We’ve reached Father’s Day and it’s time for all of us to start thinking of dear old Dad. Each year around Father’s Day, children tip their cap to their fathers by performing an annual rite of passage: handing over bad gifts to Dad, such as gaudy ties or “cute” coffee mugs that say things that your dad probably thought was stupid. In short, you honor him with something completely meaningless that somehow still honors the guy. And in that vein, I present to you my gift to my own father- a list of movie dads whose asses my dad could kick.
John Kinsella, Field of Dreams (1989)
He’s a ghost, for crying out loud. If I know one thing for certain about my dad, it’s that he could beat the crap out of a dead guy. And my dad doesn’t throw like a girl, either. Seriously, that’s the only thing that even remotely bugged me about that movie. John Kinsella threw like a girl. Watch the clip here. Just try not to cry.
Elliot Hopper, Ghost Dad (1990)
Ghost Dad was quick with a one-liner or two, but he couldn’t even survive a car crash. What, you think he could handle my dad? I’d bet all the Jello Pudding Pops in the world on my dad in that fight.
Norman Thayer, Jr., On Golden Pond (1981)
All of his stupid loons wouldn’t help Norman if he faced the furious fists of my father. While my own dad is gracefully approaching 70, Norman Thayer had to have been 80 or more. I don’t care how spry he was. That’s an age gap you can’t ignore. Furthermore, my dad didn’t raise any whiny kids like Chelsea (Jane Fonda) and I’m pretty sure he’s a better fisherman for good measure.
For the record, I love this movie and it reminds me a ton of my own father.
Clark Griswold, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
At first blush, these two are evenly matched. My dad was also subjected to mind-numbingly long cross-country trips with kids in tow. Just as Clark worked as a Food Preserver, my father also worked in the food industry. They even had similar builds. The tie-breaker here is that me and my brothers didn’t distract him as much as Audrey and Russ distracted Clark. That type of focus is why I’m confident my dad could TKO Clark.
Wayne Szalinski, Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Wayne Szalinksi was many things- loving father and husband, inventor, kid shrinker- but he was a nerd. Hell, my mom could take him down. My dad would knock him out quicker than crap goes through a goose (which, by the way, is a colorful expression I learned from my dad).
All three of the dads in 3 Men and a Baby (1987)
Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck? Poser pretty boys. All of ’em.
George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
George might have been a hell of a guy but that’s ultimately his downfall here. While trying to figure out a way stretch my dad’s retirement fund or wondering how those petals got into his pocket, my pops would crack him on the jaw and it’d be all downhill for George from there.
Bill Maplewood, Happiness (1998)
Not only could my dad do it. The entire world would applaud when he did it. Maplewood, you may recall, was the child molester played by Dylan Baker. He’s begging for someone to go all Chris Hansen on him with their fists and my old man would be just the person for the job.
George McFly, Back to the Future (1985)
One thing should be made perfectly clear. My dad is not a bully. He’s no Biff. In fact, the irony of this whole list is that my dad’s the kind of jovial guy who I can’t even imagine in a fight. But should the need arise, he could take George McFly out quite easily. The one caveat is if my dad somehow harmed Lorraine Baines McFly in any way, in which case George would summon super-human strength.
Pa Joad, The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Who am I kidding. My dad could beat him up, but I bet instead he’d offer him a warm bed and all the hot meals he could handle.
Balatony Kálmán, Taxidermia (2006)
The guy was marvelously obese, the result of a life spent as a competitive eater. This might be the easiest guy to beat up on the list.
Happy Father’s Day, dad. I hope this is better than a tie.