I spend a lot of time at Schlow Centre Region Library every week after my work hours with Joe. Schlow has a collection of DVDs that I browse through a lot. In the last couple of months, I found two films there centering around father and son relationships. I feel blessed to have a library where I can find character driven independent films like the two I am writing about today: The Music Never Stopped and The Thing About My Folks.
The 2011 movie, The Music Never Stopped, stars J.K. Simmons as the father and Lou Taylor Pucci as the son. Based on a real case history that was published in An Anthropologist on Mars by Dr. Oliver Sack, the movie is about a father (and mother, played by Cara Seymour) who reconnects an estranged son who recently had brain damage. The son will only respond to the music of the 60s that he grew up to as a teenager, and it is through this therapeutic tool that the father begins to hear his son speak and see the painful events of those years through his son’s perspective. It is a good film, and I highly recommend it. Especially if you like the music of the Grateful Dead – it is the son’s favorite band.
The 2005 movie, The Thing About My Folks, stars Peter Falk as the father and Paul Reiser as the son. Paul Reiser also wrote the screenplay. The father and son relationship is explored on a road trip they take together, after the mother has left the father with a note on the refrigerator. The father, owner of his own business until he retired, was away a lot and distant when the son was growing up. The son felt resentment about that and it is one of the many issues they work out on this trip. The acting of Peter Falk and Paul Reiser add believability and humor to material. The movie never felt mawkish or trite.
These films are about people learning that what they thought they knew about their family wasn’t the whole truth, and how they respond to that new information. I enjoyed both of them.