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“My Father’s Day Movie Tribute” to my father

June 21, 2015

It’s Father’s Day.  So I thought I’d share some of my fondest movie experiences that I had with my father.  Some kids write cards.  I write movies articles…

Total Recall (1990). Okay, I know. Not a very “father’s day” sort of movie.  But let me explain…

I would spend several weeks with my father in Florida every summer in my youth.  It was mid-June in 1990 and I was 9 ½ years old when my father decided to take me to see Total Recall.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…it was 1990, before the internet and mainstream swearing on TV desensitized children, I was not even 10, so what was my dad thinking taking me to see this?  In his defense, the summer before we went to New York and I saw Evil Dead 2 (1987) with my uncles and I had already seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988) with another uncle.  I loved both!  So it was safe to say I was fine with on-screen violence and blood.

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Anyway, my dad took me to see a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a three-breasted woman, aliens, lots of killing, the grossest Siamese twin ever, Sharon Stone and the best Arnold spazz-out scene ever (when he’s dying in the atmosphere of Mars).  I remain eternally grateful as this likely had an impact on making a movie nerd out of me.

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As if that wasn’t enough, as we were exiting the theater we encountered my Godfather and his wife and son (who was 12 or 13 at the time).  They, too, were on their way to see Total Recall as we were on our way out.  So…we snuck in and watched it AGAIN.

So I got a double dose of polymastic aliens, screaming Arnold, wrestling Sharon Stone and Kuato the slimy creepy beer gut alien doing a palm reading.

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Best summer ever with the best dad ever. LOL.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

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A great flick for loads of random laughs.  If you haven’t seen Steve Martin play Ruprict the monkey boy then you’ve missed out!  I’d say this is Martin at his best and Caine at his standard greatness.

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The humor holds up for me, even decades later.  But even funnier is watching my father’s elated reactions to the movie.  He laughs before the funny things even happen sometimes.

Love Actually (2003).

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This movie really affected me. I was 22 and I thought I’d be single for life…and then this movie infused a sense of longing into my bloodstream.  So many great actors in such likable roles finding love in unexpected places, rediscovering love and humility, or recognizing how they have wronged each other (and then trying to make up for it).

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And The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes is in it!!!!  Pre-zompocalypse, of course–no beard.

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This was the movie that got me to like Hugh Grant (and all his movies) and to value Alan Rickman for more than his villainous Hans Gruber.  The cameos were numerous (Shannon Elizabeth, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert) and the Martin Freeman’s before-he-was-famous story was so sincere while comically masked in nudity.

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This looks inappropriate.  However, these scenes are actually quite sweet, featuring a kind and soft spoken Martin Freeman making small talk with his crush and eventually asking her out.

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And how about Hugh Grant’s adorable dance scene:

I saw this film four times in theaters.  Once by myself, twice with friends, and a fourth time with my dad.  Why?  Well, I loved the movie soooo much (one of my favorites, really) and I wanted the people closest in my life to see it—even if that meant seeing it four times in a month!

I love horror, gore, action, explosion, effects and biceps…yet I also felt touched by this movie.  Give it a shot.  Maybe watch it with your father.

Car Wash (1976) is one of those zany movies that works better when you are of the age to have seen it right when it came out. I’d say the same for the Cheech and Chong movies.

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Featuring Richard Pryor and George Carlin, two of the dirtiest mouths of their time.  Love them.

When I visit my father he may suggest watching one of these (since I bought them all for him) and often it’s only as a last resort that I succumb.  These flicks are my dad’s guilty pleasure.  Car Wash especially.

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A River Runs Through It (1992)

Touching moments of brotherhood, fatherhood, family and a simpler time…This one makes me miss my family, especially my father, but only in the best of ways.  Since I live over 1000 miles away from them it’s very much as if I am on a desert island.  Robert Redford’s direction and wisely prosaic narration spin a soothing tale rich with quote-worthy lines.

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This movie exudes beauty both emotionally and in its cinematography.  Not to mention great performances by Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, and perhaps Craig Scheffer’s best performance ever.

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I only watch this movie with my father, and only about once every few years.  But if he asked, I’d watch it with him every day.  Were I to find myself the last man on Earth with only one film to keep me company and the memories of watching it with my father, I’d never feel alone.  Not for a moment.  I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.

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