Movies with Mother by Brandon Taper

Like most people with not enough hobbies, my mother often looks for “bonding opportunities.”  This can apply to relatives, friends, or really anyone close enough for her to grab or make guilty.  Feeling that one such opportunity was coming fast for me, I suggested that we watch one movie each night for a full week.  I would curate the films myself since one of my great passions is for film: finding new ones, discovering old ones, and sharing that experience with someone else.  

Below you’ll find how I described the movie to my mother followed by her immediate reaction after the credits rolled.  I encourage you to trust no opinion save your own, especially since all of these titles are available to stream for free using the library’s Hoopla app. 

Nosferatu (1922)
Brandon: This silent film can still frighten even after a hundred years.  The highlights are an unsettling performance by Max Schreck as the Dracula-esque Count Orlok and the expressionistic play of light and shadow.  Your nightmares just found a new best friend!

Lori: I didn’t get it.  So they found a scary man to walk slow for ninety minutes.  I can get my husband to do that for free and I’m just as scared.  

Lovers on the Bridge (1991)
Brandon:  This film wears its heart on its sleeve, but also its tears.  A heartbreaking romance between two street people that somehow makes you want to live on a bridge and find your soul mate.  Come for Juliette Binoche, but stay for the brilliant visuals. 

Lori:  Listen, love is a wonderful thing.  I love love to death.  But you know what else I love?  A good shower.  For two hours, I couldn’t help but think, “Juliette Binoche is so beautiful!  Please someone buy her a shampoo.” 

The Endless Summer (1966)
Brandon:  This documentary follows two surfers around the world as they search for the perfect wave and the ultimate surfing experience.  It’s filled with sunshine, great surfing footage, and poignant conversations with people who love the beach life.  You’ll want to pick up a boogie board in no time, I promise. 

Lori:  Forget endless summer, this is an endless movie!  Maybe I just don’t get the point of surfing, but the best wave in this movie was when I got to wave goodbye, I’m sorry.  I made a strawberry daiquiri after, though, so that was nice. 

Ghost World (2001)
Brandon:  This dark comedy about two young misfits attempting to find themselves after high school is for anyone who struggled to fit in and then looked at the people who did and decided against it.  Director Terry Zwigoff seems to revel in pointing out just how weird the “square world” really is.  You’ll wish you were a teenager again just so you could experience disappointment afresh.

Lori:  If my daughter talked to me like the main character talks to her parents in this movie, she’d really be in a ghost world because she’d be dead.  My favorite scene was when she ran away from home because I felt so relieved for the parents.

Samsara (2011)
Brandon:  Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, this is a “wordless poem” of a movie that gives you one breathtaking image after another.  The filmmakers shot in over twenty countries and for over five years in order to piece together some of the most stunning footage even captured on film.  No matter what mood you’re in, you’ll believe in life and in wonder once this is on. 

Lori:  I agree it’s very beautiful.  But would it have killed the director to put in a conversation or two?  Like, even just have someone say “Hello” or “How about this weather?”  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes one or two would be nice. 

We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011)
Brandon: Based on the best-selling novel, this is one dark exploration of family and the ties that bind.  You know that something unspeakable will happen, but the tension between a mother and her possibly disturbed son shakes you until you’re shaken.  Watch with a loved one and then count your blessings. 

Lori:  This movie is horrifying.  I can’t believe you made me watch this while we’re trapped at home together! The parents never talked about Kevin, so why should I?  And he looked like such a nice Jewish boy, too. 

And on the seventh day…
Brandon:  For our last movie together, Mom, I thought I would —

Lori:  Listen, who said it had to be a full week?  If God can rest on the seventh day, so can we.  Maybe we can do a puzzle tomorrow, I don’t know.  I might be busy.