Ah, parents and their children!
It doesn’t matter what year it is or where they live or who they are. Parents never understand their children and children never understand their parents and, ultimately, there’s always that one friend who ends up nearly chopping his finger off.
At least, that’s the message that I got from watching the 1970 educational film, I Just Don’t Dig Him.
This film was produced by the state of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and apparently, it was designed to show that adults and teenagers actually had more in common than they realized. For instance, in this film, both groups share an intense loathing for each other.
The film is about a father and his son. The father spends all of his time complaining about his son. The son spends all of his time complaining about his father. For some reason, we’re treated to a really gross close-up of the son’s bare feet. Meanwhile, the father applies aftershave as if the fate of the world depended upon it. The son’s best friend assures him that his father isn’t so bad. The father’s best friend assures him that his son isn’t so bad. And then the son’s friend accidentally chops off his finger while fooling around with a car engine. The father helps to stop the bleeding while his son stares at him resentfully. The message appears to be that adults and children need to communicate better but, ultimately, you want an adult around if anyone starts bleeding.
I like films like this, largely because I’m an unapologetic history nerd and I Just Don’t Dig Him is such a product of its time that it might as well be wearing bell bottoms and dropping brown acid. Watching the film today, it’s hard not to be amused by how intense both the father and the son are about … well, everything. When the father shaves, you’re first thought is, “That man should not be allowed to handle anything sharp.” When the son talks on the phone, you feel bad for whoever’s having to listen to him whine. Generations are at war, this film seems to say, and there’s no hope until the younger generation realizes that they have no business working on cars.
With this being 4/20 and the world currently being caught up in its own increasingly tedious generational war, today seems like the perfect time to share I Just Don’t Dig Him!