THE FILM CLUB by David Gilmour (Thomas Allen), 242 pages, $27.95 cloth. Rating: NN
You never get anything worth getting from an asshole.
David Gilmour drops this nugget early in his new memoir about the three years he spent watching movies with his son after letting him quit high school. And for the opening two-thirds of The Film Club, I could see his point.
I've never much cared for Gilmour, as a film critic, journalist or author. He always came across as glib, a bit too self-assured - a bit of an asshole - and this book promised more of the same.
So I was reluctant to give myself over to his slight and mostly inconsequential account of a middle-aged dad trying to connect with his rebellious son through discussions of cinema.
Yeah, Brando was film's greatest actor, Steve McQueen was cool, The Searchers is overrated and Crimes And Misdemeanors is colossally underrated. But they're just movies, fer chrissake. And talking about them, whether it's The 400 Blows or Basic Instinct, does little to illuminate the distance between father and son apart from showing that Dad's seen a lot more movies.
At times, Gilmour's quite sentimental, almost wistful, about his relationship with his son. He admits that the only other person with whom he can discuss him in such lavish, fawning detail is the boy's mother. So how can he release a book on the subject?
But Gilmour does have a gift for simple, straighforward prose. And he really finds his footing when he's writing about the travails of his son, Jesse, a smart yet directionless teenager coping with a broken heart and unclear ambitions.
Kind of makes me wonder why it's not being released around Father's Day.