It’s Father’s Day, and in between catching a beer with the old man and silently wondering just how terrible orphans must feel around this time of year, we here at ScreenCrave have been looking back on the classic father and son relationships that have defined cinema.
Turns out, most of them are even worse than the feelings the Menendez brothers had towards their dear old dad.
5. Frank and Danny Butterman (Hot Fuzz)
Although at first glance, these two characters seem to be nothing more than a loving father and his dim-witted son, Edgar Wright’s hysterical Hot Fuzz takes a very dark turn in its third act, revealing that Frank Butterman is a member of a group of neighborhood conspirators who dispatch anyone whose behavior reflects poorly on their village.
Torn between loyalty to his father and his knowledge of right and wrong, Danny eventually sides with the good guys, resulting in an over-the-top shootout straight from a Michael Bay movie. And the worst you ever did with your dad was have a water gun fight.
Real world equivalent: Your dad is a corrupt politician who was probably involved in a shady conspiracy.
4. Denethor and Faramir (The Lord of the Rings trilogy)
The story of a son who will do anything for the love of his father is timeless, stretching as far back as Shakespeare. Modern audiences will most likely be more familiar with it in the case of Denethor and Faramir, a father and son duo from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not shy about expressing the fact that he much preferred his now deceased son Boromir, Denethor, in an act that can only be described as Paternal Douchebaggery, orders his inferior son Faramir to battle with an army that far outnumbers his only, basically saying “I know you will be mercilessly slaughtered, but don’t talk back, you need to do what your father tells you.”
So this year, if you feel the need to criticize your dad for sending you back out to fight the town bully, remember that at least he never asked you to be torn into pieces by Orcs.
Real world equivalent: Your dad preferred your older brother, the jock, but he’s dead now, so you have to take his place on the field, despite being far too weak.
3. Daniel Plainview and H.W. (There Will be Blood)
If ever there was ever a more tense and awkward relationship between a father and son character on screen, we’ve yet to see it. Early in There Will Be Blood, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis, sporting one hell of a badass moustache) adopts the son of one of his workers who was killed in an accident.
However, Plainview shows about as much affection towards H.W. as a drug lord shows to one his drug mules, even going so far as to abandon the boy when a major accident strikes him deaf. And, whereas most parents would definitely seek some professional help when their son attempts to murder someone by setting his bed on fire, Daniel merely sends the little tike away to boarding school.
Hell, the most loving scene shared by these two characters probably occurs when it is finally revealed to H.W. that he is not actually Plainview’s son, the kind of news that can only come as a relief when one considers what kind of a man Plainview is.
Real world equivalent: Your dad “adopted” you to make himself look like a family man. And by adopted, we basically mean kidnapped, since it wasn’t exactly street legal.
2. Jack and Danny Torrance (The Shining)
Based on Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance in The Shining, we can only guess that the character of young Danny Torrance’s relationship with his father consisted of, at the best of times, wondering why Daddy always smelled like the liquor cabinet and was constantly grinning like a supervillain.
At the worst of times, it consisted of being chased around a haunted, gargantuan hotel by an axe-wielding psychopath dead-set on chopping you up into little pieces. While most young sons probably enjoy playing hide and seek with their fathers, the experience was considerably unpleasant for Danny, seeing as his father’s version of hide and seek involved a labyrinthine, snow-covered hedge maze, and the punishment for losing was death.
Real world equivalent: Your dad develops some bizarre mental disorders that cause him to be a bit whacky at times.
1. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Star Wars trilogy)
It must be tough growing up without ever knowing the true answer to the eternal question “Who’s your daddy?” Of course, it must be a hell of a lot worse to eventually learn that your father happens to be a soulless dark lord of evil who plans to rule the galaxy and, in one of the most messed up acts of child abuse ever to occur in what is essentially a kids’ film, has no qualms with chopping off your arm.
The fact that he can choke you like Homer Simpson chokes Bart using nothing but his mind can’t be too comforting either. Maybe the next Star Wars trilogy can be a Good Will Hunting-style drama about Luke’s extensive therapy sessions.
Real world equivalent: There is nothing in the real world this awesome.