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

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It was a bad time for David Gilmour. His beloved, unhappy fifteen-year-old son was flunking every subject at school. So David offered an unconventional deal: his son could drop out - not work, not pay rent - but there was a catch. He had to watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.

Together they formed the Film Club: week by week, side by side, father and son watched the world's best (and occasionally worst) films - from "True Romance" to "Chungking Express," "A Hard Day's Night" to "Rosemary's Baby," from "La Dolce Vita" to "Showgirls." The films got them talking - about girls, music, heartbreak, work, drugs, love, friendship - and opened doors to a teenager's interior life at a time when a parent is normally shut out. As the Film Club moved toward its bittersweet (but inevitable) conclusion, the young man made a decision that surprised even his father...

264 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

David Gilmour

33 books74 followers
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 on the Arts. In 2005, his novel A Perfect Night to Go to China won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His next book, The Film Club, was a finalist for the 2008 Charles Taylor Prize. It became an international bestseller, and has sold over 200,000 copies in Germany and over 100,000 copies in Brazil. He lives in Toronto with his wife.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 843 reviews
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,123 reviews1,624 followers
June 22, 2018

La foto sulla copertina dell’edizione in lingua inglese.

Tu pensi che la vita sia stata ben generosa con te, ti ha elargito dolore a sufficienza.
Poi, arriva tuo figlio, e l'incontro/scontro con la vita si ripropone, e via andare, si ricomincia e la vita torna a essere generosa: i problemi di tuo figlio, il suo malessere, la sua ansia, le sue difficoltà di crescita, il suo dolore...
È tutto altrettanto tuo, proprio e più di come è già stato prima, quando lui non c'era e il soggetto eri tu, il suo si somma al tuo.

La foto sulla copertina dell’edizione in italiano.

Adesso è anche peggio, perché ti sembra di essere ancora più maledettamente impotente e incapace.

Questo è quanto io ho letto nel buon libro di David Gilmour, che non è il cantante chitarrista leader dei Pink Floyd, ma un documentarista e critico cinematografico canadese.


The Film Club, con stile un po' banale e scrittura ruspante, racconta una splendida storia: un padre cinquantenne è così fortunato da separarsi e ritrovarsi disoccupato proprio quando suo figlio adolescente ha maggiormente bisogno di lui – il giovane Jesse abbandona la scuola, e l'adulto David è pronto e capace a sostituirla a suo modo: con una magnifica e spettacolare serie di film visti insieme, “educa” il figlio aiutandolo a crescere, a raffinarsi, a formarsi, a divertirsi, a soffrire, a innamorarsi, a restare solo, ad andare avanti.
Un anno difficile per entrambi, padre e figlio, che tre film a settimana scelti accuratamente dall’adulto si trasformano in scuola portata in casa, trasferita sul divano di fronte allo schermo.
Il giovane cresce, l’adulto anche, il loro legame si consolida, il figlio trova aiuto, ispirazione, spiegazione, confronto, sostegno, compagnia nelle immagini che scorrono sullo schermo.

Christian Slater e Patricia Arquette in “True Romance – Una vita al massimo” di Tony Scott, scritto da Quentin Tarantino (1993), un film di cui si parla molto in queste pagine.

È un racconto autobiografico, David Gilmour lo dice chiaramente.

Io posso aggiungere niente altro se non che sembra che qualcuno abbia letto il mio diario senza chiedermi il permesso, abbia preso ispirazione dalla mia vita senza avvertirmi.
Chiedere conferma a mio figlio.

Preferisco guardare un film che vivere. Almeno nei film c’è una trama.
Groucho Marx

David Gilmour, autore del libro, e suo figlio, i due protagonisti di queste pagine.
Profile Image for Cathleen.
1,060 reviews38 followers
May 10, 2008
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 the plan and with the book.

Yes, I get it that this was more about the two spending time together and building communication, but when the father condones heavy drinking, smoking, and sex in the house, and he just waits for his son to have a random epiphany about moving forward in life, he loses huge points in credibility, to say the least. The father himself is self-congratulatory in the worst way and more than happy to excuse even glaring faults in himself; I neither liked nor could sympathize with him, especially when he chooses Basic Instinct for the second film. This isn't even well-written. I just feel sorry for all connected to this book, including those who read it.
Profile Image for Kris.
464 reviews4 followers
May 19, 2008
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" girls. Honestly, if this book wasn't billed as a man and his son watching movies, I would have actually felt better about it, but it's billed as something that it really isn't. I'd love to know more about how they felt about the films, about what they agreed or disagreed on, and what his son really learned both about film, and about life in general. Alas, it was not to be.
Profile Image for Jen.
60 reviews7 followers
June 3, 2008
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 marvel at the picture Gilmour paints of this extremely complicated relationship. These two make mistakes, get angry and disappoint one another, but they never shut each other out for long. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little awed) by the candor of their conversations and the range of topics they discuss, many of which I imagined to be off-limits to a teenage boy.

