My Dad and Dune

by Rachel Baker on March 18, 2014

As the years go by, there are few things I can remember about my dad with great detail. Most of what I remember has to do with tv shows or movies we watched together.

I remember Tales from the Crypt, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Mystery Science Theater, Star Wars (New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), and Dune. Tales from the Crypt was something he’d let me sneak out of my room to watch with him late at night after the rest of the family went to bed. I was three when Star Wars came out, and I remember watching it with him at some point before The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980, and thinking what a wonderful world this Star Wars place was. My dad had a wonderful full body laugh, and I’d never seen him laugh as hard as he did with Killer Klowns from Outer Space – I didn’t understand really know what it was that made him laugh, because I was so small. I understand the idea of cult classic now; and the last time I watched it, I got it – I understood what my dad thought so hilarious. Cool aha moment, with tears involved!

Then there was DUNE. My dad loved Dune – sadly, I have no idea if he loved the movie or the book and which came first in his world. I always thought it was the movie, but, as I’ve gotten older, I think maybe he’d read the books first. I’d love to be able to go back and ask him. It doesn’t really matter though.

I just remember sitting on the couch with him as a little girl and watching the movie with him. He loved it – parts of it scared me, but I thought Paul’s blue Spice eyes were incredibly cool and I got my first introduction to Sting, whom I have enjoyed musically for years. I’m not sure I would have ever really listened to Sting if it hadn’t been for watching Dune with my dad.

Whenever the movie is on TV, I try to watch it. There aren’t many things like this. I find that even though I think the movie sucks and I haven’t read the book because I’m afraid I will never be able to watch the movie ever again, I love curling up on the couch and watching it. I love covering my eyes when Baron Vladimir first appears with the gross puss-ridden face and boils about to pop, I love tensing up with the creepy reverend mother puts the gom jabbar to Paul’s neck. I just can’t help it – it reminds me of my dad and heartwarming reminders don’t come all that frequently.

I think all the hokey things mentioned in the article below are the things that my dad liked or at least found endearing. For him, Dune was a classic, years after watching the movie with him, I figured out that he’d owned and read every book and they were well worn. He loved this world.

In hindsight, I can see that I got my love of sci-fi from him, and I love him for that. I probably owe it to him to read the books at some point in the near future.

Here’s the article published on titled The Messy, Misunderstood Glory of David Lynch’s Dune by Daniel Snyder. With the new documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune, coming out, Snyder takes a look at the Lynch film.

When Dune, the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 novel of the same name, was released in December of 1984, it was met with near-unanimous derision. Roger Ebert hated it, hated it. “It took Dune about nine minutes to completely strip me of my anticipation,” he said. “This movie is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time.” Janet Maslin opened her New York Times review by stating, “Several of the characters in Dune are psychic, which puts them in the unique position of being able to understand what goes on in the movie.” Zing!


Dune was like the anti-Star Wars, undoing everything Lucas’s trilogy did to make sci-fi a friendly place. A New Hope took audiences to far away galaxies, sure, but it smoothed the transition into the fantastical with a simple, recognizable tale: A gentle farmhand meets a wise old man and a cowboy, gets himself a sword (of sorts), and goes adventuring. It’s almost baffling, in retrospect, that producer Dino de Laurentiis, who bought the rights to the notoriously obtuse Dune project in 1978, one year after Star Wars became a hit, could look at Herbert’s novel and think that something as warm, friendly, and accessible could be squeezed from its pages.

Herbert’s book offered a meticulously detailed saga of a dark future where royal houses war for control of the desert planet Arrakis and its precious resource, the spice melange. Fitting all of that tale into movie length proved comically impossible for Jodorowsky. Lynch’s film palpably suffers from numerous cuts and recuts to the final edit, which clocks in at two hours and 17 minutes. So instead of showing not telling the story, the movie relies on a flurry of voice over and breathy exposition.

Check out the remainder of the article here:

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