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June 19, 2011

Six Degrees of Cheese: Dads You Didn't Know Were Great

When we think about great dads in television and movies, we usually go for the obvious. Cliff Huxtible and Ozzie Nelson rank high on the small screen, and you might think about Mufasa or Mr. Mom at the movies. I started to think about the dads that don't get much credit. If I really wanted to pick a top movie dad, that would be easy. It would be David Bagby from Dear Zachary. That guy is hands down the best father and grandfather I've ever seen in a movie. That being said, I decided to leave the documentaries out and stick to fiction. Otherwise, it just wouldn't be fair.


These dads represent a variation of the American family that hasn't been shown on TV before. They can overdo it at times, but many first-time parents do. The thing about these two is that not only do they care about their daughter, but they adopted a kid who didn't have a home. That's always impressive.

Buy Modern Family on DVD


Talk about going to extremes to be with your kids. After facing horrible treatment by the family court system (big shocker), Daniel Hillard doesn't know what to do. With the help of his brother, he creates an alter ego and is hired as his ex-wife's maid. Funny that she has a maid while he lives in a tiny barely furnished apartment. Good thing for those much needed alimony and child support payments. Yeeeeeah.

Buy Mrs. Doubtfire [Blu-ray] or DVD


Red was often seen as a terror to his son Eric and his friends. They didn't mess with Red for fear of a foot up their asses. Though Red seemed tough and emotionless, it was all just a front. He not only took great care of his kids, but the group that hung out in his basement. He offered advice and authority, and he even offered a home to Eric's best friend Steven Hyde. One of the best moments of the show is when Hyde moves out and he and Red struggle to keep their emotions in check.

Buy That '70s Show on DVD


Any guy who abandons his kid can't be looked at as a great dad. I just can't see that. What I can see is forgiveness for someone who realizes their mistakes and does whatever he can to make amends. Hawk is not a loveable guy in any way at first, but for the sake of his son, the troubled truck driver busts his ass to get his life together and even enters an arm wrestling competition to impress the kid.

Buy Over the Top [Blu-ray] or DVD


Being a single dad is hard, but losing your wife and being left with three little girls, one a newborn, has to be immensely difficult. The saving graces for Danny Tanner are his brother-in-law and his best friend. How often do two young single guys with their whole lives ahead of them drop everything to raise someone else's kids? Joey and Jesse could stand alone on this list, but Danny was a good enough dad to know he couldn't do it alone. Corny as the show might have been, I can't think of another show that gives a better look at the father/daughter relationship.

Buy Full House on DVD


Every guy imagines what it might be like to get that knock on the door. You know the one. "Hey, remember random drunk slut? Well, she's my mom, and she says you're my dad." EVERY guy has had that nightmare more than once. Let's throw a twist into it. Let's say you get a phone call from this kid from jail, and it's a week before your sex change operation. That's what happened to Bree, formerly Stanley. She wanted to ignore her son, but on the advice of her psychiatrist, she bails the kid out and ends up trying to help him fix his life.

Buy Transamerica on DVD


Okay, this guy is a mess. He's an alcoholic, a womanizer and a liar. He's been through hell as a fire fighter, and he's let his life cave in because of it. One thing you can say for the guy is that if he doesn't care about himself, he does care about other people. He keeps trying to get back together with his wife to be around his kids, he tries to get his daughter sober, he raises a son that probably belongs to his brother, and when his son is hit by a drunk driver, he makes sure justice is served. He even watches over his cousin's son as he joins Tommy at the firehouse.

Buy Rescue Me on DVD


Many of us would do anything for our kids. My wheels are always turning as to what I'd do in any horrible situation. I can't help it. John Archibald is that kind of parent. I can't imagine the hell that a parent feels when their child is terminally ill. John has no insurance, and his son needs a heart transplant. Not knowing what else to do, he holds an emergency room hostage until a doctor agrees to perform the heart surgery. That means knowing he's going to end up in jail or even dead for his actions, and that's an amazing sacrafice.

Buy John Q [Blu-ray] or DVD


Another alcoholic womanizing mess makes my list, but this time for different reasons. Having only one son with his mentally unstable wife (and I don't mean she's the usual kind of girl crazy, she's in a mental institution), Ken escapes the relationship with little else but his kid and a cold one. He goes through several divorces, one of which leaves him with a stepson to raise. Ken defines tough love, and as much of a douchebag as he seems, he really cares about his boys enough to let them learn from their own mistakes.

Buy Titus on DVD


Burt is a cop that thinks he's about to die from a horrible disease. When he checks his life insurance, he finds out that the only way his family will get paid is if he dies in the line of duty. That's when he becomes a super cop and tries to get himself killed by the craziest criminals in town. Not only does he kick the shit out of the bad guys, but he does it all for his kids, just to give them a good life.

Buy Short Time on DVD


Walter is a chemistry teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer. He has a son in high school and a daughter on the way, and he is not prepared to leave them behind with nothing. In an act that is out of equal parts love and desperation, Walter decides to join forces with a former student who cooks and sells meth. He risks his safety and sanity to save money for his kids. One great scene shows Walter Jr. being made fun of by other students, and Walt Sr. kicks some serious ass.

Buy Breaking Bad on DVD and Blu-ray


When we first see the Macreadys, Damon is about to shoot his daughter Mindy in the chest with a pistol. He does, right in her bullet-proof vest. That's when I realized that he was the best movie dad I had ever seen. He trained Mindy to fight, take a bullet, use night vision goggles and just plain fuck people up. Together, they were homemade superheroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl, and they helped Kick-Ass take down the biggest mob boss in town. No dad has ever prepared his daughter for the dangers in life better than Damon.

Buy Kick-Ass (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

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