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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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« Curio: Alternative Moonrise Kingdom Posters | Main | Cannes Jury Members Give Their Love to Haneke. »
Monday
May282012

Goodbye Dad.

For those of you who wondered why the blog has been dark, my father passed away suddenly. I've been spending time out west with my mom. This is one of my favorite photos of my parents, which I found on an old ektrachrome slide. They were married in December 1960 and this picture, taken sometime that decade, predates my existence altogether! I think it's maybe even before they had any kids (I'm the youngest of four) but perhaps my sister was around.

My dad and I were never "close" per se though he was surprisingly supportive of most of my artistic endeavors paying for art classes and congratulating me on writing successes.  We disagreed on virtually everything but particularly politics and movies.

He was not, in fact, a fan of the cinema and often grumbled about my nonstop chatter about the artform. Once when I was a teenager he was so frustrated that he banned movie talk at the table:

No talking about movies during dinner!"

I credit this inexplicable then-hurtful ruling with creating the monster you know now. (Teenage rebellion's silver lining!) Despite my Dad's resistance to the movies, I loved to yank information about his movie feelings when I could. 

The first movie he remembered seeing was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (recently revisited right here) in *gasp* 1938 in the movie theater when he was all of 7 years old. My parents took us kids to movies in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up but they were usually of the Disney or science fiction variety. (My parents liked Star Trek a lot, a fandom gene that was not passed on to me.) Dad didn't mind being dragged to Oscar-Bait movies, especially historical epics (He liked Amadeus if I recall correctly), but the Oscar movies were always my idea. He hated Woody Allen, Jane Fonda and Marilyn Monroe (three of my favorites as a baby film buff... naturally) and pretended to not know who any movie stars were when I would talk about them. "Who's Meryl Streep?" "Who's Brad Pitt?" He had a bizarre fondness for The Gods Must Be Crazy and a more common fondness for John Wayne. The only thing he might have passed down to me movie-wise is the dread of arriving late to the screening. 

The only movie I ever heard my father wishing into existence was Wendy & Richard Pini's Elfquest though it never came to pass. He loved the graphic novels (which I brought home one day on a whim) and my siblings and myself delighted in the strangely obsessive way he latched on to them...'He only loves guns that much!' I bought him replacement copies one Christmas when I noticed the binding falling apart.

The ship of dreamsThe last movie I remember seeing with my Dad was Titanic (1997) since I would force movie outings on the family when I visited for Christmas. He complained all the way to the theater but much to his surprise he loved it. He had nothing to say about Leo & Kate's romance which the rest of the planet was obsessing over but he went on and on and on about the historical accuracy of the details of the ship and the way it looked, filled, cracked, tilted, and sank.  To this day I still feel gratitude to James Cameron for delivering such a mammoth Movie-Movie and cross generational sensation. It made me feel, however briefly one Christmas, much closer to my Dad.

Goodbye Dad (1930-2012)

 

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Reader Comments (152)

Thanks for sharing that beautiful photo. All love to you and your family at this difficult time.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

so sorry...

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

That was beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your loss.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Wonderfully written and touching. I'm very sorry for the loss of you and your family.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Stark

So sorry for your loss Nathaniel. My thoughts are with you.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I'm really sorry, Nathaniel.

That was a beautiful post.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

So sorry...

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Wow, very sorry for your loss, Nathaniel. At least it sounds like you have some nice memories. All the best.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I am very sorry to hear about your loss.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Remembering your dad through your history of movies together is such a lovely tribute. Condolences and best wishes.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

So sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your dad.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRose

A lovely tribute, written in true Nathaniel fashion; affectionate, cinematic and poignant. Many condolences.

