Father’s Day is a special occasion for parents and their children. It’s the perfect time for an indulgent meal, awesome presents, and, if you’re a family of film buffs, a movie marathon.
If you’ve exhausted your Blu-rays of Die Hard, Taken, and — admit it — Sharknado, Netflix is here to save the day. Grab a couple of drinks, settle down on the sofa with your dad, and enjoy 15 movies perfect for Father’s Day.
For Dads Who Love the Office.
Aha! There are a lot of great comedies on Netflix, and like him or not, Steve Coogan is a giant of the comedy world. That’s largely due to his comic creation, Alan Partridge, a parody of British TV and radio personalities.
After North Norfolk Digital is bought out by a media conglomerate, the DJ soon finds himself in a hostage situation. Naturally. This is his first feature film, and stars a host of famous faces including Sean Pertwee (Gotham), Anna Maxwell Martin (Doctor Who), and Colm Meaney (Law & Order).
For Dads Looking for Camp Nostalgia.
When it comes to Batman, you can keep your Ben Afflecks, your George Clooneys, and even your Christian Bales. There’s only one true Bruce Wayne, and you know who I’m talking about.
And he didn’t need molded plastic to improve his physique. Pure. Adam. West.
Travel back to the heady 1960s when comic book movies were a rarity and weren’t pretentious and dark; when Cold War troubles were hidden behind a colorful rogues’ gallery; and when Batman was ready to fight off danger with his shark repellent bat spray.
3. Big Daddy
For Dads Who Like Guns ‘N’ Roses.
If you’re anything like my family, you get Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller inexplicably mixed up. In case you’re wondering, this one stars the guy who wasn’t in Night at the Museum.
Released in 1999, Big Daddy was Sandler’s highest-grossing film until 2015, which isn’t to say it’s an exceptional piece. He’s made better (50 First Dates), and more thought-provoking (yet harrowing with Click). But at least this one has an award-winning soundtrack — featuring Guns ‘N’ Roses, Eurythmics, and Bruce Springsteen — guaranteed to cause severe head-banging.
For Dads Who Like Westerns and Fart Jokes.
Put aside your dad’s collection of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and Randolph Scott DVDs; instead, try this hilarious Western spoof that hides some brilliant puns behind a silly façade. Mel Brooks’ satire sees a corrupt politician elect a black sheriff to the frontier town of Rock Ridge in order to get its residents to abandon the place, driving up land prices. His plan backfires, however, and the two become enemies.
Some of its humor will offend the more sensitive souls, but that’s part of its charm.
For Dads With Teenage Children.
This 2014 film was a bit of an experiment: writer and director, Richard Linklater set out to make a movie across 12 years, shot as the cast grew up. It even began with an uncompleted script, so the production could evolve to reflect social changes between 2002 and 2013.
Each segment would be written after reviewing the footage from the previous year, so there’s a fresh and adaptive feel. Linklater further took into account how the actors were changing, allowing them to work on the screenplay, meaning this is a lovely drama about a family living through the 2000s.
For Dads With Ambition.
This is a heart-warming and hilarious story with real heart. Admittedly, its premise doesn’t sound the cheeriest of propositions: two terminally-ill men (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) head off together to complete a wish list of daring things to do before they “kick the bucket.”
As you can imagine, it’s full of schmaltz, but the leads remain compelling, and their story will inspire.
On Father’s Day, there’s no greater gift than reminding parents how wonderful the world is.
For Dads Who Enjoy Terrible Films.
Any film with Eddie Murphy in is going to divide the audience, and Daddy Day Care is more Meet Dave than Beverly Hills Cop.
Nonetheless, sometimes, you want to relax with a mindless movie that’s unchallenging and will just make you laugh. That’s especially true on a Sunday, and doubly so on Father’s Day. It has a terrible 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — which is at least better than its sequel, Daddy Day Camp, which has an astonishing 1%. File under “so bad, it’s good”. Probably.
