Wednesday, June 28, 2017

And the Moral of the Story is...Dads Need Help! Lots of Help!


(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. 


Waaaaaaa!


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!...

*drumroll*

...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.


Like grow up, kid!  You can't have it your way all the time!
 
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?  ;))
 

27 comments:

  1. Ya know, I wouldn't mind seeing a movie that jabbed at feminism a bit.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha. I certainly wouldn't object! ;D

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  2. Well, I can't say I have seen many movies with this (although, yes, a few come to mind (Mary Poppins, It's a Wonderful Life), and I get you. HOWEVER, I also like the moral of the story - it IS important to make time for family when you work and yes, fathers frequently being the breadwinners tend to fall low on that now and then. So I do actually kind of like the moral of the story. Of course, that is not to say that father's who work hard are bad (by no means) but I mean, it's good for them to spend time with the family too. So I'm not that annoyed with the plot line. I do think many fathers work too hard that they forget the whole reason for working - supporting the family. What's the use of supporting a family when you barely recognise you have a family? (The miraculous change in character is, of course, rather overdone and odd. Agreed.)

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    1. Yeah, I guess you probably haven't seen the ones I was thinking of when I wrote this. (Mary Poppins and It's a Wonderful Life don't count. I like those ones. Heehee. ;)) Oh but, believe me! I think the moral of the story is fine! Dads need to spend time with their families. I certainly don't condone them being gone all the time. NOT IN THE LEAST! I just get annoyed because I've seen so many movies dealing with this exact same issue and I'm just really tired of the dad always being the "bad guy." Not to mention the movies don't always do a good job of establishing just how neglectful the father really is, so looking at it from a viewer's perspective the father doesn't even look all that bad, and yet we're pounding him hard for such minuscule failures. Does that make sense?

      I totally agree with what you said about some fathers working so hard that they forget what they're even working for. That is definitely a real issue. I just think it would be refreshing to see a movie where the dad is doing things the right way for a change. Surely real-life dads could be as inspired by that as by the other. :)

      That's my added two cents. Sorry if I talked your ear off. ;) (And yes, the whole miraculous change thing. That's just a really hard angle to have in a story because if you don't pull it off right it's totally unbelievable.)

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  3. No Miss March, this post was very good! It was definitely worth two-hundred cents! :) I agree with you entirely. Poor fatherhood is way too overdone in movies these days, which may be unhelpful in a time where the world needs good fathers and complete families more than ever. At first I thought you were going to go the stupid/bumbling dad route, because as you mentioned at the end, that's a serious film flaw too. Your sarcasm was on point, and that potential jab at feminism made my morning. ;)
    If I had to say another overused theme, I guess it would be somewhat related to yours, in that I think a lot of kid's movies emphasize the children too much, making them smarter than their "silly" parents. They often display bratty behavior in almost a positive light. I get making characters that kids can relate to, but I think Hollywood forgets that kids need characters that kids can look up to. And that, Miss March, is my rant within your rant. ;)

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    1. Aww, thanks, Abby!! :D Yes, yes, yes!! I mean I get what people are trying to do in showing the change from bad to good, but I do think a few more movies depicting healthy (and as you said "complete") families would not be amiss. Oh goodness. I'd love to lay into the whole "stupid/bumbling dad" theme. I'm just not sure I could do it justice. Where does one begin on such a subject??? :P Heehee. Glad you enjoyed the feminist jab. ;)

      Yeeeees!!! I totally and completely agree!! Bratty kids are the worst. And I hate it when parents are put down or made to look foolish in regards to their children. Just ugh. I'm afraid I could rant about these sort of things for hours. ;P Thanks by the by for joining me. It's a whole lot more fun to have someone to rant with. Heehee. ;)

      I loved your comment!! :D

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  4. I have the strangest feeling that you just watched (and despised) Courageous...?????

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    1. Mwahahaha!! :D Well. I didn't just watch it. (But I admit I have rather despised it for quite sometime.) And yes, that was definitely one of the ones I was thinking of. :P You are most intuitive, my dear. ;)

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    2. Well, it's just that you mentioned the recital and the son-who-is-obsessed-with-a-sport-that-his-dad-won't-do-with-him and the being-sleepy-and-not-doing-anything-except-watch-TV-with-your-kid, so...

      Anyway. I wanted to leave a longer comment on this before but I had no time.

      Brace yourself.

