(Or it may be that Miss March needs help as she's about to plunge into a pathetic, rant filled post couched in her usual strange, obnoxious style. Do beware.)
Okay, so you've all seen those movies that have an obvious theme or lesson woven into the story, right? Those kinds that attempt to instruct the audience on how to overcome a specific problem commonly found in their day to day lives? (I guess I'm thinking primarily of Christian-made films, though there are definitely some non-Christian films that fit into this category as well.)
Anyway, I'm here today to talk about these sorts of movies and I'd like to begin by saying that this type of film can be very instructive and very helpful. (Stop it. Why do you always think I'm being sarcastic?) Really though, if you think about it, it makes sense. By watching the failings of a person on screen, one can be led to look at one's own life and contemplate how and why one does what one does, and whether what one does is what one should be doing or whether one should be doing something entirely different. (Got that?) When one sees the fatal consequences of someone else's bad behavior, one is apt to consider whether one's own behavior might not lead toward a similar end, and whether one truly would relish such a prospect. This is good. This is what movies with moral lessons are all about. They tell a story in such a way as to teach those who watch them without actually coming straight out and saying to the audience, "You're a bad person! Shape up!" (Okay. So some do it better than others. There are of course those which don't stick to the rules of subtly at all. Like those particular movies where the story is merely a backdrop for a sermon? Ever seen 'em? Yeah. That is not my idea of good storytelling. But I digress.)
To get to the point. (Yes, all of that up there was just an introduction which we really didn't need, but I'm an expert at including unnecessary stuff and what are you going to do about it, hmm?)
What I really I wish to say is this. It seems to me that in this particular genre of filmmaking there is a prevailing opinion that the people most in need of advice and redirection are fathers.
Naturally, I'm no expert on fatherhood, therefore I cannot say whether this idea is rightly founded or not...but suffice it to say, there is a wealth of instruction out there for any dad who may be wondering if he is doing a good job fathering his children. (Or perhaps I should say "child" as they rarely have more than one.)
These stories of "bad" dads could probably be combined into one single movie and you wouldn't know the difference, but as it is much more fun to play around with the basic plotline and come up with new twists and turns, there are a great many out there to choose from. All equally "creative" and...painfully predictable.
Holding them up together we are able to come to a pretty good overall conclusion of what a "bad" dad is, and how that "bad" dad can become a "good" dad by the end of the film. Let's take a look.
~ First off, dads have a pervading habit of never being home enough. They work too much. Always. This is a failing indeed.
|Child: *sigh* "Dad's at the office again. I wonder if he still remembers what I look like."|
~ Secondly when they do finally come home...oh tragedy, oh horrors!...they have the nerve to be too tired to do anything with their child! Can you believe it? And so the poor kid begins to pine for her father's attention.
And that is where we the audience begin to realize that this dad is very quickly making his way down the slope toward "bad" fatherhood.
*dramatic music of impending disaster*
~ The dad reaches the bottom of the slope, and puts all doubt of his being a "bad" dad out of our minds, when his frustrated wife informs him that he missed his daughter's dance recital (or piano recital, or singing recital...you name it.) This is the point of no return.
*sorrowful strains of regret and despair*
|Wife: "To think that it should have come to this. (Face it, dear. You're a bad dad. And you can't hide behind your paper forever.)"|
Oh but wait! Surprises in store for us! We thought that was the point of no return, but miracle of miracles, it isn't!! You see, it totally would have been except that suddenly!...
...out of the blue the dad receives a lightning bolt, realizes in a flash (no pun intended. Or maybe it was. Whatever)...realizes in a flash what a rat he's been, has a sudden unexplainable change of heart, and becomes overnight the most delightful, fun, engaging father ever to grace this fallen world!
*happy, exhilarating, triumphant music*
Isn't that amazing?!
I don't know how it happened. But it happened. And this is truly a story to warm a person's heart--to thrill one to the core of one's being!--for you just know such a thing could never have happened...
without a script. (cough)
I mean really. To go from a "neglectful" dad to a fully engaged dad all in the space of one day? That's a bit too much, I'd say.
In fact, it's pathetic. The entire story's pathetic. The problem's pathetic. The resolution's pathetic. It's pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. (And did I mention "pathetic"?)
And for that matter...
WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE DAD?
WHY IS HE ALWAYS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM?
And why does that problem have to be so lame? Like that one dad for instance. What was so awful about him? Sure he worked a lot. Sure he was busy. But it wasn't like he was completely ignoring his daughter or anything. Give him a break!
Or that other dad? What was his unforgiveable failure? Just because his kid had a rotten attitude because his father wouldn't join him in his favorite sport. I ask you! What kind of failure is that to write home about? I mean the kid was practically obsessed over his sport anyway. He probably needed to hear "no" from his dad.
Okay. Rant over. (I think.)
Basically if you're not a movie person, let me just give you your dad advice in a nutshell. Don't EVER work too much (even if your family's welfare depends upon it). Don't EVER be sleepy in the evening when your daughter wants to do something with you, because it'll scar her for life! Believe me. And don't ever, EVER forget about your daughter's recital because that's just the awfullest thing you could ever do to your child. If you stay clear of these mistakes, making sure to spend time with your child doing all the fun things they want to do, and never saying no to them, well. You'll be a good dad and no one could say different.
Ahem and a-hem. (And no, of course I'm not being sarcastic! Why do I have to keep telling you that?!)
In all seriousness, someone really needs to come up with a more creative and relatable story about fathers. Like why doesn't someone make a movie about a dad who's doing things the right way, and see if people can't learn something from that? At least let's deal with some real issues and not make decent dads out to be horrible just because they don't bend over backgrounds for their child's every whim. (That's just my two hundred cents for you.)
Oh, and another thing. Why don't we have more movies about mom's working too much and not being home enough? Equal rights for women you know! They can do anything men can do! Let's be fair here. (Was that a jab at feminism? Surely not!)
Disclaimer: Naturally there are a great many movies out there which I've never seen, so there may be a host of counter-examples which would completely debunk my theory that the "bad fatherhood" theme is overused. But be that as it may, I've personally seen enough movies dealing with this subject that I can with all sincerity say this: "Enough is enough! Let's use some imagination here, people!"
Good-bye and good-bye.
What are some themes in movies that you think are overused?
Do you ever feel that dads get picked on in movies? (Like for instance, too often being portrayed as bumbling and incompetent or something along those lines?) I must say I do.
If you were making a film about fatherhood, what sort of angle would you like to take?
P.S. Tell me, is this a very strange post? I'm not sure why but I have a feeling it is. Kind of like, "where in the world did that come from?" You know? (Honestly, friends, sometimes I don't know why I write what I write. But there it is. And the moral of the story is, Miss March needs to shut up. :P) (Oh dear, did I say that? ;))