Screentime: Moana’s Dad Sucks

(Walt Disney Studios Motion pictures)

Where You Are.

“Daddy, this you.”

My daughter loves to identify the characters she sees, in books, TV, movies, with counterparts from her real life. She’ll point to a random woman in a picture book and loudly declare, “It’s Grandma”. There’s an illustration snail she will reliably identify as “Mommy” for no discernible reason. In The Cat In The Hat, there’s a crudely sketched portrait of a dude with a huge nose

Every time we read the book she points at the damn painting and says “PICTURE OF DADDY” over and over again until I say “Yes, that’s a picture of daddy can we please move on?”

So it came as no surprise when she held up a figurine of Chief Tui, Moana’s father, and told me “Daddy, this you”. In fact, it made more sense than many of the characters that are “me”. My daughter obviously identifies with Moana and Tui is Moana’s dad. Simple.

Initially, the comparison seemed favorable. For a start, Tui is a pretty impressive-looking guy. If this is what my kid sees when she looks at me, I’m doing something right. He’s also the Chief of a whole dang island, which looks pretty good on your CV.

Pictured: Me (Left); Other Dads (Right) (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/20th Television)

The Perfect Daughter

But the more I thought about the movie, the more uncomfortable I was about being linked with Tui in my daughter’s mind. Obviously, there is the fact of his being the main obstacle to Moana exploring the ocean, saving the world and finding herself in the process. But that’s just the start of it!

Moana is rightly praised for being a female-led film in which the heroine’s victory is her own. No man swoops in to save the day, or to offer a ring. Instead, the men of the film represent the status quo, the facts of the world that Moana must navigate around. It is no accident, therefore, that the two most significant male presences in the film are both authority figures. Tui and Maui are both powerful men, and each can be seen as representing different types of dad. (Stay with me here)

Maui and Moana
(Youtube//DisneyMusicVevo)

You’re Welcome

Maui’s is less so, but still valid. Maui is the figurative father of humanity. The litany of feats he lists in “You’re Welcome” demonstrate that without him, human lives would be unrecognizable. Tides, Wind, Land, Fire, Coconuts. All the things Moana and her people treat as givens, he handed to them. In the same sense that Prometheus is the father of humanity in Greek mythology, Maui is father to us all.

Maybe this is the dude I want to be compared to. Magic, heroic, legendary. Sounds pretty good!

But what kind of a father is he? As his song proclaims, he is a heroic one. He has performed incredible, dangerous feats to improve the lives of his children. He is brave and strong, fun and adventurous. But he also solves all his problems in the same way: Brute force.

He is also an absent father. His version of fatherhood consists of providing, but not sustaining. As soon as a complication approaches, he runs away.

His self-image is so dependent on his heroic victories & his strength that he cannot face the possibility of failure. I don’t want that.

Maui Flies Away
(Youtube//Nicole Sthefania)

Consider The Coconut

So I guess it’s back to Moana’s actual father, Tui. He has a more grounded, less spectacular, approach. He emphasizes tradition, tries to teach responsibility. I can get behind this, I suppose. I mean, kind of boring, but commendable.

Apart from two things. Firstly, he uses the twin swords of Tradition and Responsibility to hem his daughter in, stopping her not only from following her heart, but from coming up with genuine solutions to real problems they both face.

Secondly, it becomes clear he’s doing this not in order to help his daughter develop or grow, or even because he genuinely thinks its what’s best. He’s just projecting his own fear of the ocean onto her. His talk of tradition is just a cover for his own hang-ups. He doesn’t run away, he just hides behind his value-system!

I don’t wanna be either of these dudes!

(YouTube// Ultimate Productions)

A Girl Who Loves Her Island, A Girl Who Loves The Sea

In the end, though, Moana herself doesn’t outright reject either of these flawed father figures. She embraces the Tui’s responsibilities and traditions while rejecting the fears that guided him. She embraces Maui’s bravery and sense of adventure but rejects his fear of failure and his violence. She takes the best of each of them, rejecting their shortcomings, and becomes her own, stronger, person, finding solutions neither of them could ever see. (Obviously, this is also in large part due to the supportive maternal figures in her life, but you knew that.)

So I suppose I don’t mind whether my kid sees me as Tui, or Maui, or Heihei. I just hope that she can take the best of me, and use it to forge her own, better, way.

I Am Moana
(YouTube//ArchieBuld)

Father Figures: Daddy Snuggles

“I’m an ER Nurse… my job is exhausting most times.

My patients show up on the worst day of their life, sometimes it is the beginning of one’s life and the end of another’s. Sometimes I worry that when I’m at work, my son Keagan isn’t getting enough nurturing, enough snuggles.

