My Own Man (2014) - full transcript

David the filmmaker is 40 years old, but he still doesn't feel like a man - not a real man anyway. When his wife becomes pregnant with a boy, David's manhood insecurities deepen. How can he bring his son into manhood if he feels so estranged from his own? This question sets him off on a quest for his manhood that leads him from voice lessons to a men's group to deer-hunting, and ultimately back to his own father. My Own Man is an intimate, humorous, and emotional account of one man's search for what it means to be a man and a father in the 21st century. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
I feel this magnetic pull
bringing me back to the moment.

-I was feeling a little...
-[David Sampliner] But seriously,

-where are we going?
-I don't know. Where are we going?

Well, where did this thing happen?

I think we're going back to 1985.

It was a chilly evening. Crisp... taut.

The evening Jay is talking about

happened when we were in high school.

This is...

I don't know if he still thinks about it,

but the reason I brought him back here
is because I do.

[Sampliner] So, is this where
you got mugged, basically? Right here?

Well, I think the fun started
coming around that corner.

We're walking here...

and the gentlemen sort of
infused themselves into our little gaggle.

Some guy jumped on me, like,
with a bear hug from behind.

The moment I got hit,
I assumed it was a bottle

because I felt, you know, liquid,
which was blood.

But I assumed it was a bottle,

and I remember thinking,
"That's kind of cool.

I was just sort of, like, in a bar fight
in an old Western."

I will say, I was a little upset
with my supporting cast that evening.


They may have had some pom-poms,
cheering on the side,

but I could have used
maybe a little more... [chuckles]

actual assistance.

[Sampliner] Do you remember what, sort of,
happened to me during that whole thing?

Like, when things went down,
do you remember where I was?

[Jay] What happened?
Were they grabbing you, as well?

Did you trip? Were you taking a pee?
What happened?

[Sampliner] I was lying under a car.


[Jay] You were lying under a car!
You were lying under a car.

I don't know why that's funny.
It just is. Oh, man.

Obviously, I'm not proud of it.

It's been 20 years
since I watched Jay get mugged.

Maybe the reason I haven't let it go is

because I feel like I'm still that guy,
hiding under the car.

[Ian] I looked at you and I was like,

"That guy and I are supposed to
be friends. I know it."

That was my first impression of you.

Because you didn't strike me as a dude.

You were warm and open.
You were almost like a chick.

[people clamoring]

[Nina] You're actually a woman
trapped in the body of a man,

and I've thought that for a long time.

-[Sampliner] Are you being serious?
-I mean, kind of.

You're a sensitive soul,
like the way women are sensitive.

[Sampliner] What does that mean?

[Nina] When I talk to you about stuff,

it doesn't feel different than
when I'm talking to my girlfriends.

In our family,

since you were the youngest,
you were definitely the follower.

If Michael wanted to
play ball and tackle you,

you were delighted to do that.

If Lisa wanted to dress you up in dresses,
you were delighted to do that.

-[Sampliner] Mmm-hmm.
-You didn't care what it was

as long as you were included.

Forty. You want one for good luck?

[Sampliner] I'm now turning 40,

and I don't have a family...
a successful career...

a life I'm proud of.

But it goes deeper than that.

I'm a guy who can't stand up for himself,
who can't hold his own.

And I don't wanna be that guy anymore.

[Sampliner] It pisses me off that
I just might not be an alpha male.

You're not.

You're not.

I might not come off as an alpha male,

but I tend to become friends
with guys who are.

Ian was no exception.

Part of the thing I like about you
is that you're not an alpha male.

You know?

-[Sampliner] How is that a strength?

Huge strength.

It's not a strength
if you wish you were something else.

I was trained to be an alpha male.

My father, when I was a kid,
used to take...

He had big, strong hands, as do I now.

And he would say, "Come here, son."

And he would shake my hand and squeeze it

until I was able to squeeze it back.

And I spent years...
[mimics groaning]

He's like, "Squeeze back,
squeeze back, squeeze back."

And now, I've got the grip.

Alpha males are assholes.

Pretty much.

[Sampliner] But you're not an asshole.

There's an asshole in me...
because I'll bite your throat out.

I'll fucking kill you if I need to.

[snaps fingers] An alpha male's not afraid
to risk not being liked.

It's more important to an alpha male
to express himself...

than it is to get along with people.

'Cause an alpha male
doesn't need to get along with people

'cause he's more powerful than them,

An alpha male in the wild doesn't need
to make sure that everybody likes him.

He's gonna chew their face off
if they don't like him.

[Sampliner] What do you think it'll take
for me to get there?

I don't think you ever will.

-How'd that feel, when I said that?
-Well, crushing.

The only way you get there

is if I say to you,
"I don't think you ever will,"

and you go,
"Yeah? Fuck you! I will."

That's the way you get there.

No. No. No!

What part of "no" don't you understand?

I'm not asking you, I am telling you.

I'm not asking you, I'm telling you!

Get out of my way.

Get the fuck out of my way.
Get the fuck out of my way!

[Sampliner] You can see why
people don't get out of my way.


[Sampliner vocalizing]

Yes, that's it.


I realize that voice lessons

don't sound like the fast track
to finding your manhood.

But I wanted a stronger voice,
to be less of a pushover.

You're gonna let it go wildly through
your whole body, arms, legs, face.

Neil's a voice coach who was hoping

to bring out my inner caveman.

-[mouthing yelling]
-[Neil] That's it. Great. Keep going.

-Good, good.

Yeah, wild. Keep it long.
Really, can you keep 'em long?

Can you hear yourself
painting the walls with the sound?

Explore the violence of it, enjoy it.

-Good, now just take a moment and stop.

Keep your eyes shut.
Now put your hands on your belly.

And just take in
what you're experiencing now.

What do you feel?

Yeah, it brings alive a lot

[chuckles] that usually stays way,
way beneath the surface.

It's definitely
a much more aggressive energy

than I normally carry around.

But I still feel like I'm wearing it
and not inhabiting it, somehow.

[Neil] Well, personally, my feeling is
better to wear it than to not get near it.

There's that phrase,
"Fake it till you make it."

Right now, I'd like you to
be exploring aggression.

And I don't expect it to seem natural.
It's not natural to you.

-You de-habituated yourself to that...

...a long time ago.

[Sampliner] Neil thought
I could learn to be more assertive,

and I hoped he was right.

I was male, after all,
and figured I was wired to be assertive.

So, did you get a chance
to look at my levels?

I did, yeah.

-So, what'd they say?
-Well, it's very interesting, actually.

We're told testosterone is...
262 is the low, to 1,593.

So a big range,
but that comprises men of all ages.

And so... [clears throat]
your testosterone came in...

And remember, I said 262 to 1,593.

You came in at 262.

So, the absolute lowest?

The absolute lowest you can...
But normal.

Now, I thought, "Ooh, this is
gonna be perfect for a movie."


I identify more with the qualities

people tend to associate with women.

-Empathy, being a good communicator...
-Mmm-hmm. Okay.

