How I Entertained My Dad This Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving was a just over a week ago, and I know it's different for every family, but in mine, this year's big question was: How will we entertain Dad? Pretty great problem to have, huh? I hear other families are dealing with having literal Neo Nazis at their tables - but more on Nazis in a sec. My dad loves watching movies, and every time he comes to stay with me I like to have a few movie ideas on hand to keep him busy. This year we spent Thanksgiving at my mom's and oh boy, I really hit it out of the park in terms of dad entertainment, if I do say so myself. Here are the two TV shows and a movie that kept my dad glued to the couch over the Thanksgiving holiday. (This was my ultimate goal, by the way. My dad arrived overworked and a bit sick and needed to be forced into rest-mode.)
The Man in the High Castle
I have been trying for a solid year to get my dad to watch The Man in the High Castle. He doesn't read this blog, so he didn't see my Wear, Watch, Want feature where I basically just said, "OMG this shooooow" over and over. I kept mentioning that he'd love the show, and every time we were together I'd tell him he should watch... but my dad doesn't like starting TV shows. He likes movies because he can start them and in 90 minutes the story is over. Which is a fair point, I GUESS. But this Thanksgiving I pretty much told him this was what he was watching and I put it on. And of course he loved it - He watched the entire first season in two days. The second season of The Man in the High Castle comes out December 16, so you can probably guess what his Christmas holiday show will be.
Here's a fun convo we had while watching:
Dad: Oh look, that's Roslyn, Washington! That's where they filmed that show set in Alaska.
Me: Northern Exposure?
Dad: Whoa. Yeah! How'd you guess that with so few clues?
Me: Name one other show set in Alaska.
Dad: Fair point.
Here's another one (I said we'd come back to Nazis):
Me: Nazis are so hot right now.
Dad: SO hot.
Me: They're everywhere.
Dad (whispering, jazz hands): Nazis!
The Shallows is an incredibly silly, fun, nonsensical movie where a vindictive shark terrorizes Blake Lively. It's the Deep Blue Sea of the 21st Century. Blake goes surfing in Mexico, a shark decides to take a bite out of her, then decides to keep coming after her, essentially stranding her on a rock within a few hundred meters of the shore. I won't spoil what happens, but our girl Blake seeks refuge on whale carcass, performs surgery on herself, performs a medical procedure on a seagull, and the shark is, at one point, literally on fire. I don't know if it's already clear, but this film could have hired a child who had recently read a picture book called Sharks! as their technical advisor and even that kid would say, "Dis is soooo silly!" It may be my favorite movie I've seen (three times) this year.
Here's the best review of The Shallows you'll ever get, courtesy of my dad:
"She just went into the water. What an idiot."
My dad has never watched an HBO show before, so when he said he wanted to watch Westworld I was a little wary. I warned him that what he was about to see may shock him. "Really?!" He asked, clearly not familiar with the slogan "It's not TV, it's HBO." But I set him up with the first episode and left the room. Afterward he came and shared his thoughts.
Dad: It was interesting. I don't really see how they can make a whole series out of it.
Me: I don't really know what to tell you. They did. There's a whole season and there's going to be a second one.
Listen, at this point I've seen every episode and I don't know if I think Westworld is a good show. It's great to look at, and there are some wonderful performances (Thandie Newton is taking a role that could be so lackluster and making it compelling and phenomenal, even if the storyline makes zero sense), but the writing for me is just... eh. I shouldn't watch a show and think, "That twist would be so compelling if I didn't see it coming weeks ago." And I don't even look at Reddit.
Anyway! Then my dad watched episode two.
Dad: Well, I see now how they can turn this theme park into many different stories. They can keep this going for awhile.
Me: Yeah. I mean, they're going to do it either way. Plus there are some "twists."
Dad: Oh yeah, I can see those.
Me: Everyone can.