Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five movies my dad showed me that changed my world

Jason here. It's Father's Day, my first as a dad (woot!), and in honour of The Man Who Taught Me Everything There Is To Know About Being A Man, I thought I'd pay him homage be celebrating one of the many loves he instilled in me at a young age -- a love of film.

Dad has been dead 21 years now, more than half my life, but his love of movies lives on. He was a big guy, a contractor, and he loved his hockey. But he enjoyed film as well. Some of my favourite memories of him are the times we went to the movies. If he hadn't introduced me to the films below, I wouldn't have become a student of film and this site/show/podcast probably wouldn't exist.

So Happy Father's Day to my dad and all the other dads out there. Make it a good one!

Star Wars: My dad saw this with my mom in Hawaii before he took me to it, and called it the best Western ever made. You guessed it, Han Solo was the man to him. I remember seeing it at a local drive-in. We sat in the cab of his truck, enjoyed popcorn and let the mind-blowing spectacle take us away. Star Wars is one of the few movies my dad watched more than once, and it remained a favourite of his until the day he died. It's still a favourite of mine, Lucas and his tinkering be damned.

A Fistful of Dollars: Sure, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a better film, but I clearly remember catching this on TV one Sunday afternoon with dad. Mom maintained it was too violent for my young eyes at the time, but neither dad nor I cared. This was a new form of bliss. Clint Eastwood is one of the few actors my dad was on a first-name basis with, even though they'd never met. Westerns were my dad's favourite genre and, revisiting this movie from time to time, it's not hard to understand why. And trust me, no one laughed at dad's mule.

Commando: The first Schwarzenegger movie I ever saw in a theatre. Not his best, but damn did this movie ever stick with me. Uber violent, funny as hell and, to my 13-year-old mind, the greatest thing ever put on celluloid. From that moment forward, dad referred to Ah-nuld as The Wimp, because dad teased people he liked and respected. We caught almost every Schwarzenegger movie that came after, but this was the first, and remains a favourite to this day.

Any James Bond movie: I think my dad secretly wanted to be James Bond. I have no proof of that, but it's a gut feeling. I grew up in the Roger Moore era, but because Connery was my dad's favourite, he remains my preferred Bond as well. I think that's why I dig Daniel Craig too, as he harkens back to Connery's hard edge. Dad believe Moore was too soft, too tongue in cheek. I have to agree. Whenever a Bond film came on TV, it was a family event. I miss those Saturday nights.

The Beast Must Die: My first horror film. A Sunday matinee. Cheesy by today's standards, but scared the shit out of me. For two weeks after I was convinced a werewolf lived under my bed. Dad caught hell from mom for letting me watch it. His reasoning, "He's going to watch something like this sooner or later. Might as well be sooner." A life lesson, one I still employ today. And a love of horror movies was born.

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