Opening June 15th: Happy Father’s Day?

What Dad Doesn’t Want
To Watch A “Hair” Metal Musical?
Because Nothing Says “Happy Father’s Day” Like Adam Sandler Dropping F-Bombs and Tom Cruise Singing Def Leopard

OK, that may not be a totally fair shot at the Sandman, no one can deny that Mr. Sandler plays well to men, but a musical? That is the big Father’s day gift that Hollywood is sending out to the dads of North America? Why didn’t they just move What To Expect When You’re Expecting to this weekend and make it a really manly weekend of movies? I mean, shouldn’t this be the weekend of Expendables 2, some bad sports movie that has a father/son subplot (you know, like a modern Field of Dreams) and the Sandler movie? Now that would be a Father’s Day weekend!

I say all of that and then I think back to my Father and realize that my “ultimate” Father’s Day weekend wouldn’t have played well for him at all. My top 5 “my dad” movie (films I saw with him and I knew he loved) were (in no particular order):

  1. Oklahoma – A serious man with a PHD from Harvard who knew every word to every song of this musical. Trust me, other than his immediate family ANYONE else who knew him would be shocked by this revelation.
  2. The Sound of Music – His long-held pat answer for “what is your favorite movie?”
  3. The Return of the Pink Panther – Never have I seen a man laugh harder than my father did when we went to this movie as a family (of course, he was not alone, we were all laughing uncontrollably).
  4. Marathon Man – My Father and I watched this movie a bunch of times when we first got it on VHS. Shocking only because there is a brief nude scene and I was a teenage boy (again, you had to know my father to appreciate how surprising that was)
  5. The Princess Bride – I was in Hong Kong when this came out so I missed it in the theaters. The second I got stateside my dad made me watch this movie, so sure he was that I would love it (and he wasn’t wrong).
So, maybe my “manly” Father’s Day wouldn’t be for every man, but still, Tom Cruise being a “hair” metal god and Russell Brand looking like Joan Jett? We can do better than that for the father’s of the world, can’t we?
Rock of Ages
Interest Level: 5
But Didn’t You Grow Up Going To Broadway Musicals: Yes I Did
This, like many a summer hollywood movie, is really a film that defies critique. If you have watched the trailers and gotten excited, well then this is a movie you will probably like. If you watched the trailers and wanted to put a gun to your head than this may not be the movie for you. If, like my wife and many others, you loved Hairspray and thought its fun nostalgia mixed with social commentary and great music made it the surprise hit of the summer of 2007 and have therefore become quite excited for Rock of Ages because it is made by the same director you are the person who needs to read the reviews. Rock of Ages is not Hairspray. Rock of Ages is more akin to Mama Mia, a musical that forces a plot around familiar and nostalgic songs. This film is karaoke for movie stars, nothing more. If that is enough for you, have fun. If you are looking for more why not just wait until the fall when it will be out on DVD and VOD and just watch it then.
That’s My Boy
Interest Level: 5 or 6
Do You Prefer Sandler Rom-Com or Sandler Crude: Both and Neither
Adam Sandler has become massively successful making three kinds of movies. He has his crude, man-boy movies (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, etc.), his Rom-Com/Family Man movies (The Wedding Singer, Just Go With It, etc.), and then he periodically tries to make really good movies (Funny People, Punch Drunk Love, etc.). On occasion he has tried to morph the first two categories (Anger Management, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, etc.) but generally speaking his movies fall into these categories and these categories are what Sandler fans want to see. Having said that, it has been a while since he has really gone crude, man-boy, that is until this weekend. That’s My Boy is unabashedly aiming to be the most outlandishly crude movie of the summer. The plot is straight forward enough, straight-laced son is getting married and estranged and wild dad shows up uninvited to the wedding, crazy ensues and the straight-laced son learns some valuable lesson from following crazy dad on a silly night of debauchery. Look, Sandler is hit and miss for me so I almost always wait for the DVD or Premium Cable run before I see most of his stuff (but I always give it a try then). For my wife Sandler is impossible to watch (finger nails on chalk boards and all of that) so she won’t see this EVER. And I have friends who worship at the alter of Sandler who will watch this as soon as they can. Three kinds of movies is all he makes and everyone seems to fit into one of those three categories (unexpected symmetry, hooray). Which camp do you fall in?
The Woman in the Fifth
Interest Level: 6
Whatever Happened To Ethan Hawke: He Stopped Trying To Be Famous
A University professor looses his job after a scandal and does what all good looking, chain-smoking professors do post scandal, he moves to Paris, gets involved with a widow who may or may not be involved with a bunch of murders and intrigue and passion ensue. While the plot sounds cliche the movie apparently is decidedly not. In fact the most common critique is that it is too odd (or oddball) and definitely leaves you scratching your head in the end. To those of you who think that last part sounds like an insult don’t go see this movie, to those of you who think that was a compliment, go see this movie.
Your Sister’s Sister
Interest Level: 5
Honestly: OK, more like a 3 or 4 at best
Iris invites her friend Jack to come with her on a family getaway as they mourn the loss of her brother, while at said retreat Jack has a drunken “encounter” with Iris’ sister which kicks off a revealing stretch of days. Sure, I love Emily Blunt in indie mode and Rosemarie DeWitt has been fine in the stuff I have seen her in, but I just don’t know that I can sit through “revealing” days on a family retreat involving Mark Duplass sleeping with women who are way out of his league. Having said that, who knows, in 9 months or so, if I see it playing on IFC maybe I will give it a try.
Something For Nothing: The Art of Rap
Interest Level: 6
Will You Watch The Whole Thing In One Viewing: No, No Way
Ice-T’s comprehensive look at the art and history of rap apparently goes to every obscure corner of the genre with some terrific interviews and clips, but is also weighed down by its ambition. This is like a Ken Burns baseball documentary, it has some terrific parts but only the most die hard of fans can sit through the whole of it in a single viewing. I wish more documentary and biographical filmmakers would learn to rein in the scope of their films. A life or an entire genre of music is too big a thing for a single movie. Focus, small stories, interesting angles, that is what you can fit into two hours, not much more.