A Father’s Day Movie Tribute

June 17, 2011

As we approach Father’s Day weekend, I want to extend my heartiest good wishes to all you fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, surrogate fathers and grandfathers, sons, stepsons, daughters, and stepdaughters. (I hope I didn’t miss a category there!) I also want to acknowledge with deep gratitude all the mothers and other women who put so much thought and love into honoring the men in their life on this day. In particular, in my life, I am so proud of our daughters, son, soon-to-be son-in-law, and granddaughter. I love you all with every ounce of my being. And special gratitude to my wonderful wife Lauren, who makes every day feel like Father’s Day or my birthday or some other grand celebration of life.

Today, I am going to highlight my 2 favorite father films for this special weekend.

Father of The Bride (the 1991 Steve Martin version) is as good as it gets when it comes to fathers and their love for their kids. Mr. Martin plays George Banks, a loving dad and husband whose daughter decides to marry  a young man after a whirlwind romance. Horrified that his “little girl” is being hoodwinked by some oily con man, George is even more distressed when his daughter’s fiance turns out to be every parent’s dream as a potential spouse: bright, charming, successful, and totally in love with George’s daughter. Man, that sucks: you can’t even hate the guy!

As the wedding approaches, George feels more and more unimportant as his wife Nina (Diane Keaton) and daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams) hire Franck (a never-more-hilarious Martin Short), a wedding planner who seems to think he’s been hired by Donald Trump, not a man who owns a small shoe company.

Father of The Bride is so touching, so funny, and so charming that it perfectly captures a father’s angst then pride when he realizes that he is indeed going to “give away” his daughter to another man. By the way, is there any more perfectly symbolic ritual than literally handing your daughter to another man? (To Felix, my own son-in-law to be: don’t worry, pal, other than your utterly appalling pro basketball loyalties, I think the world of you).Field of Dreams, the other film I highlight today, focuses on those of us who have lost our fathers. In the film, Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a farmer who is struggling to keep his farm out of foreclosure. One night, Ray hears a whisper in the wind that says “If you build it, he will come.” (and, at other times, “they” will come.) He quickly determines that the “it” is a baseball field so, against all odds and good sense, he plows under much of his corn and builds a beautiful baseball field. Soon, some of the greatest baseball players of all time, all of whom are long since deceased, are playing on that field……including one very special….very special…man.

Lauren and I have watched both of these movies more times than either of us would want to admit and they never fail to make us smile and feel better about just being human and alive in this magical mystery tour we call life.

Happy Father’s Day and much love to all!

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