‘Fatherhood’: Touching, Hilarious Film About a Single Dad

Two Kisses for Maddy fatherhood book“Fatherhood” is a heartwarming and humorous film about a single dad doing his best to be a good parent to his daughter. Between the laughs, there are nuggets of wisdom about the parenting journey and the irreplaceable love and care of a father.

Recently on a flight — my first flight with my baby son — I was able to catch the 2021 comedy-drama Fatherhood, starring the irrepressible Kevin Hart of Jumanji fame. The film centres on single dad Matt Logelin, left alone with his baby daughter Maddy after Matt’s wife Liz unexpectedly dies following childbirth. It is based on a true story by the real Matt Logelin, published under the title Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love.

Matt’s mother-in-law Marion hovers around after Liz’s funeral, not trusting that Matt can actually look after her granddaughter. “What would I look like goin’ home before I know that you are capable of taking care of my newborn grandchild?” she asks.

Exasperated, Matt retorts: “How are you ever gonna know if you don’t let me do it?”

Community is Key

The story unfolds with Matt succeeding against all odds at being a single dad as well as the sole breadwinner. His buddies rally around to support him, despite their own lack of childrearing experience, and provide the friendship (and levity) that he needs to get through as he tackles cot-building, nappy-changing, and baby-soothing.

Unable to get the baby to sleep, Matt barges in on a parents’ group full of mothers and begs for advice. Armed with new pearls of wisdom (white noise!), Matt finally manages a good night’s sleep with the aid of the vacuum cleaner. He brings the baby to work, and along comes the vacuum too…

A work presentation turns topsy-turvy when the baby started wailing in the distance, but the clients, who happen to be parents as well, all chime in with their parenting tips. His boss Howard contemplates firing him: “This is a place of business, right? It’s not a place of babies.” Thankfully, Matt manages to keep his job and impress the clients.

Dads are Vital

In a vulnerable moment, Matt sighs, “You know Maddy, if you could have only one parent, I wish you could’ve had your mom.” Indeed, childrearing often comes more easily to mothers, and fathers can feel like a spare tyre at times, particularly during the early years — especially if the child is mainly breastfed.

However, research shows that the more hands-on a father is during his child’s infancy, the higher the child’s IQ and eventual chance of success in life.

Lacking a dad of his own, Matt turns to his father-in-law, Mike, for parenting advice. “Welcome to not knowing the right thing to do. That’s a dad speciality,” quips Mike. He is a friendly mentor for Mike, encouraging him through the tough times.

Precious

Marion turns up uninvited for the baby’s first medical appointment, which the child thankfully passes with flying colours. “Matthew, today was a good day for you as a parent. You keep all these little victories like you had today in a little box inside you. They’ll be your most prized possessions,” she tells him.

The movie depicts how Matt and Maddy develop as a father and a daughter, through her first years in school, navigating dress codes and dealing with bullies. They also have to adjust to new dynamics when Matt’s colleague introduces him to a lady to whom he takes a fancy.

Parenting is a challenging journey. At the same time, it is very rewarding and full of fun. Fatherhood portrays this wonderful mix of emotions and the personal growth of the main characters, with the single dad learning how to tend to his daughter’s needs and realising that, although his parents-in-law may be able to provide a good home for his daughter, they can’t quite replace him.

The film is full of poignant moments and well-timed hilarity. Available on Netflix, it makes for a good show for parents to laugh over together. Unfortunately, with several instances of swearing and some politically correct plot points (Maddy’s Catholic school is portrayed as archaic for insisting that all girls dress in the appropriate attire, and Matt makes some passing comments supporting transgender ideology), it is probably not advisable for younger children to watch.

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First published at Dads4Kids.

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‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

The moving story in “Top Gun: Maverick” of a fatherless son’s journey toward healing is proving popular with audiences worldwide. This is a film highlighting the importance of fatherhood, portraying a tale of reconciliation and redemption.

Top Gun: Maverick is smashing box offices, and it’s easy to understand why.

The film is spectacularly outpacing its weak-because-they’re-woke counterparts, because the film’s unapologetic dad themes resonate.

Alongside the gutsy F-18 camera shots, audiences are in love with the Tom Cruise/Joseph Kosinski sequel because its father-son backstory hits home.

Even the, “it’s all flag-waving, MAGA propagandist tripe” critics are applauding the sequel for keeping to the consistency of the first film’s deep relational backbone.

As The Atlantic’s David Sims explained, the film’s ‘emotional weight rests on Pete Mitchell (Maverick) fighting to earn the respect of Goose’s son (Rooster), who blames Maverick for the tragic loss of his father.’

Childhood Memory

For me, Top Gun: Maverick cut deeper.

My family and I recently saw the film for a birthday bash. The only thing missing was my dad.

Watching the first Top Gun at the cinema with my dad was to be one of the only long-lasting positive memories I would have of him.

It was 1986, I was 9, and we’d turned up late to the cinema.

Missing the iconic afterburner intro of the first Top Gun, dad and I slid into our seats in rhythm with Tony Scott’s smooth golden orange sunset, shot high above a lone F-14 landing on the silhouette of the USS Enterprise.

It became a shared interest, a mutual pursuit, a common bond solely shared between father and son.

From the soundtrack, which always seemed to be on repeat in our broken-down housing commission home, to the old-school Amstrad computer game, the movie connected us.

This was true, right up until my dad’s final week, when, knowing he would never get a chance to wear it, I gifted him a T-shirt with the Top Gun logo on it.

Now covered in dust, I still hold onto the volumes of Warplane magazines he’d chosen to buy me, instead of paying “through the teeth” for participation in a weekend sport.

