Father fails: 5 movie dads to make you glad he's not yours

  • Family
  • Saturday, 14 Jun 2014

Does father always know best? Judging by the dismal performances of these five film dads, not always. 

Father’s day is a joyful day for most families as we take a moment to say thanks and show our dads that their love and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed. It must be said, however, that while we all owe our fathers immeasurable gratitude for providing half the chromosome that made us what we are, some dads are just too much.

In this tongue-in-cheek celebration of Father’s Day tomorrow (June 15), we’ve picked five dads who exemplify the worst fatherly traits. To the fathers reading this: Please don’t make these mistakes. To the kids: Just be grateful that none of these dads are yours.

“Zip it!”

Dr Evil in Austin Powers trilogy (1997-2002)

Audiences may love the bumbling antics of psychedelic spy Austin Powers’ archvillain, but poor Scott Evil (Seth Green). The artificially-conceived progeny is just a lost Gen X-er craving for some paternal validation. But Dr Evil (Mike Myers) is too self-absorbed and relentless in his zany schemes and to take over the world that Scott just gets overlooked. Even when Scott tries, Dr Evil shushes his son, showering all his attention instead on his clone, Mini-Me (Verne Troyer).

“The pen is blue!”

Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar (1997)

Despite lawyer Fletcher Reede's (Jim Carrey) obvious love for son Max (Justin Cooper), his compulsive lying makes him totally unreliable as a dad. Disappointed, Max makes a birthday wish to make his dad unable to tell a lie for a whole day. To Fletcher’s stupefaction, his son’s wish comes true, setting off a chain of events that ends up with him arrested, discredited and unemployed. But at least it made Fletcher realise that one can’t build a relationship on lies.

“Have you ever watched pornographic videos?”

Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000)

Meeting his future son-in-law Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) for the first time, it’s only natural for Jack Byrnes (Robert de Niro) to be concerned. Except that being a retired CIA agent, he’s also deeply paranoid and overly critical, not to mention overprotective – to the point of hooking poor Greg up to a lie detector and reducing him to a nervous wreck. We know he’s doing it out of love for his daughter, but sometimes too much love can suffocate.

“Here’s… Johnny!”

Jack Torrance in The Shining (1980)

Recovering alcoholic writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) decides to become caretaker of an off-season hotel in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of winter, taking his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him. Already beset with strained family ties, Jack’s condition takes a turn for the worse when he resumes his drinking habit and encounters spectral presences in Room 237 who tell him he must "correct" Wendy and Danny. Jack’s downward spiral bottoms out when he picks up an axe and rampages through the empty hotel with only "REDRUM" on his mind. This is one dad you’d best avoid.

“I am your father”

Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes IV to VI (1977-1983)

It’s never a good sign when your arch nemesis struts around his evil empire bearing the ominous name of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) while wearing a black cape and rather phallic-looking gimp helmet. It gets worse when he starts building Death Stars with lasers that can disintegrate whole planets, sending your rebel buds to oblivion. But when he’s sliced off your hand with his light sabre and got you cornered on a little ledge in some gigantic space trash chute and says, “I am your father,” there’s only one thing you can do. You scream: “Noooooooooooo!”

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