I'm most impressed by Gilmour's faith in his son, even in the wake of some horrible decisions and dangerous mistakes. He clearly understands Jesse in a way that many parents don't -- as an individual with completely separate (and sometimes incomprehensible) motivations. This understanding is what allows him to push through his feelings of fear and failure, and keep trying to forge a relationship with his son.

This book was an honest and unflinching look at the father-son relationship, both funny and bittersweet. I came away with a new understanding of why sons need fathers in their lives, and what it means to let your children grow up.

Profile Image for Bon Tom.
854 reviews55 followers
December 11, 2020
Why is this book so low rated is beyond me. It's pure 5 stars for me not for pathetic attempt to level up the field (which my lone and small opinion couldn't do anyway), but because I just couldn't go any lower even if I wanted. No reason for deducting the points from perfect work, that is biographical at the same time. Btw, when we rate autobiographies, what it is that we do, actually? Are we expressing a verdict on a person's life and choices? Pretty stupid and self-absorbed thing to do even in real life, let alone when such person went to lengths of producing a nice little package of his life in condensed form for your convenience, so you can enjoy it at your leisure.

To those interested: Look, much of the book is about the process of young male trying to grow up. And, from my own experience and pretty much everyone I know, it's fair to say this is EXACTLY what's going on with hormone flooded young men that are not kids anymore, but still not accomplished or mature in any other way either. Except for constant, frantic, impossible to quench, thirst for willing female. Even, amazingly, if and when such a female is found. I'm pretty sure it's the state of existence, experience of which made the expression "one track mind" come to life. It's an emotional equivalent of trench warfare, I'm telling you.

Needless to say, for the person trapped in a body of a young man, there are likely to be some issuezz. The father Gilmour found unconventional approach to deal with those, and they seem to have done the trick in this case.

And there's one other, supremely delicious thing. This book is credible reference of good movies and reasons for why exactly they might be great. For instance, I'm trying for years now to sell the greatness of True Romance to everybody who's willing to listen. For me, it's one of the best movies ever made. But I never managed to put the genius of it into right cocktail of words that would do it justice. Gilmoure, on the other hand, did it no problem. Expressed half assedly the axiomatic truth about it. It was as if I was reading my own words, that I forgot how to produce after traumatic hit in the head.

With so many things about this book being cold hard truths, I will keep the idea of homebrew education with curated media (movies, games, audiobooks, what else?) in my toolset for that frighteningly close future, when my kid hits the trenches of public education. One of the educational books in my repertoire could very well be this one.
Profile Image for Mike.
253 reviews6 followers
August 4, 2008
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 obviously under the impression that he is the best father ever and that he's got a great idea by letting his son drop out of school as long as he watches 3 movies a week. Um, fuck you. I work 9-5 and am a full time drunk and watch at least twice as many as that in a week. This isn't some new and radical form of communication or child rearing, it's a direct betrayal to responsible parenting in general. This smug son of a bitch thinks he's stumbled upon a cool and hip new way of parenting because his baby doesn't like school. B.F.D. Nobody liked school. You know what Gilmore's writing reminds me of? Diablo Cody; self-indulgent tripe. Yeah, you're cool. We get it. Stop writing because you're terrible. I wouldn't wipe my ass with the torn pages of this waste.
Profile Image for Amorfna.
204 reviews68 followers
September 22, 2019
Bez nekih očekivanja, uzeh je samo jer mi bilo simpatično što se autor zove kao moj dragi Pink Flojdovac.

Filmski klub je priča o odrastanju jednog sina i pokušaju oca da se poveže sa njim i da ga ' izvede na pravi put' na jedini način na koji zna, kroz zajedničko gledanje i analiziranje filmova.

Knjiga je ni tu ni tamo, čitljiva je i prilično benigna kada Vam je do nekog lakog štiva.
Ovaj David Gilmour, iako meni nepoznat, jeste filmski kritičar i volela bih da je u skladu s tim možda težište više bilo na analizi filmova i da smo zaista dobili letalnu dozu filmofilije jer je konačni rezultat bio premlaka limunadica o tolerantnom ocu koji dozvoljava svom šesnaestogodišnjom sinu da se ispiše iz škole jer ga ne zanima i onda provede tri godine gledajući filmove sa njim umesto da ga lepo po balkanski išamara i izmaršira nazad u školu nek skuplja izostanke i kečeve pa šta mu Bog da.
61 reviews1 follower
May 13, 2008
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) parents around the house, or even partake in a hobby. It seems that as long as he sits with dad to watch films, he can sleep all day, drink all night, and spend his cash on cigarettes and beer. Oh, and he's an aspiring rap singer. That said, it could have been a better book. Gilmour picks some interesting films, and they could be fodder for discussion between father and son but rather they seem more like background. Most of the son's concerns revolve around girls - which ones like him, which ones he likes. Exposure to the films of Woody Allen or Francois Truffault don't really seem to provide any solice when he gets dumped by his beautiful girlfriend. "Dad, do you think she really likes me?" Yawn.
Profile Image for Helena (Renchi King).
332 reviews16 followers
November 8, 2020
Vrlo lijepa,istinita priča o odnosu oca i sina koji prolazi svoje buntovne godine.
Sviđa mi se očev pažljivi pristup mladiću koji upada u mnoge problematično-depresivne situacije.
Njihov običaj edukativnog gledanja i komentiranja filmova pravo je blago ove knjižice.
Petica za Gilmoura!
Profile Image for Steven.
524 reviews34 followers
November 10, 2014
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 he really is getting that much from the films they are watching. Sometimes, you wonder whether the father is trying to be more of friend to the son than he is a parent, something I just find intolerable. You would think the films would provide the groundwork for discussion abut life and all the learning that would supplement the high school experience, but these discussions are rarely chronicled. Essentially, the films serve more as a background to the larger story of a parent helping his son deal with the various heartbreaks that come with growing up.

Despite the above mentioned criticism, I couldn’t help but enjoy this book. Watching a great movie, much like reading a great book, is such an affecting experience, at times it can be almost spiritual. John Irving has a great quote in “The Fourth Hand” where he notes that movies can be mutually appreciated, but the specific reasons for loving them cannot satisfactorily be shared. Movies are comprised of the whole range of moods you are in when you see them – you can never exactly imitate someone else’s love of a movie. What is so great about this book is that we get to hear, multiple times about multiple movies, why Gilmour loves them, and I love to hear people talk and write about things they are passionate about. In the book while imparting advice to his son about his rap lyrics, Gilmour advises his son to essentially write what you know, and those various points in this book where the author writes what he knows about filmmaking are tough to beat. Here, for example, is a quote that I loved:

“American Graffiti isn’t just about a bunch of kids on a Saturday night. When a very youg Richard Dreyfuss drops in on the local radio station, there’s a gorgeous moment when he catches Wolfman Jack doing his gravel-voiced routine. Dreyfuss suddenly understands what the center of the universe really is: It’s not a place, it’s the embodiment of a desire to never miss out on anything – not somewhere you can go, in other words, but rather a place you want to be. And I loved the speech the hot-rodder gives, about how it used to take a full tank of gas to “do” the town strip, but now it’s over in five minutes. Without knowing it, he’s talking about the end of childhood. The world has shrunk while you were looking the other way.

I don’t want to wear out my welcome talking about Proust and American Graffiti, but how else can you look at that beautiful girl in the Thunderbird who keeps appearing and disappearing at the edge of Dreyfuss’s vision, except as an example of the Proustian contemplation that possession and desire are mutually exclusive, that for the girl to be the girl, she must always be pulling away?”

There were various moments, such as that, that made this book worthwhile. If you love movies and you love to hear people talking passionately about movies, this book has enough to keep you satisfied.

