Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dads and movies.

We were chatting on Father's Day about dads in movies. especially in modern movies, where they seldom cover themselves in glory. If it's a comedy, you know Dad will be a dumbbell; if it's a drama, Dad will probably be an estranged man who constantly looks at his progeny with a sad, wistful face. Usually George Clooney's face.

If it's an action or adventure picture, Dad typically doesn't exist. I don't think we know anything about the fathers of Rick Blaine or Barry Kane or Jack Burton. Other dads in these films are all bad -- serial killers or evil scientists or those deep into the dark side of the Force.

But we do get to meet some dads in action or adventure movies; let's see how they made out.

Taken, Bryan Mills

It's hard to be a father when you're off killing people for the CIA all day. Bryan misses all his daughter's school plays and birthday parties, but can be counted on to spill all of the blood of her tormentors when needed. He's surprisingly sharp considering that his ex-wife and child seem to be able to bamboozle him at will early on in the film. I guess he's okay, but maybe he wouldn't have had to kill so many people if he just had cultivated different father skills in his career.

"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are
looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what
I do have are a very particular set of skills, 
skills I have acquired 
over a very long career. These include double-entry bookkeeping,
compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations, lawn mower
maintenance, a bowling  average of 158, and the ability to shave with
a straight razor."

Thor, Odin

You think being a human dad is tough? Try being the immortal father of the Norse gods. The kids never leave the house. And all they ever do is party and fight.

Odin is known as Allwise, the god who famously sacrificed an eye in his quest for wisdom, but you'd hardly know it in this picture. He overreacts to his son being a doofus (like that was something new) and exiles him to earth, a move that will result in all sorts of mayhem and death among the humans, especially in the Avengers picture. Then he takes his little ol' man Odinsleep, not anticipating that his adoptive son Loki, the god of treachery, is going to use beddy-bye time to take over the joint. Didn't see that one coming!

"I do and I do and I do for you kids...."
Maybe you were right in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul about retirement, Odin.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Henry Jones

Henry's single-minded pursuit of his goals leads his son into deadly peril, and we can be sure it isn't the first time. Worse, we quickly find out that he shares his son's stupid habit of not preventing Nazis from acquiring enormously powerful religious artifacts. Plus Henry and his son (real name: Henry Jr.) bicker through the whole picture.

They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, but working things so His sacred artifacts had to be rescued by the Jones family could make you wonder about the kindness of Providence.

"He took hish nickname
from the dog! Can you
believe it? My shon ish
an idiot!"

So we see that even when action movie dads are tough, brave, not dead, and possibly competent, they can leave you shaking your head. Maybe next year we'll dissect fathers from Disney movies. I would expect that in real life all those Disney characters would be seeing analysts once or twice a week, minimum.

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