The criteria for these picks had less to do with the films being made in the actual 1970s, or even being fathers. Instead these subjects were chosen due to their embodying paternal-leadership traits which have become almost extinct since the clamp down on hedonism in the early 1980s. The 1970s dad was nothing if not hedonistic, but it was this very love of pleasure that made him a good dad, because he was not two-faced or hypocritical. He swapped wives and highballs right at the fold-out card table where he played bridge with the other young couples and kids like me went to steal peanuts and limes from the cute secretary’s gin and tonics. He was–in a sense–free, and whole, and he had respect for himself and others because he had lived a full life. He was not hung up on what Keith Richards once described as “petty morality.” This freedom permitted him to notice society’s failures and act to correct them, with a vengeance!
Maybe we can get that crazy hedonistic love back, and if we do, it will be the movies that show us how. These characterizations are living fossils, reminders of a masculine psyche that may be dormant, but will never be extinct, only repressed until its inevitable return via the murky cthonic channels of the repressed! Viva Paglia!
#212 – Walter Matthau – Bad News Bears (this is the first of the posts, with intro to the series)
14. Roy Scheider – Jaws
34. Burt Reynolds – Boogie Nights
1. Jon Voight – Coming Home
13. Jack Nicholson – The Departed
10. Josh Brolin – Planet Terror
And then the Semi-Great Honoree section (Great 1970s Older Brothers?)
2. Kris Kristofferson – Semi-Tough
Man is that all I wrote? I could have sworn there were more. Anyone out there have any nominees I may have missed?
Well, anyway, I’d like to dedicate this to my own great 1970s dad, James Kuersten. And I’d like to ask that whomever you are, forgive and love your dad no matter how terrible he is or how much it makes you squirm… it’s never too late to step out of your pre-conditioned roles and see each other as humans. Just think of Brolin… Nicholson… Voight… Kristofferson…Scheider…. Matthau…. how can you go wrong?
Oh and a special honorable mention to DANIEL PLAINVIEW!