Lists

Top 7 movie dads of (relatively) recent memory!

Movie dads have been offering moviegoers words of wisdom for as long as there have been movies. It’s unfortunate then that, over the years, many of the more memorable film fathers haven’t exactly been the best fathers. This goes for the likes of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, Uncle Buck in Uncle Buck, and even Gru in the Despicable Me movies. Sure, all three earned our affection and the affection of their kiddies in the end, but their initial– let’s say–lack of investment in fatherhood keeps them from joining the upper echelon of cinema caretakers.

So in recognition of Father’s Day, we’d like to shine the spotlight on some of the more recent dads in movie memory. Each can teach us a valuable lesson about what it means to be a great parent. Without further ado, here are the best patriarchs of millennial motion picture:

7.) Mr. Incredible (aka Bob Parr), The Incredibles (2004)

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Originally I was conflicted about adding Mr. Incredible to this list. Of course little kids should see their dads as superheroes and the symbolism of Mr. Incredible actually being a superhero sounded too good to pass up. However, like the aforementioned film fathers, Bob Parr begins the movie in a selfish state of mind. Feeling purposeless in a world that’s outlawed superheroism, he begins moonlighting as one for a mysterious client as a way to fill the void. It not until later that he learns his lesson and rediscovers new purpose as a father. When all was said and done, Mr. Incredible’s epiphany was so powerful I felt compelled to include him: it’s not what you do that makes you a superhero; instead, it’s who looks up to you while you do it.

6.) Noah Levenstein, American Pie (1999)

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Noah Levenstein (aka “Jim’s Dad”) may not be the “coolest” dad on the block, but if your dad walked in on you in the midst of a compromising position atop your mother’s freshly baked apple pie, you’d want it to be him. Not only does Jim’s Dad approach these delicate situations from a place of understanding but he’s willing to take the blame for an embarrassing situation that otherwise would certainty have lead to a grounding (or at least a timeout). The best part is that he does so without ever losing his cool. Jim’s Dad is endlessly patient with Jim and patience drives great parenting.

5.) Jack Byrnes, Meet the Parents (2000)

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Good parents make sure their child is taken care. Great parents make sure their child will continue to be taken care of long after they’re gone. Thus it’s only natural for a parent to be skeptical about anyone their kid will be spending the rest of their life with. If you chipped Meet the Parents down to its basic plot, that’s what you’d find: a parent wanting to be absolutely sure that Ben Stiller is capable of doing this for his daughter. This specific scenario just so happens to be every boyfriend’s worst nightmare. Jack Byrnes is an ex-C.I.A. counterintelligence agent with the training and technology necessary to examine and cross-examine his future son-in-law. Every parent wishes they could be this thorough.

4.) Marlin, Finding Nemo (2004)

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R&B Artist Monica often sings about crossing the ocean for the person she loves. In Pixar’s Finding Nemo, Single Fish Father Marlin repeatedly puts his own life at risk literally doing just that in order to rescue his son Nemo from certain, shaky death. Not only does this sea-faring venture help teach kids that sometimes you have to break free from your comfort zone to achieve your goals, but the film doubles as a heartwarming metaphor for the responsibilities of parenthood and the importance of being there for your kids when they need it most.

3.) Bryan Mills, Taken (2008)

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Taken is every parent’s worst nightmare: their child takes a trip out of country only to be abducted by men with bad intentions. Thankfully, Bryan Mills possesses a particular set of skills that can help him track down and save his daughter, even if it involves the slow, methodical murder of every person involved with her disappearance. Unfortunately, not every dad is a specially trained ex-C.I.A. operative with an underground intelligence network, but one can understand doing whatever necessary to ensure the safety of your kids.

2.) Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins (2005)

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Much like the other parents on this list, Alfred Pennyworth is a dedicated father. Unlike the other parents on this list, however, there is no biological basis for the sense of love and duty he feels towards Master Bruce. If you haven’t somehow been made aware by any of the numerous interpretations of Batman over the years, Alfred is not Bruce’s blood relative. He’s the family butler who raised Bruce from childhood after the tragic murder of his parents. It’s a fictitious act of self-sacrifice that reflects the real world compassion of adoption. Instead of shipping Bruce off to an orphanage somewhere and spending the rest of his days  in the sand sipping Malibu from a coconut, Alfred takes Bruce on as his own son and in the process teaches us that sometimes water is thicker than blood.

1.) Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

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While Alfred’s compassion for his son very much plays out in realistic fashion, but Chris Gardner gets the top spot on our list for one big reason: the dude’s a real person and The Pursuit of Happyness is based on a true story. Nobody is swimming across the ocean or picking off a traffic ring, the man in simply striving to make a better life for himself and his son. It’s simple but that’s true fatherhood: balancing time with your child while simultaneously trying to provide their basic needs and hopefully raising a good human being. It’s a full-time job onto itself and requires compassion and commitment. That’s why this story is so amazing. Not only does Chris have to provide for his son, but he has to do so out on the streets while looking for a job. Chris Gardner is a true superhero and shows us in this film that you can overcome any obstacle for your children.

