The P.T.A. has never heard of these men and they won’t be chaperoning any of your dances in the near future, but somewhere out in movieland lousy dads are flourishing. Put on your favorite stained sleeveless t-shirt, start a chewing tobacco habit, and get ready to absorb all the teaching you can handle from the six most dead beat dads in movie history.
Jonah Hex, “Jonah Hex”
You’re good at killing and you ride under a General who is at least as good as you are at the art of war and yet you think turning traitor and selling him out is just going to get your name cut off his list of holiday cookie bouquets? “Jonah Hex” offers up the original old school dead beat dad, as any man that's good at gunslinging probably should look out better for his wife and child…unless he wanted to avoid having to support them. Thus explaining the ease at which he was captured and they were killed. The bonus here are the screams in the far off distance as both movie fans and comic book fans are beaten over the head with a terrible script that has the dirty feel of a vengeful divorced spouse, particularly shown off in the dual gatling, gun horse scene.
John Preston, “Equilibrium”.
Good dads care, dead beat dads enforce mandatory emotional suppression via drugging their children and leaving their own drugs unlocked so the kids can get into them later. Preston may have the mental geometry down for the gun kata he performs under the rule of the oppressive regime he serves, but as a dad that intelligence just disappears. Watch Preston gun down his old partner in “Equilibrium” over a book of poetry and see what a crudtastic father he has become.
Senator Rutledge, “Shoot ‘Em Up”
Rutledge doesn’t bother with the family man stereotype, instead he kills off the three mothers of his children with the same emotional turmoil opening a bag of chips would take. Beyond going for the three-peat of widower, Rutledge is set to destroy all three babies just for their tasty bone marrow for his diseased body. A terrible dad from the get go, watch him get his just rewards on the plane, courtesy of the man called Smith, in the wonderfully crazy “Shoot 'Em Up.”
Kevin Flynn, “Tron: Legacy”
Terrible dad and lousy role model, Kevin Flynn hides away in his fortress of mediocrity in “Tron: Legacy” while his electronic clone rules society with an iron fist. Flynn’s son then reunites with him after an absence of two decades and Kevin acts like a hybrid of coward, hipster, and douche towards his son. His little self-sacrifice at the end notwithstanding, Kevin Flynn should’ve spent the last twenty years doing more than a shallow impression of Howard Hughes.
Henry Jones, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
There’s no "Father of the Year" mug on your shelf if you’re a dad that’s not even mentioned until the third movie. Throw in the smart life choices of sleeping with a Nazi spy and you’re pretty much in a furious competition to be the worst dad ever in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Watch Indy and Henry figure out that the same woman has experienced two generations of Joneses and try to stifle your gag reflex.
Jack Torrance, “The Shining”
Some might argue that Jack Torrance cared too much as all he wanted was to “correct” his wife and son, thus leading them by the hand into his madness so they could be one big, crazy family. However running around with an axe causing mayhem is no way to earn the devotion of his son and wife. So this father earns the golden straitjacket of shame for his terrible parenting. As a writer providing for his family, it’s going to take more than just “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” written a thousand times to truly bring home the bacon as his wife finds in one of the best scenes in “The Shining.”