I was dreading something like this. I'm truly sorry Nathaniel.
Very moving tribute.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulien

Nathaniel, I'm truly sorry for your loss. This was a very affecting read. My parents shared the same odd obsession for Gods Must Be Crazy which I also found mystifying. Titanic is one of my all-time favorites and I'm glad to hear it meant so much to you and your family. I love your writing and I'm thinking of you in this trying time. God bless.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Nathan, you have my appreciation for your site, your patience with me, your quirky sense of self. I'm really sorry to hear about the loss of your father.
My love of film is tied to my father. A family secret (sorry won't reveal here) surfaced on the way to the movies. He enjoys James Bond and Star Trek. His favorite actor is Sean Connery. Come to think of it, I used Sean Connery to come out to him.
I hope your family embraces you firmly while you're in their presence, and calls you more often once you return home.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

I'm very sorry for your loss; thank you for the beautiful things you wrote

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

So sorry about your loss. Hope he's in a better place.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVinny

Heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Beautifully written tribute essay!

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

A beautiful little piece. My condolences.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

So sorry, what terrible news. Your Dad sounds alot like my father.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

My sympathy for your loss.

May HaShem bless your family during this time of sorrow.

Shalom

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDamienOz

sorry to hear that,i am not close to my dad,my only movie going experience with mine was et with my sis in 82,big kiss and hug.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermrripley

Sorry for your lost Nathan. Rest in peace..

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteroinone

So sorry for your loss, Nathan.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I'm sorry for your loss Nathaniel. That was a nice tribute, my Dad liked The God's Must Be Crazy too. Weird. He owns it on VHS.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

It's nice to get to know a bit about your dad through your eyes, and this tribute via film is just perfect. Glad that you and your mom can support one another through a tough time.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I'm very sorry for your loss, Nathaniel. "The Gods Must Be Crazy" was one of the films my family used to watch a lot back in the 80s, I still have fond memories of those Sunday afternoons.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranna

Somehow reading your post I thought you were writing about me and my dad. John Wayne was also his favorite movie star. I spent my childhood/teen years drawing portraits of movie stars. My father asked me why. I couldn't answer. He sighed. We argued a lot but I miss him.
Fathers...
So sorry for your loss, my friend.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

Nathaniel, I'm very sorry for your and your family's loss. A beautiful tribute, may your father rest in peace.

Much love.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLara

Beautiful post, Nathaniel.
My thoughts are with you and your family.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCal

Somehow you're writing about my dad and me too... I'm so sorry for your loss...

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

So sorry for your loss. Hope cinema helps you to get trough it.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.D.

This post was so touching. My condolences.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this, Nathaniel. My mom passed away a few years ago and it's a very difficult thing to go through. My thoughts are with you and your family.

And thanks for sharing your memories of your dad. It's amazing the way our parents relate to our hobbies, isn't it?

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOwen

Condolences for your loss Nathaniel.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Hold on, my friend. I'm so sorry for your loss.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPashaS

I loved reading this Nathaniel; it's so interesting how our parents influence us in unexpected ways. From looking at the photo, it's no surprise he was a John Wayne fan. My condolences.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

Nathaniel,

That was a really lovely remembrance of your late father. I am so sorry for your loss.

Regards,
Jonathan

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Lewis

Sorry for your loss. But it was such a very beautiful post and a nice tribute to your father. It was very emotional for me and I love reading it.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuiz Carlos

Much love to you and your family.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSueMe

My sincere condolences to your family. My father passed recently at a relatively young age. The most important thing I learned is that it's ok to not know how to feel.

Great piece as usual, hope this site helps you through it all.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful little tribute. Stay strong.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

My condolences Nathaniel. A beautifully written piece that says so much.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

So sorry for your loss. These things sting deep. Thank you for sharing. Whenever I remember someone that passed I can't help but think of that Rabbit Hole monologue from Diane's character. I know she was talking about the loss of a child, but it's so spot on. Never before seen anyone put it down to words so perfectly.

Becca: Does it ever go away?
Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
Becca: How?
Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful - not all the time. It's kinda...
[deep breath]
Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...
Becca: Which is what?
Nat: Fine, actually.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBluebox

That was very touching. Sincere, heartfelt, honest. My condolences.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKitC

I'm so sorry for your loss Nathaniel, but this is a great tribute to your father! It's interesting to get a glimpse into your family's life. I just wish it could have been on a happier note.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean T.

This made me tear up. I'm so sorry for your loss.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterB.

Sorry to hear about your loss and thank you for sharing this.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

My deepest condolence Nathaniel.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

<3

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau
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