1. The Dad Who Tries Too Hard
In plenty of films, dads who try way too hard to be hip have been used as a comedic device. They use current slang with awkward results. Much like Eugene Levy in most of his movies, but particularly American Pie. Levy confidently had the sex talk with his son after catching him in a compromising position with a pie using formerly cool vernacular and body language which only added to Jim’s embarrassment.
2. The Emotionally Distant Widower
In many sitcoms and animated films the single fathers are left to raise their children after the death of the mother. The imbalance is usually exploited to explain his shortcomings as a parent or why he is over protective (see #10). This trope has been played out everywhere from House Party with Robin Harris’s “Pops” to Chicken Little (and even later on in the aforementioned American Pie series).
3. The Traditionalist Dad
Many of Disney’s early animated films either feature a father who had died before the film takes place (or somewhere in the first act) or one who is set in his traditional ways. The Sultan and Jasmine had a tug-o-war father/daughter relationship because of his push to arrange her marriage. Jasmine fought to have her ideals taken seriously by her father, but it wasn’t until a phony Prince Ali came to Argabah and turned both of their worlds upside down did The Sultan realize how out dated his traditions were and that his daughter could and should make her own decisions, especially when it comes to love.
4. The Dad Who’s Crazy As Hell
It’s common knowledge that fathers will go to the ends of the earth to protect their children. While most of a father’s crazy is directed at the potential suitor of the daughter like Martin Lawrence’s hilarious threats to his daughter’s date Reggie in Bad Boys II, other fathers aim their madness squarely at their children much like Papa Pope on ABC’s “Scandal.” That man has tried to have Olivia and her boyfriends killed and other heinous acts. He is the dad you definitely don’t want to mess with because one false move and B-613 is all up in your ass.
5. The Dad Who Pushes His Kids Too Hard
In 1998, moviegoers had a complicated relationship with Denzel Washington’s character in He Got Game. Father Shuttlesworth pushes his son Jesus to become the best basketball player he can be through controversial methods. While most adults beg for him to take it easy on young Jesus, the afro-sporting man ignores the cries of his son and spectators. He pushed Jesus to his breaking point which leads to the unfortunate death of Jesus’ mother. Jesus’ mom became a casualty of Jesus becoming one of the most sought after high school basketball players in New York at the time.
6. The Cool Stepdad
Although it was one of the crappiest movies of 2014, Adam Sandler’s family comedy Blended told the story of a widower finding love with a woman who has two children of her own. Sandler’s kids bonded with his girlfriend’s children through sports and one-on-one conversations. Since the children were onboard, the pair’s marriage was smooth sailing.
7. The Dad With The Dangerous Secret Job
One storyline action films deploy is the suburban dad with a harrowing line of work. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Liam Neeson were spies hiding their profession from their daughters in True Lies and the Taken franchise respectively. The youngins would somehow find themselves kidnapped and you better believe the action stars did a great deal of ass kicking to bring their offspring to safety.
8. The Selfish Dad
Cable dramas have been praised for their portrayal of complex personal relationships between parents and children. “Mad Men” lead Don Draper had another layer of his personality revealed through the interaction with his children Sally, Don Jr. And Eugene. Try as he might to care for the three little ones, The successful ad man is too consumed with scoring his next account, needing women and drinking to truly focus on them.
9. The Absentee Dad Who Comes Back To Teach A Lesson
Talladega Nights had audiences in stitches when it hit the silver screen. Will Ferell’s Ricky Bobby was a race car driver who just wanted to go fast. His superstar rise to fame was only outweighed by his rapid fall from grace. Ricky Bobby’s long lost father comes back into his life to help him regain his confidence in the track. His father does so by putting him in a car with a live cougar. Right before Ricky Bobby’s big comeback, his dad walks out on him and says his son’s life mantra is all a lie. Thankfully, Ricky Bobby overcomes his father’s negativity to find success and love by the end of the movie.
10. The Stubborn Overprotective Dad
Computer animated adventure flick, The Croods, saw Grug, a thick-skulled prehistoric creature, fight the change he and his family are going through when they come into contact with new inventions and ideas. Grug’s stubbornness and eventual jealousy of Guy nearly destroys his family. The sudden danger The Croods are faced with finally gets the patriarch to see the error of his ways.