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Double Feature by Owen King




An epic debut novel about a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film—from critically acclaimed short story writer Owen King—for readers of Joshua Ferris, Sam Lipsyte, and Chad Harbach.Filmmaker Sam Dolan has a difficult relationship with his father, B-movie actor Booth Dolan—a boisterous, opinionated, lying lothario whose screen legacy falls somewhere between cult hero and pathetic. Allie, Sam’s dearly departed mother, was a woman whose only fault, in Sam’s eyes, was her eternal affection for his father. Also included in the cast of indelible characters: a precocious, frequently violent half-sister; a conspiracy-theorist second wife; an Internet-famous roommate; a family friend and contractor who can’t stop expanding his house; a happy-go-lucky college girlfriend and her husband, a retired Yankees catcher; the morose producer of a true crime show; and a slouching indie film legend. Not to mention a tragic sex monster.


My Review

‘Who We Are’ was to be a film that would take most of the main protagonists life energy through deaths and love and his relationship with his father will all see the talk and workings of this film never end.
His father Booth was more known for b movies and he felt he was going to do something more realistic more meaningful. Pre production he needed backers funds to get the ball rolling. This story is of double kin father and son’s turbulent days in making it and breaking it into the movie industry.
Sam has high regard for the movie Dog Day Afternoon. Know that if a double feature screening with E.T and then DoG Day Afternoon that Sam has had his hand it coming to fruition. This was a mellow kind of story not explosive there is some bizarre and strange behaviors included, well a man and strange behavior with a tree falls into that category, a nice take on the work that went into a movie being it a first try at making a film by someone who’s father has his name already out there in no so glamorous films.
Sam uses a great technique in this story to warn a boyfriend of his sisters via watching a DVD of nastiness with him.

This was a notable work on the flip side of a film, the world around pre and post production, the directors, producers and actors be they somewhat obscure in this story.

“Sam watched from the doorway. E.T was among his least favorite movies. He thought it was sentimental and disingenuous. In E.T. The kids saved the day. His won childhood of divorce had unquestionably had its moments, but what he remembered most was feeling bewildered and ineffectual. Also E.T was magic, and magic annoyed Sam. Magic was puppets, lighting, computer animation, and latex.”

“And it was just a two-shot. The director hadn’t intruded, the actors hadn’t seemed like actors, and it was so authentic, so recognisable; the exchange was the sum of every dismayed realisation ever shared between two men throughout history. It wasn’t too much to say that until he saw that moment in that film, Sam had never come close to comprehending how agonisingly difficult it was to explain yourself to another person, to make him see you as you really were. It was like trying to explain Wyoming.
The few films Sam loved were the antithesis of dishonest. There was often humour in them, and sometimes romance and adventure, but in each case the directors steered them to a conclusion that was resonant-undeniable-and spared no one, certainly not the audience.”

“In the winter months, he saw his movie a hundred times. Seated at the desk in his apartment, at the window overlooking the parking lot, he watched it scroll across the frosted panes and thought it was beautiful and perfect. Who we are was going to give shape to something that had been nipping at him and his friends for their entire lives. It was the story of the generational burden they carried, their shared realisation that nothing made sense until it was to late to be changed, that they were never given anything like a real chance.”

“Are any of you familiar with the concept of the double feature? No?
A double feature is a showing of two movies back to back. The double feature was the staple of the drive-in movie theater. A single ticket provided you an entire night’s entertainment.
But the second movie of the double feature was always better than the first movie. They saved it for later, when it was good and dark, when the images on the screen could be seen with the greatest clarity. Because that was the one you really wanted to see. The first movie was just the warm-up. The double feature often began while there was still some light, and it could be hazy. Everything was perfect for the second movie, though. The second movie had all the exciting stuff: the scares and the surprises and the parts that you’d remember and want to discuss later.”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 12 March 2013