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Rick Kitchen

Best Movie Parents

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Since we have a Worst Movie Parents thread, I wanted to add a Best Movie Parents thread.

 

I nominate Vince Vaughn (yes, that Vince Vaughn) in A Cool, Dry Place.  His character is a fast-moving lawyer whose career is taking off, but his wife leaves and leaves him with their little boy.  He has to put his career aside to take care of the little boy, then he has to deal with the fallout when the wife comes back and tries to take the little boy away from him.

 

Despite Vince Vaughn's recent reputation for making crappy comedies, this movie is neither crappy nor a comedy, and damn, he's good in it.

Edited by Rick Kitchen
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I haven't seen A Cool Dry Place, but the plot sounds very much like Kramer vs. Kramer. Ted Kramer wasn't a perfect dad, but he did his best and ended up bonding really well with his son.

 

The father and stepmother in Juno were very supportive of Juno. I loved Allison Janney telling off the nosy ultrasound technician.

 

Cher and her dad in Clueless had a very nice relationship, even though he spoiled her silly.

 

I don't know whether to put Mildred Pierce here or on the Worst Parents list. In the Joan Crawford movie, Mildred is almost a saint and Veda is a fiend. (Ironic, when you think of what we've learned about Crawford as a mom in real life!) In the Kate Winslet miniseries remake, Mildred is much more harsh and coarse, but she still gives everything she's got to get the affection of a kid who hates her.

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I loved the father-daughter sofa moment in "Sixteen Candles" and would count him among one of the best fathers, forgetting her birthday notwithstanding.

The standard by which all fathers must be measured: Atticus Finch.

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The standard by which all fathers must be measured: Atticus Finch.

 

Right?!

 

Good parents...hmmm...it's always easier to think of bad movie parents than good parents.  But I will second the parents from Juno who were overall supportive once they got over the understandable disappointment.  I really liked the stepmother character if only because she didn't fall back on the evil stepmother stereotype of most movies.  She also deserves credit for warning Juno about the inappropriateness of her relationship with the would-be surrogate father.

 

Disney/Pixar movies have pretty good (or at least well-meaning) parents.  For instance:

 

Queen Elinor from Brave: She clearly loved her daughter, even if she didn't always understand her or agree with her.

 

Marlin from Finding Nemo: Do I have to explain this one?!

 

I'll think of more later.

Edited by Spartan Girl

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More good Disney parents...

 

I think Maurice from Beauty and the Beast was a good dad. Not perfect, absent-minded, but he loved his daughter, and clearly valued her character and encouraged her individuality.

 

Bambi's mom… well, I won't get into the tragic details, but it's how I feel!

 

Rapunzel's parents in Tangled: True, they were cruelly denied the opportunity to raise Rapunzel from infancy, but you can tell they would have been wonderful had Gothel not intervened.

 

Gepetto: Only getting devoured by a whale stopped him from looking for Pinocchio.

 

Tiana's parents in The Princess and the Frog: Loving, devoted, and I loved how we saw them instill great values in Tiana.

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Liam Neeson in Love Actually is such a great dad.  He takes his step son's crush seriously, and you can tell that as he grows up they will have the kind of relationship where he can tell his step father anything.

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I love the parents in Easy A!

 

Rosemary: Not to mention how you have been dressing these past few days. No judgment, but you kind of look like a stripper.
Olive Penderghast: Mom!
Dill: [to Olive] A high-end stripper, for governors or athletes.

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To give same sex movie couples some love, I would like to mention Armand and Albert in The Birdcage.  For all of their dysfunctional quirks, they really loved Val.  Props to Nathan Lane for showing that men can have a maternal side!

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Bumping up this thread because I want to add Jims dad in the American Pie movies. Sure he was dorky, awkward and embarrassing, but he meant well. And he did provide some rather sage advice.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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Anyone who can come home to his son fucking a pie and simply offer, "We'll just tell your mother we ate it" is a special kind of parent.

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A hearty co-sign to Olive's parents in Easy A.

 

And speaking of excellent teen comedies, Cher's dad in Clueless.  Not just to her, but that he actively kept Josh in his life after he and Josh's mom ended their brief marriage.  "You divorce wives, not children."  (Which, yeah, makes Cher and Josh getting together a little icky.)

Edited by Bastet
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June Carter Cash's parents in Walk the Line. I thought it was interesting how strangers would tell June how disappointed her parents must be in her when they were shown to be welcoming to all and a model of unconditional love.

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Cher's Dad Mel in Clueless.  Yes.

 

CHER (laughing):  Yeah. Daddy, did you ever have a problem that you couldn't argue your way out of?

MEL Tell me the problem, and we'll figure out how to argue it.

CHER I like this boy.

MEL Yes?

CHER  And he likes someone else.

MEL  How could that be?

