It’s unlikely I’m the first to write this, and about this films, but who cares? As Tweeted earlier today, here is my first annual “must avoid” list:
- “The Shining”: Pretty obvious. Hotel caretaker becomes homicidal maniac, attempts to kill wife and son, upsets Tony. (See also: “The SHINN-ing.”)
- “Antichrist”: Dad and mom have slo-mo black-and-white intercourse, tot takes a tumble. First five minutes, mainly. This one also works for Mother’s Day.
- “Frailty”: Dad might be the devil.
- “The Celebration”: Dad … I’d rather not get into it.
- “Father’s Day”: Mawkish sentimentalism from a mugging Robin Williams; Sugar Ray cameo.
- “Julien Donkey-Boy”: Don’t ask.
- “The Great Santini”: Dad treats the fam like grunts; see also, the Fitzes in “American Beauty.”
- “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”: You can’t blame EVERYTHING on Bob.
- “Daddy Day Care/Camp”: The horror.
- “Peeping Tom”: Dad films every moment of junior’s life, and this was pre-iPhone. Think of the equipment.
- “Raising Cane”: See, “Peeping Tom.”
- “Damage”: Dad really, REALLY likes his son’s new girlfriend.
- “Big Daddy”: The worst thing in the world, ever.
This is tip of the iceberg, people. Speaking of ice, I want to mention one of the great movie dads (seriously) of the last year. At the start of Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone,” I, like everyone else, despised Matthias Schoenaerts’s Ali. But something extraordinary happens in this truly great film: We believable real character development, and watch as Ali grows into a real father. It all culminates in a rather manipulative but cathartic sequence involving Ali, his little boy Sam, and some ice. It choked me up as a viewer, and a father, and made me want to go home and give my son a big hug. That being said, I don’t think we’ll be watching “Rust” for, well, a few years, at least.
Photo from Film Comment’s 1980 defense of The Shining.