Me, My Dad, and the Movies – by PG COOPER

Die Hard – A Classic Kid’s Movie 

A few weeks ago, I shared an Alfred Hitchcock double feature with my father. We watched Rear Window and Psycho, two films I had never seen before, and films he had only seen in bits and pieces. As expected, we both loved the films and in general had a good time watching them. What I didn’t expect was for Fogs to ask me to write a post on my experience watching the films with my father, and just watching films with my dad in general. I thought it was a great idea, in fact, it kind of annoys me that I didn’t come up with it. So with this, I’m going to explore my past film experiences with my dad, and try to come to some conclusion.

From an early age, my dad had a big effect on the movies I watched. I was pretty much raised on action adventure films like the Batman series and of course the king of adventure, Indiana Jones. My dad also turned me on to a lot of films that wouldn’t be considered appropriate for my age. These include most of the silly Schwarzenegger films, The Matrix, and Die Hard. I still remember the first time I saw boobs in a film was in Under Siege. It might not seem like anything now, but for a seven-year old boy who had never seen boobs before, it was a big deal.

Of course, the greatest cinematic gift my dad ever gave me was the James Bond series. Of all the memories of shared cinema with my father, I value the Bond films we shared the most. This is a tradition we still share, and every time a new Bond film comes out I get hit by a wave of nostalgia. My dad was the coolest guy in the world, and the enthusiasm he had for Bond made them the coolest movies in the world. I remember thinking to be a man, you had to watch James Bond. To some extent, I still feel that way. Watching films like Bond and Die Hard, films that felt so mature when compared to the kids films that were aimed at me, gave me a desire to seek out more adult material from the time I was a young kid. I don’t think my dad was intending for this to happen when he popped For Your Eyes Only into the VCR, but it had its effect.

As a kid, I thought my dad was James Bond. I guess I still do

My dad’s opinion may have led to me loving some classics, but it also led to me dismissing some of my favourites. Like most boys, I loved the Star Wars films as a kid. I watched them all the time and I thought they kicked ass. That is until I found out my dad didn’t like any of them. I began to stop watching Star Wars and started to believe the films were stupid. It wasn’t until I was thirteen that I went back and admitted to loving the series.

A few years ago, when I started to become serious about film, my dad still played a huge role. He really encouraged my hobby and quickly introduced me to three of his favourite films: The Big Lebowski, Dogma, and Pulp Fiction. I loved all three and they now rank among my favourites along with his. He also introduced me to several overlooked gems that I may never have seen without him such as Payback and Angel Heart. Of course the older I get and the more films I pursue, the further my opinion shifts from my fathers. My father isn’t a fan of westerns or science fiction and doesn’t see the brilliance that I see in films like Blade Runner or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. On the other side, I don’t see what my Dad sees in films like Raising Arizona or O Brother, Where Art Thou? (even though I love the Coen brothers).

Typical Father/Son bonding

And yet in spite of these differences, my father and I still manage to find films we both genuinely like, and in some cases love. We both loved Psycho and Rear Window for example. In the last year we also watched Dr. Strangelove, Leon, The Social Network, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, True Grit, The Usual Suspects, Fargo, High Fidelity, Se7en, and American Beauty, just to name a few. And while we didn’t watch them together, we do see eye to eye on a lot of films I’ve seen recently, such as Memento, Being John Malkovich, and North by Northwest. We also plan on checking out the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I know there are a few films that he really wants me to see.

When it comes to cinema, I owe my dad a lot. He introduced me to so many films that I still love today. Films like James Bond, Indiana Jones, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, The Matrix, The Terminator, Pulp Fiction, Batman, The Big Lebowski, Dogma, Payback, Angel Heart, Gross Point Blank, The Breakfast Club, the list goes on. Would I have discovered these films without my dad? Possibly, but I’m glad I got to share those film memories with him. I wanted this to come to some sort of conclusion, and I think it has. While my dad and I disagree frequently on movies, there is something special about the films that we can both agree on. I’d like to close out by saying thanks dad, this one’s for you.

My dad and I

Special thanks to Fogs for letting me write this post for him, and thank you to all who read it. If you liked it and you wanna read more, come by visit my blog at PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews!

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30 thoughts on “Me, My Dad, and the Movies – by PG COOPER

  1. PG – thanks, man. That was a really great contribution. I hope everyone here enjoys it. I liked it so much I’m almost going to forgive you for calling Schwarzenegger movies “Silly”.

    Blasphemer.

    But it’s true. Real men watch Bond. I feel a tiny (JUST a tiny) smidge bad ragging on “For Your Eyes Only” now.

    Doesn’t matter how old you were, I think all men had a very special moment when Erika Elaniak came out of that cake. Fun trivia – did you know she’s the young girl Eliott kisses in the classroom/frog scene in “E.T.”?

    All kidding aside, I think a lot of us can relate to bonding with our parents through the magic of movies. I know I can. My Dad and my Mom actually. I watched a lot of movies with both of them. I still go with Ma sometimes.

    I wish I could with my Dad.

    So thanks, this piece brought back a lot of great memories for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  2. This put a great big smile on my face – great read! It’s nice hearing about people sharing film together. Something families should do more often.

    My uncle introduced me to the likes of James Bond and Star Wars – I remember staying at his house and just having old recorded VCRs of either playing in the background. Good memories!

