Smack Classix Week: Father’s Daze
Fathers in film come in all shapes and sizes; tough, funny, sad, angry, you name it. Let’s face it, Don Corleone was a dad and so is Homer Simpson. There’s a lot of latitude in the job description.
Sometimes they’re cardboard stereotypes only there to give their kids someone to fight with and other times they show us moral courage and patriarchal strength.
Jimmy Stewart was the quintessential breadwinner and family man in It’s a Wonderful Life. John Wayne acted as a surrogate father to a collection of schoolboys in The Cowboys. Gregory Peck played the moral beacon Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. And in recent years, audiences have chuckled at the antics of Steve Martin as Gil Buckman in Parenthood, and Eugene Levy as Jim’s Dad in the American Pie films. Most often, these modern fathers don’t know best at all.
This week, during the countdown to Father’s Day June 19th, the Smack remembers a handful of memorable dads. Some appeared in comedies and some in heart-wrenching dramas. Taken together, they have opened our eyes, our hearts and our minds.
Some guys are born comedians and some guys are born to be dads. Sometimes, but rarely, the two overlap. If you’re familiar with Adam Sandler’s early films, you know he excels at playing the boy who won’t grow up. Since then, he has tried adding some depth to his acting resume. In Big Daddy and Click, he tries to take his comic timing and channel it into the role of a father figure. He may not be the next Bill Cosby, but can he make us believe he’s dad material? Get the full Smackdown! →
Fatherhood is never easy, but having a teenage daughter takes the pressure up a notch. We want to protect our daughters from the very kind of boy who — not so long ago — we were. In An Education and Say Anything, we meet two fathers who are trying to give their daughters everything they deserve. In one, the daughter has fallen for a man twice her age; in the other, she has fallen for a guy with half her drive. Can’t a father get a break? Get the full Smackdown! →
Sometimes the glue holding a family together isn’t the mother or father. Sometimes a member of the extended family, is just as important. In two films, veteran actor Alan Arkin plays a patriarch of the family who — despite some odd behavior — connects with a younger member of the family. Discover two great performances and enjoy two dysfunctional families as these two films go head-to-head. Get the full Smackdown! →
In days of old, not knowing who your father was would be a statement with moral implications about your heritage. Today, it can also be a side effect of modern science. In 2010, two different films examined the sperm donor as father — and the implications for the family. In The Switch, the paternity hijinks are heartfelt and light-hearted, while the multiple Oscar-nominated The Kids Are All Right takes a more realistic story and shows the highs and the lows. Which is best? Get the full Smackdown! →
No film says family in the same was as The Godfather. Sure, it’s not your typical family, but it is an American family. One might even say it’s a story of the American dream. A man comes to this country from the old world, starts a business, gets married, raises a family… Later, one of the sons even takes over the family business. What’s not to love? Is it any wonder that these films are classics? We take a look at both these “family” films and let six different reviewers argue about which one is the best. Get the full Smackdown! →
Parents never want to see a child in pain or ill. It’s one of those times when being a parent seems like the hardest things in the world because its one of the times when parents feel completely helpless. But there are some parents, made of stronger stuff, who fight back against sickness and disease with every ounce of their spirit. In this Smackdown, one extraordinary dad goes head-to-head with another. It’s a showdown of suffering and sentimentality. Get the full Smackdown! →
Sometimes dad’s don’t know best. But that’s okay, too. Especially when he has a daughter who is not only more clever than he is, but she’s clever enough not to let him know. In the final installment of our Father’s Daze tribute to dads everywhere, we take a look at two films that show us the special relationship between a not-so-perfect father and a precocious daughter. Get the full Smackdown! →
Movie Smackdown! is proud to have our Father’s Daze Week sponsored by Bruce Sallan and his new book, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation. Bruce’s first book takes the best of his columns and other writings — plus brand new material — and puts it all together in a terrific examination of how to be the best parent you can be. He also discusses many of the other family-related issues, including second marriages, teens, gender issues and faith.
Buy A Dad’s Point-of-View and learn more at: BruceSallan.com