Salt Lake Film Festival
Director: Ken J. Adachi
For most people, dealing with the death of a parent is a fact of life that can be devastating. In the film, Dead Dad, the unexpected death of a widowed father reconnects three siblings, Russell (Kyle Arrington), Jane (Jenni Melear) and Alex (Lucas K. Peterson), who have grown apart over the years, but turn the tragedy into a bonding experience. For such a heavy topic, this film really impressed me, not only by the great acting, but also by a smart script that keeps the story sincere and heartfelt, but also mixes in clever bits of humor throughout to take the edge off. As the movie rolls along, more and more details emerge about the sibling’s lives and the relationship each one shared with their father. The main plot, however, revolves around the trio trying to agree on a proper resting place for their father’s ashes, after a note he leaves them states he doesn’t want to be buried next to their mother’s grave. Although that would appear to be an easy decision for three adults to agree on, the ensuing journey proves to be an amusing task, which takes them to their dad’s old house, an abandoned dinosaur-themed miniature golf course, and finally, on a rocky cliff at the beach (a place their dad hated). There are also some great sub-plots along the way, such as the brothers trying to decide if they should keep or sell their dad’s old house, as well as Russell trying to hold a rocky relationship together with his girlfriend. Whether or not you have gone through this life experience, Dead Dad features a great cast and script that pulls at your emotions.