If you’re thinking of taking Dad to the movies this Father’s Day, try to pick a movie he’ll enjoy (hint: save the “chick flicks” for another time). There are a number of movies out that Dad would enjoy seeing and that will appeal to most of the family too.
Million Dollar Arm
Baseball and rooting for the underdog – what more could Dad want from a movie? Sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is down on his luck and travels to India to interview cricket players in order to find a star pitcher. He winds up with a javelin thrower, Rinku (Suraj Sharma “Life of Pi”) and a laborer, Dinesh (Madhur Mittal), neither of whom plays cricket or knows a thing about baseball. With the help of Indian baseball fanatic Amit (Bollywood comedy star Pitobash) and aging baseball scout Ray (Alan Arkin), Bernstein and his Indian-American partner Ash (Aasif Mandyi) bring the two prospects to the United States to try out in a nationwide talent search called Million Dollar Arm. It’s a PG-rated schmaltz-fest with Hamm as the gruff but lovable agent and his Indian charges as the wide-eyed newcomers who hope to make it big in the U.S. “This thoroughly predictable baseball drama wears you down like an adorable dog demanding to be scratched.” (Duralde) The perfect Father’s Day fare.
He’s baaaaaack! In this PG13 revival of the classic monster movie, Godzilla is hunting a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). As we all know from the original 1954 film, the appearance of Godzilla (or gojira, in Japanese) coincided with the emergence of the atomic age and the supposed effects of radiation. Godzilla is a dinosaur-like creature with “the body and overall shape of an old model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the long arms of an Iguanodon, and the dorsal plates of a Stegosaurus.” (Wikizilla) The MUTO in Godzilla 2014 lives off radiation and is tracked to a wrecked nuclear submarine in Hawaii from which it is feeding. The U.S. Army locates the MUTO and attacks it, resulting in a ferocious battle at the Honolulu Airport. Godzilla steps in, and the ensuing clash generates a tsunami that devastates Waikiki. Another MUTO joins the fight, and there are enough monsters, nuclear warheads and epic battles to make any father ecstatic.
This Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers epic stars stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston, with direction by Gareth Edwards. (Wikizilla) The real star, of course, is the legendary monster, that ground-shaking, fire-breathing, rip-roaring savior of the earth, Godzilla!
This movie is definitely not for the younger kids to watch with Dad. It’s an R-rated comedy about a couple (Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne) and their baby daughter whose misfortune it is to have a fraternity move in next door to them. The leaders of the fraternity, Teddy and Pete (Zac Efron and Dave Franco), decide to throw an epic frat party, which leads the couple, Mac and Kelly, to ask them to keep the wild partying to a minimum. Teddy and Pete agree to tone it down a little if Mac and Kelly won’t call the police. This works for a while, but the next time it gets out of control, the couple does call the police and this starts a tit-for-tat (accent on the first syllable for sophomoric humor) which escalates to real out-of-control destruction.
The dialogue is pretty raunchy and the antics are definitely out-there (think dueling sex toys), but if Dad is a fan of the Hangover franchise, this might be his cup of, uh vodka. It’s a bromance-filled romp full of crude jokes and infantile pranks, but hey, a lot of dads will love it.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
This one is kind of a long-shot, but if Dad’s a fan of Wes Anderson’s movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom), he may go for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Set in 1930’s Europe in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, the story centers around Mr. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who tells the story of his mentor, the hotel’s concierge, M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes). Gustave is an old-world character, “a capricious, mostly benevolent ruler of the staff. He corrects their slightest lapses of deportment and lectures them endlessly at mealtimes. He is a lover of poetry and also of the elderly women who summon him to their suites…” (Scott) The plot involves “a stolen painting and a clan of vengeful Zubrowkan nobles. [Tilda] Swinton plays the matriarch, Adrien Brody her viperous son and Willem Dafoe the fearsome family hit man.” Bursting with eccentric Cabaret-esque characters and the impending doom of pre-WWII abandon, the movie seeks to “make a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures.” (Scott)
So, if Dad’s a fan of sentimental baseball dramas, roaring monsters intent on destroying each other and ravaging the earth, childish frat boys out of control, or 1930’s quirky humor and pathos, take him to the movies and try a night of family bonding. Or, if none of these fits your family’s criteria, cook up a bucket of buttery popcorn, rent Parenthood and watch Steve Martin cope with the joys and agonies of being a dad.
Duralde, Alonso, “Jon Hamm Gets a Walk to First in Sentimental Underdog Tale,” The Wrap, Apr. 30, 2014, http://www.thewrap.com/million-dollar-arm-review-jon-hamm-sentimental-baseball-drama/
Hornaday, Ann, “Crude Jokes and Bromances Abound,” The Washington Post, May 8, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/neighbors-movie-review-crude-jokes-and-bromances-abound/2014/05/07/b0cf6abc-d52a-11e3-8a78-8fe50322a72c_story.html
Scott, A.O., “Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a Complex Caper,” New York Times,
Mar. 6, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/movies/wes-andersons-grand-budapest-hotel-is-a-complex-caper
Wikizilla, “Godzilla,” http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Godzilla