Movies for the Dads
Well with Father's Day just passing us by Dads everywhere will be getting back into the swing of things after enjoying a day of pampering, or at least hiding in the garage. Dads are strange, they seem to have an unusual taste in jumpers, socks, music and movies. Even stranger is that the more years I put on, the more I start to agree with my Dad's taste!
My aging taste aside, my Father does like his movies, and he has a quite large collection of films on videotape as well as DVD. From old war films to new Sci-Fi, he's quite a movies fan. So as part of Father's Day I asked him what his favourite movies were, and why he liked them.
The question is what films are your Dad's favourite and why, or what did you buy him for this Father's Day for him to watch, and why do you think he'll like it?
So it's over to my Dad.
Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. A story set in the 1950's of a bachelor of advanced years who meets up with an American woman who subsequently divorces her husband. Initially they have a marriage of convenience to allow her to stay in the UK, but when she develops terminal cancer, he realises that he loves her [Sorry Dad, I've removed some for possible other spoilers - Richard]. I enjoy Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of C S Lewis (writer and Professor at Cambridge) whose life is turned around and Debra Winger's portrayal of the American. I have to confess that I am also attracted to this film by the fact that the railway station scenes were filmed at my home town of Loughborough in the Midlands of England, a station I knew well when it was still used by mainline trains, and later in life when it became a part of the preserved steam railway, the Great Central Railway.
The Hunt for Red October. Sean Connery who plays the part of Captain Ramius in this film is not really an actor for whom I have a great liking, but in this film, I felt that he was well suited to the part and played it well. The plot is set in the Cold War, and apart from some inaccuracy from a technical point of view it is a good thriller. Alec Baldwin is well cast as Jack Ryan - other films based on Tom Clancy's novels were made poorer by his not playing Jack Ryan.
Battle of Britain. A great favourite of mine. Having experienced the latter part of the War, although still a young child, I am conscious of the massive debt we owe to those who lost their lives. The casting of this film was well done, and if one watches carefully, one sees a much younger "Fred Elliot" from Coronation Street as an RAF Officer! Years ago, when both my sons were still at home, I took great delight in playing the stirring music from the film at loud volume, which perhaps caused them to leave the family nest hurriedly! [He still does, sometimes down the phone line! However I must admit it is good music, but not as good as the Dam Busters theme, Dad I thought you would have had this one in too! - Richard]
The Railway Children (1970). A story set in Yorkshire of a family displaced there in poor circumstances when the father was wrongly accused of selling secrets. Perhaps the minus aspect of this film is the occasional attempt to inject humour into what is a sad but in the end a happy film. I have watched the recent re-make of this film, but in my opinion, it was not as good.
The 39 Steps. I have three versions of this. The first is the 1935 black and white Alfred Hitchcock version starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. Although I always considered Robert Donat to be a poor actor, I enjoyed his performance in this film. The second version is the 1959 one starring Kenneth More, again an enjoyable film, although not quite as faithful to John Buchan's original plot and time. The third version is a video recording from the TV starring Robert Powell. I am not so keen on him as an actor, but this one (again an Alfred Hitchcock film) tried to be true to the original plot and time period. [I hate to tell you Dad, they are working on another version, luckily this is going nowhere at the moment - Richard]
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Having been a fan of the original Star Trek series on TV, I never took to the later series. This film has the original cast, and I like it particularly because it has an environmentally conscious plot. In this film, instead of facing alien creatures from other planets, Captain Kirk and his crew were faced with the task of returning to Earth three centuries earlier than their current time. The environmental aspect of this film is that before the 23rd century, whales had been wiped out by whaling, and to save Earth, they had to retrieve two whales and bring them back to the 23rd century.
So those are my Dad's choices, films he really loves and watches again and again, and I can attest to that. Personally I find that Star Trek film one of the worst in the series, and as my taste changes in life I hope that this is one thing that doesn't!
So go and ask your Dad, if you're a Dad yourself you won't have to, what films does he really love and why? It'll be interesting to see if we find a common theme running through the older Fathers out there, and hopefully it will bring some surprises out. I wonder, if you did buy him a movie, did he like it?