The past is a tricky thing. So are fathers. I used to hate my dad for making me listen to talk radio. Now I download and listen to at least three radio podcasts a day. I used to despise the music my dad would choose for our family vacation road trips. Now I am thankful to him for expanding my musical knowledge beyond the 80's and well into the 70's and 60's. In middle school I didn't having anything in common with him, at all. Now, 10 years later, I hope nothing more than just to become half the man he is. This transformation fascinates me. When does the past go from being boring and unimportant to nostalgic, cool, and vital.
When I see the footage of Berliner's father on that date with his soon to be wife I see a time that was simpler. He picked her up from her house wearing his finest clothes. He opens the door for her to the car and...well, thats it. They get married. Part of Oscar's reservation to do the movie is more than just his quirky/angry/hilarious personality. He grew up plain and simple. So what's interesting about that? Berliner does a great job at structuring this movie so that it could be anyone's family. He doesn't want to make his father's life out to be more than it was. Instead, he had me thinking of my family. By telling every detail, no matter how benign, it makes the story more relatable to everyone. What Oscar didn't understand was that Alan was making this movie for himself. He knew he had the talent to dig an interesting story out of anything, so why not learn something about himself along the way.
I got sad looking at Oscar's life now. As I watched it I thought it was a tragedy that Oscar did not realize (at least in the end) that his son was creating something extremely relevant. It also made me sad that they just don't make people like Oscar anymore. Although I can't fully explain why. I just know that with the amount of exposure in our society where anyone can know everything about everyone, its tragic to see a man like Oscar pass out of society. A man who truely saw everything for exactly what it was.
Now with media and movies we can be so meticalously nostalgic. We can turn any moment of old film into something hopelessly romantic. We can make an audience cry using tricks and a good selection of music. We can turn a man like Oscar into a multi layered protagonist of his own epic life story. We have to be careful with this. Alan does a great job of handling this resposibility. He isn't simply a consumer of the past. He makes into something beneficial for himself and us.
Anyway I have too many thoughts on this particuliar topics to fully discuss here. This movie was great!