Movies with Dad
Over at the film blog In Contention, Kristopher Tapley writes about his father’s favorite films in honor of Father’s Day. (You can read about it here.)
This got me thinking about the movies I’ve seen with my father. My dad and I tend to spend more time arguing about movies than actually watching them together — he claims I make snap judgments and derisive comments about his tastes, while I believe I was correct in my assessment that “Meek’s Cutoff” might be a little too artsy for him — but we have had a few good movie-watching experiences.
* My dad loves westerns, and I watched Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film “Unforgiven” with him during my college years. “See how the tension just builds and builds?” he said. My dad often falls asleep during movies (he reacted poorly the other night when I suggested he move his movie start time up to 9 p.m.), but never during westerns. I think I also watched “The Wild Bunch” with him around this time.
* One Thanksgiving my dad decided that a good family activity would be a screening of the 2005 comedy “Dodgeball.” We trooped off to the theater to see this film, which was just as hilarious as we’d all hoped it would be. It also spawned one of our favorite movie lines of all time: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”
* My dad is a huge fan of Indiana Jones, but the only Indiana Jones film I’ve watched with him was “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” He did vote to name our cat Indy, but cooler heads prevailed.
* My parents were pretty strict about letting me watch certain movies when I was young, even debating whether I should see “E.T.” because of some bad language. However, by the time I was in middle school they lost interest in policing my movie watching so aggressively, and I got to watch “A Fish Called Wanda” with them, even though it’s rated R. I credit this decision with helping nurture my love of demented and wacky films.
* My favorite movie-watching memory with dad occurred during my freshman or sophomore year of high school, when my mother went out of town. “I think we should watch ‘Dawn of the Dead,’” he said.
“Whoa,” I said. “Isn’t that a horror movie?” Today I consider myself a fan of the horror genre, but back then I’d never seen a horror movie before, with the exception of a few random scenes from “Friday the 13th.”
“It’s not really a horror movie,” my dad said. “It’s more of a satire. Really, it’s about consumerism.”
This sounded intriguing, and I agreed to watch the film. I soon discovered that my dad had not been completely honest: “Dawn of the Dead” is a horror film, featuring numerous scenes of hideous zombies tearing the flesh off people and eating them. But it is also funny and scathing, which is largely due to its setting: a suburban shopping mall.
Like my dad, I count “Dawn of the Dead” as one of my favorite movies. I don’t know what we’ll see next, but I did offer to go to “Prometheus” with him in July, if it’s still playing. In the meantime, I’m sure we’ll continue arguing about movies on the phone, which is almost as much fun.
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