10 Fearless Movie Fathers

19 06 2010

This feature first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

Throughout the long history of films, no member of the family has been more misunderstood than “dear old dad.” While Hollywood has routinely portrayed African-Americans fathers either as comic relief, absent or negatively, these men have largely been an afterthought in mainstream films until recently.

In honor of Father’s Day, we pay homage to the courageous movie fathers who continue to sacrifice, protect and display a willingness to lay down their lives to protect their children or those in their care. Our “Ten Fearless Movie Fathers” may not always know best but you can always count on them to stand firm, be strong, be men of courage and do everything in love for their families!

“Down through history, men have always been measured by how hard they worked and cultivated; how well they protected their wife and children. In the old days, woman saw their men as conquerors, providers, heroes. But somewhere along the line that changed, woman started to became their own heroes. Maybe it was because their man forgot to be reliable or because women didn’t want to be protected anymore or maybe woman had to be their own hero because of the pain they had to endure in life. But whatever the cause, the world took away a man’s reason for being a man. It told him he wasn’t important anymore and when that happened, it turned the whole world upside down.”

Dave Johnson (Morris Chestnut), “Not Easily Broken”

Idris Elba
Daddy’s Little Girls | 2007

When his children’s mother (Tasha Smith) temporarily gains custody of his three young daughters, an overwhelmed and hardworking mechanic (Elba) hires a high-powered attorney (Gabrielle Union) to get them back. Despite overwhelming odds and limited resources, Elba sacrifices everything for his “little girls.”
Key line:I know that the world would have you thinking that brothers in the hood don’t look after their kids, but I do.”

Denzel Washington
John Q | 2002

John Q. Archibald‘s (Denzel Washington) worst fears are realized when his young son collapses and needs heart surgery that his insurance won’t cover. After exhausting all means to raise the money and with no other options, John Q takes the entire hospital hostage to acquire proper medical care for his ailing son.

Laurence Fishburne
Boyz ‘N the Hood | 1991

In the turbulent streets of South Central L.A., one father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne) imparts life lessons, responsibility and plenty of love to his son Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) in this emotionally-charged urban drama that illustrates that it takes a man to raise a boy.
Key line:Now I want you to give me the gun. Oh, I get it, you gonna end like Doughboy… like little Chris in a wheelchair. GIVE ME THE MOTHERF***ING GUN, TRE.”

Forest Whitaker
The Great Debaters | 2008

A young James Farmer, Jr. (Denzel Whitaker) is positively influenced by two powerful men; his college professor, Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington) and his stern father (Whitaker) in the racist 1935 south. His experiences with both men inspire him to become part of Wiley College’s championship debate team.
Key line:Who is the judge? / The judge is God. / Why is he God? / Because he decides who wins or loses. Not my opponent. / Who is your opponent? / He does not exist. / Why does he not exist? / Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!

Glenn Plummer
South Central | 1992

After serving ten years in prison, former gangbanger, Bobby (Plummer) is out and ready to turn his life around – until he discovers his young son wants to follow in his destructive former footsteps.
Key line:Ray Ray… that boy you’re holding is my son. My son. I told a man in prison that I would save my son’s life, even if it took my life. I’m willing to die here today, Ray… for my boy, because I love him that much. Do you love him? All I want is to give him something that you or I never had – a father. You said… out there… that you owed me. All I want is my boy.”

Will Smith
The Pursuit of Happyness | 2007

Big Will received an Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bay Area stockbroker, Chris Gardner in this harrowing yet uplifting tale. After separating from his wife, Gardner and his young son, Christopher (Jaden Smith) find themselves living on the streets with the frantic father continuing to model love in the direst circumstances.
Key line:I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.”

Ice Cube
The Longshots | 2007

Aspiring model and perpetual loner, Jasmine Plummer’s (Keke Palmer) life takes an unexpectant turn when her grouchy down-on-his-luck uncle, Curtis (Cube) introduces her to football. She becomes the quarterback of her town’s team and makes history as the first girl to play in the Pop Warner championship game.
Key line:You know what you did to that girl? You gonna just show up out of the blue? Just leave her alone man, leave her alone!

Samuel L. Jackson
Coach Carter | 2005

A successful sporting goods store owner, Ken Carter (Jackson) becomes coach of his former high school basketball team and is disturbed by their behavior and sets out to change the structure. Taking drastic steps that place his job and community standing in jeopardy, Carter’s determination and integrity help him weather the storm.
Key line:l came to coach basketball players, and you became students; l came to teach boys, and you became men.”

Paul Winfield
Sounder | 1972

When a proud father, Nathan Lee Morgan (Winfield) is unjustly sent to jail, his family slowly falls apart. On a quest to visit his father, young David Lee (Kevin Hooks) experiences his father’s life lessons and discovers himself in this Oscar-nominated uplifting story of family unity.
Key line:Son, don’t get too used to this place. I want you to beat the life they got all laid out for you in this place because they ain’t nothing here; there ain’t nobody here!”

Laurence Fishburne
Akeelah and the Bee | 2006

11-year old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) teams up with a stern spelling coach, Dr. Larabee (Fishburne) with a dream to reach the state spelling bee. With the help of her family, friends and community, Akeelah’s vision and drive take her all the way to the Nation’s Capital where she competes for the National championship.
Key line: “Every since you found out there was the National spelling bee, you’ve seen yourself holding up the trophy but if you can’t say it you can’t win it, so say it. / I want to win / you want to win what? / I WANT TO WIN THE NATIONAL SPELLING BEE!”

Honorable Mention
Denzel Washington | He Got Game
James Earl Jones | Coming to America
John Witherspoon | Friday
Tyrese Gibson | Waist Deep
Don Cheadle | Hotel Rwanda



One response

8 07 2010


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