Cool Hand Luke

“This was my Daddy’s favorite movie. Or at least I’m pretty sure it was. I think he technically referred to it as “”one of his favorites”” but I never saw that quiet and reserved man’s eyes light up as much when talking about any other film. And given that movies were one of many things we connected on, I don’t think he would have held back on me if there was another he loved more.

This DVD was among the last Christmas presents I received from him. It had somehow come up earlier that year that he really liked the film. Given his reaction, and the fact that I wanted to catch up on classic films, I added it to my wish list that year. As usual, it was a list of 10 or so DVDs I wanted that he’d go buy, wrap, and then leave under the tree for me. When he first read thru the list, he commented that this was one of his favorites. When I put this on during our traditional Christmas marathon of new movies, he made the same remark as he sat and watched with me. I’ll forever associate this with him.

Before that, all I could associate it was with a Jackass-esque stunt on MTV where they tried to get a few guys to see if they could pull off the 50 egg challenge.

I do have another new association with it too. In a total random happenstance of timing coincidences, I’ve been taking a Fosse workshop every few weeks here. There was one last week. The routine we did was Cool Hand Luke, to the musical score of the film. I might not have all the moves quite down, but I at least learned the outline of the routine.

But still, my Daddy brings out the bigger feels. I’m trying to understand why he loved it. I’d always known him to be more into scifi action (apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree). He never missed a Segal, Van Damme or Chuck Norris movie on tv, or new series on what is now Syfy. I think he just identified with Luke. By the time I came along, Daddy had been pretty settled into his happy quiet life, but it took him a while to get there. I know that growing up, he had a hard time fitting in and getting along with people. Like Luke, he just refused to conform. I think seeing this must have been inspirational and liberating on some level, kinda like me with American Idiot. Idiot for me feels like my life on stage, expressing the same pent up feelings I’d had for years. Knowing what a profound effect that show has had on me, I can only imagine the effect this film would have had on Dad.

I think he also would have admired how smart and resourceful Luke is. Those escape plans are kinda ingenius, even if they’re only short term successful. Some of the harsh realities of the film were prolly quite a blow. But sometimes the guys you root for don’t always get what they want.

Pretty sure I also heard him quote the “”failure to communicate”” line a couple times.”

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