Thursday, June 18, 2015

Riske Business: Talking Movies with My Dad

by Adam Riske
In honor of Father’s Day (coming up June 21st), I checked in with my dad for one of our regular movie chats. Enjoy! He’s got some controversial opinions.

Adam: What is your favorite summer movie?

Adam’s Dad: The one that stands out for me is the first Jaws movie. I remember standing in a long line outside of the Golf Mill Theater with your mother and then afterward thinking it was well worth it. The way they kept the full view of the shark away from you until near the end really helped to keep up the suspense and terror. It also had probably one of the best casts for a summer movie, even with Richard Dreyfus in it. The first Star Wars is a very close second.

Adam: Richard Dreyfus is not as bad as you make him out to be. So recently you told me that Julianne Moore might be your favorite actress. What is it that makes her that for you?

Adam’s Dad: Julianne Moore is my favorite actress of this era because it seems that she can handle such a diverse range of roles and make her character believable each time. I have seen six of her movies (Maps to the Stars, Still Alice, Boogie Nights, The Kids are All Right, Game Change and Mockingjay, Part 1) and regardless of whether she was the main character or part of a large cast her performance is one I always enjoyed, even if I was not crazy about the film (Maps to the Stars).

Adam: You and I talked about how we both want to see Inside Out. What is the best Pixar movie in your opinion?

Adam’s Dad: A tie between Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo. Pixar's animation is great in all of their movies but there is something about the stories and the voices used that makes these special.
Adam: I’m right there with you on Finding Nemo. I always liked Ratatouille the best. No one else seems to share that opinion, though. Speaking of food movies, what actor or actress would you want to have lunch with and why?

Adam’s Dad: I think that it would be fun to sit down to lunch with Sean Connery, if for no other reason than to hear his opinion on the James Bond franchise and the behind the scenes dramas, from the time that he first took the role through today's version. With his reputation for "telling it like it is" I'm sure it would be really interesting.

Adam: Good answer. Who is the most underrated actor or actress today?

Adam’s Dad: Underrated is a real tough thing to identify, but one person that does get roles in a lot of pictures, doing very well in them but not getting the major accolades, is Woody Harrelson. Maybe it’s because of his off-screen "personality," but when he is in a movie you really notice his character and I have never seen one where he has phoned it in. I am not saying he should be listed among the world's all-time great actors, but he is not afraid to take on roles where his character has major flaws or likeability issues. He is also comfortable in more light hearted roles (Kingpin) as well as deeply disturbing ones (Natural Born Killers). BTW, honorable mention to Kevin Bacon. Gets a lot of different types of roles in movies and is almost always real good in them but doesn't get much attention except from the people who make movies since he has appeared in lots of them.

Adam: That’s so weird because those are the two actors I would maybe name as well as most underrated. Who’s the most overrated actor or actress working today?

Adam’s Dad: If overrated is defined as someone who currently continues to get a number of major roles in motion pictures but I can't understand why, I would say it is Chris Hemsworth.

Adam: What??????!!!!!! He’s this generation's Patrick Swayze! He’s super charismatic and funny and awesome. I don’t get this pick at all.
Adam’s Dad: Hemsworth has no acting ability at all in my opinion, and studios rely 100% on his looks to make money from his films with no real interest in actually making a movie that would get critical acclaim for its acting or story. He is more like a male model being given lines to read.

If you are asking about someone who gets major roles based upon perceived acting ability and his name, I would say it is George Clooney. He seems to play all of his roles in the same way, as Mr. Cool, with the exceptions of Michael Clayton and The Descendants. That is not to say that I haven't liked many of his movies. I just think that he must feel most comfortable where he doesn't have to display a wide range of emotions. Ironically, he actually displays more emotion/passion when he is talking about his various humanitarian interests. Wish he took more roles where he displayed those same emotions onscreen.

Adam: You probably shouldn’t watch Tomorrowland then. He’s very miscast.

What are some of your favorite movies that you’ve seen recently?

Adam’s Dad: As you know, I don't go to movie theaters very often, so these are the more recent releases on DVD/Blu-ray that I have enjoyed. Still Alice is probably my favorite. Julianne Moore deserved the best acting Oscar she received and I think the movie was better than Boyhood or Birdman, which were also good but I don't think lived up to the hype. Selma and American Sniper, on the other hand, were also really good and lived up to the hype.

Adam: Ugh. American Sniper. Let’s stay on Clint Eastwood for a moment. If you could have any modern day actor or director make a Western, who would it be?

Adam’s Dad: If modern day includes anyone still making movies today, Kevin Costner would be way up there. Westerns seem to be a genre that has really worked for him over his career. If you are asking about actors that have only become popular in the last 10 years, I think that Bradley Cooper would do well. He is a top level actor and has the physical attributes (strong but without looking more like a male model) to be believable in that kind of role.

Adam: I would like to see Bradley Cooper in a Western.

What is your favorite type of action sequence (e.g. shootout, chase, fight)?

Adam’s Dad: Don't really have a favorite, since it depends upon the movie they are in and I enjoy all of them if done right, but a bad fight is definitely the thing I see more of, especially when they use CGI to have them make ridiculous moves, jumps, etc. I am amazed at times during shootouts, however, how the good guy or even the main villain can be so accurate through most of a sequence and then at a critical moment fail to hit someone when it is seemingly an easier shot.

Adam: What is a franchise they need to stop?