Profile Image for Katie Scarlett O Hara.
148 reviews41 followers
September 22, 2016
Uživala sam, komentari o filmovima su izuzetno zanimljivi i inspirativni, bukvalno sam tokom čitanja odmah htela da oformim svoj filmski klub. Ko voli filmove, naročito kultne i klasične, uživaće sigurno. E sad, sama priča mi je bila pretežno nezanimljiva, koliko sam videla priča je autobiografska, pa ne mogu baš da komentarišem likove, ali moje interesovanje se svakako gubilo čim je priča o filmovima prestajala. Srećom, to se retko dešavalo. Imala sam utisak kao da čitam specijalno izdanje Total Filma, a kako mi nedostaje to što više ovaj časopis ne izlazi na srpskom, ovo je za mene bio pun pogodak. :)
Profile Image for . . . _ _ _ . . ..
281 reviews146 followers
December 23, 2018
Θέλει πολύ ταλέντο να πάρεις ένα τέτοιο θέμα, να έχεις τόσες σινεφίλ αναφορές και να βγάλεις αυτή την μετριότητα, να μην αρέσεις καν στο σινεφίλ κοινό.
Profile Image for Anne.
797 reviews30 followers
June 15, 2009
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 school for a bit will create a long-term solution. But, there's one catch. His son must watch three movies a week with him. The shocked son readily agrees. And so the Film Club begins. I then thought perhaps this would be like a book I read and LOVED a long time ago (courtesy of my Aunty Marji) called The Day I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey - about a teenage girl who homeschools herself with a definite plan to
take control of her own education and learn everything on her own. I so wished I could be her - staying home everyday and just reading and reading and reading and becoming an expert on so many things. I thought perhaps Mr. Gilmour had a similarly structured plan in mind for his son - only with movies instead of books. Alas, I was sorely mistaken. Instead of arranging weeks of films by genre or time period or director - and teaching his son what he could about a given issues - Gilmour appears to pick his films at random. He spouts off a sentence or two about each movie (mostly while his son rolls his eyes or gazes off into the distance) and then he just hits play. Gilmour clearly has a great deal of knowledge about film, and I felt like the book was a vehicle for him to espouse his views on the given films, rather than give the reader any insight into how the films may have affected his son - or creating any meaningful dialogue between the two. In addition to the movie watching, Gilmour spends much of the book focused on his son's pathetic love life. His son shares quite a bit with him about the girls who lead him on and break his heart, but who he can't help being unnaturally obsessed with. And Gilmour offers to him quite possibly the world's worst advice, over and over. The two also seem to drink a lot together, despite his son's young age, including a stint in Cuba where the two order beer after beer. Gilmour is then shocked when his son reveals that he uses drugs (perhaps the persistant malaise, lack of interest in anything, and disastrous personal relationships were not big enough red flags?) - and despite Gilmour's stern warning at the beginning of the book that if he finds out his son is using drugs that The Film Club will stop and his son will be cut off - not surprisingly for a father with no boundaries, the incident is brushed aside and Film Club continues in all its pointless nonsense. Along the way, Gilmour is also proud to include stories about his more than civilized relationship with his ex-wife - who strangely appears to have no objections to this weird "educational" situation. There is no doubt that Gilmour loves his son, but he portrays him in this book as one of the biggest losers of all time. It would be nice in a couple years to include an Afterward (hopefully) showing how The Film Club saved his son from an otherwise dead-end high school career, and how his son is now a successful film maker, or something of the sort. I am a big believer that mainstream high school is certainly not for everyone, and that home-school or self-directed learning is a great option for many kids. But, I still believe a semblance of focus and a plan is necessary for learning to actually take place. This book did nothing to prove me wrong, and I found it a colossal and disturbing disappointment.
Profile Image for Susannah.
198 reviews15 followers
December 9, 2012
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 convincing argument when he describes how worried he is that he and his son's mother (Gilmour's ex-wife) will lose their son if they don't pursue this option. Also, initially, he establishes ground rules: no drugs and three movies per week. Being a movie fan, this doesn't seem like a hardship. But the red flags started to go up almost immediately. The kid's supposed to be 15- or 16-years-old, and he drinks and smokes. He has sex with a girl he likes and tells his dad that the girl had an orgasm, but he's still worried the girl doesn't really like him. Dad tells him that girls don't have orgasms with boys they don't like. Um, red flag. Actually, two red flags. As long as Gilmour is sharing this anecdote, might a short discussion of safe sex practices be a good idea? And the way he assuages the kid's concern is a little . . . off putting.

Mostly, Gilmour is absolutely blind to his kid's problems. He calls his ex-wife, the kid's mother, to talk about how great the kid is (naturally, because she's the only one who truly understands and agrees). He talks about how even teachers who were troubled by the kid's poor performance at school were taken in by his charm. His kid may be a loser, but he's the best kind of loser: a lovable one. The kid does unthinking things that a 15, 16-year-old does - he drops out of school, smokes, drinks, has sex, does drugs - and I don't fault him for it. The problem is that neither does his dad.
Profile Image for Jelena.
169 reviews91 followers
January 18, 2018
No, not the David Gilmour.

Having clarified that, “The Film Club” is about a father and his son watching films together over a particular period of time. The reason for reading this are the cineastic comments: The unadulterated admiration for Spielberg’s “Duel” is contagious, just as it was a delight to see how differently we perceived “The Shining” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Still, this memoir is neither about film-making nor about film-viewing per se, and that is felt every step of the way. Usually we get half a dozen introductory sentences from the father, mostly amounting to trivia and/or (technical) aspects worth noting. There hardly are any personal remarks from the father as an experienced film buff, and no encouragement at all for the newbie son to make up, re-evaluate and argue his own mind. There is a system behind the particular choice of films and there is reason. I just wish they were more thoroughly elaborated. Especially in categories that are casually mentioned but are likely to give the most personal point of view, like Guilty Pleasure (those really trashy films that you can’t help but love, like “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” for me) or Hidden Gems (brilliant yet little known films or performances, some of which for me would be “The World's Fastest Indian” or “The Fall”).

