by Steven Cohen
Now that Mother's Day is behind us, it's time to once again turn our attentions to dear old dad. Buying the perfect gift for any movie-loving father can be quite a challenge, so we're here to help make your HD shopping experience a little easier with our Father's Day Gift Guide.
Filled with classic flicks, contemporary blockbusters, and several must own boxsets, this list offers Blu-ray suggestions for fathers of all tastes -- though, the emphasis is definitely on explosions. After all, what father doesn't love explosions?
And as a very special added bonus, much like our previous Mother's Day Gift Guide, this list is officially "Father Approved." That's right, my very own dad actually had a hand in selecting the titles featured, and will even be providing some very fatherly commentary on all the included flicks! So, without further ado, here's our Blu-ray disc suggestions for Father's Day 2013:
'The Ultimate Gangsters Collection Classics' - This recently released set includes gangster classics 'Little Caesar,' 'The Public Enemy,' 'The Petrified Forest,' and 'White Heat,' offering a fantastic collection of golden age crime flicks from the 30s and 40s. To be honest, I haven't seen any of these titles yet myself, but Blu-ray reviewer David Krauss gave the boxset very high marks and with strong video, audio, and supplements, this seems like a no-brainer for any classic film fan fathers out there.
Dad Says: "These are all great classic gangster films. You can’t go wrong with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart or Edward G. Robinson -- these were the originals."
'The Ultimate Gangsters Collection Contemporary' - Going along perfectly with the Classic set, this contemporary collection includes 'Mean Streets,' 'The Untouchables,' 'Goodfellas,' 'Heat,' and 'The Departed.' With a triple dose of Scorsese and a one two punch of De Palma and Mann, this really is an enticing set. Helping to redefine and reinvigorate the genre, these films took what came before and made it fresh. With plenty of memorable characters and quotable lines to go along with a healthy assortment of bullets and suspense, this is a collection that no father should be without.
Dad Says: "These movies continue what the originals started. I particularly like 'The Untouchables.' Who can forget that classic line, 'You wanna get Capone? Here's how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital; you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way.'"
'Patton (Remastered)' - After negative reactions to the DNR riddled transfer on the previous release, 'Patton' has finally received the remaster it so fully deserves. A defining war epic with an iconic performance from George C. Scott, this film is exactly the type of movie I'd usually catch my dad getting lost in on a laid back Sunday afternoon after a hard week of work.
Dad Says: "War movies just aren’t made like this any more. It's got an epic scope with larger-than-life characters and stirring action without having to be too realistic with gore."
'The Guns of Navarone' - A kick ass and highly influential "men-on-a-mission" flick, this movie has got it all: action, thrills, interesting dilemmas, an incredible ensemble cast that includes Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn, and two impossibly large guns. Though it can be a bit ridiculous at times, there is real intelligence and depth in the script, and the story hits all the right classic war movie beats. It's another perfect film to help fathers unwind.
Dad Says: "Like 'Patton,' this is just another great old fashioned war epic with impressive visuals. In fact, I recently visited the Greek island of Rhodes where the film was shot. It's a really beautiful location."
'Star Wars: The Complete Saga' - While the prequel trilogy might not be everyone's cup of tea, the Star Wars saga as a whole is really something special. With nearly universal appeal, these movies strike a chord with every generation. Filled with high adventure, wondrous visuals, and some infamous daddy issues, these are the perfect movies for fathers and their children (young and old) to bond over.
Dad Says: "These are perfect sci-fi fun. The original three are timeless Saturday matinee films that you can just sit on the couch and watch while eating popcorn and suddenly find youself transported to "a galaxy far, far away" -- especially in high definition."
'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' - With the fourth installment of the 'Mission Impossible' franchise, director Brad Bird has taken the series to a whole new level. As far as recent blockbusters go, it doesn't get much more entertaining than this one, and I remember walking out of the theater with my own dad and agreeing that we both had a great time. With all the major dad flick hallmarks present, you really can't go wrong with Ethan Hunt and company.
Dad Says: "This last one is definitely the most exciting so far. It's Tom Cruise at his fun and frolicking best."
'Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection' - These films basically invented an entire style of action flick, and when I envision my father sitting down to watch a movie on a Saturday night, 'Die Hard' is the first thing that pops into my mind. John McClane is the ultimate wise-cracking big screen tough guy, and these movies have dad material written all over them.
Dad Says: "These are all action packed and endlessly entertaining. And they have one of the greatest catchphrases of all time 'Yippee-ki-yay motherf^&*$%!'"
'The Avengers' - I still can't believe that Marvel pulled this off. Their movie spanning shared universe plans were almost impossibly ambitious (especially in the logistical nightmare that is Hollywood). Their phase one strategy is really a pretty remarkable feat if you think about, and the results are any comic book fan's dream come true: getting to see their favorite heroes on the silver screen together. Those with the cash to spend should also consider picking up the entire 'Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collection' which includes all the individual films that led up to 'The Avengers' for a truly heroic Father's Day treat.
Dad Says: "The Marvel movies have become the staple of the modern big budget matinee films like 'Star Wars' before them. They are entertaining and feature iconic characters that many people grew up with in the comics. Hollywood has done a good job of bringing these superheroes to film. The actors, like Robert Downey Jr., really bring humor and credibility to these characters."
'The Mad Max Trilogy' - This highly influential post-apocalyptic action trilogy helped catapult Mel Gibson to Hollywood stardom. The Blu-ray set arrives just in time for Father's day, and with its mixture of science fiction/western storytelling and vehicular mayhem, it should satisfy any Dad's thirst for dystopian action.
Dad Says: "I never really had the opportunity to see any of these films, but I've always heard good things about them. Some say it features Mel Gibson at his best, so I look forward to finally watching them all on Blu-ray."
'Lethal Weapon Collection' - This is a set of films I remember my dad watching endlessly when I was younger (on old VHS copies taped off of cable with commercials, no less) and to this day these remain quintessential "guy" flicks. Buddy action at its best, watching Glover and Gibson bounce off each other is great fun and as far as I'm concerned neither one will ever be "too old for this shit."
Dad Says: "Who can forget the final fight scene on the lawn with the bursting fire hydrant in the first film? Things might change when I finally see 'Mad Max,' but for now, I think this is Mel Gibson at his action peak."
'The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series' - In many respects, this really might be the greatest television show ever made. With tales that frighten, astonish, delight, terrify, and touch the heart in equal measure, the series is full of science fiction stories that run the full gamut of emotion, using fantastical allegories and intelligent writing to probe the inner mysteries of humanity. I have many fond memories of catching various marathons on TV with my dad, and with this set we can have our own impromptu marathons whenever we're together.
Dad Says: "First you hear that iconic music, then Rod Serling's voice over, and suddenly you know you're in for something very special – there just isn't anything like it. Some of the stories were simple, some were complex, but all made you go 'wow!' You can watch them over and over and still see something new you didn’t realize was there before. Even after all these years, the episodes are timely and just so cool!"
'Clint Eastwood 20 Film Collection' - Whether in front of or behind the camera, Clint Eastwood is a true Hollywood legend. This collection features twenty of his films, including 'The Outlaw Josey Wales,' 'Unforgiven,' 'Dirty Harry,' and 'Mystic River.' Showing off virtually every side of the actor/director's impressive repertoire, there's a version of Eastwood here for everybody. Of course, most fathers will likely prefer the squinting, grizzled, low talking iteration. Now, go ahead, make you father's day by picking this set up.
Dad Says: "Wow, what a great collection from such an incredible talent. Its offers an eclectic range of some of his finest and most fun films. It shows his versatility as both an actor and director."
'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection' - My father is responsible for introducing me to a lot of movies for the first time (many of which are on this list), but perhaps the most important films he brought to my attention were the works of Alfred Hitchcock. There really isn't much left to be said about the "Master of Suspense" that hasn't already been said countless times before, but this collection of fifteen films from the famed British director really is a must own. Any film-loving dad, young or old, would almost surely love to get their hands on this.
Dad Says:"My personal favorite film of all time is 'North by North West.' The way Hitchcock builds up the suspense slowly allowing the audience to use their imagination without ever showing gore is fantastic. He puts average guys in the most unexpected and difficult situations and makes you really feel like you're a part of the movie. His artistry with the camera and the way he portrayed obsession are unparalleled to this day."
'Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition' - My dad's a big Bruce Lee fan so there's been many a time that I've walked into the living room as a kid to find the martial arts master punching and kicking his way across our TV screen. This new remastered 40th Anniversary Edition of 'Enter the Dragon' is being released on June 11, giving buyers just enough time to snatch it up as the perfect gift for their action hungry dads.
Dad Says: "I remember seeing my first Bruce lee movie, 'The Chinese Connection,' and I was blown away. I had never seen such great karate scenes before. Unlike his earlier films, with 'Enter the Dragon' (unfortunately his last movie), Lee had Hollywood behind him. This movie has good production value but some of his previous Hong Kong produced films take the slight edge when it comes to fight scenes. All of his films are just great fun to watch."
'The Bourne Trilogy' - As Paul Rudd said in 'The 40 Year Old Virgin,' "Y'know, I always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but he's rocking the shit in this one!" The Bourne films brought a new, contemporary spin to the espionage genre and though your dad might complain about all that annoying "shaky cam" (mine does) there's no denying that these are cool, pulse-pounding movies. Just make sure your father isn't prone to motion induced seizures.
Dad Says: "I love the international flavor, the thrilling car chases, the exceptional fights scenes, and the intricate plot lines. Man just turn off the lights, turn up the volume, and leave me alone."
'Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1' - Gene Roddenberry's planned five year voyage for the starship Enterprise might have ended prematurely, but the original series has gone on to spawn an enduring franchise that continues to entertain. Groundbreaking in many ways when it first aired in the 1960s, the show has been given a beautiful Blu-ray release that should appeal to many fathers, especially those that were kids during the series' first run. You might also want to consider throwing in the Motion Picture Collection the 2009 film and The Next Generation for the ultimate Father's Day trekkie collection!
Dad Says: "The original series was ahead of its time. The best part for me is that I can watch them over and over and still feel that same sense of wonderment I felt when I first saw them on TV when I was 10 years old."
'Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures' - Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films are pure pulpy, popcorn entertainment. Harrison Ford has never been better than when he's wearing that fedora, and the character just oozes cool. The third installment even features a great father/son dynamic. Though, come to think of it, I suppose the fourth one does too, but the less said about "Mutt," the better.
Dad Says: "Just like 'Star Wars,' these films are incredibly fun -- no hidden messages, no metaphors, just straight, sometimes silly fun."
'Best of Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection' - This is an utterly mammoth set that covers the entire cinematic spectrum from 1932 to 2010 with fifty films from Warner's incredible catalog -- including classics like 'Casablanca' and 'The Wizard of Oz' and modern hits like 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' and 'Inception.' With such an all-encompassing assortment of previously available titles, this would make the perfect gift for any father just starting their Blu-ray collection!
Dad Says: "Man, what can I say, they're all here. As far as I am concerned this is all you need to keep you film happy for a couple of months. Turn off the lights, turn up the A.C., get the popcorn, and start with number 50 and watch your way down to number 1. You'll be in film heaven.
'Bond 50' - Perhaps the definition of male oriented entertainment, the James Bond films are sophisticated, sexy, and exciting, while often being utterly ridiculous and silly at the same time. This set includes fifty years worth of 007 adventures spanning Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. Be sure to also pick up the latest (and possibly greatest) entry in the series, 'Skyfall,' to complete the set, giving dad the total Bond package.
Dad Says: "Saved the best for last. I used to replay these movies so much when my daughter was young that when I would ask her what she wanted to watch, she would just say, "Please, something a little less Bond." All women want him and all men want to be him. For me, the original Connery films were the best. However, each actor has made the character their own, and there is something good about all of them. The newer ones with Daniel Craig have brought the series full circle, going back to a more serious 007. As far as I'm concerned, it's always time for Bond."
Well, there you have it. Those are our Father's Day Blu-ray gift suggestions for 2013. We hope that these recommendations help to give you some ideas in your search for the perfect gift for your dad. But remember, whatever movies you end up getting, just make sure you watch them together. After all, that's the best part, isn't it?