Having shared the ways we’ve bonded with our mothers through entertainment, it’s only right that we pay tribute to our fathers as their day approaches (June 17). I feel like I’m not the only one whose relationship with Dad is slightly more complex…
• Growing up, no matter what movie my mother, sister and and I were watching, my dad would always come home during the sex scene. I can still hear him saying, “Is this what you people watch?” I, however, have managed to block out what he said the night he arrived to find me watching My Own Private Idaho. I was sitting on the couch, and he was facing me instead of the TV, where Keanu Reeves was having relations with some actress I would never see again. Instead of distracting my dad until the scene ended, I, for reasons I still cannot explain, said: “Look at how artistically this scene was shot, Dad. It looks like a series of still photographs.” WHAT?!
• My dad loves Westerns. Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales — he’s always watching one of them. Went I went home recently for his birthday, I thought we could experience Deadwood (pictured) together for the first time on DVD. I warned him about the excessive use of c—s—er, and pressed play. Five minutes into the first episode, he proclaimed it “worse than porn.” I know this makes him sound like a prude, but he’s not. The man once mailed me an interview with Sylvester Stallone from Playboy. Which brings me to the portion of the tribute that might actually make my dad proud…
• If I’m channel-surfing and stumble onto any of the following movies, I phone my father immediately to make sure he’s watching, too: Any Rocky (other than V), any Rambo, the first Die Hard, or the first Jaws. I love that my dad remembers small moments in Rocky II that I don’t. That the first thing I grabbed when he went into the hospital a year ago was his VHS copy of First Blood: Part II (and that I have this great memory of my sister and I watching it with him while every other room on the floor was silent). That he still quotes Hans Gruber. And that he’s had the autographed Roy Scheider picture I got him hanging in his office — next to a photo of JFK, who inspired him to get into politics — for nearly 10 years now.
• I also
secretly love that Disc 2 of George Strait’s 50 Number Ones is the one thing we can agree on listening to when we’re driving. (He’s exercised control over the stereo since my Immaculate Collection tape got stuck in his car years ago. Good times.)