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Book Review: The Film Club by David Gilmour

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Old 11-22-08, 06:30 PM
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Lightbulb Book Review: The Film Club by David Gilmour

(Reprinted from the Chicago Tribune)

David Gilmour's The Film Club is a winning account that should appeal to 1) former teenagers, especially guys who have loved and lost; 2) parents of teenagers or former teenagers; and 3) anyone who loves movies. Gilmour, a former television film critic living in Toronto with his new wife, faces a crisis when it becomes clear his 16-year-old son Jesse hates school. Sympathizing, Gilmour allows him to drop out of high school if the two of them watch three movies a week together.

The "film club" begins with Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" - a high-school dropout's look back at his own truancy. By the time the two have been at it a year, Jesse has had his heart broken and Gilmour has had career disruptions. "... Some days I felt like I was beating back chaos and disorder and irresponsibility with a whip and a chair," he writes. "Still we had the film club. ... the films simply served as an occasion to sp time together, hundreds of hours, as well as a door-opener to all manner of conversational topics..."

Gilmour's knowing riffs - films based on Elmore Leonard novels, from "Hombre" in 1967 to "Get Shorty," for instance, and "five reasons why we love Jack Nicholson" - are a joy. As is his portrait of the mysterious nature of the love between a father and son. For both, growing up happens in fits and starts.
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