(The following piece is reprinted; it was originally published on Father’s Day 2007 — DR)
I’d originally kicked the idea around of celebrating Father’s Day by running a piece on the Best Movie Dads, but then I got to thinking more about it and concluded that’d be a pretty awful Father’s Day gift from Pajiba. I mean, what father wants to be compared to the best? And what child could possibly appreciate his Dad after watching scenes of the cinema’s best fathers? Unless you have the integrity and high moral standards of Atticus Finch, or unless you’re able to raise 12 children or throw a $250,000 wedding for your daughter, you’re gonna feel awfully inadequate when your parenting skills are weighed up against Gregory Peck, Clifton Webb, and Steve Martin, right? I mean, it’s no contest.
So, what better way to make Dads feel good and have their children appreciate them than by presenting the worst movie fathers of all time? Your Dad may have been a cheap asshole who wouldn’t spring for huge Sweet 16 party, he may have been a schmuck who embarrassed you in front of your friends throughout your entire teenage life, and maybe he even slapped you around a little when you misbehaved. But, at least he didn’t try to kill you, try to make you murder “demons,” or try to sleep with one of your high-school classmates.
So, if you’re having a hard time this Father’s Day working up the energy to give your old man a call, check out the following clips. And when you’ve made it through Pajiba’s Worst Movie Dads of All Time, you’ll never love your father more.
No context is necessary — the scenes below should speak for themselves.
Oh, and Happy Father’s Day.
Frailty, Dad Meiks (Bill Paxton)
The Stepfather, Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn)
The Amityville Horror; Step-Father, George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds)
This Boy’s Life; Step-Father, Dwight Hansen (Robert DeNiro)
Happiness, Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker)
The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones)
The Shining, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson)
American Beauty, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey)
.. and the Worst Movie Dad of All Time? It’s an easy one:
Natural Born Killers, Ed Wilson (Rodney Dangerfield)