Father’s Day 2012: 7 moments from films that defined Fatherhood to me

Fatherhood used to be honored, venerated, respected. We even called God, “Our Father.” In the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, t.v. gave us images of wise, patient, intelligent Dads…..

This is the negative husband, rearing his ugly bald head into the fray, once again, and for no good purpose. Father’s Day is approaching, and I can’t help but gloat about it. Being a father is one of the very few positive things in my life. There is nothing short of knowing Christ that can compare with hearing your son call you “Dad.”

But those of you who know me best, or have followed this blog with extremely acute attention (and I know all of you revolve your lives around my blog) know that my own relationship with my father was…well…..less than positive.

With that warning/caviet, I’m going to write something just for fun. Hopefully, it won’t be quite as depressing as other things I’ve written.

So, without further ado….here are 7 moments from films that defined Fatherhood to me.

In reverse order.

7. Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind

Yeah, I know…everyone thinks of romance and burning Atlanta and Rhett carrying Scarlett up the stares for…..you know…..But I think of a heart-broken Rhett, who has lost the only child produced out of his union with the only woman he has ever really loved, and the grief that nearly shatters this rogue who we thought was so strong and heartless……

Times sure have changed….

Gone With the Wind-Bonnie’s Death 1939

6. Sean Connery teaching the Highlander

Granted, Ramirez isn’t Connor’s father in the movie, but he is his mentor. He’s very much like a Father to the young immortal in Highlander.
Indeed the message in the next clip is one that all father’s need to give to their children, “You have no knowledge whatsoever of your potential.”

Highlander-McLeod meets Ramirez

5. The Angel of Music

This one is a little darker than the rest. The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most complicated stories for all the intricate relations between Christine and the Phantom. But he is her mentor, and sometimes she thinks he is the Angel of Music sent by her dead father, or is indeed her father. The

Commodus killing his father, Marcus Aurelius. The sins of the Father’s are sometimes visited on the sons. And sometimes, it is the other way about….

relationship is darkly similar to the way parents and children sometimes love each other, and sometimes are very cruel to each other…..

Wishing you were Somehow Here Again

4. The Last of the Mohicans

I’ve always had dark dreams of being the last of my kind. Often I’d dream of being a lost elven prince, or the last noble member of a dead race. If ever there was a kick-tail dad up against hard odds, it is the father in this movie.

The Last of the Mohicans Final Battle

The last of the Mohicans avenging his son. How many people live to see the hopes and dreams of their children snuffed out….

3. Vader saving his son, Luke

What I loved about the trilogy, is that I had an alcoholic father. So I knew what it was to be disappointed in my parentage. I knew what it was to fear, and I’m sorry, but even what it was to hate, my father. And I know the deep yearning in a child or a young man’s heart that his dark father would change, and would love him. The ending for me was less bitter sweet….but that is for another post….another time….

Return of the Jedi: Vader and Luke

Luke’s two father figures duke it out…..if only more family disputes could be this simple….

2. The father from Apocolypto

One of the most important gifts a father gives to his son is teaching him to be a man. I got most of my lessons from movies and books (hence, this post). This lesson came to me late in life, but it was one of the most eloquent I have seen.

“Fear is a sickness…..I did not raise you to see you live in fear.”

Apocolypto-Fear

1. Osric in Conan the Barbarian

Most of you will be going, “What the huh!?” But this is the scene where I started to

The greatest line I’ve ever heard on cinema about fatherhood

love the movie. I pretty well memorized it. The line often goes through my head as I work. “There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, and all that is left is a father’s love for his child.”

In the spirit of overkill, there are some honorable mentions.

Mel Gibson has two. The patriot, and, surprisingly, Longshanks.

Mel Gibson the patriot tomahawk fight scenes

Longshanks

To me, this was the greatest comic book of all time.

