I realized today, when I got an email from my father asking me if I thought he should get the DVD of the (terrible) remake of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy that I have no idea what his top 20 favorite films are. This is through no fault of my own; it is from a lack of expressing himself. We’re talking about a man whose lp collection was not of musicians he actually liked himself, but of artists selected by Time/Life books as “great artists.” And I don’t believe he ever actually listened to any of them, at least not since the late 1960s (I can’t say about anything earlier than that), making it an even stranger collection. Don’t remind me of the Christmas song compilations compiled by Readers Digest, which ideally should have remained unlistened to. My dad isn’t foreign or anything, he just seems to have no literary, musical, or artistic interests, or none of which anyone is aware.
So in trying to suggest some better alternative films, I had to tell him that I’d never seen him express a personal liking of any film. I had seen him attend films that he felt socially oblidge to see, but whether he actually liked a film or whether he simply thought a film was well done was a distinction he never resolved. My guess is that if he were asked to name his top 20 films that he personally liked, he wouldn’t be able to name more than 5 films that he recalled the names of, and even then it would be a mystery as to whether he liked the films for personal reasons, or if he was just naming some films that were well made. Chances are he’d name a Disney film or two, which says more about the marketing acheivements of the Buena Vista Corporation than about his taste in films.
I suggested that he should see I Heart Huckabees, as a superior existential comedy. And The Incredibles, even though I wonder if he’d recognize the tikki art influences as being part of the charm. Beyond that, who knows. Maybe he’ll reply with a list of his top 20 films, but I rather doubt it.