me, my dad, and the movies

It is a bit crazy to believe it’s been a year. My family and I visited Dad today and while there we began recounting stories of my dad. It got me thinking about my favorite memories.

My father and I shared a special bond through movies. Through the years, some of my favorite memories were watching movies alongside my dad. We watched a lot of movies together…a lot. We often shared the same tastes or perhaps he secretly passed his tastes to me. Here are some of my most memorable times with my dad & the movies.

Jurassic Park

My most vivid theater experience to this day. It was 1993, I had finished 3rd grade and on the last day of school my dad picked me up from school and took me to see Jurassic Park on opening day. I loved the idea because what kid doesn’t like dinosaurs and this was my first PG-13 movie!

We were a bit late and wandered in the theater after the lights had gone out so we couldn’t find seats. Somehow we sat down on some stairs (Century 22 in San Jose) and just stayed there the rest of the movie. The movie…freaked me out! I was thoroughly spooked 30 minutes in the movie.  I hated it! I thought I could brave through it but I think my dad got the gist through my constant clutching, grabbing, and seizing throughout the movie. This was not how I expected this movie to go.

Finally there was the scene where the kids got trapped in the kitchen with the raptors outside and the kitchen door handle slowly turned just proved too much. I grabbed my dad and said, “We gotta go.” My dad looked at me and we both left right then. I still haven’t really finished that movie to this day and my dad never brought it up again.

I have a date with spring (我和春天有個約會)

My dad’s favorite movie of all time. As a family, we’ve watched this dozens of times and each year for the past decade, it became a ritual of sorts to watch this. A story of 4 girls who share a bond of friendship within the context of HK’s glory days in music nightclubs. This movie gave us a glimpse of the era my parents grew up in. They were tougher times but the story resonates today. We’d all get teary eyed every time we watch it. Every single time, still do. Over the years this move has become a favorite of my sister and mine as well.

Big Fish & Frequency

These two weren’t our favorites, but I loved to watch father/son movies with dad. It became our way of communicating to one another. We weren’t really the expressive types but these movies were a conduit for my dad and I to communicate. It was an unspoken confirmation at the end of the movie that the indestructible bond of the father/son combo had was what we had as well. We watched a lot of movies together, but these two I distinctly remember. I think he knew what I was trying to say.

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father (新難兄難弟)

Along the lines of father/son movies, this was a movie my dad specifically asked me to watch with him. I was surprised because he wasn’t typically the one to suggest movies. On the cover, it’s a movie starring both of HK’s Tony Leung’s and both are comedic geniuses and favorite actors of my dad and I. The movie’s filled with slapstick and off-tilt humor that my dad loved.

This movie was special. It focused on a misunderstood relationship between father and son, a son who cannot understand his father’s ways and a father who struggled to explain to his son. A bizarre event (suspended reality here) causes the son to travel back in time to meet his younger father. Through various ordeals the son begins to see what shapes his father and why his dad is the way he is. It’s a touching story and there’s a saying from the movie that my dad repeated quite a bit after we watched this together.


Loosely translated it’s, “I have everyone’s best interest in mind, everyone has mine”. It’s a selfless saying that embodies the idea of community. In life, my dad loved his community of friends and they in turn have loved us through these tough last few years.

It seems like most father/son relationships have a phase where the son can’t quite see things the way the dad does. During a particular rough patch in my relationship with my dad early in high school, my dad once quoted Mark Twain,

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

It’s funny how true this became. Thankfully our relationship improved over the years as we’d come to understand and appreciate each other’s quirks and ways. This movie helped shed light on my youthful arrogance, and like Tony Leung in the movie, see things a bit through my dad’s perspective. How I wish he were still here today for so many of the questions that I have.

If you’ve made it this far and it’s within your power…please, go enjoy a movie with your dad and cherish it.