Last of all….Batman. The comic book at left I bought just after I had run away from home when I was seventeen. I know I was the “rebellious” son…but I found myself identifying with Batman. It is a symptom of being the child of an alcoholic, that you feel like the parent. I felt the duel edged pain of wondering if Dad even cared if I was gone….and the grief of being a “father” who has lost his “son.” A Death in the Family demonstrated that dark pain perfectly to a seventeen year old. I skipped a few meals, and bought the comic. Its one of the few possessions I still have from those times.

Happy father’s day, everyone……

Batman RequiemA Death in the Family

Ricky Skaggs Cat’s in the Cradle

 

 

 

Advertisements

Cannibal attacks, bath salts, zombie apocolypse. 2012 may be the end, after all….

Rudy Eugene ate Ronald Poppo’s face. Just when I think the world can’t get any worse, it does. Such a fine young cannibal….

This is the negative husband again. I’ve been hearing these stories about this zombie attack in Miami, Florida. I won’t go into all of the details. You can google them for yourself. Police are blaming a brave new drug, “bath salts,” that are the brave new version of LSD.

Having worked in a town that is quite active with methamphetamine production and use, this really barely amazes me. Cannibalism is about all that is left to see. And everyone is talking about how scary this Rudy Eugene was in his zombie-like mode. His girl friend said that someone performed a voodoo spell on her upstanding boy friend. And I don’t want to make light of the plight of these people….but…..

We live in a world that tells us that morals are relative. There is no wrong….there is no right….and I sleep very well at night. So why was it wrong for Rudy Eugene to get high and eat someone’s face? Yeah, I understand….Ronald Poppo doesn’t like it…but his opinion has no more weight than mine. Why don’t we vote cannibalism to be legal?

Miami cannibal/zombie face revealed, Rudy Eugene identified

These gorgeous, pristine shores are in the Caribbean. The islands are beautiful. I’ve been there. But hundreds of years ago, the native Caribbean’s used to find human flesh a delicacy. Who are we to say they were wrong?

And hey! If that voodoo priest really can make zombies…..in a morally relative universe, who am I to say that he can’t. Of coarse, I don’t want him to make a zombie of me, but who am I to judge?

My point is…..if there isn’t some form of absolute right and wrong (Christian or otherwise, I’m not debating religion, here), then the only real Law is the Law of the Fist. I have a bigger fist than you, so you better do as I say, or I will smash your face in.

I’m high on a drug that causes me to feel no pain, so you can either surrender your bridge-shelter to me, or I will eat your face. And, since I feel no pain, it will take the police six shots to stop me.

And who decides who is right, and who is wrong?

I guess the cops with the guns. Or….with the most guns. Lets face it, if you throw out a belief in the Absolute (still not really talking about God) then what wins is numbers. Strength. Power. And what is the power of steel, compared to the power of flesh? What is the elegant sword compared to the sinews of the hand that wields it?

The Existentialist talk (ad nauseam) about the absurdity of the Universe. I’m not an Existentialist, but after reading The Killing Joke, I think I understand those that believe that the Universe is mad……

Riddle me this, Batman! If there is no Absolute Right and Wrong…..then why did we fight World War II? What was the point of my small home town losing 400 men if the Nazis were no more in the wrong than we are? If there are no Absolutes at all, then the wrongness of killing six million Jews and millions of others exist merely in the accidental happenstance that Germany lost the war!!!!!! No holy cause. We simply had bigger, better, more organized guns.

No…..I can’t believe that. In my darker moments, I long to huddle in the corner with the joker, and howl, and laugh, and cry my despair…..

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Nobility, humanity, the heroic spirit….does it indeed taste like chicken…..?

The only vague answer I have begins with these lines, from the same poet:

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

 

 

We silly humans make our theories, test our hypotheses….in the end, we merely eat of each others flesh. We devour the hopes and dreams of our fellow-man. And most of us do it with no more remorse than Rudy Eugene. I pray God has mercy on us all…..

Perhaps I am a fool, but I think, though I fight a losing fight, I have to stand for that God who outlasts our little systems. My shots are faltering, fleeting, failing. Like Don Quixote, I know that my cause may even be illusory. But if face eaters are the future….I’ll take my “fictional” God….

Petra-This Means War