November 8, 2002

Home Movies

Home movies are often all the same—kids on the beach, people getting married, birthday parties—so why do we make and watch so many of them? Maybe it's because the story they show and the story they tell are different. In this show, we bring you five stories that all start with a fairly typical home movie but go on to tell a unique story.


Host Ira Glass talks with filmmaker Alan Berliner, who for six years collected old home movies he found at thrift stores and garage sales. He says that almost all of them document either rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings, or moments of leisure—the beach is especially big. They show our lives as we'd want them to look, but maybe not as they actually do. Alan Berliner's movie, which he made from his six years of collected video, is called Family Album. (5 minutes)
Act One

The Big Night

Jonathan Goldstein made every girl he ever dated watch the home movie of his family's Rosh Hashanah dinner he made when he was 17. He hoped that seeing his family life on film might make the women more sympathetic to his shortcomings. In this story, for the first time, Jonathan shares the Rosh Hashanah video with a national audience. Jonathan's most recent book is I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow (13 minutes)
Act Two

The Kids Stay In The Picture

From the time he was a little kid until the time he graduated high school, Darren Stein made movies with his father's video camera. The cast was composed of friends from his street, a suburban cul-de-sac in Encino, California. The sets were their various backyards. The production schedule was every day after school, and all day in the summer. They shot horror movies, action flicks, and even a musical called "I Have No Friends," which Darren wrote soon after being transferred to a new junior high school. Darren is now a real director in Hollywood. Ira talked with him and his frequent childhood leading man, Adam Schell, about what the movies meant to them as kids. Darren and Adam made a documentary about their childhood moviemaking called Put the Camera on Me. (12 minutes)
Act Four

The Cinema Of Upward Mobility

Home movies usually don't have much of a plot—one of the many ways they differ from Hollywood movies. But reporter Susan Burton has a lifetime of home movies, which together describe a very Hollywood plot, about how she remade herself from a friendless nerd into a popular girl. (12 minutes)