Daddy Film School #1: The Beginning

I AM a former film teacher whose heart is still in the classroom.

In private, I yearn to “read scenes” and remind a captive audience that “shot selection IS story-telling.”

From seven years of teaching it, I know enough about film to know how little I really know about film. But I know I miss it…every day.

Luckily, I am a father of four. My older kids are aged 12 & 9. Charlie & Finn respectively. I also have twin five-year-olds, who will be spared this exercise (for now).

My children didn’t ask for this, but they come equipped with plenty of free time, bottomless curiosity and my own genetically pre-fixed palette. I plan to fill it…whether they like it or not…with wholesome, but not too wholesome, celluloid goodness.

TOGETHER, we’ll strive to create an epic monster of cataloged movie-watching that only a lifetime stuck together could yield…

THIS IS Daddy Film School, and here are the rules:

1. No movies traditionally considered “kid” or “family” movies.

2. No films from the past decade.

3. Each film included in our study will build on the previous film in some way. The boys will make the connections, ask the questions they want to explore… I will pick the movie that addresses their interest.

4. We will catalog and record the remarks of every movie we watch together, whether those comments are valid, worthwhile or even salient.



Film transforms young people, and does so more quickly than other media.

In film class, on Labor Day, students would tell me all about the personal impact Adam Sandler. One memorable student told me day one, “I don’t watch old movies like TITANIC.”

By Halloween, they’re realizing how little they know, but still complaining about “black and whites.” By Christmas they understand not only why Chaplin and Keaton are funny, but why they’re important. By Memorial Day they can explain the debt Scorsese owes Kurosawa. It’s magic, really.

I’m not trying to turn my kids into weirdos, art house hipsters or even film critics. But when a kid learns to find a comfortable spot on the corner of what is “good” and what they “like,” they just may love an art form forever.

And wouldn’t that kick ass?

Besides, who else is going to listen to all the useless crap I have in my head? They’ll still be plenty of time for Disney Channel original movies and The Avengers!

At the end of the day, remember, they’re my kids…they have no choice.

You, however, do have a choice. Hopefully, you join us anyway.


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