...and those sorts of things,

and don't identify as much with the things
that are supposed to be male.

Aggression, competitiveness,
things like that.

It's funny that
you rattled those off in the...

'Cause I've been accused
of having no empathy,

I've been accused
of being a terrible communicator.

And I've been brimming with confidence
most of my life

'cause things have just worked out for me.

Um, but I've never checked
my testosterone level...

so I don't know.

You've never been curious in all this work
to test your own level?

I really haven't.

My body behaves like a body that
seems to be adequately testosteronized.

So I've just never checked.

[Rachel] You talk a lot about
wanting to stand up for yourself,

and so I think that that's what
you associate with masculinity,

that kind of confidence,
and that outward appearance

of somebody who has direction and knows
what they want, goes after it, gets it.

I've never felt like
you weren't enough of a man.

You don't seem feminine to me.

Is that why you fell in love with me,

because I made you feel
like more of a man?

No, it's not gonna work, baby.
You're gonna...

I can't watch everything
you're gonna fall into.

-[Sampliner] You can't?

[Sampliner] I hadn't been in
a serious relationship in eight years.

-[Sampliner] Hey, Rachel.
-[chuckling] Hey.

[Sampliner] But then I met Rachel.

For the first time in a long time,
I was able to let someone in.



[Sampliner] Things got serious.

You're the most
romantic guy in the world.

And before we could plan a wedding...

It's turning positive.
I'm pregnant.

[both laughing]

Then I heard the words
every father is supposed to wanna hear.

[Sampliner] Wow.

You are having a little boy.

[woman laughing over phone]

[woman] A boy! Oh, my God!


You once said that you felt like
a boy would be more challenging for you

'cause you also relate more
to women in your life.

-[Sampliner] Yeah.
-And I feel that way, too,

but I feel excited about that.

It really feels different.

It really feels like
it's gonna be such a discovery.

Like, it's just something so new.

I didn't grow up with boys at all,
so I feel like,

"Wow, I get to experience this thing
that I didn't ever know before."

How do you feel?

Well, I'm thrilled.


-[device beeps]
-[Sampliner] I'm terrified, actually.

I feel ready to be a parent.

But being a father to a son
isn't just being a parent.

It means bringing a boy into manhood...
a place I feel so far away from myself.

This is my father.

It's hard to believe he's 70 years old.

Don't step on my feet.

Watch your head.

If he's ever doubted how to be a man...

he's not shared it with me.

[James] You wanna do this exercise?

-[Sampliner] You keep baiting me.
-Yeah, I do.

I wanna see what you can do, man.

My dad is a classic 1950s man...

a kind of Jewish John Wayne.

He followed the playbook of his time.

He met my mom in college.

They married.

My dad was the provider,
my mom stayed home and raised three kids.

And 45 years later...
they're still on their honeymoon.

[James singing] ♪ One fist of iron
And the other of steel ♪

♪ If the left one don't get you
Then the right one will ♪

♪ You load 16 tons... ♪

Stop that, David.


All right, guys, so tell me the story

of these jerseys you got on.

[James] Wait, wait, wait, wait.
Ready, Bets?

[Betsy] One, two, three.

They came from the store.


The story of the jerseys is that...

Sit down, baby. It's too...

...every time we pass somebody
riding on our tandem...

Excuse me. Thank you.

-They always--
-The saga of Double Trouble.

They always say the same thing to us.

They always say, "She isn't peddling."

Or, in a lesser sense,
"Someone's following you."

Those are the two cute things
that everyone says,

and they think
they're being totally original.

However, one day, one person said to us,
"A-ha! Double trouble."

[Sampliner] Is there any metaphoric
significance to "Double Trouble"?


No real deep thinking behind this.

It was just at least
one slightly original statement

that someone made amid all the banality.

And that is our story.

My dad groomed me to be like him.

I went to the same all-boys school
as he did.

I went to Yale like he did.

But I was part of Generation X,

the kids who didn't want
their parents' marriages and careers...

who wanted to explore the world
before settling down.

So after college, I taught high school...

studied at a yeshiva in Jerusalem...

went to graduate school
in American History to become a professor,

which, by the way, I never did.

I didn't just want a job.
I wanted to do something I loved.

At 29, I made The New York Times.

Unfortunately, not because
I had accomplished anything,

but precisely because I hadn't.

They featured me in a story
called "Young-Life Crisis."

That's me flipping omelets
in Athens, Georgia,

after quitting graduate school,

but before I started working
at a Jewish museum in Mississippi.

I can hardly imagine
what all this looked like to my father.

Oh, wait... I can.

My father was quoted in the article

saying that my whole generation
was lollygagging through life.

But I knew who he was talking about.

[Sampliner] Do you feel like
I'm lollygagging through life?

Well, I would say that...

in somewhat respects, yes,
and in some respects, no.

But in some respects,
do you still think I am?

Well, you don't have
permanent, day-to-day employment.

That isn't exactly true.

I do cobble together a living
as a filmmaker.

It just doesn't look like
a real career to my father.

[Betsy] At last, at last.
[Rachel] Hi. I know, finally.

-[Betsy chuckling] Hi.

[Rachel] Where's your dad?

He's hiding outside.
I don't know if he wants to be...

Does he not want to be filmed?

[Betsy] I don't know.
[Rachel] Here, let me just do it.

[all laughing]

[Sampliner] Oh, my God.

[Rachel] Hi.
[Sampliner] Hi. We're dueling cameras.

[Betsy] So, I brought you this memory
from your old bedroom, David.

[Sampliner] What is it?
[James] Look at David.

He's on his ready. He's not sure
what's coming out of his past.

Only thing that was elegant
in your bedroom.

-Do you remember this?
-[Sampliner] What?

-What is this thing?
-[James] Sterling silver.

-Something for you to keep.
-[Betsy] How about that?

Sterling silver bowl
from your bedroom, David.

-The most elegant--
-[Sampliner] Oh, my God. Let me see it.

[James] And it's all...
Notice how polished it is, too.

[Rachel] Is it some medal that you won?

[Sampliner] What is it?
[Betsy] Yeah, I think he did.

It says, "US 1982-83,

Lower School Top Scholar,
David Sampliner."

-[James] Oh, my God.
-[all laughing]

-[Sampliner] Oh--
-Oh, my God.

You won a silver medal.

[Sampliner] I still don't know why
my parents chose this particular moment

to trot out a trophy from eighth grade.

Maybe they were trying to show Rachel
that even if it didn't look like it now...

I had once been on top.

My dad was used to success.

For over 40 years,
he had been a very successful surgeon.

He co-authored a groundbreaking textbook
on critical care...

which you can find
in the backpack of a swimsuit model...

on the wall as you enter our house.

I've always been a little embarrassed
by this poster.

My dad... is not.

-[Sampliner] So...

-I'm trying to get...
-David, zip up your pants.


You're coming down here to film

with your pants unzipped.

I don't know what that means.

[Sampliner] In all his years as a surgeon,
I never once saw my dad perform surgery.

