One of my favorite things is to curl up and watch a movie with the family. Here are my top ten recommendations for movies that present fathers in a positive light or that show the innate need that children have for their fathers.
© 1991 by Touchstone Pictures
This film has to be my all time favorite movie for dads. Steve Martin hits the stage where his daughter, to whom he has been very close all her life, becomes engaged to be married. As he lives through the plans for the wedding, he reflects on his own life and his new relationship with high daughter and her soon-to-be-husband.
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This was a bit of a quirky film, but a lot of fun. Will Bloom has been estranged from his father for many years. This father, Edward, played brilliantly by Albert Finney, has a long history of telling tall tales about his life. Edward seems charming to everyone except Will, who cannot reconcile his experiences with this man to his larger-then-life exploits. When they attempt to reconcile late in Edward's life, Will comes to find a different father than he expected. A heart-warming film with lots of fun moments.
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One of my favorite films of the last few years, Night at the Museum is one our family has watched over and over. Ben Stiller plays Larry Daley, a divorced father who has lots of dreams but no success in life to speak of. He can't hold a job, moves regularly, and is generally a "loser," particularly when compared to his son's stepfather. Larry lands a job as a night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, and discovers that the place comes to life overnight. Larry learns courage and determination, and shares the experience with his son.
The Father of the Bride saga continues as Steve Martin's character deals with the pregnancy of both his daughter and his wife at the same time. Coming to terms with his impending grandfatherhood is complicated by his wife's unexpected pregnancy. This is another film with memorable characters (Martin Short is hysterical) and sweet moments.
The Incredibles follows the adventures of a family of former superheroes as they are forced to take on life as mere mortals living ordinary suburban lives. But Mr. Incredible has never lost his lust for adventure and crime-fighting, and he gets a chance to re-engage when a mysterious communication calls him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment. Now, with the fate of the world hanging by a thread, the Incredible family must come together and once again find the fantastic in their family life.
One of Robin Williams' earliest films, Mrs. Doubtfire follows the saga of a divorced dad trying to find a way to spend more time with his children when their mother, played by Sally Field, tries to avoid him. He takes on a personna as Mrs. Doubtfire, a care-giver who is hired by the children's mother, and playing that role gives dad the time he always wanted and helps the family see the value of what he can bring. This film has lots of funny moments, and a few that will make you reflect on what dads mean to their children.
A remake of the hit French comedy "Trois Hommes et un Couffin" ("Three Men and a Cradle") about a trio of roommate bachelors who learn the joys of fatherhood when a baby is left on their doorstep. The three men -- an actor, an architect and a cartoonist -- share a high-end bachelor pad where they each bring back women for one-night stands. This all changes when a baby appears at their apartment one day--the actor's infant daughter from a short relationship. The father is out of town on location with a movie role when the baby shows up, so it's up to his two totally unprepared roommates to deal with the baby. Lots of cute moments here and a very entertaining cast.
Billy Crystal and Robin Williams star in this movie in which they are both looking for the same runaway teenager. The rub is, they each think the boy is their son. Crystal plays the successful lawyer and Williams the depressed writer who are both told by the boy's mother that he is the father. The comic moments are rich and the chase of the runaway has some wild segments, and the film overall is very entertaining.
Daphne, played by Amanda Bynes, is a seventeen-year-old girl from New York who goes to Britain in search of her father, who does not know he had a child with his American girlfriend. Daphne's father turns out to be a prominent political figure and his aristocratic family doesn't appreciate her meddling in his life. Daphne must try to adjust to her father's life, deal with his other daughter who dislikes this new "sister", and maintain her own personality amidst it all.
Parenthood is a fun movie that details the travails of Gil and Karen Buckman trying to raise their family amidst the challenges of modern life. Add to their own family the eccentricities of an extended family including a yuppie brother in law who is trying to make his three year old daughter a genius, an irresponsible brother, an emotionally disturbed nephew and a slutty niece, life gets interesting. This is not a movie to watch with younger children, but has some fun moments that all fathers can relate to.