Friday, June 16, 2017

Riske Business: 1960s, Movies & More with My Dad

by Adam Riske
In honor of Father’s Day, I caught up with my dad to discuss Bond, The Beatles, Spaghetti Westerns and our regular argument about 2001: A Space Odyssey.

On Movie Stars of the ‘60s and James Bond

Adam: What did you think of Cary Grant?

Mr. Riske: Would have been a great Bond.

Adam: Interesting. What about Sean Connery?

Mr. Riske: The ultimate Bond. That was the golden era of Bond movies because of Connery and also it was when the Bond character was more important than the gadgets. It was also the time with the best villains.
Adam: Did you like Roger Moore?

Mr. Riske: He added elegance to Bond and other tough guy roles.

Adam: You have to pick one: Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau?

Mr. Riske: Lemmon is a much better actor. Matthau looks like a slob.

Adam: I’m team Matthau. I want him to coach me on a baseball team. How about Steve McQueen?

Mr. Riske: His characters were always guys that other guys would like to be. He was the classic Mr. Cool.

Adam: I don’t want to be him. Last one – Jerry Lewis?

Mr. Riske: I liked him a lot in the ‘60s so I guess I’m part French.

Adam: I understand that reference.

On Films of the 1960s

Mr. Riske: A rare epic film that doesn’t seem like it was overlong.

Lawrence of Arabia
Mr. Riske: The only Peter O’Toole movie I really liked.

Mr. Riske: An example of an epic movie that went on too long.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Mr. Riske: An extremely underrated western.

Adam: Underrated? I like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but I prefer For a Few Dollars More. Is that crazy?

Mr. Riske: Not all that crazy. It’s my second favorite spaghetti western.
Adam: I’d so rather be Lee Van Cleef than Steve McQueen. Did you like other Spaghetti Westerns or more specifically just the ones with Clint Eastwood?

Mr. Riske: I also liked Once Upon a Time in the West. Claudia Cardinale was super-hot for that time.

(Adam googles “Claudia Cardinale” to remind himself what she looks like and then falls off his horse)

The Graduate
Mr. Riske: A movie that feels dated.

Adam: What? Anne Bancroft or Katherine Ross?

Mr. Riske: Bancroft, I guess. Katherine Ross was milquetoast.

Adam: I like milquetoast, especially ‘60s milquetoast.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Mr. Riske: I know this will make you unhappy, but I think it’s one of the most convoluted and overrated films of all-time.

Adam: Why are you so wrong right now? Is it because you don’t dare explore the big questions?

(Mr. Riske glares)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Mr. Riske: Good, but not even close to one of the better Westerns of the ‘60s.

Adam: Do you dislike Redford as much as I do?

No, I think he’s a good actor, but not one of the greats of any era.

Adam: I see right through his bullshit.

F! Marry! Kill!

F!: To Kill a Mockingbird
Marry: The Hustler
Kill: The Apartment

F!: Easy Rider
Marry: The Wild Bunch
Kill: Midnight Cowboy

F!: The Sand Pebbles
Marry: Dr. Strangelove
Kill: Bonnie and Clyde
Adam: Were you happy at the end of Bonnie and Clyde?

Mr. Riske: What? Why would I be happy?

Adam: Because it represented the establishment putting the counterculture back in its place?

Mr. Riske: They were freakin’ murderers and bank robbers. How is that counterculture?

'60s Trends

Adam: Did you do the twist?

Mr. Riske: It was one of the few dances I caught onto and was pretty good at.

Adam: What was it like seeing TV in color for the first time?

Mr. Riske: Like entering a whole new world of watching entertainment.

Adam: What was it like when the world wasn’t in black and white anymore?

Mr. Riske: No comment.

Adam: I won’t press. It must have been a confusing time. Terrible transition but…Cuban Missile Crisis?

Mr. Riske: A frightening, terrifying two week period and laughable to think that they told us ducking under our desks was how we would protect ourselves.

Adam: JFK assassination?

Mr. Riske: A lot of crying, a lot of time glued to the TV set and not a lot of conversation with people.

Adam: Beatlemania?

Mr. Riske: While I liked the Beatles and the music from ’62-’70, I couldn’t understand why people would scream so loud that you couldn’t hear the musician you like actually singing. In particular it was annoying when I went to see A Hard Day’s Night and I couldn’t hear dialogue because people were screaming so loud. I didn’t know what they were saying until years later.

Adam: Woodstock?

Mr. Riske: I was never into the hippie culture, so a music festival like Woodstock didn’t mean anything to me, although it did have a major impact on music in general of that era.

Adam: Apollo 11 moon landing?

Mr. Riske: It was something I didn’t think I’d ever see in my lifetime and it was amazing to sit and watch it with mom (my girlfriend at the time) at my parents’ house.
Modern Musings

Adam: Did you like Wonder Woman?

Mr. Riske: It was really good even though the action scenes were over-the-top. I thought Gal Gadot was excellent in the role and so were Chris Pine and the rest of the supporting cast.

Adam: Any Junesploitation recommendations?

Mr. Riske:

Westerns: The Magnificent Seven (1960)…still my favorite Western.

Sci-Fi: Star Wars Episode IV

‘90s Action: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

‘80s Comedy: Back to the Future

Adam: Thanks for writing this with me, dad. Happy Father’s Day! I love ya.

Mr. Riske: Love you too!

Happy Father’s Day to all of you dad readers out there! You’re the best!!


  1. Love these Adam - other than being wrong about 2001 your Dad's awesome!

    1. He is - awesome and wrong about 2001.

    2. He's also wrong to kill The Apartment, but we'll let that slide. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Read the first line and panicked for a second that I'd forgotten Father's Day, then remembered that in Finland, it's in November. So plenty of time to panic about it later.