parental guidance suggested

Movie Reviews and My Dad has an Idea

It’s Dad’s birthday today. I thought I’d celebrate it with my favorite moments in our phone conversations lately.

You need the following backstory:

My dad will see any movie with Anthony Hopkins.

[scripty]
DAD
So, I saw Hannibal.

PAMIE
You did?

DAD
Did you?

PAMIE
NO!

DAD
Don’t! It’s horrible!

PAMIE
Well, yeah! I mean, it’s supposed to be horrible. Did you read the book?

DAD
No.

PAMIE
Well, it was a bad book.

DAD
I know. I couldn’t get into the book. So much talk about…

DAD AND PAMIE
Italy.

DAD
Yeah, and it was so gory with brains and just stupid.

PAMIE
So, you didn’t like the book but you thought you’d like the movie?

DAD
I didn’t like the movie. It was terrible.

One day I’m going to make a website of my parents’ film reviews. It really is some of their best work.

DAD
Well, we saw Seven.

PAMIE
Really? Did you like it?

DAD
It was terrible.

PAMIE
Oh, I liked it.

MOM
Your father didn’t like it.

DAD
Could you see anything? I couldn’t see anything. It was so dark the entire movie.

MOM
It didn’t need to be that dark.

DAD
And I couldn’t hear anything. I just kept asking people. “Can you hear anything?”

PAMIE
I’m sure they loved that.

DAD
Oh, it was horrible.

MOM
So, your father decided to stay for the end of the movie and we had to sit through the credits so that he could find out the name of the director so we never saw another movie of his again.

PAMIE
Oh, that must have been funny.

DAD
Yeah.

PAMIE
You must have been livid with those credits going backwards like that.

DAD
Backwards! And fast!

MOM
I laughed.

DAD
The only movie I ever saw where it was just quiet and mumbly. I figured your mother would like it, since she mumbles all the time. They’re talking in her language.

MOM
I don’t mumble.

MOM
So, we saw Cast Away.

PAMIE
Did you like it?

MOM
Have you seen it?

PAMIE
No.

MOM
Well, it wasn’t what I expected. And either your father didn’t hear me, or he was tricking me into seeing the movie.

PAMIE
What do you mean?

MOM
Well, I thought it was going to be a comedy.

PAMIE
A comedy about getting stranded on an island for four years?

MOM
I thought he met up with Helen Hunt on the island.

PAMIE
Wow. That is a completely different movie than what you saw.

MOM
It sure was.

PAMIE
When did you realize Helen Hunt wasn’t going to make a wacky appearance?

MOM
Well, it took a long time.

PAMIE
You just thought it was going to be “Gilligan’s Island?”

MOM
Kinda.

PAMIE
Did you think that the volleyball was supposed to be Helen Hunt?

MOM
Don’t get smart.

PAMIE
Oh, man. I like your version of the movie much more.

DAD
So, we saw American Beauty.

PAMIE
Really? How was that?

DAD
It was terrible.

MOM
That man was an asshole.

PAMIE
Mom!

MOM
With the little girl and what he does in the shower in the beginning. Disgusting. It’s not necessary to show that kind of thing in movies.

PAMIE
I can’t believe you guys saw that movie.

DAD
I like Kevin Spacey.

MOM
Your father likes Kevin Spacey.

PAMIE
Well, for the love of God, don’t go see Magnolia, guys, okay? But you might want to check out Fight Club.

DAD
I think I heard of that.

MOM
Sounds filthy.

PAMIE
Brad Pitt’s in it.

MOM
He plays a lot of weirdos, like Kevin Spacey. He’s a weirdo. Thelma and Louise, he was good in that.

PAMIE
He’s cute.

MOM
He’s a weirdo.

PAMIE
Anyway, Dad’s favorite director did the movie, so I thought you’d like to catch it.

DAD
Oh. So is the movie filmed in the dark?

PAMIE
Completely. And no one talks at all.

MOM
Now, why would your father want to see a movie like that?

PAMIE
Just don’t go see Magnolia. [/scripty]

The other backstory: My father is both fascinated and completely distrustful of this Internet medium. He doesn’t really understand what it is I do and why I should get paid for any of it. I’ve tried explaining, but one time it became an argument about whether or not I could use Squishy to start a cult and convince all of you to kill. I try not to argue it anymore.

[scripty] DAD
So, tell me about this e-publishing thing.

PAMIE
Well, there are lots of different ways to publish your own book online. Amazon has this thing where you can pay them to publish and sell your book and you get part of the profit, or you could print your book yourself and sell it online. There are places that will hold your book. I read an article on it recently. I’ll find it and send it to you.

DAD
No, this is a different article I was reading about publishing your own writing.

PAMIE
Was it about e-books?

DAD
No, according to this article, you can get yourself a website, and then you can write every day, or every week or month or whatever, and you just keep writing and putting it on your website, and apparently you can build some sort of following that way and people will come to the website to read what you’ve written.

Moment of silence. Pamie closes her eyes and puts her head back on her pillow.

PAMIE
Right. Dad. That’s… I… that’s what I do. That’s what Squishy is.

DAD
No, this is like, writing.

PAMIE
Dad.

DAD
See, I’d be writing a book and put parts of it up at a time and people would want to read it.

PAMIE
Dad. That’s what I do.

DAD
No, this is different. I’d be writing. I’d be writing books.

PAMIE
Ohhhh.

DAD
Yeah.

PAMIE
Okay. How about you start writing, and send me what you want to put up every week or month or however often you want to do it, and I’ll make a webpage for you and post your work and you can start to build your own “following.”

DAD
I really don’t think the people that read your website would have any interest in what I have to say.

PAMIE
Well, first of all, I have lots of different types of people that read my webpage. But that doesn’t matter. I’m not putting your book on my webpage. I’m giving you your own. And then you have to build your own readership.

DAD
Well, that sounds interesting.

PAMIE
I’d like you to do that, Dad.

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD
I can’t wait to explain search engines. And archives. Oh, man. This is gonna be interesting.

DAD
Okay. Maybe I’ll try it. [/scripty]

I’ll be sure to let you know when Dad’s website goes live. I’m thinking of calling it ThisIsRealWriting.com

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Love,
The Younger Writer

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