Again and alas, the films are merely the backdrop here. The real issue at hand is the attempt to overcome a family crisis. A 16-year-old lies about his grades, drops out of school for reasons none other than pure laziness, bums his days away around the house and develops an interest for hard-drugs. All the while his father nurtures and encourages said behaviour, treating him with kid gloves, indulging him by portraying every angsty teenage breakup like the end of the known world, and believing the solution to everything to be showing the son films. If this were literary fiction, my suspension of disbelief would be put into overdrive and burst by the sheer absurdity of such a concept. Me sprouting dragon scales overnight seems saner. Considering that those are unmodified, biographical facts, this is likely the most self-congratulatory idiocy I have ever come across. I am reluctant to judge a spoiled kid for being a dimwit. But a grown man whose premise is that school as such is to blame for his brat’s shortcomings and who tries everything to pass the issue of his own unemployment onto others is something else. There is something uniquely aggravating about this sad attempt to be hip and cool and to be a homie and all laid-back when guidance and stability is needed. Either out of some insane fear of growing older and not being one of the kids anymore, or out of plain numbness and lack of backbone. It doesn’t make you look cool, it makes you look miserable.

When it comes to the one fifth of this text dealing with films, there is little insight here. It is smothered by other contents. So just get something good and thorough instead, that really dives into film and film-making. When it comes to those four fifths dealing with family issues, then this conclusively demonstrated why there should be equally strict capability test for biological parenting as there are for adoptions.

Man, you do not deserve to go by the name of David Gilmour.
Profile Image for Peter Derk.
Author 24 books331 followers
July 8, 2013
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 where I proceeded to get a little thrashed on airport beers. Can you all read after drinking? Because I really can't. I wish I could because those are two activities that almost seem made for each other. A whiskey in one hand, some book about an eastern european gulag in the other. What could be better?

And I must say, when you're loaded the pages FLY by. I mean, it's almost TOO fast.

Scratch that. It IS too fast, which is probably why I didn't retain all that much.

But what's really weird, flipping backwards in this book, I did remember most of what had happened. Just not off the top of my head.

"Oh yeah...that's the part where he sets up his son with beers on the porch to discourage neighbors from moving in."

"Oh yeah...that's the part where he and his son talk about cocaine."

Okay, the book.

The author definitely has a gift for talking about movies. It's the kind of book that makes you want to go back and watch some of those old terrible movies that everyone says you should watch. I usually respond to those people with a polite "BITCH do I LOOK LIKE someone who does fucking homework?" However, I sometimes carry a backpack and I have adult braces, so the answer to that one is Yes more often than I'd prefer.

The movie parts are great, but the father/son stuff fell a little flat for me. I thought it was going to be great. A son who hates school gets the chance to drop out provided he and his father watch three movies a week together? Sounds like fertile ground, no?

Well, it turns out, no.

I mean, I hated school. HATED it. I even tried that BITCH/homework line there a few times, and it was only slightly less effective than it is now. I would have dropped out to watch three movies a week, absolutely, no doubt. Hell, I would have dropped out if I had to commit three murders a week with a parent. That would have been a decent trade in my eyes.

Sadly, however, I never got the offer. And though the son in the book learns a lot about film, I would say that the remarkable thing about the whole adventure is the fact that, clearly, education beyond the 8th grade might be kinda bullshit. I don't know for sure, I don't know if the son is in a gutter somewhere, but I doubt it. And he seemed to be going through the same shit that we all went through at that age, namely a series of extremely painful relationships that ended in ways that were hurtful to all involved. THANK GOODNESS WE ALL STOPPED DOING THAT STUFF, HUH? HAHAHAHA! HUH!?


At any rate, for doing something like this, the true outcome is that it's no big deal. It's no big deal in that the kid seems about average.

In fact, I know a lot of people would question the wisdom of doing something like this, myself included. But on the other hand, I don't think fathers and sons spend a ton of time together. Especially after those sons are over the age of 15. Really, the experiment here seemed to be about whether it was worth it to have a potentially drastic negative impact on your son's life with this plan, but the benefit would be that you would have spent a good long time doing something together when he was of an age that the two of you could actually have an intelligent discussion. I feel like a lot of dads check out during this part of life. Shrug and figure there's not much use talking to kids during those teen years.

Ultimately, the reason it all works out is because the parents obviously care about their son. They may not make all the right choices, but they think a lot about the choices they do make, and the entire book reads like a letter of love and admiration from a father to a son.

