The War With Granpda is the kind of family oriented movie you don’t see that much these days. It’s fun, a little irreverent, it features big-names actors, and it isn’t at all trying to be edgy, or push the boundaries of what’s funny. Instead The War With Grandpa is just …the kind of movie you want to watch with your grandpa. And your parents. Probably even your siblings.
If you ask me, this makes it the perfect movie for the world in 2020, and the semi quarantine we’re all pretty much stuck in. Fangirlish had a chance to talk to director Tim Hill about the movie, and specifically about this notion that The War With Granpda isn’t just a family centered movie, it’s a movie for the family, about …well, familial love, above everything.
The idea, Tim shared, was to “make an all audience movie everyone can relate to,” which is something I will say they absolutely nailed. The idea behind this is that “Granpda is sorta forced to come and live with the family, and so there’s conflict there,” as there would be any time circumstances change, in general.
But the movie isn’t about just the conflict. “It’s a family movie about a family, but there’s also a conflict, and a territorial dispute.” I can’t exactly put myself back into my early teens and try to imagine how I would have felt if I’d been forced to give up my room, but I have this notion that I wouldn’t have been exactly happy.
“You get a lot of things that could happen in a family,” Tim continued on, while also taking the time to stress that they took great care in never going too far, which is something I, personally, had been worried about before screening the movie. Family-oriented or not, prank movies are notorious for taking it not just one, but five steps too far.
“You want it to be entertaining, and you want to have action,” Hill told me, “but you also don’t want it to be a movie about pranks, or about payback.”
It’s easy to tell while watching the movie what the intentions were, because despite the fact that the movie is called The War With Granpda, it never feels like the “war” is the center of the show, as much as the shifting family dynamics are. And in that way, we can all relate to it.
“That’s an important component, the way we kind of deal with it,” and yes, the angle the film itself takes as they present this narrative of two people who disagree, but who still care for each other. “There are moments when they’re having a good time together – some which come out of the book – but they’re also like the war isn’t over, as soon as they get back it’s on.”
After all, the movie still is what it is.
“There are these false summits in the movie, where you think they’re going one way, but no, they’re still going to fight. That helps in the narrative,” and it helps us, as viewers, to continue to invest in this story, because it’s not just one thing, straight up.
Plus, you never truly know what to expect.
Is it time for a break? Is it time to escalate? Who knows?
“They do love each other, but they’re both stubborn,” the director shared. “Yes, things go too far, there’s misinterpretation, you have this escalation,” but there’s never really any doubt that these two characters genuinely care about each other.
For example, “De Niro’s character thinks he can teach the kid a lesson, and then he loses control of the situation, he gets drawn into the fight in a really adolescent level.”
This was part of the fun for me, to see the grandpa getting to tap into the child inside himself. We’re all, in many ways, still kids at heart, and there’s a lot to be said for enjoying life in a way that allows you to, well, pull a prank on your grandson if he is doing the same thing.
It’s not payback, it’s just being fair.
We also had a chance to ask Tim about one of our favorite parts of the movie, a Dodge ball scene that made us want to try Dodge ball once again. Except, if we don’t have Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour and Cheech Marin on our side, then what is even the point?
“The kids were in heaven,” he told us, which sounds about right for kids – and fine, we would have been in heaven too, no judgment here. “The adults were a little less enthusiastic, until they realized they had to fight.” And then “there was a lot of fun competition,” which translates into the movie perfectly.
All in all, though I’d already watched The War With Grandpa before we had a chance to talk to Tim Hill, if I hadn’t, I would have absolutely chosen to watch it after this interview. And so should you. I promise, this is just the perfect movie to enjoy with your family right now. We all need a break from reality, after all.
The War With Grandpa will be available on October 9th.