What do you all think of our list? What film fathers did we miss? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Ranking ‘Wonder Woman’ & the rest of the DCEU movies

Tonight marks the unofficial release of the much-anticipated first film featuring the much-neglected female superheroin Wonder Woman. To add to the hype, the film is being praised by critics and fans lucky enough to catch themselves an early screening (Wonder Woman is currently sitting at a 92% on the Tomatometer at the time of writing this article). However, not all films in the DCEU thus far have been met with the same acclaim.

The first three entries (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad) have been divisive to say the least. In preparation for Wonder Woman and a (hopefully) brighter future, let’s briefly examine the early years of the DC Extended Universe and examine how these aforementioned flicks stack up against one another.

*As with our Pirates of the Caribbean rankings, this list will read from best to worst.

4.) Wonder Woman

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As I mentioned earlier, Wonder Woman is being hailed as the DCEU equivalent of a breath of fresh air. It easily tops the other three films on this list, at least as far as pure enjoyment and re-watchability is concerned. I’ll keep specifics to a minimum for the sake of spoilers, but overall it’s a gorgeous film with sensational, comic book action and a heart of pure gold. Chris Pine and Gal Gadot are irresistibly charming together as a pair of loveable do-gooders enveloped by one of the prettiest movie worlds I’ve ever seen. Boasting dazzling visual effects and practical designs to postcard-esque cinematography, Wonder Woman is, in every sense, a wonder to behold.

3.) Man of Steel

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The best thing to come out of this Superman reboot is the casting of Henry Cavill as, well, Superman. Much like the titular hero himself, the man has a heart of gold. Not to mention he looks like he was ripped straight from the cover of Action Comics no. uno. Unfortunately, he’s bound by a dreary script that never allows him to become the Superman we all know and love (be it from the comics or even the Richard Doner film from the 70s).

It’s also difficult to invest in a movie that spends its first twenty minutes unnecessarily regurgitating the mining politics of a doomed civilization and the next twenty minutes following a scowling vagabond with the personality of a footstool. Man of Steel also relies on a seemingly perpetual green screen to digitize its gloomy environments wherein Wonder Woman often opted to build practical sets, which went a long way towards that film’s complete immersion. There’s just something about good, old-fashioned moviemaking that not even a supercomputer, or Superman, could replicate.

2.) Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

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I’ve never made the kinds of noises I made in anticipation for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I was so ready for this movie. And then I saw it. Words failed to express the gaping disappointment I felt deep in my heart. Thankfully, I’ve since then been able to find things within the film that I positively adore. Such is the casting of Ben Affleck, who perfectly embodies both the snarky billionaire playboy in Bruce Wayne and the vexed vigilante in Batman. Jeremy Irons matches Affleck’s brilliance as Bruce’s hands-on butler/father/partner-in-crime. The pure comic book indulgence of the actual throwdown between Batman and Superman leaves me schoolboy giddy every time I watch it. The problem is you have to slug through more than two hours of a needlessly convoluted setup to get there. And then it lasts a few fleeting minutes.

‘BvS’ also boasts the same muddy visuals and extensive plot holes of its predecessor (Man of Steel). And let’s not forget they shoehorned an entire storyline from the comics into the last twenty minutes just for the sake of setting up the next film (the upcoming Justice League, also by Zack Snyder). Batman v. Superman may be the dawn of the Justice League, but it’s not the dawn of justice for these characters (see what I did there?).

1.) Suicide Squad

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After the heartbreak of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, I figured I was ready for the ultimate disappointment that would be Suicide Squad. Boy was I wrong. Somehow, DC Comics and Warner Bros. found a way to lower the bar even further for their cinematic superhero universe, even with the talented writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) at the helm. Much like Man of Steel, the best thing about this film is the casting. As Deadshot, Will Smith proves he still has the movie star charisma to lead a blockbuster film. Margot Robbie impeccably embodies the unhinged mania that is Harley Quinn. Then there’s Viola Davis, who was born to play the cunning, manipulative Amanda Waller.

Despite the overflow of talent, none of these characters’ decisions make much sense. Moreover, the entire premise of banding together a disposable group of baddies to protect us from the likes of a rogue superhuman is laughably idiotic when you consider the fact that, for all extensive purposes, these baddies are just regular people. Of all the DCEU films to date, Suicide Squad boasts the most obvious plot holes.

Then there’s the whole trailerhouse debacle which ultimately left the film feeling more like a montage of grunge music videos than an actual narrative. And when the climactic final showdown hits, it’s tough to see what’s going on because, once again, the visuals are so muddled. Suicide Squad has all the problems of the first three DCEU films but amplified, plus more. It’s a mess of a film.

What do you think of our ranking? Do you agree? Or would you switch it up a bit? Let us know your ranking in the comments below!