Growing up, my dad worked hard and long hours to provide for our family. As it was apparent from a young age that I was a "daddy's girl," every chance I had to hang out with my dad, I took. Often, hanging out for us just meant chilling on the couch and watching a movie. I never minded; in fact, times I spent sitting with my family and enjoying a film have become some of my most cherished memories. I've always said that movies bring people together, and I'm living proof of that. But there's one movie in particular I recall devouring with my dad and my brothers that, all these years later and with Father's Day approaching, still stands out in my mind: Independence Day .
On paper, Independence Day is nothing more than an alien-invasion action movie stacked with talented and good-looking actors. But in reality, the 1996 film is one of the most important and sentimental movies of my life because it reminds me of my dad, and the memories we share of watching it again and again. Independence Day is not an extraordinary movie by any means but it's funny, heartfelt, and action-packed — everything one might want in a great sci-fi movie, and it's one of my favorite films to watch with my dad. I don't know what it is about it specifically that's caused us to latch on and routinely watch it every time we see it on TV. Maybe it's the humor, or the way that Will Smith balances being effortlessly cool and extremely badass. But more likely, it's the family-centric plotline, with characters fighting for their loved ones and doing anything to protect them. The President and his daughter have a particularly close bond, one that's not dissimilar to the one I share with my dad. I think we see our own strong family ties reflected back to us on the screen.
These days, not a week goes by that I don't receive a text from my dad with some kind of quote or picture or joke relating to Independence Day. There's so much to draw from: the creepy aliens, the once-abducted farmer-turned-hero, the suave President, and the epic Air Force battle, to name a few. There's so much content that my dad and I would be content for weeks recounting every detail of it, mixed with our own in-jokes.
Independence Day, to me, is so much more than just a movie. It's a memory. It's a happy place. It's something I can turn to when I'm missing my family or feeling down and need to have my spirits lifted — not because of the content, necessarily, but because it reminds me of my father. I've always had a particularly close relationship with my dad. He used to coach my soccer and softball teams, and we share the same sense of humor — we both think "poop" is the funniest word in the world — much to the dismay of my mom. We have a close, special bond, and I am forever grateful that I can count my dad as one of my best friends. Independence Day isn't what make us close, but it is something that we both love, and it has become synonymous with our relationship.
Watching movies with my family has always had an impact on my life. Without a doubt, the time I spent with my family viewing films inspired my love of film and spurred me to attend film school. Yet Independence Day will always stand out for me. My parents were as supportive of me watching this movie as a kid as they were when, years later, I told them I was going to school to learn how to write movies. Throughout my schooling, I watched countless "classic" films and "award darlings," but none of them came close to bringing the joy that I got from the movies I watched with my dad growing up, whether they were My Cousin Vinny, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Shawshank Redemption, or, of course, Independence Day.
Independence Day isn't the only movie that reminds me of my dad, or the only film we bond over, but it's the one that sticks with me the most. Now, its sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence , is about to be released, and while I am typically skeptical about sequels, I know I'll be seeing this one. Whenever my father sees a new movie he loves, he tells me about it, and whenever I watch something I know he'll enjoy, he's the first person I text. When Resurgence comes out, you can bet my dad and I will see it — and, inevitably, happily obsess over it together.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy