Sunday, November 28, 2010

The World is Ending! Time to be The Father I'm Suppossed to be!

Today, while I was procrastinating with my roommate, I sat down to watch the movie "The Day After Tomorrow". As I was watching this movie I began to notice a trend amongst the "disaster movie" genre. This trend is having a plot line about a father who isn't the greatest dad (he's over-worked, over-stressed, out of the picture, or hardly around) who must reach the ends of the earth in order to save his child(ren) from imminent doom.

  • Bruce Willis's character in the movie "Armageddon" is a father who is way too controlling father to his daughter. He sacrifices himself in order to save save the world, his daughter and the man she loves so that his daughter can get married.
  • John Cusak's character in the movie "2012" is a divorced man who has been replaced by his ex-wife's new husband as the new father to John Cusak's children. Throughout the movie John Cusak's character quickly steps up to the plate of being the father his children deserved in the first place. The step-father is killed off while John Cusak becomes the hero and wins the "Father of the Year" award.
  • Dennis Quaid's character in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" is a divorced man who has spent his son's life caring more about his work as a Climatologist than being a father to his son. When disaster strikes Dennis Quaid sets out on a dangerous mission in the dangerously cold climate in order to save his son.

These are just three examples of this phenomenon within the disaster movie genre. These movies celebrate the idea that even though you might be a horrible father, it's all forgiven if you risk or sacrifice your life in order to save your children. These movies perpetuate this patriarchal idea that men must "man-up" and become the strong, protective figures to their families in the face of danger while the women and children must be weak and allow the men to take charge. Why does the movie industry find it okay to tell men that they don't have to be a father all of the time, and only have to step up to the plate when it "really matters"? If someone can tell me about a disaster movie that doesn't follow this horrible trend, let me know. In the meantime I'm going to enjoy having a father that's there for me even when the world isn't ending.

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