He never discussed it with me,
and I never asked questions about it.

[Sampliner] I'm trying to get a sense
of what your life is like now.

It's fabulous.

-Okay, but now that you're retired...
-It's fabulous.'re no longer doing surgery.

And I wonder,
do you miss doing the surgery?


-[Sampliner] Yeah?

So tell me what you miss about it.

It's fun.

But I'm too old to do surgery,

and I realize that,
so I don't do it anymore.

I almost imagine there's, like,
an adrenaline rush that you miss

of all the pressure that you're under.

Not really.

It becomes what you do.

[Sampliner] You never had anxiety
about performing it well

when you were under the gun
and someone's life is in the balance?

You have to understand that
it's no different than anybody else's job.

You get trained to do something,
and you do it.

So there's not great pressure.

The only time there's pressure
is in dire emergencies

when people are bleeding,
or something like that.

Well, how did you handle that?

Just very well.

Wasn't a problem. Enjoyed it.

Took care of my job, did it,
and then we were done.

[Sampliner] My father sometimes
seemed larger than life.

My college friend, Ed, seemed even larger.

In our circle of friends, I think
probably you and I were the least inclined

toward, what I would call,
like, "macho behavior."

And I think that's probably why,

after school,
we also were hanging out so much,

because I think
we were both finding our way.

I think you were the only person
I knew who, like me,

it never even crossed our minds

that we would be launching ourselves
into a "career."

[Sampliner] We both steered clear of
our fathers' professional career paths...

but with somewhat different results.

I envied him now
for his celebrity and success,

but even more for his, well... balls.

When being reductive
to people who don't know you,

or I'm introducing to you,

I'll say like, oh, you know,
"David's a documentary filmmaker."

Um, but even as
one of your better friends,

I don't think I would have as easily said,
"I know what David's pointed ambition is."

I've been vague about my ambition.

I've let it slide all over the map.

It was my way of not entering the game,
not choosing an ambition,

not choosing something
I really wanted to go after and get.

But I think that's the risk thing.

Anytime you choose a target...

you feel like a fake.

And that's the risk zone.

That's the zone in which
you feel vulnerable

because you are risking your ego.

The assertion has to happen
before the reality,

and the assertion is...

is maybe hard, you know?

[rooster crowing]

[Sampliner] I always craved
a mentor, a guide...

someone who could reassure me
that I was on the right path.

I tried rabbis, therapists,

and then Lauren, a life coach.

You're a little risk averse
and then it makes you a bit of a pansy.


- [laughs] You asked.
-[Sampliner] What do I do about that?

I think I agree with you.

What do you... You, you know,
make sure you take a risk a day.

Like, you actually strap on balls that
scare the shit out of you every day

and do something.

Right? Like, what you do not want to do,
you find one every day and you do it.

The New Warrior Training Adventure
is a life-changing experience.

I didn't know what being a man was.

I got over so much of the stuff
that was holding me back my whole life.

Only you'll know if you're ready.

Just... [snaps fingers] do it.

[Sampliner] To most people, taking a risk
means skydiving or bungee jumping.

To me, it meant joining a men's group.

The New Warrior Training Adventure.

Like, the title itself freaks me out.

It's, like, 30 guys
going into the woods for the weekend

and that whole stereotype
of men going off into the woods

and playing drums,

getting in touch
with their primal feelings...

Like, that whole stereotype
I think is about to come true,

and that freaks me out.

I've always avoided
being a part of a group of guys.

I actually think about things like,

"What T-shirt am I going to wear
on this weekend?"

Put me with other men

and I feel like the girlfriend
tagging along on poker night.

I feel disaster impending.

What I feared would happen did happen.

We got naked and danced around a fire.

But it turns out the weekend wasn't about
getting in touch with our manhood.

It was about getting in touch
with our feelings.

[man] Welcome, new warrior,
David Sampliner.

[all cheering]

[Sampliner] For the first time,
I joined a group of guys...

and I felt like I belonged.


I've never wanted to join a group, really,
and certainly not a group of men.

Didn't know how to do that.

And one of the most amazing things
about this weekend

was giving me the experience
of dropping all that judgment,

all that "I'm better than that..."

and just letting myself
have an experience without that judgment.

[all applauding]

[woman] Tell me what you're thinking
about this.


[Sampliner] What did you really feel?
Were you totally freaked out?

It just makes me feel, like, icky.

The group love, the group hug,
"We all support each other."

This drippy, share-y...

It's the overenthusiasm of the audience,
the like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

"In an instant, I'm like the Buddha."

Like, "I'm enlightened
and I love my brothers."

It's just, like,
how does that happen in a weekend?

I was hoping the Warrior weekend

would make me a different man,

but Rachel was right.

Becoming a different man
would take more than a weekend.

[breathing heavily]

This is my older brother, Michael.

He's the one who takes after my father...


...and then some.

Okay, let's do six more.

As a kid, I wanted to be like him...

especially his body.

But I could never... quite measure up.

-[woman] There.

[Michael chuckles]
[woman] Pull back, pull back.

Man, you got some good sound.

[Sampliner] Of the two boys in our family,
you're the one that became the man.

[both laughing]

How did you do it?

I don't think I was becoming a man,

I think I just was pretending I was a man.

It was all external confidence,

it was all being a leader,
being strong, being athletic.


But if you put me
one-on-one in a room with someone,

I don't think I was truly confident.

I had all the man characteristics,

but I didn't feel like
I was a complete person behind those.

I was a 1950s man in the 1970s,

and by the 1980s,
I don't think it applied much anymore.

Where I am now, being a man for me
is raising two kids well

and having a good relationship at home.

I think my characteristics
that I got from Dad

have been exceptional for me in work

and have been the things
I have to push away the most

to try to have a successful
relationship at home.

Betsy, I want you to go look at the hedge

and see if it's proper, okay, please?

The one right over there,

where I've been waiting for you
for the last bit of time.

Just go walk over there and look, please.

[Sampliner] My dad needed things done
a certain way.

They don't have one ACE bandage in here.

That's unbelievable.

[Sampliner] And it was a good idea
not to disappoint him.

What I don't understand in that thing...
You don't have one ACE bandage there.

-Yeah, I know, it's...
-Not one.

-I know.
-What are we supposed to do?

How are we supposed to wrap somebody
if they need it?

We call the trainer.

I'm the trainer today.
He's gone with the football team.

I don't know.

We don't have one ACE bandage
in your trainer's kit.

-Okay. Okay.
-Not one.

So I can't wrap anybody with ice.
I can't wrap anybody with anything.

Don't make it so hard on me.

[Sampliner] Oh, no.

[James] You're all right-footed, eh?

[Sampliner] Before my dad was a surgeon...
he was a star soccer player...

in high school, at Yale.

He even played professionally
while he was in medical school.

Once you have it, you never lose it, Dave.

He loved to repeat this saying.

"Show me a good loser...
and I'll show you a loser."

-[chuckling] Jesus Christ.
-[Sampliner] I think I got...

