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Image / Living / Culture

7 brilliant film gems worth watching with dad on Father’s Day


by Jennifer McShane
19th Jun 2021
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Everyone has at least one thing they and their dad bond over.

For my dad and I, it has always been movies. Some of my earliest memories are flickers of films that he constantly played on the TV – and then their accompanying soundtracks at full blast on a Saturday morning (so that’ll be where my love of Pulp Fiction came from). It’s something we still share today

Looking, back I wonder if he knew that the films would give me my own form of escapism since, thanks to the Cerebral Palsy (CP), I couldn’t exactly run around like the other kids, or if he simply wanted to pass the joy he got from them on to me. Either way, I’m grateful. Through my dad, films opened a new world to me, and eventually, I didn’t care if I could run around like the others because I had them instead.

My ever-growing film collection helped shaped me, how I saw the world and made an unexplainable difference to my life, particularly when things got tough. And even when we watch a favourite together now and it’s different because I’m grown up, and he’s getting older – and both of us get caught up in the nostalgia of when we watched it together for the first time – it remains our ‘Thing,’ an unforgettable film that brings us closer together.

Below are seven worth watching with your dad this Father’s Day.

And to my own, for (so many) movies and happy memories, thank you, dad.

Pulp Fiction

I’m starting with this one because, trust me, your dad is going to love it if he hasn’t seen it, and if he has, you can both quote the dialogue together. What can be said about what is possibly the most quotable film of all time? The Royale with Cheese, Jack Rabbit Slims (and that twisting from John Travolta and Uma Thurman), the killer soundtrack; Pulp Fiction was made for re-watching.

It’s timeless, Tarantino at his best, but remember to watch it right until the end. It’s non-linear structure ties all the characters to each other, and each has its own story to tell. Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson and Amanda Plummer also provide the film with some of its (many) brilliant moments.

Groundhog Day

Bill Murray is at his best as the cynical Phil Connors, who finds himself living Groundhog Day over and over again (trivia: he apparently re-lives the same day for almost ten years) until his change into a better person breaks the cycle. The entire cast is brilliant (including Andie MacDowell), and the dialogue and brilliant one-liners are second to none. You’ll laugh out loud at something in every scene. Myself and dad watch this at least once a year, and we never tire of it.

Brassed Off

Every so often I stumble upon a gem of a film, one that would have slipped by me had it not been for the influence of another person, who was usually always my dad. And so Brassed Off was watched on repeat. This one still viewing gold over 20 years after its release. Set in a village in Northan England Danny (Pete Postlethwaite in one of his best roles), the conductor of a colliery brass band, has difficulty maintaining the morale of his musicians when the economic future of the area is threatened by the possibility that the local coal mine will be closed.

Times are tough, and the residents come together for their last hurrah at a national competition. It’s heart-wrenching, moving and so, so wonderful. They don’t make movies like it anymore.

Thelma & Louise

Thank you, dad, for introducing me to my first-ever feminist film. Exhilarating, fiercely liberating and bold for its time, Thelma And Louise told the story of two put-upon women who embark on a getaway road trip, after Louise (Susan Sarandon) shoots a man who tried to rape her friend Thelma (Geena Davis).

It’s an event that forever changes the course of their lives, and it makes for a fantastic and action-packed film. Composer Hans Zimmer did a remarkable job on the soundtrack, and that combined with the excellent script and acting make this one of Ridley Scott’s best films. Look out for a baby-faced Brad Pitt and Michael Madson who looks like Elvis’s younger brother.

Blade Runner

My introduction to science fiction movies all began with Blade Runner, something else my dad can take the credit for. The film is set in a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants (visually indistinguishable from adult humans), are manufactured for dangerous work on off-world colonies. They are banned on Earth. The plot focuses on a group of recently escaped replicants led by Roy Batty (played by a career-defining Rutger Hauer), who returns to Earth wanting an extension on his life – typically a replicant has a lifespan of around only four years before they are killed or “retired” by a special team of police known as Blade Runners.

Burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down. A near-perfect film, frequently cited as one of the best science fiction movies of all time, this is one you’ll never tire of watching together. Be sure to watch the official final director’s cut – the 25th anniversary digitally remastered version – which is the only one on which director Ridley Scott had complete artistic freedom as this is how Scott intended it to be seen. Trivia: It is no longer set in the future as the events took place in 2019.

Aliens

The second film in the Alien series is on par with the original film, but James Cameron cranked the action up a notch in his Aliens sequel by placing Ellen Ripley (the formidable Sigourney Weaver) in the centre of the action with a group of Marines sent to investigate a colony her employers have lost contact with.

Ripley was found drifting through space in hypersleep 57 years after she was forced to destroy her ship, the USCSS Nostromo after, as we know, an alien came aboard and killed her entire crew. The colony is where Ripley and her team first discovered the Alien eggs. Aliens starts slow but once the creatures appear, you’ll be too scared to look away.

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