Author: Lizzie Cohan

The Best Foreign Films to Watch Before You Study Abroad

As you prepare for study abroad with NYFA, no doubt there are a lot of items on your to-do list — but we’re here today to remind you of a pre-travel essential that you won’t want to forget. Whether you are preparing for a course from NYFA Florence to NYFA Australia or NYFA Mumbai, watching a film created in your destination country can be an enjoyable way to kickstart your international education experience. Certain well-made films exemplify their quality through their ability to captivate the audience. They draw us in. They make the real world — our own lives — fade away, and we are engulfed by the cinematic universe (the diegesis) of the film. Some of the most enjoyable movies take us to a new, entirely foreign place and make every detail of its people, rituals, landscape, and culture magical.

One of the best ways to get excited before studying abroad and prepared for your venture into a very different world is to watch films that are based on the places you may study or visit. Listed below are some of the most enchanting foreign films from across the globe.

“Amélie” (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

If you’re planning to study in France at NYFA Paris, this incredibly famous flick must not be missed. It follows Amélie, a quirky, imaginative romantic, who decides that her purpose in life is to help other people. The film traipses all over Paris, painting the city with wonder and mystery. It also nods, stylistically, to the films of the French New Wave, which, if you have time, are another essential as you prepare for your international education in film (see: “The 400 Blows” and “A Woman is a Woman”).

“Poetry” (Lee Chang-dong, 2010)

 

If you’re preparing to study in Asia at NYFA Beijing, NYFA Shanghai, NYFA Kyoto, or NYFA Seoul, this film may offer you extra inspiration. In this drama, a woman in her mid-60s signs up for a local poetry writing class. As she begins to fall in love with poetry, she discovers that she has Alzheimer’s disease. The reflective, emotionally electric film includes beautiful landscape shots of South Korean suburbs.

“Neighbouring Sounds” (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)

Ideal for students preparing to venture to NYFA Rio de Janeiro, this film, shot in the Brazilian city of Recife, follows a variety of characters around the neighborhood. Some residents are bourgeois, living in buildings with high security or gated communities. Others have little money, and they show their distaste for the wealth disparity by performing small acts of rebellion. The film is acclaimed for its artful uses of sound and cinemascope.

“Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Gearing up for a study abroad adventure at NYFA Berlin? Check out this film first. In this West German film, Emmi, a 60-year-old German hausfrau, and Ali, a younger Moroccan Gastarbeiter, fall in love, despite ideological backlash from family, society, and eventually, even each other. With beautifully crafted indoor and outdoor shots — particularly in the famous scene where Ali and Emmi sit in a park amidst a sea of yellow chairs — this film weaves together cultural contradictions in order to portray a deeper and more meaningful tale of forbidden love.

Studying filmmaking or acting for film with NYFA is an exceptionally rich and enlightening way for students of all backgrounds to expand their knowledge and gain a new perspective on the world. Interested in learning about all our NYFA international locations? Contact us, and begin your own study abroad adventure.

Gorgeous Fashion Photos and What They Teach Us

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In an ad culture dominated by beautiful images — visual representations of products meant to appeal to our desires and imaginations — it’s easy to stop paying attention to individual photos, even if they are sitting on the cover of a magazine, or displayed boldly on a billboard, or hidden in the corner of a Facebook feed. At NYFA, we are training students to create work that breaks through the noise, calms the overstimulated eyeball, and captivates the attentions of onlookers. Our new Fashion Photography workshop will teach students how to create the best images through, in part, the examination of the greatest existing fashion photographs. Here are some of the most elementary steps to creating your own gorgeous image.

Subject: Give your subject icon status.

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What would a discussion of fashion photography be if it did not acknowledge the quintessential image of Audrey Hepburn in her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” getup? Though Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in the film is what ultimately garnered her the most adoration and respect, the succession of promotional images of her in her black gown and pearls, holding a cigarette, gave her some serious star power. She is also known for her uncommon beauty and her expressive, bushy eyebrows.

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In choosing a subject for your image, it is not necessary that the model fit certain requirements, like having poignant features or unique looks, or adhering to traditional American beauty norms. Rather, the perspective of the photograph, and how it portrays the model, should be special. Give your model a cool hairstyle or a striking costume or a relentlessly emotive facial expression. This can be done in many ways and it is truly up to the photographer’s preferences, in combination with stylists, designers, and other artists.