[James] That's what I mean, Dave.
You weren't much of a head case.

I think I accurately reproduced my
10th grade baseball season, right there.

[Sampliner] In 10th grade,
I'd lost the ability to throw a baseball.

I had played all my life.

Throwing a baseball was like breathing.

Then suddenly, it wasn't.

I still can't explain why it happened.

My dad thought it was a mental thing.

"Don't be a head case," he'd say.

But I was.

[Lisa] I think I got a lot of
mixed messages from Dad

because Dad was my biggest cheerleader.

He celebrated all of my accomplishments.

But he made it very clear to me

that at the end of the day,
his expectations of me...

were that I would find a nice man,
settle down and be a good housewife.

I remember one point in time
not speaking to him for a while

'cause I was graduating
from graduate school.

He said to me, "Well,
it doesn't really matter what job you get.

You'll just find some man
to take care of you anyways."

But then I realized that, in many ways,

it saved me from a lot of the issues
that you, I think, have had with him.

Because, in his mind,

whatever I've done
has been an accomplishment.

So, while it aggravates me,

in a lot of ways,

I've been the beneficiary
of his sexist perception of the world.

[Sampliner] Explain that.
I don't quite get it.

How are you the beneficiary
of his sexist perception of the world?

Because I've never felt
like I've fallen short in his eyes.

Unlike for you, at the end of the day,

the only person I had to prove anything to
was myself.

[Betsy] Three eggs. Three.

[Sampliner] Compared to Michael,
compared to Dad, what was I like as a guy?

When I think of you as a child,

I think of you
as this totally delightful free spirit,

this little sprite who was
dancing and singing through the house.

But in our family,
guys were always expected to play sports.

And as it turned out,
you were an extremely gifted athlete.

Because this little sprite
who danced through the house

was very well coordinated.

The thing that made you different

was that you didn't
really have a killer instinct.

I remember somebody telling you
when you were playing soccer or something,

"David, stop smiling so much."

In other words, stop having so much fun
and go in for the kill.

[Sampliner] Hunting was the last thing
I'd ever imagined myself doing.

I still got the tag on this bag.
I think that's got to go.

[Sampliner] But I still hadn't
really challenged my own instincts.

I needed to do something
indisputably masculine.

-Let's see the hardware.

All right.

The official unsheathing.

-[Peter] I haven't seen it yet.
-I've barely seen it.

[Peter] Whoo! Cool.
It looks like a real death machine.

[Peter chuckling]

-Doesn't it?
-Yeah, it does. Honestly.

Push it. Don't be shy. Yeah.

-I was afraid to, like, set the thing off.

All right, this is gonna be it, huh?

So, when you pull, just pull gently.
With the finger.

Oh, I have the safety.

I was squeezing the trigger
and I have the safety on.

-[Peter] What's that?
-I had the safety on.

I was ready to squeeze the trigger
and the safety--

[Peter] Happens all the time.

I'm at half safety, God damn it.
All right.

-All right, so, you gotta make sure now.

'Cause you don't want that
to happen with a deer, right?


Ah. Fuck, man.

[Peter] Chamber.

The thing hit me in the forehead. Ah.

[Peter] Do it. Yank it.
Pull it. Push it. Done.

[Sampliner] Okay.
[Peter] Fire again.

I just shouldn't be so close?
This thing knocked me hard in the head.

-[Peter] It did?

[Peter] Oh, oh.

I don't think I'm bleeding or anything.
It just hit me hard.

Holy shit, you are.

I got a big bruise on my forehead,
I can feel it.

You might need to drive home, dude.

[man] Has this ever happened to anyone
you were teaching shooting?

No. I've never...

I should have been watching him.
I feel bad.


So I just wanted to ask you

what you thought of
the fact that I'm hunting.

[Michael] To be blunt about it,
this seems like kind of a stab.

Like, "Oh, crap,
I'm not feeling very manly today,

so I'll just go shoot a deer."

Like, as opposed to really intrinsically
building it up from inside you

that it seems to be almost
like an external way

to leapfrog, maybe, some of those steps.

Maybe it's just too obvious.

It's like, "Yeah, I went and shot
and killed a deer."

That doesn't make you a man...

and I think that you're too self-critical
to think that it would.

So you're not going to believe
in the cliché of that.

I'm sure it'd be an intense experience,

but will it bring you any closer
to what you're trying to find or feel?

[Rachel] What do you think
it's gonna be like

when you're aiming at a deer?

When you actually hit a deer?

All I was doing
was firing at a cardboard target.

Just the violence of that gun
really shook me up.

[Rachel] Do you feel ready to kill a deer,
to take its life?

I simply don't know.

I've never had a moment of,
"I'm gonna kill this poor animal."

Feels right to me.
It feels like...

um, part of me that was... missing.

Like the predator that was in all of us
for a hundred thousand years went away,

and then when I took up hunting,
it was just a revelation.

Can you...

You think you're a pussy
and this will make you not a pussy?

It's funny 'cause I don't think...

I don't think shooting a deer
is gonna make me less of a pussy.

[David] You bought a gun.
[Jon] You bought a gun?

Yeah, no shit.

[David] It's so funny
'cause you took that out

and all of a sudden
you seem so much more like a man.

[all laughing]

No, I'm serious though.
It was, like, wow, the gun changes things.

[Jon] Why do you think
a gun changes things?

[David] Because it's a serious tool.
[Sampliner] It just is.

You could survive with that.

Whereas a second ago,
you were just...

-[Jon] A pussy sitting on a couch.
-...a sensitive dude.

Now you're a guy with a gun

and you're gonna go kill something
that you're gonna eat.

[Sampliner] Man.


-Got no dirt in it? Okay.
-No, there's none.

[whispering] I have a feeling
they're gonna be coming

from this direction over on top.

[breathing nervously]


David. David.

I've hit the deer, man.

He's lying there.
Do you see it?

God damn.

[exhales sharply]

The only thing I can say is
I'm glad I hit it a bull's-eye

for where I wanted to hit him.

I mean it's, like, instant, instant.

I mean, close to instant death,
but I'm just glad I didn't...

glad I didn't injure him.

Super young buck.

I hit him where I wanted to hit him.

[David] Wow.

-[Sampliner] Man.
-That was a perfect shot.

How does it feel?

I don't feel numb,
but I don't...

feel the feeling
of having taken the life of this thing.

[David] I bet it's in the heart.

Which is a bummer
because the heart's yummy.

-But nice shot.

Nice shot.

Let me get a picture of you with it
and text it to Peter.

[Sampliner] Can you
talk me through this a little bit,

'cause I don't wanna just jump-in do it,
'cause I'm feeling a little...

You did what you set out to accomplish.

You killed an animal
that you're gonna eat.

You should be proud right now.

You should have no other feeling
but pride right now.

So you just go right behind him.
Go on your knee, hold him up like that.

I mean, is that respect?
I just wanna make--

I don't wanna be holding him
in the trophy way, you know?

[David] Well...

[stuttering] That's my concern.

