We all know dads can be impossible to shop for. You could go for the cliche tie or one more sappy coffee mug, but if you really want to get him something he’ll love and use again and again- films and tv shows are the way to go! My own dad is a total nostalgia hound who adores anything from his childhood or teenage years. He’s somehow perpetually surprised when old shows become available on DVD or Blu-ray. He’s also a huge fan of action and adventure films.
I thought I’d share the list of some of my favorite recent and upcoming releases from Mill Creek Entertainment, which I think would make amazing gifts for Father’s Day or any other occasion. They always have the most unexpected, delightful shows, plus affordable movie packs that let you own entire film collections for a fraction of the original cost of buying them all separately. I have received some of these as samples for review, but all opinions are entirely my own!
This 6 DVD set includes 5 feature films and 20 hours of tv performances. First we have a comedy triple feature with Jerry Lewis, including Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1967); Hook Line and Sinker (1969) with Anne Francis; and Three on a Couch (1966) with Janet Leigh.
Next, the set includes a romantic comedy double feature with Dean Martin in Who Was That Lady? (1959) with Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis plus How to Save A Marriage (and Ruin Your Life) (1967) with Stella Stevens.
Lastly, the set includes 28 of the best episodes of the Colgate Comedy Hour, the popular variety show that was broadcast live every week from 1950-1955. Guest stars include Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Dorothy Dandridge, Burt Lancaster and Rosemary Clooney.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis – the crooner and the clown. They were the best-known comedy duo of their day. When they performed, whether on stage, television, or in the movies, the sky was the limit and the laughter was endless.
Moving away from comedies for the moment, but still in the classic era of the mid-’50s, we have this collection of westerns from legendary filmmaker William Castle- who was also responsible for movies like Rosemary‘s Baby and House on Haunted Hill.
This collection includes eight films: Klondike Kate (1943) with Anne Savage, Tom Neal and Glenda Farrell; Masterson of Kansas (1954) with George Montgomery and Nancy Gates; Battle of Rogue River (1954) with George Montgomery and Martha Hyer; Duel on the Mississippi ( 1955) with Lex Barker and Patricia Medina; Conquest of Cochise (1953) with John Hodiak and Joy Page; Jesse James Vs the Dalton (1953) with Barbara Lawrence and Brett King; The Gun that Won the West (1955) with Dennis Moran and Paula Raymond and Uranium Boom (1956) with Dennis Morgan and Patricia Medina.
Fast-forwarding back to the future, we land in another of my dad’s (and my) favorite eras- the 1980s! This totally tubular collection includes some titles I haven’t seen on Blu-ray before. The set kicks off with The Legend of Billie Jean (1985). This was one of the seminal films of my childhood. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it at least 50 times. I will probably do a stand-alone review post of this, but for now I’ll just say this is a special “Fair is fair” edition with commentary from stars Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith.
Next we have an early River Phoenix film, Little Nikita (1988) with Sidney Portier. This movie has one of those concepts only the Cold War ’80s could dream up, with a boy applying to the America Air Force only to discover that his parents are Russian spies. Will he choose family over country?
Also included in this set is a 4 movie collection called Sun, Sand & Sweat, a perfect sun-soaked selection for the summer. The films are Private Resort (1985) with Johnny Depp; Hardbodies (1984) with Grant Cramer; Spring Break (1983) with David Knell; and Perfect (1985) with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Since we’re in the 1980s, this collection of eighties television is a perfect throwback for most dads. It includes the entire first season of Miami Vice. Oh those pastel suits. I hadn’t realized what a prominent soundtrack the show contained, with artists like Phil Collins, U2, Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner, The Police and INXS.
This also includes the first season of Knight Rider. Who didn’t wish they had their own K.I.T.T. car to back them up while fighting crime?
Speaking of crime, the last part of the set is TV Guide Spotlight TV’s Greatest Crime Stoppers. This actually isn’t from the ’80s, instead it includes 20 episodes of older classic television crime shows. Here you’ll find episodes of Dragnet, Code 3, Man With a Camera, Dick Tracy, Mr. and Mrs. North, Mannix, Burke’s Law, Racket Squad, Dangerous Assignment, Boston Blackie, Sea Hunt, Sky King, Richard Diamond, Sherlock Holmes, Hiram Holliday, Decoy, I’m the Law, Follow That Man, Martin Kane, and The Man Behind the Badge.
Maybe your Dad is more into sitcoms from the 1990s? This set should satisfy his binge cravings.
It includes the complete first AND second seasons of Wings. If you don’t recall, it’s about two completely opposite brothers who own and run a tiny airline together.
We also have seasons 1 and 2 of The Larry Sanders Show, in which Gary Shandling plays a neurotic late night talk show host.
Lastly, this includes seasons 1 and 2 of Just Shoot Me!, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated ensemble comedy set in the fashion world and featuring names such as David Spade, Laura San Giacomo, George Segal and Enrico Calontoni.
All together, you get over 90 episodes and 35 hours of great shows.
When Dad is ready for something a little more serious but still addictively binge-worthy, Crossbow should fit the bill. This is the legend of William Tell come to life and starring Will Lyman. I actually didn’t know before this that William Tell was based on historical characters and situations. The entire series is included here.
Seeing a crossbow-led uprising might whet Dad’s appetite for a sword and sorcery trilogy. This set includes Merlin (1998), Merlin’s Apprentice (2006) and Merlin the Return (2000). From wizards and kings to dragons and monsters to time travel between worlds, these three films contain all the magic and adventure you could possibly need.
This is a good collection for Kevin Bacon fans, containing some of his hits as well as some lesser-known gems. Titles include The Big Picture (1989) with Jennifer Jason Leigh, Teri Hatcher and Martin Short; Flatliners (1990) with Julia Roberts, Keifer Sutherland, and William Baldwin; Hollow Man (2000) with Elisabeth Shue; Trapped (2002) with Charlize Theron; In the Cut (2003) with Meg Ran and Jennifer Jason Leigh; and Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Colin Firth.
Kevin Bacon is honestly not my favorite performer in the world, his cockiness just rubs me the wrong way, but I have to admit this collection shows his wide range as an actor.
When in doubt about Dad’s film and tv tastes, I feel like you can’t go wrong with an irreverently silly cartoon. The Awesomes is an animated show for adults created by Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker, featuring voicework by current and past SNL stars including Kenan Thompson, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon Andy Samberg, Ike Barinholtz, Bill Hader and more! You get 30 episodes and all three seasons on these discs.