So the reading of the book didn't do a lot for me. That said, I'm glad that someone out there did something like this. And I can't imagine a lot of people (those with shithead dads excluded) who would prefer a high school diploma over some quality time spent with dad.
Profile Image for Kathrina.
508 reviews127 followers
November 9, 2009
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 too forgiving of his aloof, "cool" parenting, he doesn't follow through on any of his "promises" or ultimatums, he thinks his career on television actually matters to anyone but him, he's not sure his teenage son can understand the word "simultaneously", nor can he find Florida on a map, but dropping out of school is a good idea, he's afraid of actually parenting his son for fear he might "hurt" him. And apparently he has a daughter by another mother who doesn't get a line of mention.
Even though this is not a good book, I enjoyed reading it for two reasons. One, the small amount of actual film criticism was quite interesting, and I wish that was the whole book, because it's the one thing I can trust this author to write intelligently about. Two, I enjoyed pointing out Gilmour's hypocrisy and plain spineless parenting mistakes. Insert "such as" here:
Gilmour and his loser son have way too many conversations about his son's stupid and pointless lovelife. Point for Gilmour that his alcoholic, drug-taking, smoking, sex-having, high-school-drop-out 16-year-old-son is willing to communicate with his father. But when this son asks him for his opinion on his current love interest, Gilmour answers that he'd "say whatever I'd have to say to make you feel better." Oh, that's a good idea. Tell your son that his skanky, slutty girlfriend is a catch, because that's what he wants to hear. And here's some great advice for your 16-year-old: "...it's alright to go to bed with an asshole but don't ever have a baby with one." Wait, did we have the conversation about birth control, yet? Ah, not today's problem...
So, anyway, the maybe 20 pages or so of film analysis are pretty interesting. But reading film analysis does not equal actually watching the films, and, believe it or not, watching the films does not equal a high school diploma. It's weird that maybe you thought that.
Profile Image for Kressel Housman.
970 reviews222 followers
October 16, 2013
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, and he uses the films as a means to homeschooling. Along the way, the two engage in many heart-to-heart talks, particularly on the subject most on young men’s minds: young women.

In spite of the very minimal demands David makes of Jesse, Jesse does improve over time. At the outset, David lets Jesse sleep as late as he wants every morning, but within a few months, Jesse gets himself a job, committing himself to at least that much structure. The book spans about three years, and at the end, Jesse returns to school. In other words, David’s laissez-faire parenting strategy worked. As an added boon, it seems he deals with a lot less chutzpah than I do.

Most of the reviews I read rated this book low because they disagree with David’s decision. I’m giving it a 3 because it’s an emotionally honest parenting memoir. But I was leaning heavily toward a 2, and I've compensated for the lower rating by including it on my "regrettable reads" shelf. David and Jesse live in world very different than the Orthodox Jewish community in which I operate, and the descriptions of their relationships with women rather disturbed me, as did the partying and drugs. It's certainly easier to keep your kid on the straight and narrow if everyone around you lives on the straight and narrow. Another problem, though not in the category of "regrettable," was that sometimes the film discussions got dull and repetitive. Some of them WERE interesting and made me aware of movies I hope to check out for myself, but when I had absolutely no familiarity with the film under discussion AND it didn't sound like something I'd enjoy, I got bored with it. Still, the book made me think, and it made me feel. I don’t have to agree with everything to recognize good writing.
33 reviews1 follower
June 3, 2019
Not sure where to begin. When I read a review of this book I was intrigued, it turned out not to be what I was hoping. To me this book was more about a father and mother (divorced) and a step mother making a decision to roll the dice on their sons future by letting him lead them around by the nose. At every turn the father agonizes over his sons relationships with his girlfriends (the kid is 15 when this experiment begins). At 15 the son is smoking, drinking with his parents as his father rewards him with fancy dinners out and vacations to Cuba. My head was spinning with the many times the father engaged in conversations that were inappropriate (to me but this is my review so....). This goes on until the kid is 19 and some where in those years he experiments with drugs leading to a hospital stay. The book is full of the father's critique of the movies he has selected for he and his son to watch. No surprise as the father has had a career as a film critic, has had his own talk show and has authored 6 novels. At the end of the day (and the book) my question is "Does the end justify the means"? You read it and be the judge. As for me, I am still stumped about the generous reviews this book received. Chosen by the Chicago Tribune as One of the Best Memoirs of the Year Recipient of Spectacular Acclaim.
Profile Image for Todd.
18 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2009
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 have doubts about the parenting methodology, and how to let go when your child moves on. It also has wonderful moments that attentive parents only hope to have with their child. As well, it can frighten at times because you know every child will feel both physical and emotional pain (how, as a parent, will you react).
Throughout this memoir, film history and interesting cinema triva is featured. Gilmore splices his relationship with his son and his professional knowledge of film. Gilmore permitted his son to leave school with the condition that they watch three movies during the week.
I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sotiria.
230 reviews44 followers
November 14, 2018
Ο ιδανικός αναγνώστης για αυτό το βιβλίο:
☐ άντρας , είτε μεσήλικας πατέρας είτε έφηβος "επαναστάτης"
☐ γονιός οποιουδήποτε φύλου και ηλικίας
☐ φίλος της έβδομης τέχνης
☐ wannabe σινεφίλ
☐ λάτρης των αυτοβιογραφικών ιστοριών
☐ όποιος έχει ανοσία στο πολλές φορές αλαζονικό ύφος του συγγραφέα