This is just...
You got one. This is your first.

This is rite of passage.
This is awesome.

[Sampliner] Oh, man.

[child] But I'm not hungry.

[man 1] Oh, Lord...
[man 2] This lady's not hungry.

[man 3] People could come,
start having their dinner.

[Sampliner] I had accomplished
exactly what I'd hoped for.

But having gone to this extreme...

I expected to feel something different...

some internal shift.

And I didn't.

[James] I looked at it as a sport
that you were participating in.

-Did you really think that?

-That he was just going for a sport.

-Well, how?
-'Cause I didn't--

How does that in any way
fit in the picture of your son?

Yeah, it really didn't. I had no
deep, intellectual thoughts about it.

It's not that--
It's not deep, [chuckles] intellectual.

You have to be practically blind
to think that.

[Sampliner] I knew my dad
did think about my life.

It also seemed pretty clear to me
what he thought about it.

[James] If you don't have confidence
and you're beset by this internal turmoil,

then you can't get from A to B.

And so, the person that becomes
head of something or successful

has to have enough confidence
to move from milestone to milestone.

And therein lies
your frustration with David.

No, I didn't say that.

-It does not mean--
-But David didn't move A to B.

He moved A to here, to here,
to here, to get to B.

That's okay, but you have to have
the confidence to make the move.

Oh, so that's maybe not why
you were upset with David.

That's what your worry
or the concern was.

It was a concern that you had
the spine, the confidence,

whatever it took, to get to somewhere,
wherever that somewhere is.

So, what's so interesting is,

for me, A to B,

-that straight logical path is so easy.

So, what you define
as the way to get there

and to have the determination
to get on top is the easy path,

-which I--
-Not necessarily.

-For me, it is. Which I chose--
-For you it is, but not for him.

So, I had a lot of respect
for David because

he took what I consider
a more difficult path to get to B.

As you see it as a potential weakness,

-or maybe a sense of indecision, or--
-No. No, no, no, no.

I see it as actually a strength to say,

"Well, maybe I wanna dabble here,
here and here before I get here,

because I'll get there a more full B."

[James] What kind of pancreatic disease
causes intra-abdominal hemorrhage?

What kind of--

[James] Pancreatic disease.

-Pancreatic pseudocyst.

Could you then have done
a cholangiogram?

-[woman] We could've.
-What kind?

-What kind?
-[woman] What kind of cholangiogram?

Yeah, what kind of cholangiogram?

What percent of patients
with gallstone pancreatitis

have associated common duct stones?

[woman] I'm not entirely sure.
I don't know.

-[woman] Okay.

I think you've overstepped
your bounds a little bit.

[Sampliner] I never considered
following my father

into the surgical profession.

None of my siblings
went into medicine either.

Maybe we were all too aware
of the toll it took.

[Sampliner] Dad coming home
and yelling a lot and being really angry

had a, I think,
big effect on me growing up.

What was that experience like
for you as a kid?

Do you remember?

I think I noticed it growing up,
but I don't--

For some reason,
it never really bothered--

I mean, it bothered me in the sense that,
you know, it wasn't always pleasant.

And who wants to live in
a household with screaming?

But it didn't bother me in the sense that
it made me want to run from the house.

My response to him is
the most basic part of my personality.

I think by not trying to
have the kind of anger

and irrational rage that he had,

I successfully was able to, you know,

figure a way to keep it from coming out.

So, I have very good mechanisms for...

holding all that stuff in.

But by making sure
I was not him in that sort of way,

I left myself really compromised
with the ability to kind of...

um, deal with those emotions.

'Cause I was just great
at putting a lid on 'em.

[dog barking]

[James] I'm the only person
in the neighborhood

that the dog barks at.

[James chuckling]

You love it, Dave?

[Sampliner] If being a man
was being my father...

then I wanted nothing to do with manhood.

If he was aggressive,
I would be unthreatening.

If he was domineering,
I would be accommodating.

If he was competitive...

I would be the least competitive person
anyone knew.

[Lauren] If you've denied
your father's greatness in any way,

it's stopping you from your ambition.

Because if you went and got ambitious,
and you went after making a lot of money,

and you would, therefore,
have to go after the discipline

and the arrogance to make it happen...

he'd be right.

Right? And so that's blasphemy,

given you've already committed
to the other side,

called, "Ugh, fuck you,
I'm not doing that. You're wrong."

We've all cut major things out
to spite them,

but it only spites us.

[Sampliner] So, Pops...

[James] Yes, sir.

[Sampliner] I wanted to tell you
what my film was about.

[James chuckles]

Haven't you been wondering?

Uh, I have no idea, Dave.
I just don't ask questions. You know me.

I'm just a loyal subject.
I'm going for an Oscar.

What's your film about?

Well, my film, I believe,
is really about the two of us.

[James] Yeah?

And how we bonded
over a Rose of Sharon? [chuckling]

[Sampliner] We're both going through
big moments of transition.

I am trying to come into my manhood.

[James] And I'm leaving it.

Well, I wasn't gonna put it that way.

Well, it's not true, Dave.
Whatever you said, it's not true.

[Sampliner] So, tell me
what you think it's about, then.

Or what's happening with you?

[James] What's happening with me?

[Sampliner] Yeah.
What phase of life are you in?

[James] I'm in a good phase.

I'm in the phase of total pleasure

with no responsibility
except to myself and my family.

-It's great.
-[Sampliner] Yeah?

I don't worry about anything anymore.

And how do you see
your coming into a new era of life?

[Sampliner] I feel like becoming a father
is a pretty new era.

[James chuckling] That's right.
It's not only a pretty new era,

it's a pretty big change, isn't it?

[Sampliner] It's a huge change.

What was it like for you when
you made that step oh-so-many years ago?

Well, first of all, it was a surprise,
so that started things off.

[Sampliner] Yeah, you did it earlier
than you wanted to, right?

[James] Well, let's say
we hadn't planned on it.

-How's that?
-[Sampliner] Right.

So, how did it change your life?
When it happened?

It didn't change my life at all.
[chuckles] I just--

I was on every other night, regardless.

But you said you never changed a diaper,
so I guess maybe it-- [chuckles]

Well, I didn't like to do that,
that's why.

I could've, but I didn't.

I think it probably changed Mom's life
a lot more than it changed my life.

Well, do you feel like...

making those transitions
made you more of a man?

I never thought about it, Dave.
I really never did.

-[Sampliner] Yeah?
-We just--

In those days...

growing up the way I grew up,

with parents that said,

"You work and go to school,
and you do something."

I was, as they call today,
a straight arrow.

So I went from college
to medical school,

to internship, to residency, to practice.


you know,
when you go into surgery as an intern,

when you're, what, 26 years old
or something like that...

and you start cutting on people,

you don't think about growing up
and being a man.

You just-- You're there.

You don't have much time
to intellectualize what happens.

You just do it.

[woman] I usually try to find
the front part of the pelvic bone, here,

and then I just kind of lay my palms
down on this fleshy muscle back here.