I’m upset that I miss bedtime, our snuggle time, but then, I log in to the Nest cam when I have a minute at work and see this… my son deserves snuggle time from his daddy too… it makes work a bit easier knowing he gets this no matter who puts him to bed.

My husband is a US Marine. He literally gives 100% at work and for his country, and 100% at home to his family and me. There will never be enough words, enough thank you’s from me to him.

I’m lucky, I’m grateful, and I’m happy… even when he drives me nuts!”

– Ainne McAllister

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively Donate $500,000 To Help at-Risk Youth in Canada

Ryan and Blake Donate
(Getty/BG024/Bauer-Griffin)

We’ll never grow tired of watching celebrities use their fame and fortune for good. If there’s anyone who’s fully embodied the spirit of giving back, it’s Deadpool star and all-around sweetheart, Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds is generous with his financial donations, and his generosity with his time further demonstrates his compassion for others. Reynolds uses his privileged position to brighten the lives of his fans, his crew, and anyone lucky enough to cross his path.

This time, giving back is a family affair for Ryan Reynolds and his wife of eight years, Blake Lively. Canadian-born Reynolds has always had a soft spot for his home country, supporting a number of Canadian charities over the years. Most recently, Reynolds and Lively made a generous donation to Covenant House, an organization that supports homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth. In total, the couple donated $500,000 to the incredible organization – $250,000 to Covenant House Vancouver, and $250,000 to the center’s Toronto location.

“Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect,” Krista Thompson, CEO of Covenant House Vancouver said in a press release. “Their generous donation and compassionate support mean so much to Covenant House and we are truly grateful for their continued friendship. Just like Ryan and Blake, we hope this gift highlights the value of each and every youth; and inspires others to open their hearts to those struggling with the crisis of homelessness.”

In normal times, the work Covenant House does is extremely taxing. Taking in youth who have fled unsafe situations, who often come in with severe trauma, is a monumental feat. Without safe havens like Covenant House, those who walk through their doors would have little chance at the security and support it takes to recover from their trauma. Reynolds and Lively encourage others to donate as well, and an Instagram post by the organization explains that donations will be matched through the month of December.

According to the Covenant House website, the services they provide are extensive. While Covenant House operates as a crisis shelter with transitional housing, they also provide counseling, health care, education, job training, and so much more to 16-24-year-olds regardless of their backgrounds. Ultimately, Covenant House provides every individual they serve with a much-needed sense of security, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of hope.

“They do the work of heroes,” Reynolds said. “For us, helping Covenant House this way isn’t a donation, but an investment in compassion and empathy; something the world needs more of. The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma. They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being.”

Every 2021 Warner Bros Movie Will Hit Theaters and HBO Max on the Same Day

The Matrix 4 What We Know So Far
(Warner Bros)

It seems the tide has finally turned.

After a year of trying to figure out what to do with their blockbusters during the pandemic, which resulted in a mixed bag of approaches from various studios, including some movies being released into theaters, some movies being available on streaming for a fee, and many movies being pushed to 2021, Wonder Woman changed everything.

Last month, Warner Bros made the decision to release Wonder Woman to both theaters and HBO Max on the same day, and apparently, they’ve decided to move forward with that approach for every other movie they’re releasing in 2021.

This means that Dune, Matrix 4, and everything else on their 2021 slate (which, as of now, includes “The Little Things,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Tom & Jerry,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “In The Heights,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Reminiscence,” “Malignant,” “The Many Saints of Newark,” “King Richard,” and “Cry Macho”) will hit theaters and HBO Max on the day of their release. No specific release dates have been made available as of yet.

“We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group,” WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement statement “No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”

This news is a double-edged sword for movie fans. On one hand, it will be amazing, convenient, and cheap to have access to these films in their living rooms, especially for those who already have an HBO Max subscription. On the other hand, this is terrible news for those who enjoy the movie theater experience, – especially for huge superhero movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad, and big sci-fi action flicks like the Matrix sequel and Dune – as it’s likely to further reduce revenue for an industry that has already been flattened by the pandemic.

They’re trying to spin this as good news for theaters, which, if they’re even open in 2021, may face audiences reluctant to gather inside them.

“With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films,” Sarnoff continued. “We see it as a win-win for film lovers and exhibitors, and we’re extremely grateful to our filmmaking partners for working with us on this innovative response to these circumstances.”

So far this hybrid model is exclusive to Warner Bros; no word on whether other studios will do something similar (not every studio has its own streaming service). 2021 is going to be an interesting year for movies, and could well set the course for a future of in-home entertainment from which the multiplex experience never recovers. But as 2020 has shown us, life is unpredictable.

At least we’ll have some exciting movies to watch while we wait to see how it shakes out.

