Friday, June 17, 2011

9 Fantastically Awful Movie Dads

To help bring attention to Father’s Day this weekend, movie sites are currently littered with lists promoting the Best Movie Dads of all time.

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird; Ray Kinsella, Field of Dreams; George Banks, Father of the Bride; Daniel Hillard, Mrs. Doubtfire; Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness… you know what all of these movie dads have in common?  Being boring.

Forget the lovey-dovey, give me the sick and gruesome.  Here’s a call sheet of nine of the worst dads to ever grace the silver screen.

Humbert Humbert, Lolita
As played by James Mason
Marry a woman solely because you’re obsessed with her 14-year-old daughter, wait for wife to die, kidnap girl from summer camp, fail to mention that her mother is dead, be persistent with sexual advances.

Noah Cross, Chinatown
As played by John Huston
Be horrible enough to make your daughter scream something aloud that no daughter should ever have to scream aloud.

Jack Torrance, The Shining
As played by Jack Nicholson
Deny that you’re an abusive alcoholic, lock family in some obscure hotel for months, slowly go insane, attempt to hack wife up with an ax, chase son and wife through a hedge maze during a blistering snow storm; all work and no play will make you a dull boy.

Peter McCallister, Home Alone/Home Alone 2
As played by John Heard
Forget son at home, fly to Paris, make wife fly around the world to secure safety of son, act nonchalant about the whole thing.  Wait a year, lose same kid in an airport, go to Florida, make wife fly to New York City to secure safety of child, act nonchalant about the whole thing.

Ed Wilson, Natural Born Killers
As played by Rodney Dangerfield
Threaten, berate, abuse, and molest daughter (which will in turn fuel her desire to become a mass murdering psychopath) all in a 10 minute sitcom parody with appropriate laugh track.

Bill Maplewood, Happiness
As played by Dylan Baker
Drug and rape two of your son’s classmates, describe to son, in great detail, that you drugged and raped two of his friends and that you’d, probably, like to drug and rape him, too.

Col. Frank Fitts, American Beauty
As played by Chris Cooper
Beat son nearly unconscious for smoking pot, send son to mental institution, neglect wife, berate gay neighbors, beat son for going into your cabinet, kick son out of house for (maybe) being gay, kiss straight neighbor, kill straight neighbor.

Daddy Deiks, Frailty
As played by Bill Paxton
Convince young sons that God has hired you to kill people, force son to dig a dungeon to harbor said “demons,” force sons to kill innocent people, seem pretty indifferent about the whole thing.

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood
As played by Daniel Day-Lewis
Drag infant boy around with you for show and tell, make money off of being a “household name,” neglect boy ceaselessly, force feed him whiskey as a cure for deafness, send boy away as to not deal with boy’s deafness.   Twenty years later, tell boy his whole life is a lie, remind son a dozen times that he is actually just a bastard in a basket.

Happy Father’s Day!


  1. Took me awhile to get to this list, and although I usually agree with your reviews, this is one of the few times I did not. Atticus Finch? Boring??? Not a chance. I do know what you were saying there, but you know how I feel about that movie and its characters. Nothing about him is boring. He is my hero. And I'd love to watch that movie with you someday.

    1. You know what's funny? When I trace back and look at old articles on this blog, it's so obvious how the writing directly reflects my general mood at the time. Basically, you know I LOVE Atticus Finch and find him far from boring. He's one of the all time great movie characters, period!

      June 2011... rough time for me. Rough, rough time.

  2. I'm trying to think of a more gut wrenching movie than Happiness. The Celebration, maybe? And then there's the troubling thought that I might have seen them as a double feature at an art house in 1998. Silver lining: I didn't go home and kill myself, so I'm probably safe on that front forever.

    1. I still haven't seen The Celebration. I need to fix that right away. Dark shit huh? Oh boy.

    2. Yes, indeed, The Celebration (Festen) is a must see!


  3. James Mason's dad in "Bigger than Life."