[Sampliner] I hoped fatherhood
would somehow

bring me closer to my father.

It would give us a common experience.

But it was also pretty clear how little
our experiences would have in common.

-It's, like, the hipbones are here.

-So, it's like--
-Just pressing in...

-...under the front hipbone, like that?

Yeah, but let's ask her.

Like that?

Does that feel like it's opening
the cervix or whatever?

I think you're just--
Can you ask her?

-How's that?
-[Rachel] That's good.

-Is that different?
-Yeah, it's different,

'cause she's pushing on the muscle,
not the bone itself.


[Ian] No, I'm not sure
this is gonna happen.

-[woman] Yes, it is.
-[all laughing]

He's so big and it's so small.

[Sampliner] Ian and his wife
were taking the class, too,

since their son was due
just ahead of ours.

-[Ian] I don't like you anymore.

I love you. It's okay.

-I love you.
-The sex wasn't that good anyway.

[all laughing]

I hate your father.

He shouldn't have said that
at the wedding.

This is a mistake.

You're gonna be holding the baby soon.

-You're almost there.
-No, I'm not!

Yes, you are.

The baby's stuck!

Nat Sherman cigars.

The best.

[Sampliner] I came over to celebrate
the birth of Ian's son.

My son was almost here, too,
and I still felt like the same guy.

I wondered if it would take
becoming a father to change.


[Sampliner] Do you feel like
fatherhood changed you?



I'd say.

What we're dealing with as fathers,
as new parents...

is so much.

So much life. Joy.




And you can't deal with bullshit now,
'cause you're dealing with life.

And cigars, which never interested me
at all, at all, ever...

are now somewhat charming.

Better with the whiskey,
but somewhat charming.

[Sampliner] So, how do you think
you're different

than your dad in all this?

[Ian] My dad
was a firm believer in tough love.

And I'm a firm believer in...

with, at times, a bit of toughness.

But that's a big difference, actually.
It's a big difference.

[Sampliner] All right, this baby
could come any minute now,

so I'm just curious
how do you think my life is gonna change?

Change implies
some sort of percentage, you know?

Is it 10% of more change
or 30% change or...

But I think essentially
what happens is

your current life ends
and you begin an entirely new life.

[woman] Do you, David,
take Rachel to be your wife?

[Sampliner] I do.

[woman] I now pronounce you
husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride.


[Michael] A lot of those things that
you enjoy about your old life,

you kind of have to throw out
and start a whole new way of living.

You're not reassuring me, man.

Well, that depends on
how much you liked your past life.


[Sampliner] Ah,
"Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child."

[Michael] Every psychological thing that
you haven't dealt with will rear itself

because of this child.

And therefore, it becomes
some of the most challenging time,

and, of course, then also potentially
the most rewarding time of your life,

because, um, you could...
you actually could grow as a person.

[Penny] Hello?
[Rachel] Hi.


Guess what?

-You're a grandma.

Oh, my God!

[voice breaking]
He's so beautiful.

What's his name?

We're not 100% sure yet,
so you have to wait till tomorrow.

[Sampliner] Hmm.

[woman] They're there?

Yeah, we're just, uh...
we're just in love.

[Rachel] It's such a physical feeling,
isn't it? It's not mental.

It's like your heart just goes, like...

Yeah, it's not in your brain.

Hello, buddy.

I'm your dad.

For better and for worse, I'm your pops.


-Hi, Rach.

-How are you? Congratulations.
-Good. Thank you.

Here's your seventh grandchild.

[James] Oh, my God. It's huge!

Hey, baby.


-[Rachel] There you go.
-Isn't that a beautiful baby?

-[Betsy] Isn't he a gorgeous baby?
-Oh, my God.

-[Rachel] That's your grandpa.
-Better look out, David.

He's gonna be chasing the chicks early.

[Sampliner] Hi, there.

-So, you guys having a good time?
-[Rachel] You wanna hold him?

[James] Well, sure, if I'm allowed to.
[Sampliner] Yeah.

[James] I never wanna
usurp mother's territory.

No. Ready?

[Betsy] Watch out for his neck.

I know how to do it, Betsy.

-I've been there.
-[Betsy] I bet you do.

Hi, there.

How are you?

Got a little smile for me?

[baby crying]

[Sampliner] Did you poop again?

Buddy, you are a poop machine.

Okay. All right, my man.

-[baby crying]
-Could we get you to sleep a little bit?

Is that what you need?

Oh. [chuckles]

Is that a "no"?


[crying stops]

[Sampliner] Oh.

Okay, love, okay.

Can I sing you a little song?
Can I sing you a little song?


[singing] ♪ The house of the angels
was full today ♪

♪ But they made room for one more,
anyway ♪

♪ Gabriel ♪

♪ Gabriel ♪

♪ Gabriel ♪


[Sampliner] I never really doubted that
I could handle this part of fatherhood.

Wow, you're doing great, buddy.
You wanna come to Daddy?

In the early months,
being a softie was the job description.

Yeah, buddy, yeah.
You're doing great.

But eventually, I felt like
I would need to be more than a nurturer

to be his father.


[Sampliner] Oh.

[Rachel] So, babe, are you saying that
you don't wanna have a second kid?

Is that what you're saying?

[Sampliner] I'm not saying
I don't wanna have a second kid.

I'm saying that I don't think I can play
the same role with the second child

that I play with Gabriel.

Do you wanna have a second child?

[Rachel] I think I do.

I thought about how it's gonna
put strain on our relationship, maybe,

and the balance that
we've been able to strike, and my career.

But when I think about
the long-term spectrum of my life,

I feel like I would much more regret
not having another child than I would,

like, "Oh, I didn't edit this film."

[Sampliner] But I thought
you were so conflicted about it.

I thought you really were worried.

You're not quite established
in your career as you wanna be.

And if you have another child, you're
gonna just have to further postpone that.

Well, you know, the thing
that makes me worried about that

is more the way that you talk about it.

You know...

"I'm not gonna be there
in the way that I was with Gabriel."

So you, kind of,
put it all on my shoulders.

[Sampliner] But I feel like
you have the same dilemma I have.

I have the same dilemma.

For me, I guess, my priorities are about
having the family that I wanna have.

When I really look in my heart,

I just feel like
that comes to the surface more.

[Sampliner] I'm afraid that
having a second child

will somehow prevent me from
getting where I want to go in my career,

since I'm not where I wanna be yet.

Well, that's what I--
Why aren't you there already?

You know, what's prevented you so far?

I feel like that's an excuse,

to say that
another child will prevent you,

'cause you're 41.

Why haven't you gotten there already?

[Ian] One of the lessons I've learnt,
being a man now without a father,

is that I'm the father now.

There's nobody to look to
to find out if I'm right or if I'm wrong.

And that brings
a lot of power to your life.

Before, when my dad was still with us,
I was always looking.

"Who am I in relationship to him?

Am I making him proud?"

And... I'm cool with him,
he's cool with me.

And I'm playing my own game.

Everything in life is about
making your own way.

That's what it's about.

