I should consider myself lucky. Most budding Old Movie Weirdos don’t have as an ideal of an upbringing as I did. Yes, I grew up with a family where my grandmother could alert me that The Big Clock was about to come on; a family where if my brother came home at midnight and saw me watching Anatomy of a Murder, he’d get hooked and finish watching the film with me.
And there was no greater film fan than my father. From the very beginning to the very end, films were such a joy to him.
When he was a child, he would spend entire days just watching whatever was showing in the theaters. The love of going to the movies never stopped, just as his love of films in general never stopped. To him, there was no greater invention than the portable DVD player. This always amazed him as a marvel, and when he was done working his two jobs for the day he always put a film on at the kitchen table. I highly doubt my collection of DVDs could ever surpass the cornucopia he amassed over the years.
After my father became sick in 2014, we enjoyed more films together than we ever had. No longer was it such a singular type of viewing for him. Sitting around watching TCM, it was something we experienced together often (that, and plenty of Seinfeld episodes).
Our tastes in film never totally gelled–he adored westerns more than I ever could, and I never had a chance of getting him to watch a silent film. But more often than not, our tastes overlapped. There was nothing he loved more than a Woody Allen comedy or an Alfred Hitchcock film (Dial M for Murder and The Birds are two of the last films we watched together).
And he was always, especially in these last years, eager to share a film or film moment he loved. The calls to gather around for a favorite scene of a film were common. He was especially eager to show George C. Scott’s version of A Christmas Carol. Never someone to cry often, that performance got him every time.
My father passed away on April 22, 2017. In the time to come, I know I’ll find solace in the same way he did: in front of a good film. And when Christmas comes around, add George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol to your viewing rotation. It comes highly recommended from a man who would know.