      This issue drives me insane, too, dear. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My brothers and I became so disgusted by this trope that we made a name for it. Bad Dad Syndrome. Courageous, October Baby, and Grace Unplugged feature THE. MOST. STEREOTYPICAL Bad Dads imaginable. It's sickening. A TV we watched had more realistic and saddening Bad Dads... and I do think that sometimes filmmakers/authors are trying to raise awareness of how IMPORTANT dads are to children and how deeply they are affected by the loss of a father... so I think the intentions are good sometimes. But I do find it a little strange when EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER has the worst dad ever. And that OF COURSE is why they turned out to be a con-artist/bank robber/murderer/overachiever/workaholic person they are today??? PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS AND STOP BLAMING THEIR DADS. I mean, yes, it's sad that some dads aren't present or are too hard on their kids, but... some stories take it to a crazy extreme.

      And I agree with your last question - why IS it always the father??? There are bad mothers out there too!! (Disney seems to have taken the Bad Mom route. Christian movies do Bad Dads, Disney Princess films do Bad Moms.)

      I would LOVE to read/watch a story CELEBRATING a good father!!! THEY DO EXIST; I HAVE ONE!!! And... instead of sobering everyone by showing how MESSED UP kids are when they have a Bad Dad, maybe we could show how AMAZING the kid turned out BECAUSE they had such a wonderful dad???? Just an idea... ;)

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    3. I guess I was rather obvious, wasn't I? Haha. ;)

      I'm braced. :P

      WOW. I don't even know what to say except...I AGREEEEEE! (And that was an awesome rant. Just sayin'.) You're right, there definitely are good intentions behind these types of movies, and fathers who fail their kids are a real thing. It's definitely a subject that needs to be addressed...but yeah, it's still slightly overdone in some films. (And I like what you said about people having to take responsibility for their own actions and not keep blaming their dads. I say amen to that!)

      Haha. I guess everybody has their theme. :P Now all we need is a movie company who focuses on Good Dads and Good Moms. Wouldn't that be something?

      Yes, yes, and YES! And oh my goodness! THAT is an inspiration! To show the positive effects of a life that's lived right. WHY DON'T MORE PEOPLE MAKE MOVIES LIKE THAT???

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    4. Haha, thanks! I am very extremely passionate about 1) the importance of dads, and 2) the sad misrepresentation of them in fiction!! I REALLY want to write some stories with single dads, showing how awesome they can be...

      Right. It DOES happen. But it bugs me a tiny bit that we make a bigger deal of dads WORKING too much than fathers who ABANDON their wives/girlfriends and children!! Like that is WAY more hurtful and WAY more prevalent!!! Or even abusive dads... that's a thing too!!! Please just stop with the Workaholic Dad. ANYBODY can fall into that trap. Moms included.

      Yess!!!! I would support them wholeheartedly!!

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    5. DO IT! We need more stories about good dads!!

      Hey, good point! That's true. It's like we take one of the more minor issues (not that it's actually minor per say, but you know...in comparison to other issues) and blow it up as if it's the greatest of all sins. And yeah, moms definitely fall into the trap as well. Why aren't there more movies about workaholic moms? (Maybe there are and I just haven't seen them??)

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  5. Bravo Miss March! Bravo! Yes, Courageous, War Room, Flywheel, all those. I mean, War Room has a not-so-great mom too, but I know exactly what you mean. There seems to be a great excess of foolish, weak, overly busy fathers. I'm glad you wrote a post about this. I definitely support it.

    PLEASE jab at feminism! (Notice everyone saying this is female?)

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    1. Thanks, Anna!! I'm so glad you can understand my feelings on this subject. Courageous was one of the movies uppermost in my mind when I wrote this. ;) (Surprisingly, I actually don't mind Flywheel. It doesn't bug me the same way some of the others do for some reason.)

      Maybe I will sometime. I would rather enjoy that I think. (Ha. Funny how that works, isn't it? ;))

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    2. Ha! I was right!! It WAS Courageous that inspired this post. ;D

      Also, I forgot to mention that I too would love to see some posts jabbing at feminism. :D

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  6. Yeah, I guess I have noticed several movies like that, but perhaps not so much as you - I think I've seen a good many more movies where there WAS a good father. ("Swiss Family Robinson", anyone??)

