Dear Ole Dad: Our Favorite On Screen Fathers

June 15, 2011  |  
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In honor of the quickly approaching Daddy day, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite on-screen fathers. All of the fathers on this list weren’t perfect in their roles but that makes them all the more endearing. I know some really good fathers but I doubt any of them are perfect. Despite their imperfections, these men provided elements of what it means to good father.

Will Smith as Chris Gardner- “Pursuit of Happyness”

How precious and inspiring is the story of Chris Gardner and his son, living on the street, struggling to make it? Even when Chris, played by Will Smith, lost everything, he still had his son’s love. The fact that this is a true story makes it that much more of a tearjerker. And we love the fact that Will filmed the movie with his absolutely adorable real life son, Jaden.

Laurence Fishburne as Furious Styles- “Boyz in the Hood”

When a young Tré becomes too much for his mother, she ships him off to his father Furious. Initially he comes down really hard on Tré, making him complete tedious chores. Of course the young Tré doesn’t understand why he must perform these tasks but as he grows and matures we see how his father’s influence kept him from wylin’ out and ending up dead or in jail like so many of his friends.

Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark – “Lean on Me”

Sure Principal Joe Clark, wasn’t a biological father to any of the children he supported, encouraged and mentored in his school; but for many of them, he was the closest thing they had to a father figure. He listened to their problems, cared about their well-being and challenged them to live up to their potential. His methods may have been a little unorthodox; walking around with a bat and sarcastically telling kids to jump off roofs is crazy, but it ultimately worked. Joe Clark reminded us that some of the best fathers aren’t biological.

Robin Harris as Pop – “House Party”

Robin Harris in “House Party” was borderline terrifying. He’s practically deranged in the bug-eyed search for his adolescent son. Besides the fact that Harris was eager to lay hands on his son, we saw that he really cared about him. He could have been one of those single fathers letting his kid (Ha! Get it?) run the street aimlessly; instead he was enforcing some rules.

Ice Cube as Nick Persons-“Are We Done Yet?”

You have to admire a man who’s willing to step in and raise someone else’s kids. Which is what Ice Cube’s character, Nick Persons, does in “Are We Done Yet”. And if you recall from the prequel to this movie, these kids aren’t exactly the most well behaved. But Nick toughs it out. Not only is he dealing with the stresses of his two older children, he’s balancing the headache of moving into and remodeling a new house and tending to the needs of his pregnant wife. He has a flip out or two, but in the end we comes back to himself and his family.

Denzel as Jake Shuttlesworth- “He Got Game”

Of all the fathers on this list Jake was probably the most troubled. After all, he’d spent critical years away from his children while he was in prison…for [accidentally] killing their mother. Despite all that drama you still root for Jake because he tries so desperately to maintain a presence in his children’s lives. It could have been so easy for him to stop trying, especially since his son put a major fight, but instead he used their shared love off basketball to create a bond.

Ice Cube as Durell- “First Sunday”

It may escape you at first glance; but a father-son relationship was at the heart of this comedy. Durell was running around with Lee John, breaking into churches trying to get enough money to prevent his son from moving to Atlanta with his mother. He definitely went about it the wrong way but the lengths he was willing to go to keep his son are to be admired in a really twisted way. Plus he got his life together at the end.

Eddie Murphy as Evan Danielson- “Imagine That”

I love this movie because we get a rare glimpse at the dynamic between a black father and daughter.  We watch as Evan Danielson goes from an over-worked, dismissive father to an integral part in his daughter’s life. At first he engages with her to get stock tips for his job, but gradually it becomes more and more about the quality time he spends with her.

Denzel as John Quincy Archibald- “John Q”

Yup here’s Denzel again, but this time he plays a completely different character. In “He Got Game” he was fighting to establish a relationship but in “John Q” he’s fighting to save his son’s life. Again his methods border on the unethical but we appreciate the fact that he was the ultimate ride or die father for his son. And his efforts worked, didn’t they?

Bernie Mac as Percy- “Guess Who”

This modern day remake of Sidney Poitier’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” focuses on Bernie Mac accepting his daughter’s white fiancé. Percy (Bernie Mac) engaged in some over the top, down right wrong exchanges with his daughter’s fiancé, Simon Green, played by Ashton Kutcher. But in the end, he and Simon become thicker than thieves and they both help each other get out of some mess. It’s a feel good father-daughter movie.

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