CHER  I don't know, but I feel wretched.

MEL  Well, obviously this boy is a complete moron. You are the most beautiful girl in Beverly Hills. And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I want you with a stupid fella like that.

 

Mel and Cher shared some very sweet touching moments.  Amy Heckerling wrote such a good father character here.

 

MEL:  What's with you kid? You think the death of Sammy Davis left an opening in the Rat Pack?

 

MEL  Hey, you?!  Anything happens to my daughter, I got a .45 and shovel.  I doubt anybody would miss you.

 

Also telling Tai to get the hell out of his seat at the dinner table.  Haha, I could go on and on.

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Mel:  Cher, what the hell is that.

Cher:  A dress.

Mel:  Says who?

Cher:  Calvin Klein.  

Mel:  It looks like underwear.  Put something over it.

Cher:  Duh, I was just going to Daddy.

 

Christian:  Your dad is pretty scary.

Cher (proudly):  Isn't he?

 

Mel:  Cher do you know what time it is?

Cher:  Uh, a watch doesn't really go with this outfit Daddy.

Mel:  Where the hell are you?

Cher:  Uh, just having a snack with my girlfriends.

Mel:  Where, in Kuwait?  Be home in 20 minutes.

Cher:  Uhhh

Mel:  Everywhere in LA takes 20 minutes.  

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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As a life-long resident of Los Angeles, the "twenty minutes" line is probably my favorite.

 

"Honey, I couldn't be happier than if they were based on real grades." was always my favorite line of his.

 

Ha, yes!  When he - a top-notch litigator - learns she considers her report card grades opening offers from which she successfully negotiates upward.

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Howard's parents in In and Out.  They were simple, midwestern folks who didn't know much about homosexuality, but when he came out, they still loved him unconditionally. 

On 4/18/2016 at 11:35 AM, Bastet said:

As a life-long resident of Los Angeles, the "twenty minutes" line is probably my favorite.

I loved it, too, because it's true  :)  I also loved, that in spite of spoiling her, he wasn't afraid to call her out on things that she did wrong.  I liked the parking ticket discussion "The ticket is the first warning"

I agree with the comments about the parents in Easy A

On 6/24/2014 at 4:25 PM, Luckylyn said:

Liam Neeson in Love Actually is such a great dad.  He takes his step son's crush seriously, and you can tell that as he grows up they will have the kind of relationship where he can tell his step father anything.

I was just watching this last night and my favorite moment was when he asked "How does she....he....feel about you?"  No judgement, no worry, just a simple statement.  Even better, was the kids' response.  No "dad!" or "Ew!", just "She doesn't know I exist".

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Jenny and Charlie in Finding Dory. Great example of loving parents doing their best to support a special needs child, being patient with Dory's memory loss without making her feel like a burden. And even when she got lost, they never gave up trying to find her. The sight of them carrying the shells back to their makeshift home...excuse me, someone must be cutting onions nearby.

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One of the things I liked about Disney's live-action Cinderella was the relationship between Kit and his dad.  Even though the king was insisting that Kit ought to marry a princess because tradition and what-not, he wasn't really overbearing about it.  The two of them clearly loved each other, which showed during the deathbed scene, where after Kit said he just couldn't marry anyone else except the "mystery girl", the king understood and gave his blessing.  The two actors really sold that relationship, which made the death all the more heartbreaking.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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While on the subject of Disney live-action cartoons, I think the relationship between Belle and Maurice in the new Beauty and the Beast was very well done.  He was a good father who loved his daughter so much, and the backstory that this movie reveals about how they wound up in the little town gave it a new depth

They lived in Paris until Belle's mother fell victim to the plague, and Maurice was forced to leave her behind to get Belle to safety before it spread

.  It was just as tragic as Kit and his dad.

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I love Maurice.

I know she only gets one line in the entire movie (and it goes uncredited) but the Queen in Sleeping Beauty is, I think, a loving mother. We see so little of her in the film but that moment at the end where she reaches out her arms to embrace her daughter and just tears up says it all to me. I'm not entirely sure that they made the right decision surrendering their child to the three fairies but obviously Maleficent had already gotten into the castle before and could potentially overcome any obstacles Stefan and his army could put up. So I guess they made the right decision, even though it's an odd one, and if you find yourself wondering what kind of mother would surrender her child for 16 years, that moment at the end of the movie just says it all.

That scene with the two Kings deciding their children's fate is a bit odd because again the Queen is completely left out of the discussion but I think in a strange way Sleeping Beauty lucked out in the parental department. Hubert looks like he'll be a fun father-in-law and frankly it's one of the few Disney families I can think of that are whole, with a mother and father and even a father-in-law. Plus you have the three good fairies who would be more than happy to lend a hand.

(Man, I hate the Maleficent movie.)