Αν τσέκαρες τουλάχιστον δύο από τα παραπάνω (δώσε έμφαση στο τελευταίο γιατί μπορεί να γίνει και εκνευριστικό!) συγχαρητήρια! Αυτό το βιβλίο είναι για σένα.
Profile Image for Stratos.
859 reviews84 followers
October 10, 2018
Πρωτότυπο το θέμα. Σίγουρα θ΄ αρέσει όχι μόνο στους βιβλιοαναγνώστες και και στους πολλούς φίλους της έβδομης τέχνης.
Profile Image for Ania.
24 reviews4 followers
February 8, 2017
Myślę, że ogromna popularność "Klubu filmowego" to zasługa ciekawego pomysłu oraz tego, że to historia oparta na faktach. Niestety, sama książka się już nie broni. O filmach autor pisze tu świetnie, ale nieznośnie mało, za to 90% książki stanowią nudne perypetie sercowe syna, pocieszające gadki doświadczonego w damsko-męskich bojach ojca i rozmowy o niczym. Zdecydowanie wolałabym przeczytać zbiór esejów o filmach w wykonaniu Gilmoura.
Profile Image for Ms.pegasus.
695 reviews130 followers
November 9, 2014
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 to his own internal emotional chaos. Warnings, interventions, and serious talks have no effect on Jessie's failing grades and “lost” homework. Gilmour offers a gutsy proposition. Jessie can live in his house and drop out of school if he agrees to watch three movies a week with Gilmour. A further rider to the agreement stipulates: No drugs. Jessie leaps at the opportunity. It's like grabbing a “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly. For Gilmour, its a reflection of his own anguish. Of course he's haunted by the image of an aged, aimless Jessie slumped over in a cloud of marijuana. Even worse outcomes are too horrible to even contemplate. Gilmour hopes to forge a connection with his son through his own passion for film. The alternative is to grind on as a grim disciplinarian until Jessie finally rebels.

Jessie's heartbreaking rollercoaster of relationships and David Gilmour's own stretches of unemployment are the background to their film viewing. Gilmour avoids the route of an art film curriculum. He wants Jessie to enjoy this experience and is careful to provide an appealing mix of classics, “guilty pleasures”, and what he calls “hidden treasures”. Truffaut's 400 Blows, the documentary Volcano, Hitchcock's Notorious, and Joe Eszterhaus's Basic Instinct, are among the many selections. Gilmour comments on technique, and historical context cautiously with elaborately constructed casualness. There are good moments. Jessie opens up about his own feelings and confusion. There are disappointing moments. Jessie is so wrapped up in his own head that sometimes he can scarcely notice what he is viewing. Occasionally, Jessie reacts with a blank shrug as his dad enthuses about a scene or a director. Gilmour chides himself for a short temper, but the reader is impressed with his patience and self-control.

The project is one of self-realization for David Gilmour as well. “I return to old movies not just to watch them again but with the hope that I'll feel the way I did when I first saw them. (Not just about movies, but about everything.)” (p.136) Gilmour's passion is infectious. Readers will wish he had written a companion volume on film history. His opinions are quirky (he loved Ishtar), and illuminating (his explanation of the two staircases Hitchcock built for Notorious). This is a book that will appeal to any parent with an interest in film. This was my second reading of the book, and it was a pleasant surprise to find how much I enjoyed reading it again.

Youtube video interview of David and Jessie Gilmour:
Profile Image for York.
266 reviews32 followers
May 27, 2013
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 pena chutarse todo el libro.