And if you can,
then it changes everything, if you can.

It changes your dynamic with your spouse.
It changes your dynamic at work.

It changes everything,

if you're not looking
outside of yourself for approval.

I miss my father very much.
I love my father very much.

And we're unveiling his tombstone
on Sunday.

But there's a positive as well
to losing a parent.

Especially if you can make the peace,
as I did with my dad.

'Cause there was peace that needed
to be made, and it was made.

Now in regards to your dad, you know...
this is what I would say, like...

make sure your last memories of him
are clean.

'Cause it'll help a lot.

Because I have to think back to stuff

that is troublesome
between my father and myself.

Because that's not what's directly here.

What's directly here is

the last four months
of our lives together.

He looked at me in the last couple of days
of his life and he said,

"Of all three of my sons,

you could have been the biggest screw-up
and you're not."

And that was kind of a big moment...
because now...

I'm not... to him.

[Sampliner] It's interesting,
you got your father's blessing

and I'm not sure I've gotten mine.

I don't know that I will.


Get it.

[Sampliner] All right, take me there, Dad.
Let's go.

Here, why don't we just
put the umbrella down? Seriously.

Take it with-- I need it.

You don't need it. It's hardly raining.
It's in the way.

[Sampliner] All right.

If this equipment stops working
'cause of the rain,

you know who's gonna get blamed.

[James] Yeah, you.

You picked a bad day.

So how often do you go out here, Dad?

[James] Twice a year.

[Sampliner] Yeah?
[James] Yeah.

And how come?

To make sure the stones are intact
and everything's kept up,

and respect for my deceased parents.


And tell me what you do out here
when you're out here.

I drive by and make sure everything's okay
and I leave.

-You never get out of your car?

It's an honor that you give
to your parents if you're able to,

and I'm still able to.

And probably an honor
no one will give to me.

-You don't think we'll show up?
-I doubt it.

Maybe for the event...
[chuckling] but not thereafter.

What did you respect about him?

[James] He was hardworking,
he was dedicated to his profession

and dedicated to
seeing his children succeed.

Did you feel close to your dad?


He was a difficult person
to get close to.

-In what way?
-Every way. He was cold.

He was rigid.

At times, he was nasty...

to his wife and to his children.

[Sampliner] Do you feel like
you held grudges against him

the way I've held grudges against you?

[James] No, I don't hold grudges
like you do.

Are you saying
you hold a grudge against me?

I didn't say that.

-You implied it.
-No, I didn't imply that.

I said if I was a grudge-holder, I could.

[Sampliner] So if you could hold a grudge
against me, what would it be?

[James] 'Cause you're
so tough on me, baby.

[Sampliner] I've always thought of Dad
as the classic macho man.

Is that how you view him,
or do you see him differently than that?

I think that's very definitely the way
he saw himself for a very long time.

But during his retirement years,

I think that he has become
a very different person.

He wouldn't recognize it, but I think
he's changed his vision of himself

because he's much more of a helpmate now
than he ever saw himself as being.

You think he's less
the macho man than he was?


No, I think that it's the role
around the house that's changed.

I don't think
he's less the macho man at all.

No, I think that part of him
is still very much the same.

What quality of his
attracted you to him the most?

Tremendous inner vitality
and a zest for life.

He's just a very, very fun person
to be with and I--

That struck me from
the very first day I met him,

and it has continued through to today.

And I often joke that if he ever grew up,
I'd leave him.

I see a very different person than
he shows to the rest of the world.

[Sampliner] What do you see that
we don't get to see?

The inner vulnerable side of him
that he doesn't ever show to the world.

He's very open with me.

And I've always said that I think
I know him better than he knows himself.

-Hop on, baby girl.
-Getting on.

"Getting on."

All set.

-You ready?
-All ready.

-We're off.
-We're off.

Here we go.

[Sampliner] With Dad, I see him as
somebody whose close friend is you

and I don't see him spending time
with anybody else, really, alone.

[Betsy] I think it's very interesting that
you should point that out.

I know he would really, really love

to have the kind of friendship
that women have.

Just get together with people
he really enjoys and talking to them.

But it's not really that open to him.

And I think it's a shame.

'Cause I know
he would really, really love it.

[Sampliner] Why do you say
it's not open to Dad?

Because that's just not what guys do.

[Sampliner] But you say it as if
Dad couldn't decide to call someone up

and say, "Hey,
let's go have coffee."

You know what, the point is he has,
and the thing is that--

And then they had a nice time,
but then it's not reciprocated.

-[Sampliner] Mmm-hmm.
-Because the people that he really enjoys,

that he enjoys
just having lunch with or talking to

are the same guys that are still jocks,

and they have their friendships
by doing something.

I never would've guessed that

that was something
Dad really wishes he had, even--

And I think he's very much...

He would be a great friend.

And I just think it's just a real shame
that he doesn't have it.

And I know he misses it.

[Sampliner] I had an easier time relating
to this guy my mom was describing...

the guy who had feelings.

But that wasn't the man that
I remember growing up with.

[Sampliner] One big thing I remember about
growing up in the household

that was hard for me was...

your anger.

There was just a lot of yelling
in the household.

And as a kid, I didn't understand

what it meant, where it came from,
what it was about.

And so I wanted to understand that better.

I can't help you with it
'cause I don't remember it.

And I'm not doing that as a cop out,
I just don't.

It may have existed.

It may have existed dominantly
in your life.

It clearly did because
you reflect on it frequently.

But I, honestly...

If you said to me,
"What would you have done differently?"

I don't know because I don't remember...

not only specifics,
I don't even remember the gross picture.

Why that is, I have absolutely no idea.

I remember very happy times.

I don't remember bad times.

I'm sure they had to exist...
especially in your mind.

[Sampliner] Sometimes
when I think about it, I go,

"Well, Dad seemed like
he brought all this anger home.

Maybe it came from
being at a very intense job."

I would tell you that,

if I were playing Major League Baseball

and I hit .350 for my career,
I would be in the Hall of Fame.

And in my profession,
if I hit .350, I'd be in jail.

It's a profession, by choice,

where you had to be
as close to perfect as you could be.

And that was my work.

And if I were truth,

I'm sure I carried some of that home
at some times

because... there was no way to escape it.

I didn't like the sound
of my dad being out loud.

[man] Okay.

And, uh... but I think...

I let my dislike of that rule me.

[Sampliner] Ever since getting initiated
during the Warrior weekend in the woods,

I met with my men's group
every other week.

We practiced
what you might call unlicensed therapy.

[man 1] And we're going to use drama.
This is our stage for the night.

This is your space to live out

whatever part of your story
you'd like to... and are called to.

Would you show Will
how to hold the energy?

So I can see what Dad looks like.

-Can you do it?

[man 2] What did Dad sound like?

The energy's just like this blind rage.

-Yeah, playing the blame game.

[man 3] Channel it.

-This is your time. This is your space.

-Close your eyes.

[man 3] This is your space, man.

And take a deep breath.

[inhales deeply]

May I touch you?

