"Fathers be good to your daughters." - John Mayer
That lyric is so deep I can hardly stand it.
Anyway, a father and his little girl...Nothing cuter. Nothing. The school I work at loans its gym out every year to host the town "Daddy-Daughter Dance." The Facebook posts reach levels of sweetness hardly bearable to a cold, childless soul like me. Of course, all these are little girls. I get to know the daughters in my town when they come to my middle school classroom as attitude-riddled, annoyed early adolescents. As far as movies go, I think I like that dynamic the best. The ones willing to answer the question: What happens when that cute little girl is no longer a cute little girl?
So, it's another week as part of Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks Meme.
Here are my picks in the category of Father-Daughter Relationships (Biologically-Related):
Matchstick Men (Ridley Scott, 2003)
I may have cheated a bit on this one, but I don't care. The late-summer, 2003 sleeper Matchstick Men is one of the perfect movies of the aughts. It has so many things I love: con artists and con games; phobias, OCD, and psychotherapy; Nic Cage (Suck it, haters!) AND Sam Rockwell; a plot twist nobody saw coming; and, at the center, a reunion between a father, who never knew he had a child, and his daughter. Nicolas Cage plays Roy Waller, a neurotic, chain-smoking con man planning the ultimate long con with his partner, Frank (Rockwell). When Roy's teenage daughter Angela (the great Alison Lohman) shows up, a few kinks are thrown into the plan, taking Roy down a path he never saw in front of him. Easily one of the best movies of that year.
Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)
When Mac MacGuff (J.K. Simmons) finds out who knocked up his 16-year-old wise ass daughter, Juno (Ellen Page), his reply gets to the essence of what made this movie such a crowd-pleasing success among pretty much everybody. "Paulie Bleeker?" he says, "I didn't think he had it in him." Diablo Cody really did write a great script here. This is one of those rare Oscar-nominated movies that worked for everybody, not just critics, cinephiles, and Hollywood types. While its luster has warn off a bit, I will always love it. It is a sweet, funny movie with the most memorable father-daughter dynamic (if only as a subplot) I can think of.
The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
Matt King's wife is severely injured in a boating accident. She's, in fact, dying. He has two daughters. We meet the first, Scottie (Amara Miller), minutes into the movie. A preteen, she recently made fun of an overweight girl in class. Matt has to "make her" apologize to the girl at an irate mother's request. Then, we meet 16-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley), screwing around with some friends after curfew as Matt and Scottie arrive to pick her up from boarding school. While the plot of this film delves into topics such as marriage and infidelity, land preservation, family disputes (mostly among cousins), even the history of its picturesque setting of Hawaii (more truthfully done than any movie I've seen), the most important aspect is the ways in which Matt reconnects with his daughters while coming to terms with a tragedy. I absolutely love this movie.