The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Make Their Fortnite Debut in Season 5

Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Fortnite
(Epic Games)

Fortnite’s Chapter 2: Season 5 kicked off this week and with it has arrived one of the most beloved bounty hunter dads in the galaxy.  Sorry, no, it’s not ‘Jeans Guy’ (but maybe he’ll show up at some point).

Disney +’s insanely popular The Mandalorian made his debut and he looks very slick.  The good news is you’ll unlock him immediately with the purchase of the new Zero Point Battle Pass.  The bad news is if you want to unlock The Child (aka Baby Yoda) to follow you around, you’re going to have to hit level 100 in the Battle Pass.  That’s gonna take some time.

With this new bounty hunter themed Fortnite season, there comes an additional six original characters to unlock in the Battle Pass, new areas to explore on the island, weapons to use (like Mandos Sniper Rifle), and quests and bounties to complete for rewards.

My kids and I go through Fortnite “phases” where certain seasons of the game hold our attention while others don’t, but so far we’re having a blast with this new one.  The squad is back together, we’re working on our first Season 5 Victory Royale, and things are looking promising.  If it doesn’t hold their attention for as long as it takes me to unlock that adorable little Yoda lookalike though, well, I’m just gonna have to fly solo as Mando does.  This is the way.

You can download it here and if don’t want to fly solo, definitely be sure to check out The Dad Gaming and The Dad Gaming – Fortnite on Facebook to join up with others!

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Forget the Monolith, Germany’s 7-Foot Woody Has Vanished

Germany's Penis is Missing
(Getty/picture alliance)

2020 is the gift that keeps on giving… and taking away.

We had murder hornets until we didn’t (seriously, when was the last time someone mentioned them?). We had a parallel universe until we didn’t. We even had a mysterious monolith, until we didn’t.

Today we bring you news of a disappearing monolith of another kind, and hopefully, this one won’t be coming (back) anytime soon.

Fresh on the heels of the silver monolith showing up in Utah, then vanishing, only for a similar one to appear in Romania, and then California, a different erection has made the news. This one was in Germany.

Four years ago, someone inexplicably planted a 6-foot wooden penis on Grünten Mountain in Bavaria, Germany. It became a landmark for tourists and hikers and perverts (probably?); it even appeared on Google Maps! At least it did, until earlier this week when it vanished.

According to the German paper, Allgäuer Zeitung police are attempting to locate the lost erection.

This isn’t the first time there have been shenanigans with the shaft; apparently, it was knocked over back in November, but maybe it had just gotten old and tired.

Many think the enormous wang was placed there as a prank by college students, but what was once a funny joke has now become an actual beloved photo opportunity, and everyone wants it back.

May I suggest sprinkling some Viagra on the ground?

A Third Monolith Appears in California

California Monolith
(Twitter/NorbertElekes)

It’s baaa-aaack!

For the past week or so, many of us have been captivated by the saga of the silver monolith. It first appeared in Utah, this strange silver structure that was just sticking out of the ground. People hardly had a chance to compare it to the black monolith in Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001 before it suddenly disappeared. (The New York Times learned that some guys just took it down, though it seems like they were not involved in erecting it.)

Then, it suddenly reappeared. At least, a monolith just like it did, emerging on a hillside in Romania.

Speculation was rampant. Was it an art installation? An alien message? A prank like the giant woody in Germany? No one came forward to admit it was a Banksy-style guerilla art project, and no UFOs descended to claim ownership of this strange piece of metal.

And now there’s a third monolith. This time, in California!

A hiker on Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California stumbled upon it on Wednesday morning. It’s ten-feet tall and looks just like the other two: stainless steel, about 10 feet tall. Also, like the other two, there are no clues as to who or what put it there.

Unlike the other two, this one is merely standing on the ground, as opposed to being dug into it, according to Atascadero News perhaps the aliens were interrupted before they could finish installing it.

The world will be watching to see if – and when? – this one disappears, and we’ll all be waiting to see if we get an explanation for these bizarre monoliths that are sprouting up across the globe.

One cynical tweeter already has a guess:

I’m not sure if I’d be annoyed or relieved to learn this is all promotion for 2001 Part 3: The Monolith’s Revenge!

The Dad Of The Month, November 2020: John Kay

(Photos courtesy of Heather Kay)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for November 2020: John Kay. Since becoming a dad, John has exhibited a tangible excitement for fatherhood and a willingness to go above and beyond, even during a worldwide pandemic. His wife, Heather, couldn’t help gushing about him in her nomination:

“A good dad is hard to come by – John is the glue that holds it all together. He’s a one-of-a-kind dad. He was born for this. He embodies what every young boy needs in a father.

