Boyhood, The Sopranos, and Fathers and Sons
I saw Boyhood over the weekend, and it was fantastic. It had a scene in it that reminded me of possibly my favorite scene in all of theater and film - a very small moment in an episode of The Sopranos.
AJ is playing football at his school, and makes a big tackle. Tony is proud, very proud, maybe proud of his son for the first time in his life. Walking back to the car, Tony tells AJ he wants to take him out for hot dogs and ice cream. AJ doesn’t want to go, which hurts Tony’s feelings. AJ suggests they juts go home and play videogames instead, to which Tony responds, “when are you gonna grow up and throw those videogames out the freakin’ window?” AJ, hurt more than he would ever say, tells Tony they can go get hot dogs. Tony, completely oblivious, perks up - “yeah?” - but the moment is gone, and a father and son, who were so close to bonding, irrevocably split.
It’s one of the only times I’ve seen this in media - a parent really trying to connect with their kid, but missing the thing the kid wants to connect on.
When I was seven, I rented a turn-based military game based on Desert Storm for the Super Nintendo from Easy Video in Ramsey. I rented it because I knew my dad was interested in war, and I wanted to play it with him. I remember him coming home, bringing him downstairs, and showing him the game. He was still in his suit. He played for a couple minutes, fiddling with the controller to move a tank or two around, and then gave it to me. “It’s not for me,” he said.
Honestly, I think I’m only starting to get over that disappointment now.
There’s a coda to this non-story: in college, I took Microeconomics. My dad got real excited when I told him that, and it was worth taking just for his reaction. I got a B in the class without understanding anything. I did terribly on all the tests, until I came to an epiphany - economics isn’t a science, it’s a game. You’re not observing laws, you’re trying to screw the other guy out of his money and keep what you got for yourself. Any answer which would make the theoretical company the most money was always correct.
I tried, I really did. I guess when I play, I like the game to come on a cartridge.