Dads love doing nothing on Father's Day so a movie night is the perfect gift. It combines two things they love: quiet and spending time with the kids (while they're being quiet). Netflix can be your gateway to a very happy Papa this Dad's day.
So with that in mind, here are five great choices to watch with the old man. There's something for most every kind of paterfamilias. Now, if you dad is a Jack Arnold-type, you may just want to leave him alone come TV time. But for the rest of you, at least one of these movies will make this Father's Day a relaxing one for the entire family.
[Editor's note: These selections were taken from the American Netflix menu. Apologies if any aren't available in your area.]
The Great Escape (1963)
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Donald, Donald Pleasence
A classic choice for the elder Dads out there especially, but every generation can appreciate a star-packed movie made in classic Hollywood fashion. The Great Escape is based on the true-life mass escape from Nazi-held Stalah Luft III prison in 1944. It would make Steve McQueen a star and contribute one of the all-time great musical scores to film history. The movie influenced many future heist films. It features a team of specialists with specific skills all with the same goal in mind. But the star is McQueen, who plays the "Cooler King" and rules every scene he's in.
Big Fish (2003)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, Jessica Lange, Marion Cotillard, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito
A story of the troubled love and reconciliation between a father and son, Big Fish is a tough movie to summarize. You have to see it and experience it. The film bares the signature flourishes of visionary director Tim Burton, who uses magic surrealism to punctuate the tall tales from the novel by Daniel Wallace. Will Bloom (Crudup) doesn't trust his raconteur of a father, Edward (Finney), whose stories simply can't be true - fishing with a wedding ring, adventures with giants and witches. Will can't take it anymore, but he's missing the very big point. In flashback, Burton brings Edward Bloom's stories to life, and father and son back together.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Višnjić
Beginners also stars Ewan McGregor and also uses flashbacks to tell a disjointed narrative, but I assure you, it's a much different movie than Big Fish. Directed by Mike Mills (Thumbsucker), Beginners really tells the story of a new couple, Oliver (McGregor) and Anna (Laurent), who both have had issues with their fathers. But the focus is on Hal, Oliver's dad, who's just passed away. We learn the old man used his last years to finally live, coming out of the closet at age 75 and becoming the man he hid away for so long. Oliver, seeing a new, honest side to his father becomes much closer with him and the two have their best years before it's too late. Honest, touching, and funny, Beginners is quietly wonderful.
The Hunt For Red October (1990)
Starring: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Stellan Skarsgård, Sam Neill, Scott Glenn, Tim Curry, Joss Ackland, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Peter Firth
One of my favorite widescreen films, The Hunt for Red October might be the surest bet on this list to please Dad this Father's Day. Set in the high stakes world of global politics and military strategy, the film is the greatest Tom Clancy-adaptation of the 1990s and a worthy successor to 80's action classics like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. Famed Russian Captian Marko Ramius (Connery) and his undetectable nuclear submarine, the Red October, are on a course for the Eastern Seaboard and only CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Baldwin) knows what the Captain really wants. He races against time to get to the man before World War III begins.
Starring: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sophia Vergara,
Immensely likable and heavy with themes of family togetherness and hard work paying off, Chef was one of the hidden gems of 2014. Directed by Favreau (Swingers, Iron Man), the veteran actor brings a great cast along for the ride and the chemistry is off the charts. He plays Carl Casper, a formerly great head chef struggling with a boring menu at a restaurant he's sick of. A bad review and a careless mistake on Twitter crush his professional life and he has to start over. With his son and best friend in tow, Carl swallows his pride and buys a food truck which turns out to be the greatest thing that's ever happened to him. The boys take a food-inspired road trip that brings father and son closer together and celebrates the Chef's greatest ingredient: love.