A good father figure is kind of hard to find sometimes, but when one really looks they can find plenty of bad examples that appear to cast a serious stain on the idea of fatherhood and how important it really is. But thankfully there are examples that have come along that people tend to remember long after their movies have been relegated to memory. There are good fathers and there are bad fathers, and the movies tend to create those that are very easy to revile or get behind the father figures that we’ve grown up watching are those that produce the greatest examples of what it means to be a father, and how to screw it all up. Being a father isn’t always easy, but the margin for error is insanely slim at times since whether a father is seen as a protector or a monster bent on destroying their family, the difference is one or two decisions that could sway the story in one direction or another. Here are five of the best and five of the worst dads in the movies.
10. Best: Daniel Hillard – Mrs. Doubtfire
Daniel is an easy candidate for one of the best dads since he genuinely loves his children and is ready to be there for them no matter what he has to do. To say that he goes a little over board is kind of easy since dressing up like an elderly woman to stay close to his kids is, well, kind of screwy. But there’s a good reason for doing so, even if the deception is a bit creepy.
9. Worst: William Foster – Falling Down
Giving William a bit of credit for wanting to be there for his kid is easy enough, but the way he goes about trying to get to his daughter and ex-wife is beyond nuts, especially since he becomes a ticking timebomb that causes more damage than the people that attempt to stand in his path. Once the end of the movie comes it’s still possible to feel sorry for William in a certain way. But at the same time, it’s an ending that couldn’t have been avoided.
8. Best: Jack Butler – Mr. Mom
This movie is just a great deal of fun since it ended up being one of those that broke down societal norms when it came to determining whether or not a father could in fact take on the same role in a home that was traditionally seen as a woman’s. In the process there are a few things here and there that are seen as controversial, but Jack does end up making it clear that despite his unorthodox methods, he’s up to the task.
7. Worst: Mitch Hiller – Enough
This is the kind of father figure that doesn’t just give dads a bad name, he give men in general a bad name. The only positive qualities one could list would be that he’s determined and charismatic, but even those are taken to extremes that many would agree are entirely negative. Given how things progress throughout the movie it’s not hard at all to feel that his end is poetic justice that was long overdue.
6. Best: Furious Styles – Boyz In The Hood
This movie carries a powerful message within its content but it also introduces a character that a lot of people fully enjoyed for a couple of reasons. One is that Laurence Fishburne is a very convincing actor, and two is that it proves that father figures in movies such as this aren’t all bad. In a way, this proves that there are plenty of examples in the real world that can attest to the idea that men of color can be and are responsible when it comes to their kids, and to life in general.
5. Worst: Daniel Plainview – There Will Be Blood
It’s been obvious for a while that Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t skimp on a role, as he goes all in and makes the people believe in the character that he’s portraying. In this case, Daniel Plainview isn’t readily seen as a villain or even a bad person, but he’s definitely not a saint. This is proven as the movie continues forward from the moment at which he adopts the child that will eventually grow to hate him as an adult. He’s not the devil, but Plainview doesn’t pretend to be a good person.
4. Best: Noah Levenstein – American Pie
One reason why Noah is near the middle of the road on this list is that he’s definitely a dad one could be proud of, but he’s also the type that is basically a walking dad joke since he’s goofy, he bumbles his way through trying to help his son, and he’s kind of embarrassing. But the undeniable fact is that he’s one of the best movie dads ever since despite his sons many foibles and faults, he’s always there for Jim no matter what. Oh, and he does end up hooking up with Stifler’s mom, so extra points for Mr. Levenstein there.
3. Worst: Nick Hume – Death Sentence
It’s important to be fair with this entry since Nick did care about his family and both of his sons, but he played favorites without a doubt, since his oldest son was a hockey star, a popular and outgoing kid, and his youngest had to exist in his brother’s shadow. This is largely why Nick isn’t a great father since he prioritizes one son and ignores the other when the older brother is killed as part of a gang initiation. And worse yet, he brings the fight to his own doorstep after killing the gang member that murdered his son. That’s not bound to earn him father of the year.
2. Best: Lorenzo Anello – A Bronx Tale
How many fathers are going to stand up to a mobster and tell them to stay away from their son? It might not be the best idea, but Lorenzo wasn’t about to back down when it came to his son, and remarkably, Sonny respected that. The animosity between Lorenzo and Sonny had more to do with what they believed was right for C than it did with their ideologies. Deep down, there was a level of respect that they held for each other, even if they didn’t fully admit it.
1. Worst: Jack Torrance – The Shining
What’s really hard to admit is that Jack Torrance isn’t the worst father out there. He’s a nutcase without question and his susceptibility to the Overlook’s haunting charms makes him a liability to his family since it’s already been established that he’s not a good man, or father. But another fact that puts him at the top of this list is that he’s either incapable or doesn’t want to fight against the influence of the hotel. In other words, he doesn’t care about his family, and it shows. There are plenty of good fathers out there in the movies, but there are a lot of bad ones too.