As Father's Day approaches, we all have our personal stories to share about our fathers. Many have stories of them being best friends, others have tales of being extraordinary heroes. Further, some have journeys of discovering who their fathers were. I lost my dad from a car accident when I was just a freshman in high school. What would my dad's life on celluloid be like if I were to write a script about him? Maybe that story is made up piece by piece in films, weaving together the universal connection we all share to our fathers.
Here are some titles that I would love to share.
"Life As A House" - For architect George Monroe (played flawlessly by the great Kevin Kline), losing his job means it's time to make things right with everyone -- starting with his teenage son, Sam (Hayden Christensen). Unfortunately, Sam wants nothing to do with his father and has built a hatred for him so strong that he's turned to drugs, prostitution and bribery to fill his empty life. George's neighbors hate him as well because he lives in a dump shack beside their beautiful homes in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the area. So, he’s made his teenage son stay with him for the summer while they build a house that George can be proud to leave his son. However, picking up the pieces to a life he’s abandoned for his job of 20 years isn't an easy task. His ex-wife has moved on but still loves the man she once knew, and rekindling their son's relationship means more complications between the two of them. Throughout the summer they learn the importance of family and how precious time really is, especially after George is diagnosed with cancer. It's always hard losing a parent, but what if that parent hadn't been a part of your life until the moment they are in the last days of their life? Featuring an amazing cast with Mary Steenburgen, Jena Malone and Kristin Scott Thomas, and an original soundtrack from the band Guster, director Irwin Winkler’s drama of forgiveness and family bonds touches my heart every time I see it.
“Frequency” - What would a film be like if you combine a story like “Back To The Future” with a crime saga such as “Seven” and mix in a little “Field Of Dreams”? Well, “Frequency” does just that. For a film that feels like three well-loved films combined in to one, it comes off as the most original and daring piece of film making of the early 2000’s. What happens when a son in present day decides to use his deceased father’s Ham Radio for old time's sake? A communication 30 years in the past, or future (however you look at it), is what happens. What would it be like to hold a conversation with your father as an adult and knowing he’s been gone most of your life? If you knew your firefighting dad died too soon in a warehouse fire and you were speaking to him before his premature death, wouldn't you warn him of his impending doom? Most of us would and can relate to doing just that, but are we thinking of the ripple effect it could have on life as we know it? It’s a natural thing to think of, “what if” or “how about,” like your's truly has experienced. Although my dad died 3 years prior to this film's release date, it speaks volumes to me. Starring Dennis Quaid as Frank Sullivan and his son, John Sullivan, played by Jim Caviezel, this is an amazing film to seek out for the first time or even a second viewing. It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since its release, but I highly recommend this genre-bending masterpiece.
“The Road” - Although we've seen the world end by a disease (World War Z) or climate change (2012) or even war (How I Live Now), the truth is there are a million ways to end life as we know it. The intrigue here is that we’re not really sure why life has been interrupted in the film “The Road” by writer Cormac McCarthy. What we do know however, is that a father and son have been thrust into an ultimate quest for survival. How do you teach your son what it’s like to survive in a brutal, unflinching world where threats and predators seemingly abound? It's an adventure as father and son try to survive at all cost. Starring Viggo Mortensen (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy) as the father and Kodi Smit-McPhee (the voice of "Para-Norman" & will be seen next in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) are our two leads that must endure the ravaged land. Shot in various locations across the country including scenes from the devastated remnants of Hurricane Katrina, "The Road" is a bleak glimpse at what could happen after society collapses. Most memorable quote from the father to the son: "If I were God, I would have made the world just so and no different. And, so I have you... I have you.”