Dads & Movies: June’s List

As I sit here on Father’s Day, it is only natural that this month’s list selection deal with movie dads.  As I started working on the list, though, I found that I was not looking for the “best” movie dad; rather, I started seeing movies that dealt with the relationship of the father.  Some of these I have had the privilege of sharing with my dad and I hope to share the rest of them with him.

Now, before he makes me go mow the yard, here is my list of movies:

11.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

This is probably the weakest entry in the field, but still worth mentioning.  Halfway through the movie, Dr. Jones, Sr., actually makes the case that he was a good father for allowing Indy to become self-reliant.  In reality, Indy just wanted someone to talk to at times…

10.  The Empire Strikes Back (1980) / Return of the Jedi (1983)

Before Lucas hit us over the head repeatedly with the newer trilogy about how Star Wars was really Anakin’s story, we viewed the original trilogy as Luke’s journey from simple farm boy to grown man.  Part of this growth dealt with learning who his father was: Darth Vader.  Despite what he may have done to the Star Wars galaxy, Vader only ever cared about his son.  In the end, that meant sacrificing himself to save his son; something all fathers would gladly do.

9.  Superman (1978)

Ignore the “messaich” angles of the story; Jor-El is just a father looking for the best home for his infant son.  What he asks of Kal-El in taking care of Earth can also be viewed as a repayment for Earth becoming Kal-El’s new home.  Again, a father ensuring the safety of his son before himself.

8.  The Patriot (2000)

The first of two Mel Gibson entries in this list, The Patriot deals with that eternal struggle between fathers and sons as the son reaches adulthood.  In the movie, Gibson’s character is forced to realize that he can not protect his son from the world or love….or even death.

7.  Ransom (1996)

How could a list like this leave off the movie that left us with the memorable quote, “GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!!!”?  An average thriller with predictable plot points, it still shows us the length a father will go to protect his son.

6.  American Pie (1999) / American Pie 2 (2001) / American Wedding (2003)

Jim’s Dad.  Those two words say a lot to many movie goers over the past 9 years.  Sure, just like all of our dads, Jim’s embarrassed him many times.  Yet, also like all of our dads, Jim’s was always there with help and love when we needed it.  And, yes, just like Jim’s dad, mine often said to me, “Let’s not tell your mother about this…”

5.  The Lion King (1994)

Ironically, this is the second dad on this list voiced by the great James Earl Jones.  Mufasa ends up dying saving Simba’s life, but it is the advice he gives a grown Simba that shows the eternal passing of knowledge from father to son.

4.  Finding Nemo (2003)

While not one of my favorite Pixar movies, this movie is all about the relationship of father and son.  Like Ransom and American Pie, it shows the lengths a father will go to find his son and bring him home safely.

3.  Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

A great movie that focuses on three major stories at different parts of Holland’s life as he struggles to finish his composition.  The third story deals with his relationship with his deaf son.  This is the movie that shows what the son can teach the father.

2.  The Godfather (1972) / The Godfather II (1974) / The Godfather III (1990)

The ultimate trilogy about family, it is the second entry featuring Marlon Brando as a father.  The trilogy gives us not one, but two, storylines of fathers doing what they can to protect and provide for their families.  Even the third movie, hated by a lot of people, reinforces this theme as Michael Corleone continues to make difficult choices for what he thinks is best for his family.

1.  Field of Dreams (1989)

A father who was never around; a son who resented it.  Probably Kevin Costner’s best role as a son who is guided by voices to build a baseball field, then to search out certain people.  In the end, all of the tasks were designed to create that reunion all of us wanted to see.  Like Ol’ Yeller, this is the one movie that will create a lump in most men’s throats…

Newly Acquired DVDs

Under the Links area of this blog, I have added a link to my DVD collection housed online.  The program I use is called DVD Profiler and can be downloaded at .  Because I paid the license fee, I do not have pop-up ads on my page.

Anyway, as I get new DVDs, I add them to the list.  I figured I might as well also give an update here in case anybody cared.

So, on Thursday, I found myself at Barnes & Noble where they were having a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” DVD sale.  They were even including TV box sets, but I could not afford those; here is what I got instead:

  • The Princess Bride: 20th Anniversary Edition — I had this originally, but accidentally sold it.  I had to get another copy because I owe one loyal reader a review of it.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — A fun movie and my third favorite Val Kilmer movie.
  • The Sting: Special Edition — A movie I have always wanted to see and the recent discussions about Paul Newman made it an obvious choice.

I look forward to hearing some of your comments and, if you visit the wishlist link, you now know what to get me for my birthday…

That Old Familiar Tune

Back in November, I wrote an editorial as a response to’s article about the death of the movie theme song.  TAM readers easily noted that movie music means a lot to me.

So why does movie music deserve a second editorial?

Well, this one deals with the reuse of music within movies and TV.

Don’t get me wrong — I am aware of music having a finite number of ways of being arranged.  It is also unavoidable in movie series such as Star Wars.

So, I am sitting there one night, watching Moonlight on my DVR.  For those that do not know what that is, Moonlight was a show on CBS last season that dealt with a vampire detective that helped people (Hmm sounds like a show called Forever Knight or even more recently, Angel).  As the two lovebirds are enjoying a romantic moment, a song starts playing and it took me a few minutes to realize that it was from the Buffy TV soundtrack (not the musical) and was used in a similar situation.

Of course I got upset at this and started thinking about all of the times it has happened in movies.

At this point, I cue the rolling eyes of Spaldy since she knows what I am going to discuss next.

In movies, there is one example that rises above all others: John Williams.

I love his music and own several of his soundtracks.  One of those CDs is the Hook soundtrack.  Great music that really works with the music.  Which brings me to Harry Potter.  As much as I do enjoy the music, I can’t help but be irritated each time I hear the main theme, which is very similar to Hook.  I guess he figured that since Hook did not do well at the box office or in the music business, that no one would notice him ripping off major portions of it.

So why discuss this stuff?

Because, as an audience, we should care.  As much as we get upset at recycled movie plots, we should be equally upset at obvious recycling of music.  The music helps tie the story together and, at times, helps flesh out the emotions the director and writer wanted us to feel.

Think about that the next time you hum a tune from your favorite movie…