Staging: Be dynamic.

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Whether the image shows many models, a focal point model with supporting models in the background, or a single model alone, the models should be positioned in a way that interacts with the rest of the image and/or the camera. They can fill the frame or they can appear to be far away. Regardless of how the image is composed, it should draw onlookers in. A person passing by the image can be surprised by its unique staging, or confused about the actual narrative of the image, or just visually delighted by the way the image has been put together.

Lighting: Play with contrast and shadow.

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In a fashion photograph, strategic uses of darkness and light are incredibly effective. By its nature, lighting draws attention to what it hits: highlighting it. Beautiful images are taken with a consciousness for the parts that are necessary, or most appealing, to highlight. Lighting can bring emotion to an image. For instance, the use of extreme shadow in Pablo Roversi’s fashion images gives them a certain ethereal quality, one for which the photographer has been recognized time and time again. Also, consider using deep contrast.

Editing: Honesty is beautiful.

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Keep in mind the real issues with fashion photography and image editing. Airbrushing and PhotoShop are criticized for making photographs fake, for positing an unattainable beauty standard that is damaging to the general public. Pose this question to yourself: How can I treat these issues without compromising the artistry of my photo? A beautiful image is often created by a great photographer, not a great editor. Our fashion photography program will teach students to build these skills, to discern what must be concealed and what must be exemplified in the composition of an image. We have already considered how a photo can do this in terms of subject, staging, lighting, and editing.

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What are the fashion images or icons that inspire your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Popular Olympic Movies

For much of human history, athletes have inspired unity, strength, and respect. Popular culture idolizes athletes, and today that doesn’t just mean that their achievements are documented in books or that they are written about in newspapers’ it means that there are feature films made about them, that they star in reality shows, and have an unprecedentedly large number of followers on social media.

People are drawn to stories of perseverance. We feel and respond to the plight of aspiring athletes, struggling to represent their countries and pursue their dreams. That’s why we love watching sports and movies — anything that presents us with a tale of redemption or success. And we love watching the Olympics; the world comes together to compete in a healthy — and hopefully fair — competition, an event populated by dedicated, hard workers.

As 2016’s games in Rio begin, here is a quick look at some Olympics films, including true stories and side-splitting parodies.

“Cool Runnings” (Jon Turteltaub, 1993)

Jamaica’s first-ever bobsled team must battle expectations and inexperience as they take on uncharted, frozen territory: the Winter Olympics. Based loosely on a true story, “Cool Runnings” will make you laugh out loud and bite your nails — and you’ll have the bobsledders’ chant stuck in your head for weeks beyond viewing the film. “Feel the rhythm. Feel the rhyme. Get on up, it’s bobsled time!”

“Chariots of Fire” (Hugh Hudson, 1981)

A pair of runners prepare for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Set in the U.K. in the 1920s, the two young men differ in their religious beliefs — one a Christian, the other a Jew —  but not in their desire to run and prove themselves.

“Without Limits” (Robert Towne, 1998)

“Without Limits” is one of several feature films that tell the biographical story of Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine. Often credited as one of the media stars who inspired the 1970’s “running boom,” Prefontaine was a national record holder and star. He died shortly after his career began,at age 24, in a tragic driving incident. About 20 years after his death, the film industry took great interest in his life.

“Blades of Glory” (Josh Gordon & Will Speck, 2007)

Two male figure skaters are banned from the sport after tying for a gold medal and getting into a fist fight. Figuring out that they can enter later competitions as a pair, they revive their skating careers and shock the world with their excruciatingly odd yet impressive routines. This is a classic Will Ferrell comedy and a nice way to get some chuckles while feasting the eyes on what appears to be some excellent figure skating.

“Munich” (Steven Spielberg, 2005)

Based on Operation Wrath of God, the Israeli counterterrorism mission carried out in retaliation for the 1972 massacre at the Summer Olympics, “Munich” is a political action film. It is also an acclaimed and lesser-known Spielberg movie. Though this telling of the operation is fictional, critics say that its general depiction of events is historically accurate — sans the parts  left out, dramatized, or treated with creative liberty.

