My daughter noted to me that there were a number of WWII movies on cable today, probably because that’s the TV industry’s idea of what Dads want. I like me a good WWII flick, but I think that having recently dragged out all the good ones for Memorial Day, the programmers were sort of scraping the bottom of the barrel today. The first one I ran across was the execrable “Pearl Harbor,” for instance. Boy I had really looked forward to that one, based on the preview where you see the kids playing baseball (an odd thing to be doing at 7:55 a.m. on a Sunday, but whatever) and the Japanese planes flying by at eye level. And it was visually impressive. Sort of the way “Top Gun” was visually impressive at the time. But even less well-written. And with Ben Affleck.
I saw that TCM was showing “Father of the Bride” (the Spencer Tracy version) which is the opposite end of the spectrum of TV’s concept of Dads and their tastes. I think that particular classic is more entertaining to daughters and mothers than to Dads, though. I mean, Dad looks like an affectionate idiot, right? Now, I see, “A Few Good Men” is showing. Well, that’s a good flick, no doubt. But who is Dad? Jack Nicholson? Not a flattering picture… Oh, wait, doesn’t Tom Cruise have kind of a father issue in that? But it’s kind of backstory.
So I got to thinking: What WOULD be a good “Father’s Day movie?”
Well… Dads would enjoy “Tin Cup,” which was on today on TCM. Although it doesn’t actually have a fatherhood theme. Speaking of Kevin Costner, there’s always “Field of Dreams” — that certainly has a Dad theme (“Hey… Dad?… You wanna have a catch?” And everyone tears up.)
Speaking of WWII movies, I did record “Saving Private Ryan” on Memorial Day weekend, and watched it again a few days ago. Not exactly about fatherhood, but Capt. Miller does have a sort of model fatherly relationship with Ryan, and with his own men.
On the lighter side, “Overboard,” which TCM showed, is the sort of romantic comedy guys tend to enjoy, and the central character is a Dad, desperate for a Mom for his kids. Really desperate.
OK, it’s not a movie, but how about a “Sopranos” marathon? That’s definitely about being a Dad — and the “head of a family.” Of course, the kids can’t watch it with you. So let me see if I can come up with some better stuff:
- “Raising Arizona.” ‘Nuff said.
- “The Natural”… “”My Dad always wanted me to be a baseball player…”
- “The Paper,” with Michael Keaton. A newspaper editor (whom I really identified with my younger self), struggling with balancing work and familial responsibilities in the 24 hours before his child is born.
- “The Wind and the Lion.” The Raisuli becomes a surrogate Dad to the Pedicaris boy.
- “Tender Mercies.” Awesome portrait of a failed Dad, trying to become a good stepdad.
- “Life is Beautiful.” This should probably top the list.
- “Mr. Mom.” Which the whole family can enjoy.
- “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Why must it only show at Christmas time?
- “Hoosiers.” Surrogate-Dad stuff again.
- “A Man for All Seasons.” An exemplary Dad and a saint.
- “A River Runs Through It.” Very strong Dad figure in that one — little good it did the Brad Pitt character.
- “Gran Torino.” Yeah, he’s a dysfunctional Dad, but… the plot’s about him making up for that with the Hmong kid.
- “Air Force One.” A Dad who’s the president, and can kick bad guy butt!
- “Say Anything.” Dad turns out to be a crook, but it’s still a strong father-daughter relationship.
That’s a good start for the networks for next year, don’t you think? Have anything to add?