Pops – House PartyIf you have ever been at the receiving end of “the belt”, and lord knows I have, then Pops will hold a special place in your heart. In many ways he is the poster boy for old-school parenting. When his son, Christopher a.k.a “Kid”, sneaks out the home to attend a friend’s house party, Pops is determine to evoke his brand of discipline by any means necessary. Not only is Pops responsible for one of the best comedic endings in movie history, but his actions come from a place of love and not abuse.
Matt Drayton – Guess Who’s Coming to DinnerMr. Drayton represents the misguided expectations that often come with parenthood. While he wants the best for his daughter, he has problems shaking the image he has had all her life of what her perfect mate should be. Drayton shows that sometimes fathers have no choice but to adapt to the unexpected changes life often brings.
Earl Partridge – MagnoliaTruthfully, you could substitute any of the fathers from Magnolia in this spot. The film is one of the best examples of why being a good father is so important. Many of the main characters in the film are damaged, emotionally speaking, by the actions of their fathers. Earl Partridge best represents both the irresponsibleness and the remorse that many of the fathers, and the children, in the film struggle with.
Dr. Stephen Fleming – DamageWhile I have only been in the father role for about six weeks now, there are a few basic rules to fatherhood that I am aware of:
1. Teach your kids love and respect for others
2. To quote Chris Rock “Try your best to kept your daughter off the (stripper) pole”
3. At no point is it cool to sleep with your son’s fiancée
Clearly Fleming missed the third point as his affair has repercussions that ripple through an entire family.
Bobby - South CentralOne of the things that immediately hits you when you become a father is the fact that you are now held accountable for your every action. Children observe everything you do. In Bobby’s case, his son is falling prey to the same gangster life style that caused Bobby to wind up in prison for 10 years.
Lorenzo Anello’s – A Bronx TaleThe thing I like about Lorenzo is his determination to teach his son the importance of values. This proves increasing difficult when the fast money Mafia lifestyle is a tough temptation for his son to resist. Like any father, Lorenzo wants his child to have the best life possible yet is also realistic about the way the world works. To Lorenzo the lessons learned from an honest day’s work is far more valuable than anything the mafia can provide.
Bill Maplewoood – Happiness / Life During WartimeAs a convicted pedophile, Bill Maplewood will not be winning any father of the year awards. So why does he make this particular list? Simply for the fact that he is both an interesting, and chilling, character. In Happiness we see him as a loving father who has a disturbing sickness he cannot seem to control. Then in the sequel, Life During Wartime, we see him as a man who wants to get his family back. While Bill knows that his actions have hurt his family, getting their forgiveness, not to mention confirmation that his son will not turn out like him, is important to him. Are there actions that are not forgivable? Or does the old saying that “family trumps everything” hold true?
Furious Styles – Boyz N the HoodFirst off, I have no idea how Furious Styles was left off the best character name list. Regardless, there is no way I can leave him off the unforgettable fathers list. Furious is similar to Lorenzo Anello in the sense that he is very aware of the dangers that lurk in the environment he lives in. When his son Tré comes to live with him, Furious quickly establishes what chores need to be done to teach Tré the importance of responsibility. While his teaching may seem trivial to most, it has a profound effect on Tré in the end.
Daniel Plainview – There Will Be BloodPlainview’s story is probably the saddest of the bunch. He end up adopting the son, H.W., of one of his dead workers and ends up making him his business partner. Despite raising H.W. as if he was his own son, Plainview foolishly falls prey to a con artist posing as his half-brother, Henry. In his clouded judgment, Plainview takes H.W.’s attempts at protecting him as a sign of jealousy. His decision to send H.W. away ends up being Plainview’s biggest regret by the end of the film.
Tonny – Pusher IIDue in part to the birth of my own son, not to mention the diaper changes and lack of sleep, it took me six weeks to finish the wonderful film Pusher II. For those who have seen the film, Tonny may seem like an odd choice for this list as he only accepts his role as a father at the very end of the film. Yet after spending the entire film trying to please his own father, who refutes him at every turn, Tonny finally decides to get his act together and ensure that his son does not go down the same road he did.