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Saroo's adopted parents in Lion were pretty amazing people. His biological mom was pretty good too, refusing the milk do the kids could have it. 

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Gomez and Morticia Addams. They have a passionate relationship with one another after years of marriage, they love their family members unconditionally, and they are very supportive of their children.

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On 4/10/2017 at 6:59 AM, raezen said:

Saroo's adopted parents in Lion were pretty amazing people. His biological mom was pretty good too, refusing the milk do the kids could have it. 

My heart definitely broke for them in their struggles with their second adopted son. But they wouldn't give up on him even though they could have.

Julie's parents in Valley Girl were pretty hilarious. Nice depiction of 1960's hippies not quite sure how to deal with the 1980's materialism and concerns of their teenaged daughter who would rather buy nice new clothes at the Galleria instead of fighting for social justice. Even though they didn't believe in giving her a curfew, they still waited up for her, so they weren't just laissez-faire, either. And her dad's speech about conformity and therefore delivering the moral of the film was great. You could tell they had a great relationship even though they were so different from each other.

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I'm watching Back to School and it must be said that Thornton and Jason had a pretty good relationship. One of the reasons why he enrolled in college was to stop Jason from dropping out.

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Watched Loved Actually recently...the utter love and support that Liam Neeson had for his orphaned stepson in that movie was off-the-charts beautiful. I loved that he didn't assume that the kid's crush would be a girl, and that they watched Titanic together. Just an adorable relationship they had.

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Horace Giddens from The Little Foxes is a wonderful father, IMO. He is probably the brightest part of daughter Alexandra's life, and he clearly adores her, but also doesn't hesitate to call her out on her behavior. I love the part when Alexandra brags about snubbing someone, Horace gently but firmly asks her if she thought that was right... and Alexandra realizes that it wasn't, and she apologizes the woman she snubbed.

Horace was a fool to love his evil wife Regina, but he had the good sense to make sure his daughter didn't turn out like her.

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On 3/15/2019 at 4:24 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

Horace Giddens from The Little Foxes is a wonderful father, IMO. He is probably the brightest part of daughter Alexandra's life, and he clearly adores her, but also doesn't hesitate to call her out on her behavior. I love the part when Alexandra brags about snubbing someone, Horace gently but firmly asks her if she thought that was right... and Alexandra realizes that it wasn't, and she apologizes the woman she snubbed.

Horace was a fool to love his evil wife Regina, but he had the good sense to make sure his daughter didn't turn out like her.

Absolutely! It seems he and Regina's sister-in-law Birdie were cut from the same cloth. Folks who truly wanted the best for Alexandra  and were willing to sacrifice FOR her against the evil schemings of both Regina and her brother Oscar (Birdie's cruelly abusive husband). It's true that it seems that these were  folks who actually considered the wellbeing of others but who had been so badly mistreated by the Hubbards had paid the price (Horace's heart and Birdie's sobriety). Yet, in spite of this, they each saw Alexandra as someone they needed to save from being ruined by the Hubbards as they themselves had been (and I'll even add that Birdie was far more of a de facto mother to Alexandra than Regina was despite the latter being her actual mother). Yes, I'll go so far as to say that having seen her own son Leo grow up to  openly become as wantonly cruel as his father Oscar despite whatever  she may have had attempted to otherwise prevent  in his childhood had to be an even more bitter pill than her husband's abusiveness that  no amount of booze could wash down- and yet despite Alexandra being Regina's daughter she NEVER gave up on Alexandra. Also,  I can't help but think that somehow, in this midst of Regina's chilling cruelty re letting his last heart attack become a fatal one knowing that she'd  use her new widowhood to go directly against his wishes to checkmate her brother and scheme with the outside investor,  somehow (somehow), he knew that his loving daughter witnessing his sacrifice and her mother's cruelty would be enough to FINALLY spur Alexandra to find the courage to make a new, independent life for herself AWAY from any of the Hubbards (and I also think that while Birdie alone of the Hubbards would sincerely mourn Horace's death the rest of her life that she,too, would draw strength  and be comforted by Alexandra having gotten away even if Alexandra could never risk returning to so much as visit Birdie). 

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This may sound like a stupid choice on the surface, but Mr. and Mrs. Baker in Sixteen Candles. Yeah, the dad was sort of clueless/a dork, and the mom sort of distracted and exasperated by both her husband and kids, but the conversation Sam had with her father about liking Jake - and his surprising insight into Ginny and her marriage was a sweet scene. As was the end when Sam pointed out Jake, and her dad gave his approval.

Her mom also seemed genuinely contrite/mortified at the end when she realized that she had forgotten Sam's birthday, and I liked the mother/daughter hug and forehead touching after they admitted that Sam's brother Mike wasn't sorry, but enjoyed the whole debacle.