8. Finding Dory
For Dads in Touch With Their Emotional Side.
You can’t deny that there’s something truly magical about Pixar’s productions. Finding Nemo particularly struck a chord with audiences, depicting the lengths a father will go to for his son. But everyone knows that story inside-out now.
Instead, go for Finding Dory, the exceptional sequel about the forgetful Blue Tang’s quest to find her parents again. It’s a similarly touching tale with truly stunning CGI, and one of Pixar’s strongest offerings — that’s saying something!
For Dads With Young Children.
This is classed as a film, but it’s actually perfectly suited for watching with youngsters shortly before they go off to bed. Most kids will be introduced to the Gruffalo through bed-time reading anyway.
Each Christmas, the BBC has made adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s wonderful books, capturing the warmth and comical nature of their source material. This is the follow-up to The Gruffalo, a neat twist on the original format that underlines the importance of parent-child relationships.
For Dads/Big Kids.
This definitely isn’t the best-reviewed movie on Netflix, but I’ll wager it’s better than you remember (as long as any wagers are purely metaphorical). In fact, it’s an ideal way to while away a Sunday afternoon following a nice slap-up meal.
It’s fun, it’s suitable for the whole family, and it’s got both John Lithgow and David Suchet in it. Seriously, what more could you want?
11. Pete’s Dragon (2016)
For Dads Who Still Love Disney.
You’re never too old for a Disney film. You’d be forgiven for being wary of the company’s live-action remakes of classic animations, but they’ve more than proved themselves.
The original Pete’s Dragon might not be as well-known as Mulan, Peter Pan, or Lilo and Stitch; nonetheless, its 2016 remake with Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban is utterly enchanting. It never set out to be innovative or the next Frozen, and that’s good, because instead, you get a feel-good, family-friendly film that’s also a surprising tearjerker.
For Dads Who Love a Moving Real-Life Story.
This is the second movie on this list to feature Steve Coogan in a major role, although Philomena is a less divisive production than Alan Partridge.
The 2013 drama is based on Martin Sixsmith’s The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, the true story of Philomena’s 50-year quest to find her adopted son. Judi Dench, as the titular character, gives a stirring but heart-warming performance, and she exhibits a surprising chemistry with Coogan (who also co-wrote the screenplay) as Sixsmith.
13. The Road
For Melodramatic Dads With Visions of the Apocalypse.
This 2009 movie is the grittiest on this list — yes, even more so than Batman: The Movie! — and imagines a father and son travelling together in a dystopian world following an extinction event.
It’s a fascinating exploration of this close relationship, and about what people will do for their families. It’s admittedly pretty bleak, but at least Charlize Theron is there to brighten it all up (albeit in brief flashbacks).
For Dads Who Like Morality Tales.
Based on the iconic novel by Harper Lee, the 1962 adaptation is a definitive classic, through and through.
It’s one of those rare beasts that’s so legendary, no one has dared to remake it. To Kill a Mockingbird — the cinematic debuts of Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley — more than does the book justice. Its ethics shine through, untainted even by its novel sequel, Go Set A Watchman: care for your family and for your fellow man.
For Dads Who Miss a Comedy Giant.
World’s Greatest Dad won’t be remembered as Robin Williams’ greatest achievement, but it’s a prime example of why he was so loved. As Lance, a struggling father to the troublesome Kyle (Daryl Sabara), Williams puts in an exceptional performance, but a surprising one too.
Even if you love Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and Flubber, this dark, deadpan satire might just become your new favorite comedy starring the much-missed actor.
Do You Have Any More Suggestions?
Of course, you don’t have to turn to Netflix — you can get movies cheaply through other means. But there’s a lot on offer through streaming services such an Netflix: plenty of classics, new features, and movies so bad they’re actually good.
Do you have any films you routinely watch on Father’s Day? Which are your favorites? And more importantly, which are your dad’s favorites?
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