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Cinema Junkie Podcast 183: Giving Thanks For Cinematic Memories

Paying tribute to my dad who gave me my love for movies

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront." This is the film my dad let me stay home from school to watch and I think that laid the groundwork for becoming a critic.

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It's the holidays and I'm feeling sentimental. My dad died on Aug. 23 this year and he's the person responsible for making me fall in love with movies. So for my holiday edition of Cinema Junkie I give thanks to my dad for passing on his passion for movies to me and I highlight some of my favorite movie memories ... Read more →

Aired: November 28, 2019 | Transcript

My dad died on Aug. 23 of this year and I miss him every day, so for my Thanksgiving Cinema Junkie podcast I am paying tribute to him by giving thanks for the films he introduced me to.

My dad was an agnostic who read me the Bible because he thought it was a beautiful piece of literature; he was a man who felt you had to stand up for what you believed in, and hated rules and conformity. And he was the person who passed on his love of movies to me.

My father, Allan Accomando, grew up in New Jersey and New York in the 1930s, and he loved movies. He would tell me about sneaking into a movie theater called the Star Theater but he and his friends called it the Rats because that was Star spelled backwards. Since there were no VHS or DVDs or streaming movies when I was growing up, my only opportunities to see films were in the movie theater when they opened or on TV. So it made a big impression on me when my dad told me I could stay home from school to watch "On The Waterfront."

He wanted me to watch it because he thought it was an important film. To him films were not just entertainment, they were starting points for discussion. In the case of "On the Waterfront," he said it was an important film for the performances of Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb; important for capturing the grit of Terry Malloy’s story; and important as an allegory about Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee hearings.

Photo by Beth Accomando

Me and my dad around 1974.

My dad told me how Elia Kazan had named names to the committee and how the film could be read as a defense for what he had done. I don’t think I was a teenager yet but I remember my dad trying to convey the complexities of the film. He explained that as a tough street kid he would have frowned on ratting on anyone, but how there are times when telling the truth to fight corruption or evil is necessary but then also how the story of Terry Malloy’s longshoreman didn’t provide an exact parallel to what Kazan had done. I think staying home to watch that film laid the foundation not just for my love of movies but for my ultimate career path to becoming a film critic — I always wanted to talk about movies and to talk about them in a greater context.

This podcast is a journey through the films I am grateful for sharing with my dad and for the memories those films have created that will keep my dad alive forever.

FEATURED PODCAST

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Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando.

So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place

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