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16 minutes ago, WendyCR72 said:

This may sound like a stupid choice on the surface, but Mr. and Mrs. Baker in Sixteen Candles. Yeah, the dad was sort of clueless/a dork, and the mom sort of distracted and exasperated by both her husband and kids, but the conversation Sam had with her father about liking Jake - and his surprising insight into Ginny and her marriage was a sweet scene. As was the end when Sam pointed out Jake, and her dad gave his approval.

Her mom also seemed genuinely contrite/mortified at the end when she realized that she had forgotten Sam's birthday, and I liked the mother/daughter hug and forehead touching after they admitted that Sam's brother Mike wasn't sorry, but enjoyed the whole debacle.

Yeah, even though they forgot her birthday, Sam's parents were decent. I kind of liked the part where Mike made a crack about Ginnie getting her period right before her wedding night, and when the dad demands to know where he learned that and he replied that he school, the dad just pauses and says, "Good, I'm getting my money's worth." Ha.

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The foster parents in Shazam! were wonderful people who clearly loved  all the children they took in. I loved how they were patient and understanding with Billy; even after he ran away from the first time, they didn't give up on him. And they were smart enough to give him space to adjust, not giving him a bad time when he didn't want to join the family in saying grace at dinner -- and I thought their "hands in" prayer was adorable.

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On 3/16/2019 at 8:20 PM, Spartan Girl said:

Yeah, even though they forgot her birthday, Sam's parents were decent. I kind of liked the part where Mike made a crack about Ginnie getting her period right before her wedding night, and when the dad demands to know where he learned that and he replied that he school, the dad just pauses and says, "Good, I'm getting my money's worth." Ha.

They were clearly stressed out by Ginnie's wedding and Ginnie generally being a pain in the ass while being overwhelmed by pretty much everything. I think Sam realized that and felt over it by the actual wedding, especially after her talk with her dad.

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While she may have worked extra hard to guilt them into doing good works and may have internally stressed herself out trying to be a saint rather than letting impossible folks like Aunt March have it, it's hard to think of a better parent  than  Margaret March AKA 'Marmee' in Little Women (all versions).  I mean, at NO point of her depictions does she not genuinely have her daughters' interests at heart and encourages each of them to be the best individual she can be rather than insist on them being all being   cookie-cutters copies of her.  Oh, and kudos for her for encouraging their imaginations and educations as much as possible despite the times and setting not being particularly keen on girls having either. 

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2 hours ago, Blergh said:

While she may have worked extra hard to guilt them into doing good works and may have internally stressed herself out trying to be a saint rather than letting impossible folks like Aunt March have it, it's hard to think of a better parent  than  Margaret March AKA 'Marmee' in Little Women (all versions).  I mean, at NO point of her depictions does she not genuinely have her daughters' interests at heart and encourages each of them to be the best individual she can be rather than insist on them being all being   cookie-cutters copies of her.  Oh, and kudos for her for encouraging their imaginations and educations as much as possible despite the times and setting not being particularly keen on girls having either. 

I agree. She was an amazing mother. I also love what she says to Jo when Jo asks her if she has any expectations of her daughters. 

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The Waynes in Batman Begins were good parents and good people who loved Bruce and tried to raise him right by setting a good example and paying their wealth forward to the community. It probably wasn't a good idea to take Bruce with them to the opera though, since what little boy would be able to sit through that. Not to mention it would have spared Bruce the trauma that followed, but hindsight is 20/20...

I really hate that the new Joker movie is probably going to trash Thomas' character.

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Peggy Sue's grandparents in Peggy Sue Got Married were pretty awesome. They have such a small amount of screentime but you can feel how much Peggy loves them. You can see why it's hinted at that after they died, the extended branches of the family just kind of fell away.

Edited by methodwriter85
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On 9/26/2019 at 8:44 AM, Spartan Girl said:

I really hate that the new Joker movie is probably going to trash Thomas' character.

Spoiler

It depends on how you interpret the movie. If you think that Arthur Fleck's mother was a delusional bat, then Thomas generally stays okay, if incredibly callous to the suffering of the have-nots in Gotham. If you think that Arthur really is Thomas's son, and he had the mother committed to an institution in order to cover that up, then he really does become a total piece of shit.

 

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On 12/25/2019 at 4:07 AM, methodwriter85 said:
  Reveal spoiler

It depends on how you interpret the movie. If you think that Arthur Fleck's mother was a delusional bat, then Thomas generally stays okay, if incredibly callous to the suffering of the have-nots in Gotham. If you think that Arthur really is Thomas's son, and he had the mother committed to an institution in order to cover that up, then he really does become a total piece of shit.

 

Either way, it's still making out Thomas Wayne to be a worse person than he was in the Nolan movies, or pretty much any other Batman version.

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