Father's Day Films
The arrival of
Father's Day is often preceded with a deluge of flyers advertising fishing
tackle, camping gear and power tools. If you are game for hours in a boat,
wilderness survival, or helping out with those household renovations, then these
suggestions may be perfect for celebrating this special occasion.
In our home
however, no one (including Dad) wants to kill a cute little fish, travel too far
away from a flush toilet, or dig into any of those fixer-upper projects (I think
I'm a better handyman than he is anyway). So we look for a quieter, gentler
approach to showing our appreciation: We watch movies together!
Just in case any of
the rest of you might also appreciate this kind of activity, may I recommend the
following titles, which explore the many facets of fatherhood.
Daughters have a
special ability to charm their way into a father's heart. Such is the case with
a youngster that talks her Dad into rescuing an injured horse in
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story. Others who are obviously the "apple
of their father's eye" include Nim (from
Nim's Island) and Meggie (of
Inkheart), the little girls of two men who have lost their wives.
Even a big, tough football player can't stop his
Game Plan from being totally turned around by the arrival of something
"pretty in pink".
Some fathers are
blessed with all daughters! At least, that's the way Tevye describes his plight
as the parent of five females in
Fiddler on the Roof. More
contemporary dads face challenges with their girls in
Dan in Real Life (a widower walking his brood through the maze of
Grace is Gone (where a dad searches for away to break the unbearable
news of his wife's death to their two daughters).
For many fathers,
the hardest thing they will ever do is to give their daughters away in marriage.
First of all, no man ever seems good enough (Guess
Who's Coming to Dinner), and then there is the cost of the nuptials (Father
of the Bride).
Not all children
understand their fathers. Bridging the generation gap gets some help from the
animal kingdom in
Fly Away Home (about a young girl who bonds more easily with a gaggle of
abandoned geese than her estranged dad), and
Because of Winn Dixie (the tale of a stray dog, a neglected child and a
grieving father). Sometimes the communication problems lie in the fierce love of
over-protective parents, as seen in
Flicka (where a teen and a wild horse feel this constraint may break
A clash of wills
occurs between a father and son in
October Sky, because one has rocket dreams, while the other has his feet
firmly planted in the more practical career aspirations of coalmining. Another
boy and his dad work out their differences by building a project together in
Kart Racer. Expectations can also take a toll on relationships, as in
The Lion King (where a son fears disappointing his father) and
Resurrecting the Champ (where a father fears disappointing his son).
of providing for their families isn't always an easy task. The time he's spent
away from home while earning a living leaves a suddenly unemployed father
needing to reconnect with himself, his wife and his son in
On A Clear Day. A comical look at the midlife crisis of a dad who has
been working at a job he hates is found in
A Pillar of
When it comes to
having someone to lean on, dads are great! A father does all he can to provide
food and shelter for his child in
The Pursuit of Happyness, despite severe financial difficulties.
To protect his son from the horrors of the holocaust, an optimistic and
imaginative Jewish papa pretends it's all a game and that
Life is Beautiful. In the classic
To Kill a Mockingbird, a father stands firm and teaches his children all
men should be treated equally even though prejudiced surrounds them.
Some children don't
have a dad in their lives. Fortunately, there are men willing to step into this
position for children who are not their own. Fatherless boys find good role
models in a schoolteacher (Pay
it Forward), an eccentric neighbor (Hearts
in Atlantis) and some aging relatives (Secondhand
Whether you're a
sportsman, an avid camper, a wonderful woodworker or a couch-dwelling movie man
(like the one I married), I wish all dads everywhere a Happy Father's Day. As
the many stories put to film show, you do an awful lot for all of us. We
couldn't (and wouldn't want to) do it without you.
Besides writing this column for the Parents Television Council, Rod Gustafson authors Parent Previews® - a newspaper and Internet column (published in association with movies.com) that reviews movies from a parent's perspective. He's also the film critic for a major Canadian TV station, various radio stations and serves on the executive of the Alberta Association for Media Awareness. Finally, his most important role is being the father to four wonderful children and husband to his beautiful wife (and co-worker) Donna.
and the Media by Rod Gustafson
Television Council -
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