Father’s Day is coming up tomorrow, and though it might be a greeting card holiday, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that we’re called upon to remember the guy that had a hand in raising us. Whether it’s your biological dad, step-dad, mom’s long-term boyfriend, or an older brother who stepped up to the bat when he was needed, the male authority figure in your life deserves a little recognition (beard oil is always a good idea!). We don’t all have one, so those of us who do should take a moment to appreciate him.
Of course, that’s tomorrow. Tonight is the eve of a holiday, and that’s often a time without a lot of activity planned. If you’re planning on taking in a movie or catching up on some Netflix watching, consider some of these works featuring some pretty kickass bearded dads.
5. KING TRITON
Particularly for dads and daughters, Disney’s The Little Mermaid features one of the most epic beards in the whole princess universe. As it so often does, the beard in this case is used to represent the character’s wisdom. The king of the whole damn ocean had better be pretty smart, right? And this guy is. Despite having a bit of a temper (whose dad didn’t lose their cool when rasing our rebel asses?) in the end of the film he sees the light and does the right thing, using his crazy powerful magic that he could have used in the first place to save his daughter a lot of trouble. I assume Ariel forgave him for that; I never watched the straight-to-video sequels.
4. THE MAN
Viggo Mortensen stars as an unnamed character in what might very well be the bleakest non-holocaust film of all time, The Road. In the book the film is based on, the character is known simply as “the man.” The book and film are both very nonspecific about names, places, and what exactly caused the end of the world and left them in this post apocalyptic nightmare. That’s because the story is meant to tackle universal themes, with a message that would be the same no matter who the people were, so it doesn’t matter what their names were. Chief among those messages is shit be rough, ya’ll. But there’s also a good message about fatherhood, or parenthood in general, as the man and his son are about the only decent people left in the world. By remaining so, the man teaches his son to be the same, even when the temptation is there to just open fire on every other person just like everyone else seems to do. It’s a simple message, but a good one: dads, teach your kids the right way to be. Kind, empathetic, and bearded.
3. HENRY JONES SENIOR
There are many reasons to love Henry Jones, Sr. He’s got a decent beard. He taught his kid to love archaeology. He named the dog Indiana. He is played by Sean Connery. Henry is a very memorable character; the sort that steals the show even from the title character. The same way that Heath Ledger made us all wonder why The Dark Knight even bothered having that silly Batman character when the Joker was so much more interesting, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade might very well have been just as good if it only featured the dad. But the father/son dynamic does the film a lot of good. It’s fun seeing where Indiana’s stubbornness, intellect, and underneath-it-all good heart come from. And of course, we’ll all never forget the line about the dog at the end.
2. RICK GRIMES
Before he got all domesticated in Alexandria this past season, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes used to be the bearded god of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The man grew a beard that got bigger every season, though maybe a bit more slowly than most (how long has it been on that show anyway? Carl has aged like 3 years and that baby is still a baby). But we could perhaps chalk that up to malnutrition. The zombie apocalypse isn’t exactly the best place to grab a bite (well, you know what I mean), and when there is food, he tends to make sure his son and daughter are fed before he is. Rick is the sort of dad who puts his kids first always, and that’s a damn fine way to be. Of course, he got weak and went for the razor, and now he’s walking around all baby-faced. But in the comics, the beard makes a come-back, so maybe Carl will see that as reinforcement of the fact that shaving is for the weak.
1. FURIOUS STYLES
Laurence Fishburne’s character in Boyz in the Hood is the most subtly badass dad I can think of in any film. He’s not a gun-toting survivor like Rick or the Man, nor an adventurer like Indiana’s pop or a king like Triton. He’s just a strong black man who knows the score, and is there for a confused, struggling son, providing wisdom and some excellent maxims. An exemplary line: “Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.” He is that real man. And that’s the best quality a kid can ask for in a father; a real man not necessarily in the action hero sense, but one who has the brains, the balls, and the heart to bring a kid up right.
If you’ve got a dad like that, make sure you buy him an extra kickass present for father’s day.