Father’s Day is made a little more special when you find a great movie that highlights the lengths a dad will go to be with his children. The 1993 award winning film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, and Pierce Brosnan is a comedy that showcases the endless talents of Williams, and what an important role dads play in our lives. In an effort to spend time with his children, Daniel (Williams) is hired by his ex-wife Miranda (Field) as the perfect nanny to help with her three children at home. She does not suspect that Mrs. Doubtfire is her ex-husband in disguise. Prior to this, Daniel had let the children run loose with no rules, never participating in the responsibilities of being a husband or father. Throughout the twists and turns of the movie, Daniel learns to cook, clean, shop, help his children with homework, and provide discipline needed for raising children. This experience completely changed Daniel’s character. “Mrs. Doubtfire” shows the effects divorce and separation can have on a family and how far a dad will go to have his children in his life. There are too many comedic moments in this movie to mention where Williams is truly at his best as an actor. “Mrs. Doubtfire” won the Academy Award for best make-up; the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Comedy; and the Golden Globe for Williams as Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy.
“A Simple Twist of Fate”
When I think about a movie for Father’s Day, especially as a daughter, the hidden gem, “A Simple Twist of Fate” based on a George Eliot novel and starring Steve Martin, comes to mind. One of Martin’s lesser known but more nuanced roles, the movie follows his character, Michael McCann, as he unexpectedly becomes a single father following a set of circumstances around loss and coincidence. After adopting the orphaned toddler who winds up on his doorstep, we watch as Michael adapts to parenting Mathilda and the strong bond of father and daughter that grows between them over the course of a decade. Of course, not everything in life is smooth sailing and the pair face challenges as Mathilda’s biological father, a local, wealthy politician, decides to become involved with a sudden interest in custody and all involved must grapple with some difficult decisions. Overall “A Simple Twist of Fate” is a beautifully crafted tale with quiet humor and heartfelt performances that highlight the joys of fatherhood and the unconditional love that can exist between a father and child.
Linda L. Austin
Watching movies is probably my favorite pastime. I like all genres, but not all movies; however, all Liam Neeson movies are worth seeing. The first “Taken,” released in 2008, may not have gotten rave reviews, but for those who like action thrillers and can overlook the violence as long as the good guy wins, “Taken” is a winner. Besides, featuring an older actor who uses his past experience as a government agent to rescue his daughter within 98 hours from an abduction into a sex trafficking ring is a nice change from viewing the younger set in all their antics. His portrayal as a dad dedicated to finding his daughter provides a humanity to the violence. Critics credited this film with giving a boost to Neeson’s career as an older action star, as if he needed a boost.
“Father of the Bride”
“Father of the Bride” is a 1991 comedy about a father who has a hard time seeing his daughter grown up and getting married. Steve Martin plays the father of the bride, George Banks, while Dianne Keaton plays Nina, the mother. The couple’s daughter Annie shocks her parents by making an announcement on her return from Europe - she is getting married to a man (Bryan) only three months after meeting him. When Bryan arrives to meet the family, George takes a dislike to him while Nina accepts him. George finds himself getting into trouble when he meets Bryan’s parents, a wealthy couple who lives in Bel Air, and he starts snooping around their house, getting attacked by their dogs. George is worried about the expenses of the upcoming wedding and again he gets in trouble after another money saving moment at the supermarket. Another funny moment is when George tries on his old tuxedo, hoping to save money, but it rips when he bends down. The wedding planner played by Martin Short provides many hilarious moments, too. Eventually George understands Bryan’s love for his daughter and he gets used to the idea that his daughter is leaving the nest and will create a family of her own. Anyone who sees this movie will understand what George is going through as he sees his child leave his house for good, and although this movie is a comedy, there are poignant moments, too.
“The Man from Nowhere”
Dean K. Eckenroth, Jr.
It was jokingly asked (as we were claiming our movies for this review), “What would be the best Father’s Day gift?” The tongue-in-cheek answer: “To be left alone all day ... a Father’s Day free of commitment, free to make it all up on the go, what could be better? Cha Tae-sik (Won Bin, in “The Man From Nowhere”) wants to be left alone, too. A former Special Agent, Tae-sik lives his days as an anonymous pawn broker in a nowhere part of town, mourning the loss of his wife and unborn child in an assassination attack that nearly claimed his life as well. Tae-sik’s only friend in the neighborhood, a little latch-key girl, So-mi. When So-mi’s mother gets herself caught up in a drug theft well beyond her small-time aspirations, organized crime descends on the small neighborhood and Tae-sick’s quiet solitude is upended. Recognizing Tae-sik’s affection for So-mi, gangsters use her as leverage, forcing Tae-sik to become a middle man in their schemes, ignorant to the nature of his past. With unexpected fury and skill, Tae-sik cuts a bloody-swath through everything in his path in a desperate effort to save the little girl. Definitely not for the squeamish, “The Man From Nowhere,” is a frenetic, blood-soaked journey through the dark criminal underbelly of the city. Just one of many highly- entertaining Korean films and TV shows available through Netflix, this is sure to appeal to fans of the gangster shoot-em-up. And next time, maybe they’ll just leave him alone.
Maria Virgilio Simon
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli...” A memorable and classic movie line (particularly for those of us who grew up with Nonna’s who made homemade cannoli) from a generous supply of famous one-liners in the American classic, “The Godfather.” The movie, the first in a trilogy, premiered in 1972 and chronicles the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). I could have recommended this movie under multiple categories but ‘Father’s Day’ is as good as any. Don Corleone’s youngest of his three sons, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly joins the family business (aka mafia) where, under dad’s careful tutelage, he is transformed into a ruthless mafia boss. Family loyalty is necessarily vital to immigrant families, but it is everything to the Corleones, and their motto more or less works out to “Family comes first, children are to be protected at all costs, and business is business.” The epic scenes and themes in the story make is so that you can watch it every few years and pick up something new. On top of memorable lines, an all-star cast, and classic themes, one of the things that take this movie from good to excellent is the fact that its movie soundtrack is up there with the all time greats. Love the music!
“Little Miss Sunshine”
Little Miss Sunshine is a quirky “road trip” movie to say the least. The performances of grandfather Alan Arkin, uncle Steve Carell and father Greg Kinnear are memorable and at times hilarious. The plot centers around seven-year-old Olive Hoover and her desire to win a beauty pageant. The Hoovers are an eccentric, dysfunctional family and probably a little more like our own family than anyone wants to admit. The amount of advice bestowed upon the children by the adult men is copious and conflicting. A memorable line from the movie is when their yellow Volkswagen van is being pulled over by the police, dad yells out “Everybody try to act normal!”
As a father of three, including two daughters, the takeaway themes from this Oscar winning film are: embrace your children’s choices and passions even if they are far different than your own; fatherly advice is valuable, but should be rooted in reality, honesty and transparency; and being silent is OK...sometimes it is golden. We can’t choose our family, but we will stand up for them every time, even if we are a (Super) Freak show.