We told you not to scream that. We were always planning to come back to this topic and address the need to showcase fantastic mothers and evil dads. Besides, isn’t that the way we typically envision these adult archetypes? It’s rare when a Mom does something awful, and Fathers are typically given over to rants, raves, discipline, and disgusted looks when you come home past curfew, not understanding and sympathy. So last time around, our focus on virtuous men and wicked women had to be a bit of a shocker. Indeed, when you consider the long lineage of good/bad movie characters, there are far more wicked stepmothers and brave and noble male role models than the other way around, right?
The answer is now, actually. While finding five of each is relatively simple, the sampling for each couldn’t be more different. This time around, we have dozens of bad daddies to choose from, almost all falling into the category of sexually perverted bastards. Not a redeemable bunch in the mix. As for the gals, well, that too providing a larger wellspring from which to drink. There are lots of possibilities within the kind, gentle, loving, and when need be, defensive and defiant moms. As a result, and your perceptions may vary, but in our minds here are the Five Worst Dads and the Five Best Mothers in Movie History. Each one owns their particular penchant, from being nice and nurturing to…well, let’s just have these particular affronts speak for themselves.
FIVE BAD FATHERS
As essayed by comedian Rodney Dangerfield, this pedophilic pervert explains much of what transpires once his abused daughter, Mallory, hooks up with psychotic criminal Mickey and goes on a several state killing spree. This man is so repugnant, so lacking in even the basic courtesies of a proposed parent that you wonder how he’s managed to make it through life without someone in the family stabbing him in the eyes. Among the kitchen table pleasantries he offers up is a condemnation of his child’s hygiene, because he likes them “clean” once the liquor haze has worn off and he’s looking for lovin.’ Ewwwww!!!
Staying in the child rapist department for a while, the final denouement of this Robert Towne/ Roman Polanski masterpiece has detective Jake Gittes confronting his client, Evelyn Cross Mulwray, about the young woman she is constantly protecting. The unseemly answer? She’s her sister…and her daughter. A few face slaps later and Gittes finally “gets” it. Old Noah gave his own daughter a grandchild - and it looks like he’s now hoping to do the same to the youngster. The fact that he literally pays no price for his crime and gets away with it is one of this amazing movie’s many dark complications.
Now here’s a Dad whose got it all figured out. Woo a woman. Instill yourself into her already established life, and then, when everything is in your name, kill her and her children off and then, simply, move on. Don’t bother with the BS remake. The original, featuring a fantastic performance by Terry O’Quinn, provides the proper balance between late ‘80s slasher leanings and a frightening father figure. Toward the end, when his ruse is about to be discovered, Jerry resorts to his murderous ways…and while it looks like he’s been defeated, the sequels suggest otherwise.
In the book, this Stephen King character is a recovering alcoholic struggling with a considerable amount of demons and guilt from the past. Once he enters the Overlook Hotel, however, he becomes possessed by its spirit and decides that his wife and child need “disciplining.” When Stanley Kurbrick adapted the material to his own unique vision, gentle Jack was replaced by insane nutzoid Jack, expertly essayed by another namesake, Mr. Nicholson. This time, the ghosts of caretakers past convince our father to take an axe to his spouse and son. His pursuit of their end is unsettling in its drive and determination.
Just thinking about this particular Pops gives us the halting heebie jeebies. On the outside, Bill appears to be a normal, well-adjusted resident of suburbia. He has a loving wife and a devoted son. Then we catch him masturbating to images of young boys in Tiger Beat like magazines. Then he convinces his kid to invite a neighbor boy for a sleepover, and while they are having fun, he drugs their snacks and then has sex with his son’s friend. Oh, and it gets worse. When discussing his dysfunction with his Dad, the confused young boy asks if his father would…f*ck him…and Daddy says…Yes.
// Notes from the Road
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