My Dead Dad is an independent film that chronicles the life of Lucas Varela (Pedro Correa) who discovers that his estranged father has passed. He travels to LA in hopes of selling the apartment complex that is left in his name but ends up discovering a lot about the man he never knew. It is now streaming on HBO Max.
My Dead Dad opens with old VHS footage that shows Augusto (Ricardo Molina) and Jane (Terry Walters) living like a happy family and raising their kid, Lucas in Reno, Nevada.
The footage eventually shows the bit where the parents have a fallout and Augusto leaves. We then get glimpses of a teenaged Lucas who’s a brilliant skateboarder and shows off his skills on tape along with his group named the Reno Rats.
Lucas has a rebellious lifestyle, drinking, smoking and skate boarding his way through life until he gets severely injured trying to perfect a skill. Switching to present day, his mom tells him that his father has passed and left an LA apartment building in his name.
Wanting nothing to do with his dad’s stuff, he still travels to the big city as Jane mentions that he was a good man and the reasons for their separation were not all black and white.
He leaves Reno and moves into his father’s apartment. Lucas notices a voicemail that Augusto left him but refuses to listen to it and sleeps on the couch.
The next day he meets his dad’s right hand man and the building’s caretaker, Frank (Raymond Cruz) who offers to help him handle the situation but Lucas says he works better alone. He intends to sell the place asap and move back.
Exploring the city, Lucas heads to meet an old Reno Rats friend, Kieffer (Booboo Stewart) and later that night tries to unsuccessfully skate again. He runs into a girl and she teases Lucas into teaching her a trick.
Unfortunately, she breaks her wrist and Lucas takes her to the emergency. The next morning, his uncle Tommy (Steven Bauer) comes to visit and takes him to a property lawyer to sign the contract to sell the building.
Even though Lucas wants to be rid of it, he refuses to and takes time to think, opening to Kieffer saying that he does want to sell but does not want to move back to Reno. After his card declines, his mom suggests he asks frank for money from the building as he’s the rightful owner now.
Frank agrees but asks Lucas to first introduce himself properly to all the tenants. He does so and receives a mixed response from the residents. Among them is also Sophie — the girl who broke her wrist and the two formally get acquainted. She also introduces him to her boyfriend, Gavin (Simon Rex).
Lucas sits with Frank that night and the two warm up to each other over whiskey. The latter opens up about his wife’s death and the toll it took on him. He offers the young man to come talk to him whenever he feels like it, saying that he knows he’s got a lot of weight on his chest because of Augusto’s absence from his life.
Over the next few days another one of Lucas’ friends from Reno, Cosmo (Chris Pontius), comes to LA and moves in with him. Furthermore, Sophie and Lucas become extremely close as well.
He gets to know a lot of stories about his dad from Frank, Cosmo, and the tenants who present him with a new perspective towards Augusto.
If you still have doubts about the ending, here is a detailed breakdown.
My Dead Dad (2021) ending explained in detail:
One day Lucas sees Sophie and asks her if she wants to come along with him to San Luis Obispo to clear his dad’s beach spot. She laughs and says that it’s four hours away but eventually agrees.
They take his dad’s Mustang and have a nice road trip. Once there, Lucas breaks down while going through his dad’s stuff and tells Sophie that he deleted the voice message Augusto left him before hearing it.
She consoles him and convinces him to spend the night together in a motel. Things get heated up and the two end up having sex. The next morning, Sophie is enraged at herself for cheating on Gavin and makes it clear to Lucas that it was all a mistake.
In another conversation with Frank, Lucas admits that the more he hears about his dad, the cooler he sounds and it is unfair that he never got to know that. Frank responds that there is always a difference between what a person wants to do and can do in situations.
The next day, Lucas runs into Gavin who does not seem to be aware of the situation and greets him nicely. He ironically mentions that how during his DJ gigs he has had so many situations where he could have cheated on Sophie but didn’t because he’s a loyal man, making Lucas feel terrible from the inside.
Lucas has a drunk night and has a dream about Augusto. The next morning while cleaning the pool, he sees Gavin and Sophie who announce that they’re getting married soon.
Enraged, Lucas goes to Frank and makes his intentions about selling the place clear. Frank congratulates him for making a decision but mentions that he can see Lucas is doing this out of spite.
Frank finally tells him that Augusto went to see him a lot in Reno but Jane did not let him. She called the cops on him, forcing him to spend the night in jail for trying to see his son.
She even used this and Lucas as a key for their divorce. All this information hits Lucas like a shockwave and he breaks down, screaming that why didn’t anyone tell him this a decade ago when he was developing all this hate for his dad.
He rushes out in anger and picks a fight with Gavin who is coming out of dinner with Sophie and a few other friends. He hits him in the face and rushes back, realising the stupidity of his actions.
Back at home, Kieffer notices the weight Lucas has been carrying on his shoulders and advises him to take a step back and breathe. Lucas calls his mom and tells her that he knows she kept his dad from him.
Jane is miserable and admits that she messed up. She lets him know that his father loved him and she should have let him see his son more often.
Uncle Tommy shows up the next day, distraught that due to Lucas’ delay in decision making, the buyers for the building pulled out. Lucas notices that Tommy is really desperate to sell and asks him to come clean.
Tommy reveals that he’s in a lot of debt. Lucas heeds his situation and offers to give him money from the building on a monthly basis to get him back up on his feet.
He then heads to Sophie’ apartment to apologise. He asks her to leave Gavin and come with him but she says she cannot as she’s getting married in 10 days.
He replies that she can of course leave Gavin but she doesn’t want to and that’s what he wanted to know. After a discussion about life, love and future, the two bid farewell on good terms.
Finally, he reveals to Frank that he’s not selling the building but needs his help in running it. He entrusts the management to Frank and drives out, finally sorting out his dad’s stuff.
He finds another tape that his dad recorded and finally listens to it in his car, going through heaps of emotions as he finally comes to terms with everything.
The film ends with Lucas skateboarding again, finally at peace and looking forward to what the future holds.