Moviegoer: Father’s Day Films

Isiah Whitlock Jr., Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors in
Da 5 Bloods.

Why get Dad another tie when you can gift him with his very own movie marathon? 

On Sunday, we celebrate dads and all they do for us. If you’re having trouble finding a gift for Father’s Day, consider setting up a movie marathon. You’ll just need a streaming service, a comfy chair or sofa, and, of course, some popcorn (throw some M&Ms in your popcorn if you’re feeling fancy).  

We’ve picked five movies with five very different father-child relationships that should give you and Dad plenty to talk about.  

Netflix: Da 5 Bloods 

Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) are Vietnam veterans reuniting in Saigon to retrieve their squad leader Norm (Chadwick Boseman), who was killed in action and never brought home to his family. But there’s another purpose to this trip – during the mission that killed Norm, the men discovered millions of dollar of gold bars and hid it in the jungle.  

A sprawling epic that deals with the history of the U.S. using black men to fight their wars without affording them the rights they deserve, director Spike Lee dissects how soldiers returning home were traumatized but never given proper help and the ripple effect on their lives. He also points out how this is compounded with the stress of facing systemic racism in the country they fought for. It’s a pretty incredible reimagining of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  

The film features wonderful performances from the leads, with Lindo standing out as the terribly damaged Paul. His time in Vietnam has warped his emotions and made him incapable of properly connecting with his son. He blusters through life, trying to project impossible strength to hide his fear. It’s an astonishing performance and one that should be considered during awards season. If you’ve ever had a fraught relationship with your father, or just have a dad who really loves war films, this is a fantastic option for a movie night.  

Great War Movie * R * 156 mins.  

Disney+: Finding Nemo 

Somewhere, beyond the sea, Marlin (Albert Brooks) has built a safe little home for his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould). After his wife and the rest of his children are killed by a barracuda, Marlin dedicates his life to overprotecting his son. But Marlin’s well-intentioned attempts to keep Nemo sheltered make his son want to break free. 

In a fit of pique, Nemo blatantly disobeys his father and swims away from the reef to the open ocean. Unfortunately, Nemo’s plan to show his father he’s a grown fish backfires when he’s abducted by a scuba diver and taken to Sydney, Australia. Terrified for his son, Marlin begins an epic quest across the ocean to save the only family he has left.  

A beautiful film about love, the way we treat disabilities, and how to grow with your child, Finding Nemo is a deceptively deep cartoon. There are plenty of jokes in it to keep little ones happy, but Pixar layers in some truly touching storytelling that will speak to older viewers. If you’ve ever had an overbearing father who meant well, this little fish tale will certainly speak to you.  

Great Animation * G * 100 mins.  

Hulu: Creed II 

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is living the dream. He’s the heavyweight champion of the world, he’s got a beautiful new daughter, and he’s finally living up to the legacy of his father, former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. When boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the man who killed Apollo in the ring, emerges from obscurity to present his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) as a contender for Adonis’ title, Creed is compelled to defend his father’s legacy. The press eats the challenge up, but Adonis’ former trainer (and the only man who defeated Ivan in the ring) Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) doesn’t want history to repeat itself.  

This is a movie littered with father-son relationships, both good and bad. Adonis is dealing with challenges with his daughter, with defending the legacy of a father he never knew, and with trusting Rocky to be the father figure he needs. The Dragos have their own version of daddy issues, with Viktor working to make up for the mistakes of his father. It’s a film that looks fairly frankly at how hard it is to be the man in your family, and what that means. If your dad loves boxing movies, or just a good male-bonding film, go a few rounds with Creed II. 

Good Action * PG-13 * 130 mins.  

Tatsuya Mihashi, Toshirô Mifune,
Yutaka Sada, and Tatsuya Nakadai in High and Low.

Kanopy: High and Low 

When businessman Kingo Gondo’s (Toshirô Mifune) son is kidnapped, he’s told he’ll have to bankrupt himself to get the boy back. Gondo is willing to ruin his life for the chance to get his son back, but when his son wanders into the room, he’s confused. It turns out the kidnappers grabbed the wrong boy, taking the chauffeur’s son.  

The kidnapper doesn’t care whose son he has—either Gondo hands over the money, or the boy will die. Is Gondo willing to ruin his life to save a life? And can he live with himself if he doesn’t?  

One of the best collaborations between legendary director Akira Kurosawa and Mifune, High and Low is a tense thriller about the price of doing the right thing. Though the duo is better known for their samurai films, this quiet thriller is a master class in acting and cinematic tension building. Mifune manages to make every phone call a nail-biter. This is a great movie for dads who love a good crime drama.  

Great Thriller * NR * 143 mins.  

Prime: The Other F Word 

Punk rockers Flea, Tim McIlrath, Mark Hoppus, Art Alexakis, and Rob Chaos spent a lifetime telling fans to dismiss authority and rebel. But what happens when they have to enforce bedtime with their kids or sit them in a timeout?  

This sweet documentary profiles how rockers approach fatherhood – from building stronger relationships than the ones they had with their dads to keeping their cool image while changing diapers. It’s a great look at how modern fathers choose to approach family and embrace their children. If your dad is a fan of 90s music, or just a little cooler than most, he’ll probably appreciate this look at how men rock fatherhood.  

Good Documentary * NR * 98 mins.