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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; Reprint edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446199303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446199308
  • ASIN: B003P2VDN8
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows—with Basic Instinct for dessert. There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are units on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noon to steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this sensitive memoir, Canadian film critic and novelist Gilmour tells of the bargain he struck with his son, 15-year-old Jesse, who was unhappy at school. Gilmour would allow Jesse to drop out if he would agree to watch three movies a week with his dad. Over the next three years, the two would wrangle over movies that the elder Gilmour thought his son would love but didn’t (A Hard Day’s Night) and experience the irrational thrills of “guilty pleasures” (Showgirls). More important, they edged slantwise, in typical male fashion, into more personal discussions of  big topics, such as sexual jealousy (Last Tango in Paris) and alcoholism (Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry). At the same time, Jesse dealt with serious heartbreak, while his father struggled to find steady work and worried incessantly over whether he had made the right decision in allowing his son to drop out of school. Both for its smart, engaging movie talk and for its touching depiction of a father-son relationship, The Film Club gets two thumbs way up. --Joanne Wilkinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Not in the good, relatable, "I feel like the author's a personal friend" way, mind you.
The only person in the book I had any empathy for was Gilmour's wife, Tina (not Jesse's mother, but Gilmour's second wife).
[Note re the "tag suggestions" - the author of this book is NOT David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.)
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
His grades started dropping in the ninth grade. In the tenth, they toppled. He switched to a private school. No difference. Jesse Gilmour just didn't give a damn.

His father --- David Gilmour, a well-known Canadian novelist --- was unhinged. At this rate, Jesse wouldn't be going to college. At this rate, Jesse would be flipping burgers at minimum wage --- if he didn't completely fall apart.

Dad had to intervene. And he did. He had been a movie critic for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His son liked movies. On that frail connection, he proposed that Jesse drop out of school and watch three movies a week. Dad's choice. Just the two of them.

The film club began with Truffaut's "400 Blows". European. Arty. Certain to bore the kid. But important because Truffaut was "a high school dropout, a draft dodger, a small-time thief." They watch. They talk. You're interested.

Then Rebecca Ng enters the story. She's mature, mysterious, unspeakably hot. Jesse's smitten. David's worried. Seeing Rebecca and Jesse together was "like watching him get into a very expensive car. I could smell the new leather from here."

Girls and movies make for a more complicated story. Now add another element: David's writing career. Suddenly it's going about as well as Jesse's schooling. It looks as if there are two dropouts in the Gilmour residence.

But David perseveres with the film club. In the course of the screenings, he serves up terrific tidbits. Did you know Alfred Hitchcock built a second set of stairs so Ingrid Bergman's long walk at the end of "Notorious" is doubly tense? That Stephen King didn't like the film of "The Shining" and had no affection at all for its director, Stanley Kubrick?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on May 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Because my Father was the greatest Father in the world I always wanted to be a Father, and then I was blessed with the greatest son. Since the two roles in my life; son, when my Dad was alive, and Father now, are so special to me, I'm always enthusiastically interested in any literature regarding the magical union of Father and Son. The author of this book David Gilmour has been among other things the national film critic for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and has written six novels. David was confronted with a personal and family crisis when his fifteen-year-old son Jesse was failing every subject in school. Jesse had no real desire to continue going to school so David had to make a gut wrenching decision... a decision that wasn't discussed in the "Being A Father" manual that you weren't given when your first child was born. David gave Jesse the freedom to quit school with one proviso: he had to watch three movies a week with his Dad, and his Dad chose the movies. Jesse gleefully accepted the deal. What the author wound up receiving was three years of indescribable time together that involved way more than just watching movies. The Father cleverly became a skillful teacher without standing up in the front of a classroom and announcing I am "THE TEACHER!" The teacher he became did not have a set curriculum that you would find in any institution of higher learning. The subject wasn't math, English or history... it was much more important! It was "LIFE". Though the author shared his lifetime love of movies with his son, the movie subjects were picked, and schedules changed, based on the curve balls being thrown at Father and son by a combination of destiny and fate.Read more ›
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Madisen on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book intrigued me. When the school system fails to engage his son, Jesse, a father allows the boy to drop out, and attempts to teach him about life through film. And when the book stuck to that plotline, it was actually pretty engaging; I enjoyed the descriptions of many classic movies, and Gilmour writes about them with the passion and knowledge of a film critic, yet with language accessible to the average person. However, this kind of thing obviously can't fill the whole book, so the author pads it out with random things that feel like scenes from the life of your next-door neighbor. Not in the good, relatable, "I feel like the author's a personal friend" way, mind you. More like an acquaintance who you run into in the grocery store and delays you for 20 minutes chatting about basically nothing, while you desperately try to end the conversation. So in that spirit, we get some rather whiny and self-pitying talk about the author's difficulties finding employment; an unintentionally hilarious account of Jesse's career as a "white rapper", which Gilmour relates with a tone of dead seriousness and even pride; and most of all long, excruciatingly dull tales of Jesse's relationships with various girlfriends, none of them particularly remarkable. In fact, these sections even made me a tiny bit uncomfortable; I'm no expert on father-son relationships, but is it really normal for a dad to take such an interest in his son's love life? It's almost like he's living vicariously through Jesse. Even the sections on film begin to wear over time, as Gilmour starts name-dropping the famous people he's met and dispensing his "expert" opinions ("Richard Gere would do better to focus on his acting and stop trying to sound so smart all the time," he opines).Read more ›
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