“Nerve” Like Movies

Nerve is coming out on July 27. In the film, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are brought together by a real world, high stakes game, where “players” are given tasks with cash prizes assigned upon completion. The game generates money from its “watchers,” who pay to watch the game take place. It’s hard to tell how the plot will unravel before the movie actually hits theatres. The trailers, however, hint that there may be a twist at the end, that the players will end up stuck in the game, or even that their lives may be at stake. It seems that the film excitingly combines elements of a teen action movie, with its young lead actors, and elements of a cyber conspiracy movie, as the players are controlled through surrounding technology, and the game controllers are able to hack into their lives using the Internet. Here are 5 other suspenseful movies where an overbearing organization – an anonymous hacker, a group of activists, or the government – takes control of the protagonist, leaving them with no means of escape other than to fight their way out.

Nerve ( 2016)

Eagle Eye (2008)

A regular guy is suddenly thrust into fugitive status as he discovers he has been framed for a serious crime, and the FBI wants to catch him. This is all controlled by a mysterious agency that communicates with him through surrounding technology in order to manipulate his life.

Source Code (2011)

The military is using top-secret technology to transport Captain Colter Stevens into the body of a man who died in a train explosion. This should help them catch the bomber before he makes another attack. But where is the Captain’s body?

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

In The Purge’s twisted version of America’s future, it becomes clear that the government is using the annual night of murder for political gain. Conspiracy, mystery, rebellion, mind games: you’ll find all of that and much more in this eerily real seeming film.

V for Vendetta (2005)

A vigilante terrorist faces off with a fascist government. But underneath the violent physical combat, a cyber war is taking place.

Her (2013)

Falling in love over the phone is one thing. But falling in love with the artificial intelligence operating system inside of your phone? That can’t be good.

The Best “Hamilton” Quotes

Three leading actors from Broadway musical Hamilton’s original cast officially departed the show. Hamilton started making headlines in 2015 as it became one of the most sensationalized and beloved modern musicals to date. Now, an international following full of avid fans and musical theatre lovers has its eyes on the cast members taking over the vacant roles. And the verdict? Praise and approval on all counts. Some people even say that the new cast is better than the original.

New York Film Academy students know that in any well-written musical, song numbers serve as structural elements; they further the plot, acquaint the audience with character dynamics, and enhance the show’s innate themes. As each musical number has great value, it is vital that performers sing every lyric with a clarity and attention to expression that properly represents the meaning behind it.

This undoubtedly applies to the show at hand. Hamilton is acclaimed for its writing, and its musical numbers have managed, not only to benefit the structure of the show, but to move and inspire a vast audience. In honor of Hamilton’s explosive success, its meaning to New York City and to our students, here are 10 of the most insightful quotes, ripped from the soundtrack, ordered chronologically.

  1. “If you stand for nothing Burr what’ll you fall for?” – Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Sir
  1. “I’m past patiently waitin’ I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation!” —Hamilton, My Shot
  1. “’We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’

And when I meet Thomas Jefferson … I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!” – Eliza/Angelica/Peggy, The Schuyler Sisters

  1. “Why do write like you’re running out of time? Write every day like you’re running out of time? Every day you fight like you’re running out of time.” – Burr, Non-Stop
  1. “ ‘Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.’ ” – Washington, One Last Time
  1. “I’m only nineteen but my mind is older. Gotta be my own man, like my father, but bolder. I shoulder his legacy with pride. I used to hear him say that someday I would – blow us all away.” – Philip Hamilton (and Ensemble), Blow Us All Away
  1. “We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable” – Angelica Schuyler, It’s Quiet Uptown

 

  1. “I don’t pretend to know the challenges we’re facing. I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost and you need time. But I’m not afraid, I know who I married. Just let me stay here by your side. That would be enough.” – Alexander Hamilton, It’s Quiet Uptown
  1. “Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” – Alexander Hamilton, The World Was Wide Enough
  1. “America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me. You let me make a difference. A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up.” – Hamilton, The World Was Wide Enough

5 Movies Starring Female Ensembles

This past weekend, Paul Feig’s remake of the 1984 supernatural comedy, Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman), is hitting theatres. Unlike the original film, which starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis, the 2016 version has cast four women – Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon – in the leading roles.