Profile Image for Erika.
754 reviews48 followers
May 6, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Marija Andreeva.
575 reviews85 followers
January 19, 2020
I really liked this one. Don't let the stars fool you. I really loved the way this book was constructed. It is a moving story about the relationship between a father and a son, through their joined engagement in watching movies. Along with the interesting references about movies, I really liked the gentle perspective of a father who worries if he is really raising his son in the right direction. Great book, I highly recommend!
Profile Image for N.
140 reviews23 followers
September 15, 2019
119 film. Azt mondja, alapfilmek. (Mi az, hogy alapfilm? Vagy alapkönyv? Ezek megnézése, olvasása nélkül, nem élet az élet? – mondhatná aki ezt mondani akarja.) De komolyra fordítva a szót, valóban olyan filmeket említ meg, amik hozzád tesznek (mondom én most a fiatalságnak, meg mondtam tegnap este, takarodó után és öröm volt megtudni, hogy volt amiről tényleg hallott már a diák) – Ehhez egy kis kitérő: Viszonylag sok kitűnő tanuló van a koleszban, de (és ezt értsd most jól) ez nem azt jelenti, hogy művelt is. (Mi az hogy művelt?) Jól tanul, nagyon jól, tudja a tananyagot, ötösre írja a dogákat, meg úgy is felel, de nem biztos, hogy olvas, nem biztos, hogy tud egy darab kortárs magyar írót, vagy zeneszerzőtől darabot, vagy…. ( az emelt érettségin találkozik Parti, Esterházy, Tóth K. stb. nevével) ). A történetben van egy fiú, aki éppen nem jár suliba, és ezt szabad is neki. (ó, de liberális nevelés, én anno liberalizmus nélkül sem jártam csak itt-ott, de persze idővel pótoltam a pótolhatatlant, csak az ára volt nagyobb) és van tévéjük, meg egy halom dvd-jük amiket megnéznek. Nincs sorrend, csak „kötelezők” ezek az esték és egy csomó csemege van, amit apa tud a filmekről. Nem rossz dolog ez. Van itt olyan, akinek ilyen volt a kamaszkora? De a filmekre visszatérve. Mondok néhányat, amiről olvashatunk David Gilmourral beszélgetve. Pl. Biciklitolvajok – ahol a film azt mutatja be, hogy állítunk be valamit helyénvalónak, csak azért, mert a saját érdekem úgy kívánja. Vagy, én azt sem tudtam eddig, hogy Hitchcock Forgószél (1946) filmjében a lépcső hossza nem egyezik. Ugyan abban a házban. És miért? Mert a zárójelenet ezt kívánta meg. Mire leérnek…A feszültség fokozása. Nagyszerű ötlet. Ebben a könyvben ilyesmik vannak. Ne higgyük, hogy mindent láttunk már és tudunk is róla, hogy láttuk! David Gilmour pedig nem az a David Gilmour. De ezzel nem lőttem le semmit, viszont a kamaszéveinket újraélhetjük a tévéje előtt a kanapén ülve. Nem egy komoly könyv, nem kell mélyről visszaásni magad, éppen annyi, hogy jól szórakozz.
Mint egy jó mozi (egy alapfilmmel) ;)
(és magyar film egy sincs közte, ejnye!! )
Profile Image for Tábata Kotowiski.
133 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2022
Vamos lá. Tentar resenhar essa grande obra prima de quinta categoria.

O livro é autobiográfico e conta basicamente sobre o relacionamento do autor e seu filho durante os 3 anos em que eles fazem um clube do filme. O que era pra ser uma história interessante se torna o enredo de um relacionamento distorcido entre um pai mirando em ser descolado ao não obrigar seu filho chato e mimado a estudar e acerta numa permissividade exagerada e sem propósito. Além disso o pai é um idiota misógino. Ele não consegue dar conselhos amorosos para o filho sem falar 3 ou 4 tipos de merda diferente sobre mulheres.
Daí que no meio da leitura resolvi pesquisar sobre o autor e o filho pra ver a cara dos dois e acabou encontrando uma matéria de jornal (link no final da resenha) que diz que David Gilmour não tem interesse em ensinar livros escritos por mulheres em seu curso na Universidade de Toronto. Segundo ele, “não estou interessado em ensinar livros escritos por mulheres. [...] O que ensino são homens. Homens heterossexuais sérios. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tchekhov, Tolstói. Homens realmente homens. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.”

Podem vomitar.

Além disso, há trechos nesse grande livro em que ele é racista e xenófobo.

E o filmes? A impressão que tenho é que ele escreveu o livro pra jogar umas análises aleatórias de filmes e mostrar que é "crítico" de cinema conceituado. Aham, senta lá, Cláudia.

Como vocês já devem ter notado, terminei de ler o livro na base do ódio... rsrsrs

Agora falando sério: não percam seu tempo.

Profile Image for Gie.
149 reviews21 followers
April 1, 2017
bukunya bau kamper, udah lama tertimbun. but i believe every book has its own time. seperti buku ini. gak nyangka kalau saya bakal suka.

kisah nyata tentang seorang ayah (gilmour) yang mengizinkan anaknya (jesse) berhenti sekolah--anaknya tak tertarik dengan dunia sekolah--peristiwa ngerjain pr sungguh antara pilu, ngilu, hopeless gimana gitu--berhenti sekolah dengan syarat no drugs & anaknya mau menonton film bersamanya.

suka dengan kegamangan pria-pria ini (pria berumur 50 tahun bisa gamang juga, kalau jesse mah gak heran ya), suka momen-momen gilmour dan jesse (walau pas bahas film, ampuun itu sedaftar film gak ada yang pernah saya tonton hahaa) & waktu jesse jawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan dari ayahnya seputaran film, saya jadi ikutan girang! hippiie. sekarang kalau liat remaja nanggung (apalagi kalau jangkung), ingetnya jesse--yang manis, keren, labil whehehehehee.
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