It’s equal time here at Twenty Four Frames. On Mother’s Day I listed five bad movie Moms. Just like with Mom’s on screen there are plenty of examples of bad male parental behavior. Here are a few of my favorites.
All work and no play makes Jack a very nutty dad. Nicholson’s portrayal of the alcoholic crazed Mr. Torrance who forces his family to move into a spooky empty hotel where he decides the best way to handle a disobedient family is with an ax. When his wife Wendy pleas not to hurt her, he screams out “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m gonna bash your brains in!”
In American Beauty we get two wacky dads for the price of one film. Kevin Spacey Lester’s is going through a mid-life crisis and decides the cure just might be seducing his teen daughter’s girlfriend. We also have Chris Cooper’s career Colonel who collects Nazi memorabilia between bouts of beating the crap out of his son.
In Chinatown, Noah Cross may just be the poster child for bad dad behavior. In all ways Cross sees himself as above the laws of society. He raped is daughter, fathering a child, yet he sees it more as society’s problem than his own. He is a man who must always be in control.
Jerry has dreams of a Father Know Best lifestyle but when his family does not live up to his great expectations well, let’s just say things get a bit dicey. The Stepfather is the kind of clever work you usually do not expect to find in this kind of film.
Raymond Massey’s Adam Trask is a stern, frugal and religious man who favors his “good son” Aron over his troubled boy Cal. Adam’s lies, stern behavior and false values alienate him from his sensitive “bad” son Cal. Based on John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden is a film filled with superb performances.