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At New York Film Academy, we love to see women taking charge, amassing recognition for their talent, and spearheading the way for our students and future actors. However, movies dominated by female stars are fairly new to the industry. This variety of film is often critiqued for its tendency to appeal more to female viewers and to deal with issues that are specific to women. To this, we say: sorry, but we’ve been deprived. Bring on the ladies!

A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall, 1992)

Yes, Tom Hanks was one of the major characters in this film, but the rest of the cast were almost entirely female. We’re talking Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty, Geena Davis, Madonna, and the list goes on. The actresses blended a humorous sensibility with moments of strength and compassion to create onscreen chemistry and an emotional, inspiring viewing experience. Plus, women breaking into a strictly male industry – like baseball – and taking it by storm? That’s how it’s done.

Whip It (Drew Barrymore, 2009)

Start with an established actress like Drew Barrymore, deciding she wants to direct a movie for the first time. Add a cast of incredible women, including Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Alia Shawkat. You get Whip It, the comedy-drama about roller derby, adolescence, expectations, and independence. The sometimes silly, sometimes powerful film truly understands what it’s like to be a teenager, trying to fit in and simultaneously trying to separate from the artifacts of childhood and immaturity.

Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011)

Like Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids was directed by Paul Feig, and it stars several of the same actresses. The now-iconic comedy possesses a unique ability to make you cringe with its raunchy humor and simultaneously give you all the feels. When the film became a sensation back in 2011, it was hard not to adore Bridesmaids’ girl gang full of comedy veterans and upcoming stars.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ken Kwapis, 2005)

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This beloved teen-drama chick flick is all about the bonds of friendship. Lined with subplots that explore romance, family conflict, the pursuit of identity, and the difficulties of change, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is based on a single, magical premise: a pair of jeans acquired by chance are somehow able to fit and flatter the very different body types of four best friends, played by Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, and Amber Tamblyn.

The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011)

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Based on an award winning book penned by a female author, The Help delves into the experiences of women residing in a small, insular, Mississippi community, afflicted with racism and scandal. The film stars Emma Stone as a young woman who returns home from college with dreams of becoming a writer. She gives the disenfranchised women in her town an opportunity to speak and be heard, liberating them from the agony of silence.

4 “Jawsome” Films to See During Shark Week

Who doesn’t love Shark Week? As usual, here at New York Film Academy, we’re thinking about our favorite films. This week, in particular, check out four fantastically scary and “jawsome” shark flicks.

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

This is potentially the film that caused the outbreak of shark-mania: a hybrid attitude toward sharks comprised of equal parts love, fear, and infatuation. Making Jaws was no ordinary challenge. Read an interesting reflection from Spielberg, here

Bait (Kimble Rendall, 2012)

Drama? Check. Romance? Check. Gore and heart-pounding suspense? You bet. Bait’s IMDb tagline is only the tip of the iceberg. “A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building – along with 12-foot Great White Sharks.”

The Shallows (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2016)

This just in: critics are calling the newly released, highly anticipated film, The Shallows, “the best shark movie since Jaws” (The Wrap). Though you’ll go to the theater for Blake Lively, you’ll stay for the excitement of finding out if she can survive a vicious predator attack with nothing to help her but logic and courage.

Deep Blue Sea (Renny Harlin, 1999)

In the past three films, wild sharks with blood thirst and killer instincts gave audiences the shivers, but in Deep Blue Sea, an ever more menacing version of the predator – a genetically enhanced, hyper intelligent shark – will scare you silly. An isolated laboratory built to facilitate Alzheimer’s research becomes a haunting battleground as the sharks outsmart their constraints and head for the kill.

Fictional Books Being Turned into 2016 Films

2016 has shown no departure, thus far, from the successful trend of adapting social media-exploding, literary best-sellers into ultra hyped, big screen affairs. Consider Room, Emma Donoghue’s conceptual, suspense novel, which was released this year as a film, garnering four Oscar nominations and one win. More of 2016’s paper-to-screen transformations have come and gone—perhaps to slightly less fanfare than Room—including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and How to Be Single. Right now, Me Before You, the film adaptation of a novel by the same name, is playing in theatres, and coming up, see childhood classic, The BFG, and recent addition to the Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, both films that transform youthful, heartwarming stories into magical worlds on screen.

