45 Cinematic Lessons About PARENTHOOD

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Johnson, Son, and Lake Michigan. Point Beach State Park, 2018
[photo credit Tona Williams]

The non-human inductee into the Basement Hall of Fame is Parenthood. Now, parenthood is tricky. I know this from first-hand experience accrued over these last two years. It’s not like there’s a guidebook on how to do it right. Well, there are, but I have other things to read. I mean, if any of those books were good they’d make a movie out of them, right? You know what they did make movies out of? A bunch of movie scripts. And a lot of those scripts feature parents in them. So, I’m basing my parenting off of those.

Here are the things I’ve learned about parenthood from the movies we’ve watched here in the Basement. If there’s any confusion in these lessons, feel free to check out our old episodes to understand what I’m talking about.

  • Get a kayak that can fit the whole family. [Nanook of the North]
  • Develop the drug Ephemeral; use it to give your kids superpowers; let them fight it out. [Scanners]
  • Leave family to focus on career in the big city. This allows your child find a father figure in a benevolent storyteller. [Song of the South]
  • Just watch silently from poolside as your child drinks himself into oblivion [Decline of Western Civilization Part 2]
    Image result for decline of western civilization 2
  • Don’t hit the hair. Your child might have spent a long time on it. [Saturday Night Fever]
  • Disown your child if he marries beneath his station. [Love Story]
  • No swords in the house. Not one single sword. [My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?]
  • Stay behind to blow up the monster comet so your daughter can marry the guy you once tried to shoot for having sex with her. [Armageddon].
  • Discourage your kid from sneaking any of your speed by telling her the pills are mints. You see, kids hate mints. [All That Jazz]
  • Shoot Martin Sheen before he shoots you. [Badlands]
  • Parenting can be monotonous, so a surprise date night can bring the spark back to Mom and Dad’s relationship. [Sunrise]
  • It’s worth moving your family across the country for a low-level job at a department store. [Mac & Me]
  • Home surgery is great for family bonding. [Eyes Without a Face]
  • Always carry a silver cane on moonlit nights. [The Wolfman]
  • Don’t put the baby’s car seat in the center of the back seat. Put it off to one side so a parent’s body can slow down any copper tubing that might come through the windshield. [The Descent]
  • Don’t leave knives where undead kids can reach them. Also, don’t make your kid undead. [Pet Sematary]
  • Need to wrangle a herd of demon Santas? Use your kid as bait by dangling him from a helicopter in the middle of the night in the middle of winter in the middle of Finland. [Rare Exports]
  • Grudge wars and family feuds—Avoid them. [Romeo and Juliet] Image result for zeffirelli romeo and juliet
  • Having trouble conceiving? Acquire a back-up wife. [The Bigamist]
  • Be a normal human who is not possessed by Martians. [Invaders From Mars]
  • If you know where land is, tattoo it on your child’s back. [Waterworld]
  • Don’t marry the person who killed your spouse. They make horrible fathers. [Back to the Future, Part 2]
  • Leave Alfie. Get as far away from him as possible, then marry a better man. [Alfie]
  • Teach your child that women voting, smoking, driving and wearing pants cause Democratic presidents. [Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill!]
  • Hide all the love letters coming the kid’s way. [The Notebook]
  • Encourage your aging son to find himself a nice girl, so that once he does you can scare him away from her. [Marty] Related image
  • You can never have too many cats [Roar].
  • Either drop a load of religious Dogma on your grown child, or teach her how to improvise a makeshift runway on a highway [Left Behind]
  • Make sure the kid doesn’t spy on fox weddings. If he does, close the gate and send him back to the forest for their likely death sentence. [Kurosawa’s Dreams]
  • Teach your child to impersonate your voice so that when they avenge your death, their victims will think it’s you. [Batman: Mask of the Phantasm]
  • All joking aside, the father here knows his stuff: Laugh away fear; don’t discourage their fantasy life (it might not be fantasy); teach them to respect nature; trust your kids and let them have a long leash; be cheerful despite the challenges of raising children on your own; just be awesome and encouraging. [My Neighbor Totoro] Image result for my neighbor totoro
  • In case of nuclear war, punch! [Panic in Year Zero]
  • Don’t be a parent. Just don’t. [Splice]
  • You can never have too many dogs. [Beethoven]
  • Don’t let your kids go to the big city, because: cocaine. [The Cocaine Fiends]
  • For mothers only: become a town embarrassment in the efforts to marry off your daughters to rich snob; For fathers: patiently survive on a healthy diet of dry wit and knowing glances. [Pride & Prejudice]
  • Take any lottery tickets out of your vest before you die. [Mr Sardonicus]
  • If something happens to your first baby, then it’s fine if you want to just substitute a baby so your wife doesn’t get sad…unless the baby is the anti-Christ. If that’s the case, you’ll need a magic knife and a Roman Catholic altar. [The Omen] Related image
  • Whatever you do, don’t do anything any human being does in this movie, at least not at Christmas time. [Krampus]
  • If your child gets pregnant out of wedlock: demand the father’s head. No more. No less. [Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia]
  • Do not question all the radio broadcasting equipment the boy has set up in the basement. Or the cigarette smoke wafting through the air. [Pump Up the Volume]
  • Ummm…vampires bad? I don’t know. This movie is great, but, yeesh! Daddy issues. Mommy issues. Issues. [Valerie and Her Week of Wonders]
  • Arranged marriages work, but if they don’t just grab the nearest bachelor and hope for the best. [Corpse Bride.]
  • Estelle Getty is a national treasure. Be like her. But, not like in this movie. [Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot]
  • Kill as many people as you want, as long as your kid never finds out. [The Iceman]

That’s all it takes. I have followed these fail safe rules, and they haven’t taken Lorenzo away from me yet. I hope you’re looking forward to what season 8 has to teach me as much as I am.

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