As I was spending some quality time with the old man watching the World Cup last Sunday, which also happened to be Father’s Day, I noted, rather belatedly, that many blogs were doing something special to mark the occasion. So, at half-time, I decided to interview my own father and get his very “unique” take on the world of film. Armed with my phone to record his pearls, I set to asking him a few questions about his personal favourites. For the faint of heart I must caution, however. Those of you who believe my sense of political correctness to be sorely lacking, I must warn you, my father’s is completely non-existent.
I often say that he is a “Mental Benjamin Button”. Meaning that he continues to age, but his mind and humour gets ever more juvenile as time passes. This is possibly why I find him so hilarious.
Me: What is your first “movie memory”?
Dad: King Creole. Elvis Presley.
And I’ll never forget the first movie I saw in the picture house – The Plainsman. It had an actor called Don Murray in it. You should Google him. It was a Western with Indians. The Indians used to bury fellas in the ground with their heads sticking up, and they’d tie them on to wagon wheels and leave them out in the sun. Sometimes they’d bury them at anthills, so the ants would eat their faces.
Me: Was film important in your household when you were young?
Me: Why’s that?
Dad: We didn’t get to watch too many movies. We weren’t really allowed. We’d watch Westerns sometimes because my father liked them, but as soon as the women would appear we’d be sent to bed.
Me: What would be your all-time favourite film?
Dad: Well I have a few really. Rio Bravo, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Me: So you would say they were your desert island films?
Dad: Yes. They would be the ones that I’d happily watch over and over again. I also loved The Shawshank Redemption, that’s another great movie.
Me: Why do you think they’re your favourites?
Dad: Shawshank is deep and it’s thought-provoking; it’s off-centre. Gladiator and The Last Samurai are good action flicks and I enjoyed their stories.
Me: Who would your favourite actor be then? Would it be someone from one of those movies?
Dad: It’s hard to say. Most enjoyable actor in terms of watching would be John Wayne. You’d always get a laugh watching him, you know? But my favourite actor would probably be Clint Eastwood.
Me: In terms of ability though, who would you say is the most talented actor or actors you’ve ever seen?
Dad: Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins I’d say would be the most talented actors I’ve ever seen.
Me: What do you think makes a good film?
Dad: Good story, obviously. A good script. And ACTION! I don’t like dragged out, boring movies.
Me: What’s a dragged-out, boring movie? Can you think of an example?
Dad: No, because I don’t watch them. I’d just turn them off after about ten or fifteen minutes.
Me: As well as being an action-flick fan, you like your comedies too. Any favourites?
Dad: I like The Waterboy. Forrest Gump was brilliant! Oh, and Bad Santa. I love Bad Santa.
Me: Can you think of a scene from a film that had an impact on you? A scene that resonated with you and stuck with you even after the film had finished.
Dad: There’s a scene in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – the scene with Billy. They bring the prostitute in to him. It was funny, but not in a funny way. Humourous, but tragically so.
Me: Favourite soundtrack or song from a film?
Dad: “Trouble” from King Creole. My favourite musical piece from any movie. Another great one was that scene in Reservoir Dogs, that “Stuck In The Middle” scene. It’s so out of place that it’s strange. But I couldn’t stop laughing.
The phenomenal “Trouble” scene from King Creole. Coincidentally (or not, considering the man who raised me), “Trouble” is my favourite Elvis song.
Me: What are you watching right now?
Dad: The World Cup.
Me: Over the last while, due to our insistence, you’ve been watching a lot of quality TV. What has been your favourite?
Dad: I’ve enjoyed Justified and The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones is just brilliant, and I’m watching Breaking Bad at the moment, which I’m getting a real kick out of.
Me: Film based on your life – who plays you?
Dad: Bruce Willis.
Dad: ‘Cause he dies hard.
Me: I think it’s because you think you look like him.
Dad: You mean he looks like me.
Me: Do you like Pugs?
Dad: Not really, no.
Me: *legasp!* Why ever not?
Dad: They look like they keep running into walls.
Me: What’s your favourite film quote?
Dad: “Why I oughta!” “Made it Ma! Top o’ the world!” That’s Jimmy Cagney. There’s a scene in White Heat where he kicks a chair out from under a woman. He just kicks the chair! So she’s whinging at him and he just goes, “Why I oughta!” and raises his hand to slap her. So he was one of my heroes growing up.
Me: I don’t know if I can include that, Dad. My dad’s hero perpetuated domestic violence!?
Dad: Ah no, he never actually hit any of the ladies! He was only a small little fella, now that I think about it, he was one of those “small person syndrome” blokes. But he was a great dancer! He used to be able to do all that mad tap-dancing. He could run up the wall and flip backwards. The original parkour. He was always in gangster movies. Memories from my teenage years. There was Cagney, and then Humphrey Bogart, he was a dude, and then John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Elvis. Those were the lads I’d watch when I was a young fella.
I had a picture of Jimmy Cagney up on my wall.
Me: Did you have any ladies up on your wall?
Dad: No, I wouldn’t have been allowed then, but I have a picture up on the wall of my office now.
Me: Of who?
Dad: Yeah, Bouncey. She’s great. Don’t tell your mother.
Me: And finally, is it as wonderful as I think it is to have me as a daughter?
And there we have it! A special post for a special person. My father; one of the greatest and best influences in my life. The man who taught me that I’m perfectly fine just the way I am and that he’s always proud of me and will be there for me, no matter what stupidity I get myself involved in. Happy (belated) Father’s Day!