Who’s Your Über-Daddy?

Who’s Your Über-Daddy?

Who’s Your Über-Daddy?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 19 2009 12:44 PM

Who’s Your Über-Daddy?

Looking for a dad-themed movie to rent this Father’s Day? Most movies about dads portray them in one of two ways: as an incompetent boob ( National Lampoon’s Vacation , Daddy Day Camp , Three Men and a Baby ) or as a problem-of-a-father ( The Great Santini , Life With Father , Father of the Bride ). Recently, however, I saw two movies (both out on DVD now) that I think exemplify another kind of movie about fathers: the über-daddy movie.

One such movie is Taken , starring Liam Neeson as an overprotective father who is some sort of unexplained highly skilled former government agent and whose teenage daughter is kidnapped by a circle of white-slavers while vacationing with a friend in Paris.

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With absolutely nothing to go on except a final phone call from his daughter and the address she was staying at, he uses his super-agent skills to (I don’t think I’m giving anything away here-I’m pretty sure you all could guess how it ends) save her. He is powerful, unafraid, invincible. Who wouldn’t want a daddy like that?

The other movie is Gran Torino , starring Clint Eastwood as an old-codger widower who refuses to leave his home even though the neighborhood is being taken over by Asian gangs. Not being too fond of Asians since serving in the Korean War, Clint is none too happy when a fatherless family of Hmongs moves in next door. But after they are threatened by a local gang, Clint steps in to kick some butt.

Yes, both movies have lots of violence and sensationalism, but they make a nice change from the daddy-as-loser genres.

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.