Adam’s Dad: Jurassic Park. First one was really enough. Went downhill fast from there, although the second was ok…
Adam: No it wasn’t. (Note: This was answered before my dad saw Jurassic World, which he said was better than he thought it would be.)

Adam’s Dad: Star Wars series is a close second. Huge drop off after the first three.

Adam: That’s crazy talk. The new one looks AMAZING. Though I will agree with you that the prequels are pretty lousy on the whole. I like Revenge of the Sith, but you won’t get a passionate defense from me over that movie.

What is the worst movie you've seen recently?

Adam’s Dad: This is an easy one. Predestination starring Ethan Hawke. There is no way I can tell you why without giving away a huge part of the movie but trust me, if there is any movie that can leave you saying out loud "What the F***!" at the end, this is it.

Adam: The fact that you hate this movie so much makes me really want to see it. I haven’t yet but definitely will.

To close, give me your opinion on these people and things. First thing that comes to mind.

Keifer Sutherland

Adam’s Dad: One of the best voices of any movie/television actor. Great television actor but not so much in movies.

Will Smith

Adam’s Dad: Not a fan. Even in movies I liked (Independence Day) his performance wasn't too good.

Jason Statham

Adam’s Dad: Loved him in the Transporter series but has a tendency to play his role the same way as Transporter in all of his other movies.
Adam: It’s one of life’s great mysteries to me why you like the Transporter movies so much.


Adam’s Dad: Loved the first one. One film where Bill Murray acting like an obnoxious human being was appropriate and each of the actors was terrific in their own right.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Adam’s Dad: Have never seen any of his movies all the way through. Just seems like a "B" version of Stallone and Schwarzenegger.

Adam: He’s come into his own in recent years. You should check out some of his movies. He is a lot of fun in them.

Mad Max movies

Adam’s Dad: Thought they were weird, but in a good way. Favorite one was Beyond Thunderdome. Tina Turner was awesome. The Road Warrior is close second
Adam: Thanks for taking the time to talk movies. I love hearing your opinions. They’re always interesting.

Adam’s Dad: You’re welcome.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

Leave a comment below with what your dads think about various movie topics. It will be a fun conversation and they might have some wild answers like my pops ☺


  1. Wow, this is awesome! What a cool conversation with your dad! Love it. And I'm with him on a lot of stuff, particularly that Chris Hemsworth is soo junk. And his bro. No charisma. And I love watching hot guys in movies.'s sad.

    With you on Ratatouille.

    My poor dad is the only guy in our family. We look at him funny when he watches action movies with fight and car chase scenes, and we look at him weird when he does Jane Austen movie marathons. Sadly I think he just can't win. But ya, my dad loves chick flicks, like with a hot blonde and preferably an underdog guy who gets the girl at the end (Tootsie). But aside from Tootsie, none of the women in the house will watch those movies with him. Writing this is making me realize what jerks we are about his movie preferences! Ah!

  2. I'm not sure why Ratatouille isn't as beloved as the other Pixar films. It probably has something to do with the setting and protagonist ("bad enough I have to watch a movie about a rat - but a FRENCH rat??"). Personally I love it. The moment when Anton Ego first tastes the titular dish, and has a sudden flashback to his childhood, is one of the great moments in animation. Patton Oswalt is perfect as the lead, and the visual look of the thing is masterful.

    1. I think you're on to something. I think Anton Ego makes this movie.

  3. Great conversation! I also really like Ratatouille, mainly because my mom was a chef and a lot of the things in that movie hit home for me. For overrated actor I would say Channing Tatum. I like the dude, but the last couple movies I've seen with him I didn't really like him in them. I also don't understand how your dad liked Beyond Tunderdome. I wish I had as much love for that silly movie as he does.

  4. Love these interviews with your parents, Adam. I'd do one with my Dad but he's just not a "movie guy" in the least. He'll watch them and I have some good memories of him taking me to them as a kid, but it's an in the moment thing with him and he's not much in to talking about them when they're over. And he can't believe I'll watch some over and over again. Like, he loved movies like True Romance, Pulp Fiction and Fargo when they came out and it's only just now that he's been interested in watching them again. It's weird because he's an artist (music, painting) and, though he thinks it's cool that I have some passion for movies as an artform, he just has no interest in looking at them that way himself. He loves em (VERY discriminately - he didn't like The Raid even!) and leaves em.

  5. Love this! And Ratatouille is my favorite Pixar too! But The Lost World is much better than ok.

    My Dad's favorite all-time movie is a Doris Day music called 'On Moonlight Bay'. He also thinks Jurassic World is the best in the series. I have now insisted he rewatch Jurassic Park because he clearly doesn't remember it. But my Dad introduced me to almost every '80s and '90s action movie that I love when I was young. That's one of my favorite memories with him. My Dad is awesome.

  6. My dad loves westerns and adventure films (his all time favourite is Billy Jack), but he can't stand scenes with violence. I have absolutely no idea how he manages to reconcile this. He once insisted on sending me The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. It's fantastic, by the way.
    I have countless memories of my dad walking in when I was a teen and watching explicit or queer films, and instead of saying, 'What the hell are you watching?' he would sit down and watch with me. Of course, I was always mortified, but he would inevitably fall asleep, then snore really loudly. He never censored what I watched, and would always take me films at the art house theatre when we visited the city.
    I don't understand his attachment to Billy Jack, and judging from the volume of his snores through Boogie Nights, he's never really understood my tastes either, but he always encouraged my movie love.
    Great piece, and Happy Father's Day to all the dads on the site!