    My dad introduced me to the ultra violent Robocop – the scene where he gets gunned down traumatised me as a child! I had nightmares and yet i look back and think, what was I fussing about!

    Now, my dad’s taste is far from my own. He likes his films simple, like the good ol’ fashioned westerns with John Wayne. My mum however is a different ball game, I’ve got her watching the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth (which she loved) and she’s becoming a big fan of Chris Nolan’s films!

    • Thank you :)

      Ah yes, I forget to mention how most of my movie experiences as a kid were played on good ol fashioned VCR’s.

      Robocop is another one I watched with my dad as a kid. I remember him specifically fast forwarding through the scene you mentioned.

      My mom rarely watches movies anymore, yet ironically enough no one is more supportive of my film obsession than she is.

      • I think my recording of Robocop was a secret non-parent sanctioned recording me and my brother did and then we felt guilty so we fessed up! Though my dad supported us watching it, even with that horrifying scene.

        Funnily enough I remember trying to record Pretty Woman when I was young, as all my friends at school had seen it, and when I sat down to watch it, it was mysteriously erased. My mum said something about the VCR breaking…

        Gotta love me some bonus points :D

  3. Great post. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I could mirror this post, especially the James Bond section, only replacing your father with my older brother. More than 10 years my senior, my brother took me to see anything and everything and some of my fondest memories are of watching James Bond movies with him.

  4. I definitely relate to this post. Dad took me to my first cartoon films (“The Smurfs” and “The Secret of the Sword”) as a kid, and then, later, our first “real” movie, Star Trek 6. We would then go on to watch pretty much every theatrically released movie even remotely marketed towards guys for the next 5 or 6 years.

    We still catch at least 2 or 3 movies together a year, sometimes with my brother. Recently it was Immortals. We were rolling when the guy got sledged in the nuts.

    I gotta say though, judging by the titles you’re mentioning, I now feel like I’m old enough to be your father.

  5. Great write up! It got me thinking about who contributed to my movie evolution. It was my mom. From an early age we would watch mostly classic black an white movies, because she really loved the old stories and characters. But as we grew older her lack of tolerance for profanity and racy activity in films seemed to create a defining line between our movie selections. I was more interested in the film and story line than worrying about the language. However, NetFlix has turned my mom into a movie freak. Now at age 80, she watches 3 to 4 movies per week and every time I talk to her I get the 5 min. review of each film. I just can’t keep up with her. Thanks, mom.

    • Your mom sounds awesome!!! You talking about your mom’s lack of tolerance for profanity and such reminds me of my grandma. I was at her house this summer and was watching Scarface on TV when she comes down and sits next to me. As she sits down, one of the characters gets blown away by a machine gun, prompting my grandma to say, “Well that seems unnecessary”

      Glad you liked the post though :)

  6. Great article, PG. I have to say I never watched a lot of movies with my parents, beyond the typical family fare. My tastes are just a bit too divergent from theirs, I guess; Mom mostly liked dramas — a lot of the “chick flicks”, which was strange because she was far from a typical “chick flick” audience member — and Dad mostly likes old westerns. But there were certain films that we shared as family members that stuck with us; The Blues Brothers with Mom, Fantasia with Dad, and of course, Dad sometimes steers me to the great classic westerns.

  7. Great post.

    Just before 4th grade, I had a moderately scary bicycle accident that laid me up for a couple days.

    I guess Dad was tired of watching Star Wars and The Muppet Movie, because he went out to the video store and brought back some movies that challenged me. Casablanca. Phantom of the Opera. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    I ate those movies up, and he went back out and brought back Young Frankenstein, King Kong, and The Birds.

    A couple weeks ago my Dad an I were talking about movies (are tastes really aren’t that similar, but we general know what the other likes and will steer each other a certain way), and I mentioned my time laid up on the couch, and the movies he brought to me that made me really fall in love with the movies. He had no recollection of it, and was pretty amused that he thought letting me watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Birds was a good idea for an 8-year-old*.

    *This is an ongoing joke in my family. Now that I have two young kids, my wife and I constantly struggle with what is appropriate content for them. My viewpoint is totally skewed by my experiences growing up — my first memory of being at the movies was seeing Jaws. I was about 3 years old.

  8. Pingback: PG Cooper: Happy Father’s Day « PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

  9. I wonder if Chris would be the lover of films today if I didn’t have that love myself. I am so proud of him and the fact he is passing that love of movies onto his children. I remeber when we used to see an upcoming film on a Thursday night along with his friends and employees of the theater. Those were magical moments that I’ll cherish forever.

  10. Real men watch Bond ; love this post. My Dad digs Bond, and we watch JB often. I remember watching Empire Strikes Back with my whole fam damily: my uncle ( now a dad), parents, grandparents, & bro. Seeing cinema with family ESP father is fun everytime you view those flicks. Super post PG/Fogs.

  11. This is great! It really has me thinking about the movies that make up my relationship with my dad. Sums up how differences in personality and tastes in movies can disappear when sharing a movie where there is common ground. Great post, perfect for the spirit of the day.

  12. I love this post because my dad introduced me to the best films when I was a kid and we have always had the same taste in films since :D
    I should have done a post on our favorite films, maybe next year :)

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