Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fathers in Film

June is my favorite month because it has the most birthdays I know (including my own).  I also wanted to honor Father's Day by creating a list of amazing fathers in film.  So here are the wacky, honorable, lethal, and dedicated dads in cinema:

1.  Taken (2008) Bryan Mills – Liam Neeson

This film reminded us that no one messes with Liam Neeson.  And if anything were to go down, I want a father like Bryan Mills who shoots housewives in arms and races yachts…WITH CARS.

2.  Dirty Dancing (1987) Dr. Jake Houseman – Jerry Orbach

 Jake Houseman may not have been the most open to Baby’s relationship, but he is a classic movie dad.  He never wants his little girl to grow up because he doesn’t want to see her hurt.  He eventually gives in and although it may be the definition of corny, it’s still a touching father-daughter relationship.

3.  Father of the Bride (1950, 1991) Stanley T. Banks, George Banks – Spencer Tracy, Steve Martin

I’m including both versions here because the remake is pretty similar to the original, and I love both Spencer Tracy as Stanley Banks and Steve Martin as George Banks.  Both films are extremely enjoyable and worth the watch.  The Banks fathers reflect on life, the passage of time, and the bittersweet moment when their little girl becomes their grown woman, and they are no longer the only man in her life.

4.  Selena (1997) Abraham Quintanilla – Edward James Olmos

 “BUSTIER…BUSDECACA” – Memorable quote. The common theme among many fathers in film is the struggle to deal with a daughter who is now a woman to everyone else, but will always be a little girl in his eyes.  I especially like Edward as Abraham.  He was firm, but loving, and was especially sensitive to the obstacles of achieving success in an environment that has always been tumultuous in regards to ethnicity.  He is the only character on this list based on an actual person, and I can't imagine how trying it must be to outlive one's child.

5.  Away We Go (2009) Burt Farlander – John Krasinski

This may be cheating because technically Burt Farlander is not a father yet in this film, but he is hilarious and so enjoyable to watch, one can’t help but think of how great a father he is about to become.  This film also takes the time to reflect on countless issues surrounding parenthood – issues that some people (unfortunately) do not always consider. 

6.  Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Grandpa Edwin Hoover – Alan Arkin

I have a weakspot for grandfathers (being that mine is one of the greatest created) and Alan Arkin as Grandpa Hoover is fantastic.  There are many charming elements to this film, including Grandpa Hoover’s advice that he clearly makes up along the way, which may be a huge aspect of parenting ( I wouldn’t know).  The grandfather-granddaughter bond is beautiful, and his choreography for the pageant is ahhhmazing.      

7.  A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Walter Lee Younger, and Walter Sr.

Although I like Sidney Poitier’s character, Walter Lee Younger, as a father – he is determined to procure a life for his son that he never had as a child, and he wants to show his son that one should dream, and one can make those dreams reality.  However, I find the lingering presence of Walter Sr. more powerful as a father figure.  Even though the character is deceased, he is the catalyst for the plot; and his lessons, foundation for loyalty and spirit of endurance only get stronger throughout the film.

8.  Back to the Future (1985) Doc Brown – Christopher Lloyd

Crispin Glover as George McFly was pretty spineless until his own son traveled back in time to convince him to grow a pair, so I’m not really counting him as a trailblazing father in cinema.  However, Doc Brown is one of the coolest geeks ever, and I felt a much stronger father-son bond with Doc & Marty.  Fathers are supposed to teach you lessons, and establish great futures for their children.  Doc LITERALLY did that.

9.  To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Atticus Finch – Gregory Peck

No surprise here.  Atticus Finch is widely regarded as one of the greatest literary and film fathers of all time.  I think he is one of the greatest characters ever created.  He knows when to listen and when to speak, and he instills sound moral codes within his children from their birth.  Honesty, Justice, Strength, and Responsibility are all characteristics attributed to Finch, and Gregory Peck was flawless as the most famous dad in cinema.

10.  The Lion King (1994) Mufasa – James Earl Jones

Mufasa is the Atticus Finch of the animated world.  Besides having one of the most famous/authoritative voices to exist, he taught lessons of respect and honor, and when he died it was a blow to any child who watched it (it still pains me to watch; it probably does for you too).  Mufasa has become an internationally-known character, and to not include him on this list would be a crime.

There's my list.  I'm giving honorable mention to: National Lampoon Vacation’s Clark Griswold, Juno’s Mac MacGuff, Sixteen Candles’ Jim Baker, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’s Mr. Prentice and Mr. Drayton.

I'd love some comments! Happy Father's Day.