Breathe right here.
Breathe right down to there.

-Breathe it. Take it in.

-One more. Just one more.

One more. Right there.

Give him the message,
with your eyes closed.

-Just give him the message.
-God damn it!

-[man 2] Go ahead.
-God damn it!

[man 3] That's it. That's the message.

[shouting] God damn it!

God damn it!

-[man 2] Yeah.
-Okay, yeah.

Okay, when you're ready,

I'd like you to come out here
and switch and just watch this play.

Good job, David.
Stay with it.

Now, let me see.
All right, yeah.

Okay, yeah, so "God damn it,"

and then respond with
your line of, "I've got to please."

-Yeah, "I'm here to please you."

-"I want you to be happy."

And go ahead, play.

[yelling] God damn it! Damn it!
God damn it!

[man 3] I'm here for you and not me.

God damn it!

-[man 3] I'm here for--
-Okay, freeze. Freeze.

-Is this accurate?

It is, okay.

And you walked in as a man right now

into this living room
and you saw this going down,

what would you want to do
if this was somebody else?

Yeah, I'd want somebody to say, "Stop."

[man 1] So this is your chance as a man
to come into the scene

and put it right.

God damn it!

I want to make you feel good.

God damn it!

-I'm here with you.
-God damn it!

-God damn it!
-I'm your son.

-I'm your son.
-God damn it!

God damn it!

Stop yelling.
I'm your son.

God damn it!

[man 4] I'm afraid.

-Stop yelling. I'm your son.
-God damn it!

-Stop yelling. I'm your son!
-God damn it! God damn it!

Stop yelling! I'm your son!

-God damn it!


God damn it!

God damn it!

-Stop yelling. I'm your son.
-God damn it!

[grunts] God damn it!

-Stop yelling. I'm your son.
-God damn it!

God damn it!


Did you have a good sleep?
Did you have a good sleep?


-So I wrote this letter to my dad.
-[Lauren] Yeah.

[Sampliner] So here it is.

Excellent. Oh, it's long.

[Sampliner] Can you just tell me
what it's gonna do?

It has less to do with your father

than it does to do with you
growing yourself up.

You finally can grow up and go,

"Oh, Dad, sorry about this, this and this,

and I never asked you about that."

That's you being a great man, right?

You don't know how it will feel.

And trust me, you're assuming
your dad is gonna stick it to you.

-Right, if you tell--
-I'm worried he'll stick it to me

and he won't want to take responsibility
for his part of it,

-and I think that's the part that I feel--

But isn't that the very thing
you're doing? Right?

I'm having you stick it to yourself
and take full responsibility for yourself,

and you're like,
"But if I do that, will he?"

And then the question is,
"Why do you care?"

Like, "Oh, I'm not gonna do it on my end
because he might not do it on his"?

Why don't you--
What normally happens in a relationship is

if you take responsibility for something
and you really see it,

it actually creates...

the space for the other person
to do the exact same thing.

[Sampliner] "Dear Dad...

I've never written a letter
like this before.

I have never taken responsibility..."

[James] "for my part in our relationship.

I've only blamed you for
the ways you treated me."


[Sampliner] "I'm writing you this
because I want to be able to

lay down the baggage
[voice breaking] I carry from our past.

I also want to move forward in my life
in ways I haven't yet allowed myself to.

And I believe that part of
what holds me back

is all the things
I hold onto about the past."

[James] "I take responsibility for how

not telling you my feelings
has diminished our relationship

and prevented me from
feeling close to you."

[Sampliner] "Rather than
share with you my feelings,

I kept them to myself,
blamed you and judged you.

I have blamed you for
the parts of myself I don't like...

the person who is scared to take risks...

the person who abandons things
before they are finished."


[voice breaking]
"I have blamed you--"

Ah... [sniffles]

"I have blamed you for not achieving
the things I've wanted to achieve

and not having the things
I've wanted to have in my life.

I have blamed you for my own failure
to have the courage to be myself."

[Sampliner sighs]

"This letter is the beginning

of what I mean by wanting to have
an honest and real relationship with you.

I don't believe that
it's too late or beyond our reach.

Can we start now?

I love you, Dad."

[clears throat]

[James] That's a beautiful letter.

[Sampliner] I want you to tell me
what it was like

having me read the letter to you?

It felt like
David was finally coming home.

[Sampliner] So what does that mean to you?

It means everything.

If I made mistakes, I'm sorry for them.

What do I want from you?

And all I can say is just be you.

[trainer] One more, one more.

Seven. Nice!
Stay back. Keep that tight.

[Sampliner] I recently started
a new exercise routine.

I go to this gym
where the guy factor is fairly high.

But I don't feel entirely out of place.

[trainer] Go, go, go and time.
Next station, guys, come on.

I started going because of Gabriel.

He'd learned about Mount Everest...

and I promised him we'd hike up
to base camp together one day.

I realized that we'd have to
probably wait until he was 18,

which meant I would be almost 60.

At 43, it doesn't seem
too early to start training.


[Rachel] So, Mommy and Daddy
want to tell you something.


Well, in a few months,
right after your birthday,

you are gonna have
a baby brother or a baby sister.

[gasps] Oh, yeah.

-[Rachel laughs]

[Rachel] Do you know what that means?

[Gabriel] What?

[Rachel] We're gonna have another baby
in our family.


[Sampliner] I look at my son
and I try to imagine

the man he's going to be.

[Sampliner] You know what you can do is,
go in front of the camera

and I'll turn this towards you,
so you can see yourself.



[laughing excitedly]

Yeah. That's you.

[Sampliner] Sometimes I feel like
I get glimpses.

[Gabriel] Now I want to film you.

[Sampliner] Let's see.

Daddy will go right here.

Whoa. Oh.

[Gabriel] But I would really like you
to sit right on my bed.

All right, you have to turn the camera
so it faces me on the bed.

-You got me?
-Yeah, I got you.

You got me, bud.
That's great.

-You know what I'm gonna do?

I'm gonna film you filming me.

-But you--

[Sampliner] In some ways,
he'll be like me.

You might have to, um...

[Sampliner] And in some ways, he won't.

-...put that away.
-[Sampliner] Okay.

Put that away so you can...

[Sampliner] Both things are okay with me.

-Can you talk into this?
-[tapping mic]

-Want me to talk into that?

Sure. I love Gabriel.

And can you say something else?

I am...

very proud of Gabriel

because this is the first time
he's filming me with my camera.

Don't talk anymore.
If you talk anymore...

-Yeah.'ll break.

-If I talk anymore, the camera will break?
-Yeah, so--

That might be true.

[Gabriel] Oh, he's looking at me.
[Sampliner] Gabriel is excited. I know.

Mommy, he's looking at me.

He's looking at you.
He is totally looking at you.

[Gabriel] I think he needs
a diaper change.

[Rachel] You think so?

-[James] You want to change it?

I don't know how to change diapers.

[all laughing]

[Betsy] You know what?

I've heard that from a lot of men.

[all laughing]