Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Happy Father’s Day: 5 Of The Worst Movie Dads

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist June 16, 2013 at 2:15PM

Yes, we love our moms and dads, but lets face it, over the years, cinema has amassed a pretty unforgettable batch of wicked and awful parents. And so, it’s become somewhat of a Playlist tradition of late to examine and look at some of the more memorably monstrous ones (you can see our Mother’s Day feature here for example).
28
Fathers Day feature

Yes, we love our moms and dads, but lets face it, over the years, cinema has amassed a pretty unforgettable batch of wicked and awful parents. And so, it’s become somewhat of a Playlist tradition of late to examine and look at some of the more memorably monstrous ones (you can see our Mother’s Day feature here for example).

Today we celebrate the patriarchs who hopefully have raised us well and guided us in the right direction. What are your plans with Dad this Sunday? A game of catch? Some brats on the barbeque and brewskies in hand? Maybe a real heart-to-heart talk (or man-to-man if you’re Andy and Judge Hardy)? Between all of that and some real quality time with Pops in front of the TV (we recommend tuning in to TCM), you may want a break from the celebration of all that is great about fatherhood. If so, this is the list for you. If not, skip this and check out our list of 22 Great Father & Son Movies.

Whether you had Royal Tenenbaum or Atticus Finch for a father, today is his day. In the least, give the old man a ring for a stunted 30-second chat or a lecture about “when I was your age” topics. So what if he didn’t coach your Little League team or get you a lime-green VW bug for your Sweet 16 (darn MTV and high expectations) or remember one of your birthdays? At least he didn’t slice your hand off, break your arm and/or give you crippling alcoholism that will come back to haunt you while working on a murder case. In that spirit, let’s celebrate good old Dad with a few truly horrible fathers. If we’ve missed any of your favorites (or least-favorites), feel free to sound off in the comment section below.

Affliction, James Coburn
James Coburn -- "Affliction" (1998)
Having written some seminal works of cinema, "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," De Palma's "Obsession,” the cult revenge film, "Rolling Thunder," Peter Weir's "The Mosquito Coast" and "The Last Temptation of Christ" to name a few, Paul Schrader’s career is largely defined as being a screenwriter. But his director's body of work has outdone his writing work in terms of sheer volume. Fortune hasn't been on his side of late, see the disaster that was "Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist," the insanity that was "Adam Resurrected" (which admittedly is half awesome) and the controversy around "The Canyons." But Schrader’s oeuvre that includes "Blue Collar," "American Gigolo," "Hardcore" and "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters" is deeply underrated. One of his later era jewels is the 1997 drama "Affliction," and it's not an easy one to sit through. Like "The Place Beyond The Pines" recently, this is a fathers and sons story of legacy, sins and what we pass down to our children. But arguably, Schrader's darker and bleaker film is much more emotionally brutal and bruising, as this tale shows the tragic consequences of passed down violence, alcoholism, and physical, emotional and verbal abuse. Nick Nolte plays a sheriff in a small town with too much time on his hands who has plenty of time to reflect on his nightmarish childhood. Inheriting his father's alcoholism, history has repeated itself and he is also distant and callous to his wife and daughter who now despise him. While pursuing a murder case, Nolte is reunited with his movie family in the film, his monster of a father played by James Coburn and his younger brother (Willem Dafoe) who escaped his father's abuse at a young age. The return of his abusive despot of a father for the funeral awakens a crippling emotional pain that only brings Nolte's sheriff character closer to rock bottom and self-destruction. Searing and depressing as all get, "Affliction" is not for the faint of heart and if you can make it out of that film emotionally unscarred, you're made of much stronger stuff than us. Coburn rightfully won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and is literally one of the most cruel and inhuman fathers ever committed to the big screen.

Natural Born Killers Rodney Dangerfield Juliette Lewis
Rodney Dangerfield -- "Natural Born Killers" (1994)
In Oliver Stone's words, Ed Wilson (Rodney Dangerfield) is "the father from hell." The character's screen-time is less than five minutes, but it's long enough to give us a bad case of the heebie-jeebies, still lingering nearly 20 years later. An emotionally, physically and sexually abusive father, Ed Wilson is a real monster, and considering his serial killer offspring, Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), that's really saying something. The horror of Ed Wilson's parenting is driven home by Stone's choices to dub the vignette involving the Wilson family "I Love Mallory" and to set it to a sitcom laugh-track. This juxtaposition (spliced with some black-and-white close-ups) makes Ed Wilson threatening his wife (Edie McClurg) all the more off-putting and grabbing Mallory's ass all the more gruesome. No wonder Mallory ran off with Mickey (Woody Harrelson), albeit to go on a killing spree, but at least she got out of her father's greasy clutches. For all of Mallory's faults and crimes, we can look back and see the roots in a depraved father and neglectful mother, or as Dangerfield said in a 1994 L.A. Times interview, "not every parent is as bad as me in the movie but in general, parents can hurt their kids without even knowing it." Fun sidenote, Dangerfield also revealed that he wrote "all the filthy stuff" (e.g. "I'll show her a little tenderness, after I eat. When I get up there, she won't see my face for an hour."). Now remember that the next time you watch "Caddyshack," "Back To School," or "Ladybugs" (shiver). So to show how grateful you are that your father hasn't driven you to being a mass-murderer, nix the tie and get him that Ernest Hemingway audiobook set he's been hinting at since you disappointed him for Christmas. 

This article is related to: Features, Feature, The Shining, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates