Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bad ass dads RULE!

Let's face it, fiction is wish-fulfilment. We authors have utterly non-exciting lives. A job you can do wearing your pyjamas is not one that is filled with thrills, high adrenaline moments and a bevvy of beauties drapped across the furniture.
Rather than going out there and, like, doing stuff, we compensate by having an over-active imagination. Anything else would involved breaking out a sweat. That's not where we writers are at. It all sounds like hard work. If I'd wanted to work hard I'd have stayed in the day job.
Now, there's nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment. Who wouldn't want to be James Bond? Harry Potter? Bella Swan or Captain Jack Sparrow? Who wouldn't want the world to turn on their desires and demands, to be feted by the bad, mad and beautiful?
We, the dads of the world, have hearts of goo. We've put aside the wild parties, the crazy nights and the dancing till dawn for nappies, school runs and sorting out picnics. But we dream, oh how we DREAM! So, this is for the brothers in arms, those who slave away at their desks, bringing in the daily wage and slowly watching their lives unwind, but still look at their kids those moments and marvel at how lucky they are to have brought someone like that, so carefree and beautiful, into the world.
This is about the dads we'd want to be, in those midnight, quiet, honest moments.
1. Tony Soprano. Now I've only just got into this series which is, I know, several years after it's ended. But last night I went througha bit of a marathon up till late (or early) session of seven episodes of Series 1. Tony takes his daughter to visit the colleges she's applying to. They have a heart to heart about how he's in the mafia, and then, while she's having her interview, he detours off to strangle a man to death. It's rough, brutal, and hard work. A man could break a sweat killing like that. Not a gun, not a knife. But a thick piece of cable. Tony, a man who likes to get his hands dirty. And wants a better life for his kids.
2. Hank Moody out of Californication. You know what I said about writers having a dull life? Well Hank is twice the wish fulfillment in one package. A writer dad who does get the party life. Ridiculously gorgeous partner, cool daughter, dedicated agent (who has no other clients, so the perfect agent, are you listening, Sarah?) who's dreams are filled with naughty nuns. If I can't be Bruce Wayne, I'd trade a kidney for a day as Hank. Just checking, I can survive without a kidney, can't I?
3. Big Daddy. If you've seen Kick Ass I really don't need to explain this any further, do I?
4. Voldomort. Okay, he's not Harry's biological dad, but let's face it, James Potter was basically a sperm donor, it's Voldy who made Harry the hero he is. Before Voldomort Harry was merely Harry Potter. After Voldomort he was Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. Legendary status established. There's a whole lot of Oedipal stuff going on here, I might save that for another day, though.
5. Any discussion of bad, mad dads must include the dark father himself, Darth Vader. Kills his wife, tortures his daughter and dismembers his son. The family therapist will need to clear all other appointments on this one.
6. Captain Hook. Like Voldomort, he's not really a father (well he is acutally, see below), but he's critical for both Wendy and Peter Pan on all sorts of levels. Typically he's the same actor playing the Mr. Darling and Hook, and that's the fundamental truth to his, to a father's, dual nature. Pan is Hook, all grown up and no longer believing in fairies. Hook hates Pan as a reminder to what he's lost, and Pan hates Hook because that's who he's destined to be. Hook's crew of pirates are the Lost Boys, grown old, grown weary, grown out of the wild dreams and games of childhood. That's why both parties are so keen to have Wendy. Again, Oedipus looms large here. It's all about having mother.
7. Cameron Poe from Con Air. Ex-convict. Ex-Ranger. All he wants to do is get home, see his wife and his daughter. With a bunny. And no amount of bad guys are going to stop him. Testosterone overload. If I'd give up a kidney to be Hank, I'd give up a lung to be Cameron. EXTREME BAD-ASSNESS.


Anonymous said...

Food for thought - I like your analysis of Star Wars and Harry Potter!
If we're talking badass dads though - David Gemmell's Waylander has to be in the top twenty. A retired assassin who adopts twins then, well put it this way, the spoiled prince chooses the wrong girl to mess with!
Then there's Nicolas Cage in Taken. Another criminal who picks the wrong girl ... Daddy's and their daughter's huh!

SarwatC said...

Er, wasn't it Liam Neeson in Taken? Yes, he's extremely bad ass but there was the old 'arabs as white slavers' thing which I thought had gone out with the Victorian era which put me off. Still, we love Liam.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, they've become a bit interchangable! Liam Neeson better than Cage though ... I don't know who you are, but if you don't let my daughter go, I will find you ... I will kill you! Nice.
Good point about the Arabs as white slavers thing - that did ruin the end of what had been quite a good film - I'd actually forgotten about that. Plus there was the good time girl best friend who dies horribly (presumably as an object lesson on what happens to teenage girls who lose their virginity) and who gets completely forgotten about by everyone really quickly.
Still ... you have to admit, a badass dad!

Heather said...

Wow! Love your take on old Tom Riddle as a "father" for Harry. It never occurred to me that Harry would just be another boy at Hogwart's if it weren't for Voldy.

Sandy said...

I never thought of Voldy in that way before but you're so right xD. That's so weird, now I have to look at Voldy in a whole new light.

I got a soft spot in my heart for Badass dad's on screen and in books. My favourite character in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart Trilogy was Mo. He's a dad who isn't really a fighter at heart at all but he's a great dad and loves his family and when pushed to protect them he does whatever he can :).

I also loved Liam Neeson in Taken, now he was a definite bad ass.

Jeannette Towey said...

Now you can't really include Tony Soprano as a bad-ass. He's all psycho-therapy and puppy-dog eyes. Even when he's killing people he looks like it's a real pain and he'd really rather not be doing something so distasteful. And he's like a little boy who's got a crush with regard to the psycho threapist. Gotta love him.