Hollywood’s Recipe for the Perfect Dad

Sick of hearing about this KISS ticket contest we’re staging. Tough noogies. We’ve got about five days to let people know about the contest, and you’ll definitely be hearing about it if you keep reading. I’ll try to keep it short though. Like this.

In that spirit — PopRox live chat July 1!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! Here’s the PopRox column that’s going to be in Sunday’s paper for all the dads out there, with some bonus entries. The links come after:

Being new to the whole dad thing — and about to go through it all again in a couple of weeks — I turn to the same place I’ve always turned to for life’s greatest lessons.

The television.

Oh, sure, I could have read books, talked to friends and family who have gone through it or looked to my own dad, but TV has gotten me this far in life. Why fight it?

No TV or movie dad is perfect. But if we can mix up some of their best qualities, we can make one heck of a real-life dad:


Coach Eric Taylor, “Friday Night Lights” TV series

he's even a dad to kids that aren't his

he's even a dad to kids that aren't his

Role: The disciplinarian

My biggest television inspiration for raising two daughters. A sports-crazed, no-nonsense guy who thinks the world of his 18-year-old daughter Julie — and is often let down by her. Sound familiar? This season, when he literally pulled her out of the house as she left fingernail tracks on the wall, I might as well have been staring 15 years into my future.

Best fatherly advice: “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.” It works in any situation!

Thornton Mellon, “Back to School”

Role: Money man

What, you wouldn’t want a dad that follows you to college, sits next to you in class, dates your professor, starts bar fights, has Kurt Vonnegut on retainer to write your English paper … where was I going with this? But when you get past his eccentricities, Rodney Dangerfield’s Thornton Mellon is the kind of dad we all want. He’s loving, he cares, and he’s filthy stinkin’ rich.

Best fatherly advice: “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every 10 minutes.”

Clark Griswold,  “Vacation” movies

Role: The family man

The guy’s a raving lunatic. We all know that. But look at what he’s done in the “Vacation” movies to get closer to his family: He’s driven cross-country to a second-rate amusement park that looks as if it would get put to shame by Knoebel’s. He’s dressed up in a pig outfit on a national TV game show in which Gomez from “The Addams Family” tongue-kissed his wife and teen daughter. And to top it all off, he’s had to spend an inordinate amount of time with his cousin-in-law Eddie, who is arguably the grossest dad ever. Every dad can take a page from Clark Griswold’s sacrifices in the name of family.

Best fatherly advice: “Roll ’em up!”

"wanna beer?" "it's 7 o clock in the moring." ... "scotch?"

"wanna beer?" "it's 7 o clock in the moring." ... "scotch?"

Jack Butler, “Mr. Mom”

Role: The caretaker

The mom isn’t around all the time. Sometimes, men, it’s up to us to take care of the kids. If anyone gave us some great lessons on how not to do it, it’s Michael Keaton’s Jack Butler. Lesson 1: Do not feed your baby chili. Lesson 2: Do not let your kids watch soap operas. Lesson 3: Do not overload the washing machine. Lesson 4: North to pick up, south to drop off. But Jack got the hang of it and gave us dads the best lesson of all — it always gets better.

Best fatherly advice: “The next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads.”

have fun like phil -- just not too much

have fun like phil -- just not too much

Phil Dunphy, “Modern Family”

Role: The jokester

Every dad needs to be a kid sometimes, right? We can all take a cue from Phil, who spends most of his day dreaming up schemes with his son. But be warned — if you’re too immature, you end up in a therapy session with your wife calling you an immature child. So take it easy on the jokes.

Best fatherly advice: “I don’t condone eating your kids.”

Furious Styles, “Boys N the Hood”

Role: The brains

If there is a perfect fictional dad, Laurence Fishburne’s Furious is the closest to it. He never, ever talks down to his son, he’s completely honest with him and he turned down the lure of easy money on the street to make sure his son had a role model. He’s unfailingly brave and sincere and isn’t afraid to make his son actually work. If he’s not the perfect dad, he might be the ideal man we should all attain to be. An aside: I watched Boyz N the Hood last night, and it’s incredible how well a politically charged movie like that holds up today. It’s also sad that the problems John Singleton was pointing out and pleading with the world to help fix still haven’t been fixed — and may even be worse. 20 years later (yeah, Boyz N the Hood was 20 years ago, you may feel old … NOW!), Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube and Nia Long are all still working, and combined, they’ve all probably been in at least 90 movies and TV shows. And not one of them has been better than they were in Boyz N the Hood. That includes an Oscar-winning role, if you’re checking. Rod Tidwell has nothing on Tre Styles and Morpheus is a joke compared to Furious. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth watching again.

Best fatherly advice: “You’ve got to think, young brother. Use your mind.”


Looks like the streak finally ends this year. My pick for box office bomb of the summer has come through for four straight years, but Green Lantern is probably going to make at least $55 million this weekend, and end up making about $130 million. That’s nowhere near where Warner Brothers hoped it would be, but it’s not a bomb. Crap. For the record, it went Even Almighty in 2007 ($100 million BO vs. $175 million budget), Love Guru in 2008 ($32 million vs. $62 million), Land of the Lost in 2009 ($42 million vs. $100 million) and the layup that was Jonah Hex in 2010 ($10 million vs. $47 million). It was fun while it lasted. At least I was right on the reviews.

next year mac won't fit in this picture

next year mac won't fit in this picture

It’s a little weird that of all the tricks they’ve pulled on Always Sunny, I don’t think I’ve ever been offended. But now? I think I’m offended. Oh, sure, Mac gaining 50 pounds is going to be funny. There’s no question about that. I just wish they could do it some way differently than making fun of a fat guy for 13 episodes.

James Mangold has always been one of those fringe directors, never quite sure if he wants to be mainstream or indie. At least it seems that way. And every time he takes a step forward in Hollywood circles, he takes a step back. He went from Girl, Interrupted to Kate and Leopold. He went from Walk the Line to the relatively failed TV project Men in Trees. He bounced back with great reviews but bad office for the 3:10 to Yuma remake, but then crashed as approximately the 37th director employed by Knight and Day. So it’s tough to get a complete handle on his career. He won’t be as good as Darren Aronofsky would have been for the next Wolverine movie, but he’s a reasonable subsitute. While I’m not as excited as I was for Wolverine, I’m at least confident the movie is in good hands.

The last thing I’ll be doing it looking for a factual quasi-documentary when I go to see Moneyball in the fall. I’m not a moron. I know it won’t be anything like real life, and it won’t even be anything like the book. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet, but I know I will be seeing Moneyball and that I’m pleasantly surprised by the trailer. I wouldn’t trust Jonah Hill to be able to play rightfield on my beer league softball team, but for some reason I’m already buying him as the made-up Peter Brant, apparently supposed to be former A’s assistant GM and former Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta. Moneyball isn’t going to be about how Ray Durham was the perfect DH for the 2002 team because he got on base at a .350 clip or whatever, all I ask is that the movie doesn’t change history to erase Jeter’s flip or something. TRAILER GRADE: B

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