“We have a 2.5-year-old son named Hudson, who, thanks to his Dada, knows how to use mustard as a binder for meats when they BBQ on the Traeger. Hudson loves to read along to the book ‘Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada’ by Jimmy Fallon thanks to John’s wonderful impressions of animals! (Hudson’s dad also does a very good impression of Grover from Sesame Street.)

“John has worked throughout the pandemic. He manages transportation services and has been essential on the front lines, ensuring the public gets the goods they need. He comes home every day to help around the house, help with dinner, or pick up anything that’s needed. He volunteers to bathe our son every night and read him goodnight stories.

“He’s also a wrestling coach for a local high school and has taught our young son how to wrestle – he’s very good at it! The day we brought Hudson home from the hospital, John put pool noodles around every single hard surface in our home to make sure our new baby was totally safe! Looking back, it’s funny because now they wrestle and play WWE all the time!

“John has taken Hudson to every sporting event (pre-covid) and has also waited in lines for VIP meet and greets so that our son can meet famous hockey and baseball players! He’s is a wonderful dad and does it all with a smile on his face. He’s an excellent role model for our son and I am forever grateful that Hudson gets to have such an awesome father like John!”

To honor John and exuberance for fatherhood despite an incredibly difficult year, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. John’s unfailing optimism, creativity, and excitement for life are exceptional attributes that we should all strive for. Cheers!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

Pauly Shore Lobbies Hard for Encino Man 2

Encino Man 2
(Instagram/paulyshore)

Oh, you think you’re sick of remakes and reboots and sequels and prequels now? Just you wait. With a new streaming service popping up every few weeks, the need for content is neverending, and the easiest way for studios to churn stuff out is to work from existing material.

A lot of the best stuff has already been mined, so they’re gonna have to start digging deeper. Get ready for the Pauly Shore Extended Universe!

I’m joking, mostly. But The Weasel isn’t!

Pauly Shore was like the stoner version of Ernest. A one-note doofus who made enough people laugh that he was able to headline a collection of terrible movies. The movie that launched him was Encino Man, in which he co-starred with Brendan Fraser and everyone’s favorite Goonie, Sean Astin.

The trio has remained friends since they filmed the movie in 1992, and now Pauly is attempting to bring them all back for a sequel to the movie about an unfrozen caveman chilling out in southern California.

According to Movie Web the Weasel has hit sights set on an Encino Man 2 for Disney+. And his friends may be down as well.

At least, according to Shore’s IG account, where he’s been trying to drum up support.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pauly Shore (@paulyshore)

He’s posted several times:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pauly Shore (@paulyshore)

He’s trying to time it for a release during the movie’s 30th anniversary, and you have to admire his ambition. Or not. He’s pretty annoying.

No word yet on whether Disney+ will bite, but they’re already rebooting the Mighty Ducks and Honey I Shrunk the Kids, so they’re not afraid to go back to the well.

Couple Uses Non-Refundable Wedding Deposit to Feed Hundreds on Thanksgiving

Wedding Deposit Feeds Hungry
(IG/Thresholdschicago)

Even those lucky enough to avoid COVID have still felt the effects of the global pandemic that’s ruined lives, livelihoods, and a year of people’s lives. Manage to stay healthy? That’s great!  But there’s still a wracked economy, funerals on Zoom, classes on Zoom, everything on Zoom. And like much in life, you can’t control what happens, you can only control how you respond. That’s the mentality one Illinois couple took after COVID scrapped the plans for their wedding. Instead, they decided to use the non-refundable catering deposit to buy 200 Thanksgiving dinners for people in need.

That’s been one of the inspiring aspects of all of this, how normal people respond to these extraordinary circumstances. Sure, celebrities can make grandiose donations to buy entire hospitals full of PPE (thank you celebrities, we need that!), but it’s even more touching when every day folks roll up their sleeves and do what they can to help each other through this hellscape. Stories like this, or the guy who had to say goodbye to his dad over Facetime, so he helped provide dozens of iPads to hospitals so others could connect with loved ones.

In this case, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis were supposed to be married in the fall. And they were! It was just in city hall, and not the grand wedding they had in mind when they got engaged. But they still had a $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit to consider, so they put it to good use. They purchased 200 Thanksgiving dinners for clients of a mental health nonprofit.

Emily works for the nonprofit and wanted to help replace the organization’s yearly communal Thanksgiving dinner that had to be scrapped (also COVID).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Thresholds (@thresholdschicago)

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” she said to Good Morning America. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”

The catering staff boxed up the meals, which the nonprofit staff delivered to the homes of patients. The CEO said the donation was an incredible example of ‘the generosity and creativity the pandemic has inspired in so many.’

“I know that Emily’s act of kindness will inspire others to do the same and build love and connection in a difficult time, in any way we can,” he said.