more
Susannah
46 pages into this book, and I had to put it down. I like challenging books, but I don't like the challenge to be having enough self-control not to throw the book across the room.

To be fair, memoirs are probably a pretty indulgent genre. Written by people about themselves, it's no wonder that when they go wrong, they go horribly wrong as with The Film Club by David Gilmour. I don't necessarily take issue with this story of parents who let their son drop out of high school. Gilmour makes a convi
...more
Courtney
I couldn't get through this one. The first thing that bugged me was the language. It was one of those "hey! I can swear!" books that was just for shock value. But that doesn't surprise me coming from this author who does seem to want to be "hip". Gilmour said that he wasn't trying to be cool, but actions speak louder than words. If you are letting your teenager drop out of school, have sex, smoke, and top it off by requiring him to watch rated R movies, then sorry, but I think you're trying to b ...more
Anne
Awhile back I read a touching memoir called Life, Death & Bialys about a father-son pair who take a baking class together and discover new and wonderful things about their complicated relationship. I was hoping that The Film Club would give me an equally warm-hearted feeling. This is the story of a 16-year boy who just isn't quite cutting it in school. He is bored in class and does not seem motivated to do any of this work. His film loving father decides that maybe letting him drop out of sc ...more
Ms.pegasus
Nov 09, 2014 Ms.pegasus rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has gone through the experience of raising an adolescent boy
What do you do if you're a 15 year old boy, wrenched with exploding hormones, bored by the mere thought of a classroom and aroused only by relevance to your personal NOW? That's Jessie Gilmour. Worse, what do you do if you are his parent? Canadian novelist and film critic David Gilmour shares an extraordinary three years of empathy, anxiety, despair and joy in this brief memoir.

Jessie is musically gifted, sensitive, eager to appear as the adult his lank body suggests, but painfully vulnerable t
...more
Liberty
Bleh. The whole time, I kept thinking, "His son is really all right with him sharing that?" Then, at the end, it turns out, his son never read it. Gilmour thanks his son for trusting him to have the book published, sight unseen. Any day now, a headline will read "Film Critic Beaten to Death by Angry Son."
Kathrina
Here's what I've learned about David Gilmour: He's a talented film critic, a mediocre writer, and a ridiculously irresponsible human being. I was going to say irresponsible father, since I think his approach to parenting is horrendous and naive, but I have to back up and say no, his whole personal and professional life that he brings to light through this memoir is despicable, hypocritical, and undignified. He's an alcoholic, he spends his money irresponsibly and stupidly, his current wife is to ...more
Erika
This guy is a jackass. I'm pretty sure he wanted to be praised for his cool guy solution for his son who wanted to drop out of high school. He says no problem, just watch three movies every week with me. You want to drink? Sure. Drugs? Okay. Sex here in the house? No problem. Sleep until 5? Yes! Just watch movies with me! Idiot. And when your book is titled "The Film Club" you should probably talk about films instead of just naming a few you watched. What a waste of time.
Todd
Sep 23, 2009 Todd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone with children
Recommended to Todd by: My wife
Lets get this out of the way...this is not written by the guitar player from Pink Floyd.
This was a remarkable book. It is usually not the genre that I read, however, it combines two of my favorite things...parenthood and movies. Gilmore does a fantastic job of identifying many of the fears of parenting, adulthood and the overall human experience. If it sounds sappy, it was not. It is a story to which any parent can relate.
It is about watching your child grow, providing guidance even though you h
...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Nunca tomo notas de lo que leo. Muchas veces copio extractos, citas, párrafos, frases de algo que me dice más, o que me habla a mí directamente y lo anoto en papeles sueltos que luego traslado a un cuaderno.

Mientras leía este libro, sentí eso que leí en Bolaño, deseos de levantar el teléfono y llamar al autor y... no decir nada. O solo un "estoy con The Film Club" y esperar su "Ah, ok" y colgar.

Normalmente hablo demasiado y eso me ayuda a poner en orden mis ideas. Tomé terapia en un par de ocasi
...more
Kressel Housman
I may be the most permissive mother in Monsey, but compared to the father who wrote this book, I am in control. The book opens when the son, Jesse, age 16, is failing out of school. The father, writer David Gilmour, makes the staggering suggestion of letting him drop out of school under two conditions: 1) no drugs (alcohol and nicotine ARE allowed, though) and 2) he must watch three movies per week with David. Since David did a stint as a film critic for a while, he gets to choose all the movies ...more
Ashley
The memoir of a fellow who allowed his son to drop out of high school if he would agree to watch three movies (of his father's choosing) a week... With his father.

It was a pretty entertaining book, and an interesting concept. Especially to someone like myself, who has little feeling for school (especially high school, which I didn't bother attending) and very strong feelings for film.

But it was a very quick read. I had hoped that it would have been more about the movie watching aspect, but ther
...more
Keksisbaby
Was tun, wenn der pubertierende Sohn keinerlei Interesse für die Schule zeigt, und man selbst arbeitslos ist? Natürlich bietet man dem Kind an, die Schule zu schmeißen und versucht das pädagogische Defizit mit drei Filmen die Woche auszugleichen. Diese Vorgehensweise wird aber nur empfohlen bei Eltern, die hauptberuflich Filmkritiker sind. Mehr als einmal zweifelt David zwar, ob seine ungewöhnliche Erziehungsmethode wirklich Erfolg hat, aber er hält an dem Konzept fest, auch als sein Sohn aus Li ...more
Flaneurette
I have a hard time justifying two stars for this one even if it is a lot less worse than some of the one star books I have come across. On the other hand, this piece of writing doesn't deserve two stars because it is not like the author tried and failed. This "book" or memoir is nothing but a really long blog post, and not even a very interesting one despite the intriguing description.
On second thought, this is not even a blog post, this is rather endless and pointless twitter feeds a "indulgin
...more
David J.
Oct 28, 2010 David J. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents, film lovers
Recommended to David J. by: no one
Canadian dad and cinefile, David Gilmour made a deal with his 15-year-old son, Jesse, who was floundering and failing in his academics. Drop out of school, without a job (you don't even get out of bed before noon), on one condition: Watch three movies a week with your father. Nice deal. This "The Film Club" began, in which Gilmour's page-turning account of that experiment becomes a breezy read. While his brief insights on the selected films are dead-on and attract an interest for those who've ne ...more
theduckthief
The Good: David Gilmour lets his son 16 year old son 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. That aspect of life has always seemed strange and mysterious co ...more
Lundy
When I first heard about Film Club on NPR I was intrigued. When David Gilmour’s son, Jesse, begins to have trouble with school, David swaps houses with his ex to live with Jesse. It soon becomes apparent that Jesse is miserable in school and Gilmour fears he may lose his son.

“I also knew in that instant – knew it in my blood – that I was going to lose him over this stuff, that one of these days he was going to stand up across the table and say, “Where are my notes? I’ll tell you where my notes a
...more
Anastasia
For me, it’s difficult to like a book if I don’t like any of the characters. I was really excited to read The Film Club, about a 16-year-old boy who wishes to quit high school and does so, with his father’s blessing, with the caveat that he must watch three movies a week (all chosen by the father). The result, according to the book jacket, is high-quality father-son bonding, the likes of which rarely happen after a boy has reached his teen years.

While I did read about conversations Jesse had wit
...more
Valerie
I was in the bookstore for less than a minute and knew I had to buy this book. It's a father's memoir about his relationship with his son Jesse. Jesse wants to drop out of high school. His father agrees with it, as long as Jesse agrees to watch three movies a week with his dad. It's a great book for movie lovers--David Gilmour has a lot of insight and knowledge about the film making process. It's also a great book for parents and children. (All of us, in other words!) I don't have kids, but I co ...more
Jennifer
This memoir of a professional film critic who let his disengaged teenage son drop out of school as long as he watched three films a week of his father's choosing is an intimate portrayal of a father-son relationship. Though I didn't agree with some of the author's parenting choices (his son was allowed to sleep all day, remain unemployed, and drink alcohol) his film choices were interesting to read about, and I added quite a few selections to my Netflix queue. I might have added a star had this ...more
York
Un libro mono, bien intencionado, con un planteamiento interesante, pero que se pierde demasiado en la parte del drama adolescente, cuando se supone que el asunto de todo son las películas y cómo nos pueden cambiar la vida, al final pasan a segundo plano y se trata más de cómo la generación de ahora y la de los 60 ven algunos clásicos del cine. Es entretenido, roza en la literatura de superación personal por sus dosis de feel good, tiene sus apuntes interesantes, pero nada por lo que valga la pe ...more
Emi Bevacqua
When his 15 year-old son Jesse started failing out of school, David Gilmour suggested that he drop out of high school, sleep in all day, and continue to live at home rent-free, on the condition that 1) he watch 3 movies per week with his film-critic father and 2) if he so much as touches drugs the deal is off. Except when Jesse does do drugs there are no consequences. David is rather underemployed during this alternative education exploit, and when he gets a lucrative job offer, his response is ...more
Andreea
I started off liking this book and then doubts began to come to my mind, because, after all, the whole point of letting your child quit school and only having him watch 3 movies per week is a bit irresponsible. And yes it was. And maybe it was due to the fact that the parents were too cool about everything (possibly in years prior to this book) that the kid ended up having troubles in highschool. In the same time, I totally understand his attidude towards the standard education system (even when ...more
Ietrio
When I got God is not Great by the late Christopher Hitchens I noticed it was published under the 12twelve brand. It sounds like an interesting idea. So I searched their site for other books in that collection. Hitchens. Sure. I have his books. Most others were plain uninteresting from the description. And than there was [The Film Club]. Gilmour? I bet that's the Yes guy. So I searched for a used copy. A few weeks later the book was in my mailbox. I postponed Hitchens to have a lighter read.

Firs
...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

David Gilmour is a novelist who has earned critical praise from literary figures as diverse as William Burroughs and Northrop Frye, and from publications as different as the New York Times to People magazine. The author of six novels, he also hosted the award-winning Gilmour
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