    I think you know how to rant very well, m'dear. ;D

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. Oh, I've seen lots of movies with good dads, too ("Swiss Family Robinson", YES!). I was more referring to a particular type of movie where the dad is the main character and where the point of the story is how the dad needs to get his act together. There's a lot of them out there.

      Well, thanks. I'm glad you think so. ;) And thank you for your comment!

      ~Miss March

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  7. Dads get picked on way too often!!!

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  8. If you want to watch a movie that sympathizes with the dad, try Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. Drily funny Jimmy Stewart/Maureen O'Hara movie I love.

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    1. I've heard of that one! I remember my parents started watching it once but never finished it. Can't remember why. Thanks for the suggestion! :) (Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite actors. :))

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    2. Well, the dad in it, Mr. Hobbs, does have some difficulty relating to his kids, but he keeps trying, and eventually he does come to understand them better, and they him.

      I do agree with what you're saying in this article. My mother-in-law wouldn't even read her kids the Berenstain Bears books when they were little because the dad was always wrong, inept, ridiculous, etc. I think it's often a sad commentary on the way society views fathers -- that they're someone to belittle and disrespect, not love and revere.

      This is one of the reasons I love The Andy Griffith Show so much -- Andy Taylor is a wonderful father. Fallible at times, yes, but generally wise, loving, kind, firm, and fair.

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    3. Aww, that sounds cool! I really don't mind it when dads have things they need to learn (I mean, that's life!), it's just the way it's portrayed in certain movies that gets really old after awhile. :P If they do it right though, it can be a great story!

      Oh goodness. The Berenstain Bears is an excellent example! 'Cause it's so true! The way the dad is portrayed in that series is very belittling to fathers. I don't know why people find that sort of dad so appealing to write about! ;P

      Awww. We've actually been watching a lot of Andy Griffith lately. I love that show. And yes, Andy isn't perfect but he is a good dad. I love his and Opie's relationship.

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  9. My dear Miss March,
    It's about time I stopped being a creepy stalker and started commenting on your lovely posts! �� I enjoy each one quite thoroughly.
    Well, I was so happy to see this particualat post because I've gone in similar rants to my sisters MANY times! Haha!
    I second the motion: PLEASE jab at feminism!!! I'd love to see you do it!
    Btw... I love the Norman Rockwell pics. Just perfect!
    Hannah Jo

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    1. Hi Hannah Jo! :D

      Indeed, yes. Let's not be creepy, dear. Haha. ;) Seriously though, I'm so glad you commented! It's always fun to meet another of my readers. Welcome, welcome, welcome!!

      Isn't it just too much fun to rant about these sorts of things though? I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoys it. :)

      Thanks. I'd really like to do a post about feminism sometime, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see if the proper amount of inspiration hits me. (I confess, I haven't had a whole lot of inspiration lately.)

      So glad you liked the pictures. Norman Rockwell's pictures are amazing, aren't they?

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  10. I feel as if someone recently watched "Courageous". :P

    I'm so sorry this is late.....but I'm glad I finally read it because it was both funny AND true. :D Your wit is impeccable, my dear. ;)

    And yes!! There needs to be more movies and stories and tv shows with GOOD dads. Or at least ones that aren't portrayed as "wrong" before they "see the light". I mean, really?? No dad will be perfect and e v e r y o n e makes mistakes. I think we've drilled the "bad dad" story line into too many movies. :P

    Like, most Disney movies--or any movie with a kid as the main character--tend to have the parents ALWAYS wrong about how to keep their kid safe, happy, etc. That may be true in some cases, but in real life it doesn't work that way. :P

    Recently I watched "Moana" and while it was really enjoyable in most aspects (the music and settings were BEAUTIFUL. I also loved the characters. :)), they YET again had the "Dad is wrong; daughter is right" story line. So she defies her parents and sails across the sea alone to save everyone. :P

    Isn't that just teaching kids not to obey their parents when it comes to water safety?? (haha. ;))

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    1. Well, not too recently actually. But the memory of it is stamped upon my memory. Probably because it's one of our favorite movies to rip apart. (Sad but true.)

      Aww, well thank you!

      I entirely agree. Let's come at it from a different angle. That would be so refreshing.

      I know right? That annoys me, too. There ARE good parents out there, people!!! Let's talk about them for once!

      Oh ugh. Can't the main character EVER be wrong and her parents right? I mean, why not?

      Hahaha. Exactly!! Very good point. ;D

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