Sometimes the parents in a film are the ones who get the most attention. There are many parents who will do anything for their child to make sure they are safe and are walking on the right path in life. For instance Mrs. Gump (Sally Field) from Forrest Gump, loves and cherishes her son Forrest. She gives him helpful advice with some of the most famous lines spoken in the film including: “you have to do the best with what God gave you;” “you’re no different than anybody else is;” and everyone’s favorite; “Life’s a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Then you also have parents like the Griswold’s (National Lampoon’s Vacation) who enjoy a good vacation with their children. Another parent who is far different from many others is Bryan Mills from Taken who will stop at nothing to make sure that both his wife and daughter are safe at all times. All these parents care very much about their family. However, there are those parents who either don’t care about their children, or are just simply bad at parenting. So here are five horrible parent/s in cinema history. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS
5. Wayne Szalinski (Honey I Shrunk the Kids franchise)
While Szalinski may enjoy concocting multiple gadgets for his family convenience, nothing ever seems to go as planned for this crazy inventor. He is a parent who appears to have “good intentions” however, it all crumbles down. Rick Moranis stars in three comical Disney flicks where he becomes obsessed with generating inventions that could potentially help the household. Some of his more successful innovations include a mailbox that helps deliver the mail right to the house, a device that helps the dog feed himself, and a “hat” or “helmet” that allows him to refrain from using an old fashioned phone. Think of this contraption as today’s modern Bluetooth without all of the necessary head gear.
Unfortunately his most prized possession is his shrink ray. This is where it all collapses. Without any proper safety feature his own children and some neighborhood kids become “specimens” if you will to this shrink ray. The children must now fight for their lives to survive while being only ¼ of an inch tall. Szalinski is unaware of this taking place until about mid-way through the film. Talk about bad parenting. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he also enlarges his two-year old son by mistake in the sequel?
4. Margaret White (Carrie)
Margaret White is the mother of Carrie White in the 1976 film Carrie. Margaret is a very abusive, cruel, and insane psychopath. She is infatuated with religion so much so that she takes it to the next level. She believes that every part of the female body is sinful which includes having sex. Knowing that her daughter has telekinetic powers, she believes Carrie is a witch and must conduct the ultimate sacrifice. Margaret quotes a verse from the scriptures that states, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18). Instead of trying to help her daughter cope with her special powers, Margaret would rather kill and send her to hell where she considers Carrie belongs. Yep, Margaret is not a caring mother indeed.
3. Jack Torrance (The Shining)
Jack Torrance is the main character and antagonist in the film. The film begins with him interviewing for a winter caretaker position at the Overlook Hotel. As a professional writer, this job would allow him to find some peace and quiet to gather his thoughts and write. The manager warns him that the previous caretaker named Grady became subjected to “cabin fever” and forced him to kill his entire family with an ax including himself. Unfortunately the same incident that happened to Grady falls right on Jack’s lap. Months pass and Jack begins developing violent outbursts. The ghosts who have lived there for decades corrupt his mind and Jack is unable to control himself any longer. He meets the original caretaker Grady in his ghostly form who explains to him that he must “correct” his wife and son by slaughtering them. Jack agrees and starts to chase his wife and child throughout the hotel. Wow, this dad really seems to care for his family.
2. Peter and Kate McCallister (Home Alone franchise)
Where do I even begin with these parents? They book a flight to Paris to see their relatives with the whole family and completely forget one of their children! Now I realize that they overslept and all, but is it so hard to keep a checklist handy to make sure you brought EVERY child and family member with you BEFORE you leave for the airport? Is it that difficult? Well, apparently it is for these parents and that was only the least of their worries. Not only is Kevin home alone by himself, but he is forced to protect himself and his household from burglars. This is a lot to ask of for an eight year old. However not only does this family forget him once, but it happens TWICE.
In the sequel Home Alone 2 (go figure), Kevin winds up on a wrong flight to New York City instead of traveling with his family to Miami, Florida. Again, the parents don’t realize that their child is missing (the same one I might add) and begin to panic. It may have happened once but TWICE, you’ve got to be kidding me! Those two certainly deserve an award for the worst parents ever in a film. But, there’s still one more on my list that I believe deserves the number one spot and may also be a bit controversial.
1. Darth Vader (Do I even have to tell you what franchise he’s from?)
Yes, the villain of all villains; the dark lord of all dark lords; the most evil parent of them all: Darth Vader. Vader is the epitome of a bad parent. First off, Anakin knew that Padme was pregnant and was willing to kill her believing she purposely brought Obi-Wan Kenobi to confront him on the planet Mustafar. Secondly, Vader tortures his daughter Leia to find out where the Rebel base location is. Thirdly, Vader tries to persuade his son Luke to join the Dark Side alongside him. After having cut off Luke’s right hand, he allows him to fall to his death. Wow, now that’s some serious parenting issues.
You could make an exception to this character simply because he was swayed to the Dark Side by Darth Sideous. However, the reason he is on this list is because he cared more about himself. He wanted to create this empire to bring about “peace, freedom, justice, and security.” This did not bode well for his family, and is why he earns the number one spot on my list.
So there you have it. Those are my top five picks for bad parents in Hollywood films. Do you agree with my list? What are some parents that you believe were horrible in movies? Comment below!