8 Underrated Movie Dads Who’d Be Great with Gay Kids

It seems like every year we toast the same movie heroes again and again: Oscar telecast montages are filled with images of Scarlett O’Hara and Atticus Finch; AFI countdowns recognize Cool Hand Luke and Sam Spade. Today in belated honor of Father’s Day, I’m counting up some underrated mensches of cinema — great movie dads — and explaining why they’d be great fathers for gay kids. In fact, I’ll even imagine how they’d react to a kid’s coming out. Should be pretty revealing. And Oscar-worthy.

(P.S. Whenever I tell people how my dad has never had a problem with gayness, I’m always so annoyed to get a response like, “How LUCKY you are!” I shouldn’t be considered “lucky” because my parents aren’t evil idiots. Anyone else relate to this? Moving on.)

1. Gomez Addams from The Addams Family

Now, I’m a Raul Julia zealot anyway (I prefer to call him RAWWWWRL Julia), but Gomez Addams is one of the most emphatic, loving, revved-up dads in movie history, regardless of my obsession. He loves his brother dearly, waltzes with his wife hourly, and throws down macabre one-liners with the finesse of most real dads. He’s fun and paternally protective, and I think he’d admire a gay child’s strength with the same passion he puts into Spanish outbursts.

Imagined coming-out

Child: “Dad, I’m gay.”

Gomez: “Well, well! Son, this is no occasion to dance the Mamushka in agony! This is an occasion for celebration! I’m so glad I started smoking cigars at age 5 — Mother insisted! I would die for you, my boy. I would kill for you. Either way, what bliss.”


2. Calvin Jarrett from Ordinary People

From the humorously macabre to the actually grim: Ordinary People is a bracing family drama, but the mourning Jarrett clan’s conscientious father (Donald Sutherland) is often overshadowed when compared to his suicidal son (Timothy Hutton), his indignant and broken wife (Mary Tyler Moore), and his son’s straight-talking psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch). Those three actors earned Oscar nominations — and Hutton a win — while Sutherland scored nothing for his brave, realistic, touching portrayal. He connects with his kid in a time of need, and that’s essential in parenting a gay kid. Oh, and that monologue he delivers to wife about how she “buried the best part of herself”? Unforgettable.

Imagined coming-out

Child: “Dad, I’m gay.”

Calvin, turning slowly, his large blue basset hound eyes filling with confused pride and tears: “I love you.” (Hugs.)


3. Mac MacGuff from Juno

The fun of Juno is that our beleaguered, pregnant teen girl protagonist isn’t surrounded by enemies or nay-saying jackasses; in fact, most of Juno‘s characters are downright reasonable, including her hilarious father Mac (J.K. Simmons). His Minnesotan straightforwardness is charming the minute Juno divulges her pregnancy to him, and I suspect he’d be equally un-appalled and pragmatic when dealing with a gay kid.

Imagined coming-out

Child: “Dad, I’m gay.”

Mac: “Oh, that’s all right. I thought you were going to tell me you joined a street gang or hit somebody with the Yugo. Do you have a boyfriend, son? It’s not that mumbly Paulie Bleeker who keeps jogging past the house, is it? Weird kid.”

4. Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump

Now, nothing about Forrest Gump is essentially underrated; it is a Best Picture winner, and it’s one of the biggest box office smashes of the ’90s. But little attention is paid to Forrest’s (Tom Hanks) parenting skills, because he’s acquainted with his son (Haley Joel Osment) so late in the movie.

Imagined coming-out

Child: “Dad, I’m gay.”

Forrest: “Oh. That’s fine, Forrest Jr. One time I met a whole bunch of gay people in the audience at The Dick Cavett Show.”

 

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