Healing

I related to the second film because of the first.

Similar to ‘Goose’s’ son in the film, I was confronted by what was lost, what might have been, and what my dad chose to abandon somewhere along the way.

The sequel made the memories all the more material when Val Kilmer (Iceman), tells Maverick — still haunted by the death of ‘Goose’ — “It’s time to let go.”

Seeing the first film at the cinema in 1986 with my dad was an oasis event, an anomaly of normalcy in a wasteland of ash.

This explains why, in almost every scene of Top Gun: Maverick, I heard, and felt my dad’s absence, and choked up at Hans Zimmer’s rendition of Faltermeyer’s iconic Top Gun anthem.

We’re taught in The Good Book to raise up thanksgiving in the face of suffering. Even the smallest object or event that is worthy of our gratitude puts points on the board when it comes to healing trauma.

In retrospect, watching Top Gun with my dad in ’86 was the first, and only time he offered me a healthy introduction to manhood.

His wasn’t perfect, but that was a perfect day. That day my dad did good, and for that I thank him.

For me, the only thing missing from Top Gun: Maverick was the man who took me to see the first one, sitting, at his best, beside me and my uber-impressed family.

Top Gun was, and is, about loss, grief, and recovery; fatherhood, and fatherlessness — as much as it is about courage, defiance, and the determination to overcome obstructions encountered along the way.

The sequel builds on its original father-son backstory. It is “dad cinema” at its very best.

To lean on Miles Surrey’s review in The Ringer,

‘Every single dad — past, present, and those who are expecting to be dads in the near future — should check out Maverick, if not for the sanctity of ensuring Dad Cinema doesn’t fade away, then for experiencing a blockbuster that surpasses its predecessor in every respect.’

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First published at Dads4Kids.

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No Regrets

No Regrets

Seize the moment and spend time with the people you love and doing the things which you actually want to do. We are not guaranteed tomorrow — let us make the best use of today.

We need to live now, not in the past, or in the future. Jonathan Larson was wise to say,

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”

Steve Maraboli put it this way,

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”

Yes, I do have regrets, but I try to keep them to a minimum for all the above reasons. Yes, I have made mistakes, but I am trying to constantly recalibrate myself away from the negative and towards the positive.

Perhaps my single biggest danger is I work too hard and too long. It is because I am committed to a cause. But commitment can destroy you and your relationships if you are not careful.

This week I had some losses, but I also had a win. I had a 1.5-hour breakfast with one of my sons for no other reason than I really love to be with him. It was wonderful. I have not done it for a long, long time (to my shame), but I am going to do such things more from now on. I cannot change the past, but I can change the future. So can you!

The video below is titled “70 People Ages 5-75 Answer: What’s Your Biggest Regret?” — it has inspired my thoughts for you this week — “No Regrets”. I hope it inspires you.

Well-known author Colin Falconer has written a great article called “11 Ways to Live a Life with No Regrets.” Read the first four below and the full article here.

We all hope to live a life with no regrets — but how many of us do?

Ask yourself this question:

If it were all about to end for you tomorrow — if that meteor out there in space is headed right for us, if that drunk doesn’t stop for the red light — would you have regrets at the way it all turned out?

Many of us have known regret. Some regrets are unavoidable, but sometimes they can take over our lives. As Mick Jagger said:

The past is a great place, and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.

And what about the regrets we are in the process of creating today?

Let’s look at 11 things we can do right now so that when we write the final chapter on our own personal story, we can make it a happy ending.

1. First, Celebrate Your Failures

It’s really okay to screw up.

Have you ever watched a hurdler in the Olympics? Have you counted how many hurdles the winner knocks over in that 110 metres? About half of them! They don’t even break stride. Because it’s not about running the perfect race and not knocking over any hurdles, it’s about getting across the line.

It’s the same in football: the only guy who ever makes a mistake is the one involved in the play. So don’t ever regret failing — at least you were giving it a shot.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.

~ Michael Jordan

2. Claim Your Life

You’re the one bearing the consequences of your life — but are you the one living it?

Do you make your decisions based on your dreams and aspirations — or because it’s what your mother wants, what your father expects, what your husband needs?

Are you always afraid of what others might say about you if you live life your way?

One day life will be gone — imagine how you’ll feel if you get to the end of it and never made any of the important decisions in it. This is something you can change today.

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.
~ Oscar Wilde

3. Say Yes or No Today to Your Dreams

Do you have a dream? Are you actively pursuing it — or have you left it for ‘one day’?

One Day is the one day that never comes.

So if you want never to have regrets then make the decision here, now, even before you finish reading this post: either say goodbye to your dream or start pursuing it today. That way you will have consciously made the decision to follow it or abandon it. So go for it — or forever be comforted by your reasons not to, then let go.

Then there will be no regrets.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~ Sydney J. Harris

4. Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up Without You

We need to spend time at work if we’re going to succeed.

But we also have to remember what we’re doing it for. Kids are not kids for very long — and if you miss them growing up, you won’t ever get a second chance.

Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack may not even want you to come to his games.

We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast, Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.

~ Moira Panning, in “Hook”

Read the full article here.

Lovework

For this week, the lovework comes from Colin Falconer, the writer of the above article.

It is a wonderful challenge. Colin said,

“The greatest regret you can have is having someone leave your life forever and you haven’t told them how you really feel.

‘I love you.’

‘Thank you.’

‘I’m sorry.’ 

Is there someone you would like to say those words to?  

Do it now — you can never possibly know if this is not the last chance you’ll ever have to do it.”

Yours for No Regrets,
Warwick Marsh

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Arina Krasnikova.

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