Welcome to ou guide on the best movies to watch with a dad. Sunday, June 21 is Father’s Day, a day to celebrate dads of all kinds. Whether or not you’re able to spend time with your father (or another father figure in your life) this year, you can still celebrate the holiday by watching a dad movie. You can even watch a movie together while socially distancing, thanks to remote viewing platforms like Netflix Party.
Below, we’ve rounded up 10 movies to watch with your dad. Many celebrate fatherhood or feature sweet and/or complicated father figure relationships, but there are also just some classic movies that dads love.
A Quiet Place
John Krasinski plays a desperate dad trying to keep his family safe from monsters with super-sensitive hearing in A Quiet Place. (Krasinski also directed the film.)
Polygon’s Ben Kuchera broke down why A Quiet Place is so terrifying for parents, writing:
That sort of situation doesn’t often exist outside of pop culture contrivances in horror movies, but the idea of it will be familiar to anyone who is raising a kid. How do you keep your children safe? The real answer is you don’t, and you’re going to hurt your entire family if you try too hard. The terror of A Quiet Place comes from the idea that trying too hard may still not be good enough.
Based on the French play La Cage aux Folles, The Birdcage stars Robin Williams as Armand, the owner of a South Beach drag club, and Nathan Lane as Albert aka Starina, his partner and star drag queen. When their son, Val, brings home his fiancée — who happens to be the daughter of a Republican congressman — Armand agrees to host a dinner for her family. Hijinks ensue as the flamboyant men try to pass as straight. The relationship between Val and his dads is the heart of the film, and the message of acceptance is sweet, even if a bit dated.
Spike Lee’s latest film, now available on Netflix, follows a group of Vietnam veterans who return to the country decades later in order to recover a buried treasure they left behind. That classic adventure plot hook gives way to a deeply affecting exploration of being Black in America, and an invitation to take action. There’s also a father-son story at the heart of the film, and in true Lee fashion, it takes unexpected turns. From Karen Han’s Polygon review: “While the treasure hunt turns bloody, the film’s final note is hopeful. There’s a lot to take in, and the urgency and potency keeps Da 5 Bloods from inviting complacency.”
Daddy Day Care is far from a beloved classic, but it is goofy and charming in an everyone-here-knows-this-is-dumb-but-is-still-having-fun-with-it sort of way. If you and your dad are in the mood to watch Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin corral a group of rambunctious children, or just laugh through a movie with a 27% Rotten Tomatoes score, this is the film for you.
Whodathunk that a movie adaptation of a spin-off Pokémon game would be so endearing? Detective Pikachu is just fun, with Ryan Reynolds voicing the deerstalker-hat-wearing electric mouse. The plot revolves around a young man named Tim (Justice Smith) whose estranged father was killed in a car crash. I won’t give away any spoilers here, but suffice it to say that the plot revolves around that father-son relationship, with an ending that, while predictable, is still very sweet.
Bo Burnahm’s coming of age masterpiece is carried by star Elsie Fisher’s powerfully vulnerable performance as 13-year-old Kayla, but her relationship with her single dad (Josh Hamilton) is one of the sweetest put to film. As Burnham pulls the viewer into Kayla’s world, her dad stays on the outside, trying to understand and support her, but often making things worse. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.
Finding Nemo is a staple of the “make a kid’s movie sound like a horror movie” meme: a widowed father tries desperately to save his kidnapped son with the help of a friend with severe memory loss sounds like Pixar’s riff on Taken. (To be fair, the sharks are pretty scary.) Whether you choose to engage with how dark that plot is or not, Finding Nemo is always a good movie to watch with your dad, with a great balance between silly great jokes and Pixar’s signature tearjerkers.
A classic crowdpleaser, the third Indiana Jones movie has everything a dad loves: action, adventure, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, Nazis getting disintegrated.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is streaming on Netflix.
If you and dad have done the Indiana Jones series one too many times, consider the Bruckheimer-ed version, National Treasure. Come for Nicolas Cage seriously intoning, “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence,” stay for the family-friendly action. Cage’s character, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is estranged from his dad, Patrick Henry Gates (Jon Voight) because he still believes in the family’s mission to find the treasure that the Founding Fathers hid on American shores. That tense relationship is tested throughout the film, and helps to ground the story which, in classic Cage fashion, gets real bonkers, real fast.
Adam McKay’s buddy-cop comedy never quite hit the comedy zeitgeist like his other Will Ferrell collaborations, which is a shame, because it’s one of their best. The Other Guys stars Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as “desk jockey” NYPD officers who get caught up in investigating a pyramid scheme that goes all the way to the top of Wall Street. If your dad loves other McKay and Ferrell films like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, it’s time to introduce him to The Other Guys.
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