'The Godfather'

When I was a kid, we were a lower middle class family and my dad was a strict disciplinarian. Nothing "cool" about that to a kid, so I looked to the movies for "cool" role models, and the first one I remember was Bob Crane in Superdad. Nowadays we know that Crane's private life was a bit of a mess, to be kind, but back then, I knew Crane as the laid back, hip and funny star of Hogan's Heroes, and to see that cool dude as a concerned father, worried about the influence of the wolf-ish Kurt Russell on his college-bound daughter, made me wish he was my dad.

The 70s were a fractious time to be looking for parental role models at the movies -- or fathers who weren't complete bastards. Can we really say that a murderous gangster like Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather was a great father? I say yes: he loved his wife, he loved his children, he always looked out for their best interests, and he provided well for them. (Cinematical's Erik Davis reasoned similarly years ago; great minds think alike.) But I'm afraid if I was a Corleone, I'd be more like poor Fredo than Sonny or Michael.

Now Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? That's more like it. Steven Spielberg has been working out his own personal "daddy issues" through the years, and Dreyfus as Roy Neary is an over-the-top dad who ends up scaring his kids. Yet he's driven and focused and likes to play with his food, and ends up going to the stars. (Oops, spoiler!) And what kid doesn't secretly want his dad to blast off into space?
categories Cinematical