You think you have the worst dad when you ask for an iPhone—and you get a low-end Cherry Mobile. Or that you had to sit through his raw honesty during a toast to a cousin’s wedding. Then there are the bizarre dance moves he does at parties, and the nose-pinching stories he tells to your friends.
Yes. Dads can and will embarrass you at the right moments. But at least take comfort in the knowledge that your dad’s not Jack Torrance or Darth Vader.
So there’s that. But if you fantasize about having a screen dad for your real-life dad, here is a short list of the best men for the job:
1. The Badass Dad, Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills (“Taken”)
He has “a particular set of skills” guaranteed to keep you out of trouble; if you were knee-deep in it, daddy Bryan will find you, and rescue you no matter which continent you’re in. The downside here, though, is that you know you’re bound to get “taken” every so often because—well, Bryan Mills is your dad.
Best dad line: “It’s a flesh wound. But if you don’t get me what I need, the last thing you’ll see before I make your children orphans is the bullet I put between her eyes!”
2. The Coolest Absent Dad, Mel Gibson as Link (“Blood Father”)
Convict and a recovering substance user—not the kind of description you want for your dad. But Link makes up for his bad rep and estrangement from his daughter when he protects her at all costs from a bad ex.
Best dad line:” How ’bout I shoot you right now?”
3. The Teaching Dad, Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy (“KickAss”)
What kid wouldn’t want to learn how to take a bullet and handle heavy weaponry?! These skills come in handy, what with the dangerous times we live in.
Sure, he dresses up in some pretty odd garb, but at least you know with Big Daddy, you’re in pretty stellar, capable hands.
Best dad line: “So at close range like this, the force is gonna take you off your feet for sure, but it’s really no more painful than a punch in the chest.”
4. The Working Dad, Vinnie Jones as Big Chris (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”)
Big Chris doesn’t let the nature of his job get in the way of caring for his son. He may hang around some sketchy fellows and have to get his hands dirty for the boss, but he’s still pretty adamant about not allowing his kid to hear bad language.
Best dad line: “It’s been emotional.”
5. The Hardest Working Dad, Will Smith as Christopher Gardner (“The Pursuit of Happyness”)
Finally, here’s an actual dad’s story about struggling as a single parent and with homelessness.
After a business venture had failed, his wife left him and his son. He had to sell medical products door-to-door. Then he had to excel as an intern in an investment firm to get in as a paid employee, while he and his son were homeless.
Today, Gardner is a multi-millionaire investor. With a dad like this, you better believe him when he tells you to never give up on your dreams; if you want something, go get it.
Best dad line: “Probably means there’s a good chance. Possibly means we might or we might not.”
So dads aren’t perfect. But they do try. Wherever yours may be, at home, overseas, or at work, greet him happy father’s day.
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Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.