Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Father-Daughter Relationships


"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. 

25 comments:

  1. Great picks! I also chose The Descendants. Juno is an excellent choice there. I loved her relationship with her dad and her step mother. I thought it was great.

    I didn't like Matchstick Men and Alison Lohman distracted me because she was like 25 playing a 14 year old. lol

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    1. Thanks! That dynamic really is the best thing about Juno. I LOVE Alison Janney and JK Simmons, too. Great cast!

      I actually didn't know Alison Lohman was so old and totally believed she was 14 or 15 until after I saw the movie. I loved her and this movie.

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  2. Matchstick Men! Even if it's technically cheating (I considered it myself until I remembered how it ends), Cage was great in that and your "Suck it haters" line made me smile. It really is too bad that this movie is over ten years old now and he hasn't been nearly this good in anything since. Love your other two picks too.

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    1. People who hate Nicolas Cage get to me. He is a man who loves acting. He takes on bad roles sometimes. Sure. But he only does it because he wants to work. Plain and simple. When he gets a good role (this, Bringing Out the Dead, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation), he is pretty much unstoppable. I miss good Cage roles.

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  3. I remember watching Matchstick Men a little after it came out on HBO. It's funny that the movie came out in 2003. I was only 13 and the actress playing the daughter was playing 14... I just looked her up and she 35 years old. Fuck.

    Juno is a really great choice. It';s the type of relationship I think a lot of parents would(should) want with their kids, but just seems to rarely ever happen.

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    1. Yeah. She was a full decade older than the character she was portraying. And she pulled it off. Crazy!

      I love Juno. Not as much as I once did. But it really is a sweet movie. Thanks, in part, at least, to the great, truthful parenting.

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  4. Love Matchstick Men. Such a great movie everyone forgets about. Juno also holds up well the more I think about it.

    But like I said to Britt...The Descendants is...eww.

    :-P

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    1. I had to go with Matchstick Men, even if it doesn't exactly work. I needed to get people thinking about it again. Such a surprising piece of work.

      Alexander Payne can do no wrong for me. I love the way his movies play, and I believed this one for the most part, especially the father-daughter dynamic.

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  5. I love the Descendants so I'm on your side, there. I also like Juno. Haven't seen Matchstick Men. I'm fully aware of it, just never had an inkling to watch it. Might change my mind...might.

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    1. I guess people don't like the bits of sappy. I love Clooney in a role like this. It totally works. I say you should see Matchstick Men. It honestly blew me away when I went to the theater for it all those years ago, and it held up when I watched it on DVD a few years later.

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  6. So glad to see Juno here, wanted to include it myself. It's such a sweet relationship really. He's gruff, but he's there for her, and I love that about it.

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    1. Best part of the movie for sure. The casting of JK Simmons is perfect.

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  7. I almost picked Juno this week, too. I love JK Simmons and the relationship between Mac and Juno is so good. That script is a GEM. I wish I could say the same for The Descendants, but outside of Clooney's performance I kind of hated it. It just took the easy, sappy way out at every turn, and the praise heaped upon it (especially at the time) really irked me.

    I need to see Matchstick Men. Love Cage when he's not in crazy mode.

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    1. It's the best thing about the movie, that relationship. Cody's script really is worth all the praise and accolades. Clooney really was great in that role. I honestly didn't think it was that easy or sappy, maybe a little, but, for the most part, I thought it was pretty truthful.

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    2. Oh. And Cage is a bit crazy in Matchstick Men, but it works. It's not crazy for the sake of crazy.

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  8. Great picks! Love all of your choices. Definitely did not expect that twist in Matchstick Men.

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    1. Thanks! Matchstick Men seriously blew my mind. So unexpected.

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  9. I've seen Juno but not for years so i can't remember it at all. The Descendants is a popular choice and a good one the father-daughter relationship is a touching one.

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    1. Juno is witty and satisfying. Yes. That dynamic in The Descendants is very touching.

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  10. I love the parents in Juno. Both very supporting and caring.

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  11. Love Matchstick Men pick! Such a great movie and all the actors were outstanding. I wish Lohman did more films.

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    1. Thanks! Great movie! And I love Alison Lohman.

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  12. Juno and The Descendants are great choices. I haven't seen Matchstick Men. I'm glad you love Juno too. I've noticed that many film buffs seem to dislike that movie, but it's one of my all-time favorites.

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    1. There are only people who SAY they don't like Juno. Nobody can make a good argument against it.

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