Too often, it seems that the time to read a new book has passed before it gets turned into a movie or someone spoils the ending; this is your opportunity to get a leg up on Hollywood. The following novels are in the development stages of film adaptation, some further along than others, none of which, however, are anticipated to be released before 2017. As such, you have until New Year’s Eve (at the very least) to slide on your glasses, curl up on the couch, and dive deep into these treasured tales.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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This revered, classic novel is headed for the screen once again. In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murry—along with her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and her friend, Calvin— searches for her father after he has mysteriously disappeared during an experiment with the fifth dimension of time travel. Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, is on board to direct the Disney film. Jennifer Lee, who wrote and co-directed Frozen, is writing the adaptation.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Listed by the New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2013,” Americanah is themed around hardship and racial tension. It follows a man and woman in love as they emigrate, separately, to London and the United States, as well as their difficult endeavors, those stemming from domestic obstacles and those related to multi-continental relationships. The film adaptation is underway, being produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment Inc., set to star David Oyelowo, the Golden Globe winning Selma actor, and Lupita Nyong’o, the Academy Award winning 12 Years a Slave actress.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Set in the year 2044, this dystopian sci-fi novel follows protagonist, Wade Watts, as he searches for happiness and fortune in a mysterious, virtual universe, battling friends and foes along the way. With Steven Spielberg signed on to direct the film version, “it’s a big deal. Any time a best-selling, fan-favorite novel gets a big screen adaptation, it’s a big deal. When the two happen to combine, as they will for 2018’s cinematic translation of Ernest Cline’s pop culture saturated book Ready Player One, you guessed it, it’s a big deal.” (CinemaBlend.com)

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

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One of two novels by best-selling author Matthew Quick currently being adapted to the big screen (in wake of the 2012 film adaptation of Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook), Love May Fail is the feminist-empowering, dynamic tale of a woman, scorned by her cheating husband and general loss of faith in humanity, who sets out to rediscover herself. The film belongs to the Columbia TriStar division of Sony Pictures with Emma Stone set to star.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

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The other Matthew Quick book heading for Hollywood is Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, the story of a single day in a teenager’s life, specifically the day he has decided to put a gun in his backpack, take it to school, kill his best friend, and kill himself. Channing Tatum is producing the film, while Mike Vukadinovich is set to write the screenplay.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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In this insanely popular, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, parent-less Theo Decker moves into his wealthy school friend’s luxurious New York City apartment, growing up to love art and experience life from a unique perspective. The acclaimed screenwriter Peter Straughan will be handling the adaptation, while Warner Bros. and RatPac Entertainment will produce it. For some thoughts on casting, see Entertainment Weekly’s dream picks for the film.

Iluminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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“Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents” instead of prose, this action-packed inter-planetary epic is perhaps made most unique by its heroic protagonists, Kady and Ezra, a freshly broken-up couple who must work together if they want to live (GoodReads). After Warner Bros. and Plan B Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to Illuminae in 2015, the film has remained in development…as in, no information has been released about casting or the artistry of the adaptation.

Honorable Mention

In case you’re a non-procrastinating, jedi speed reader, or you’re interested in reading the novel forms of film adaptations coming out this year, check out the following books: The Lost City of Z by David Grann, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Silence by Shusaku Endo, Nerve by Jeanne Ryan, and Inferno by Dan Brown.

The Best Fatherly Characters in Recent Film

Each dad is one-of-a-kind. Whether he’s silly or serious, completely embarrassing or way cooler than us, we’ve got to love him. In honor of Father’s Day, the New York Film Academy is looking back at some of the greatest father figures in recent films, even the ones who are absolutely mad.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Gus Portokalos (Played by Michael Constantine)

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As the patriarch of the Portokalos family, Gus (Michael Constantine) appears to have taken it upon himself to control his daughter’s life, and make sure she is growing into the Greek woman he wants her to be. He humiliates her throughout her childhood, preaching Greek lessons to her peers as he drives the carpool to school. Continuing into adulthood, Gus makes it his mission to marry Toula off to a Greek man. Despite his craziness, Gus is more than a comic relief. In his total cluelessness and love affair with Windex, some of us can’t help but be reminded of our dads’ particularities, attachments to certain objects, and steadfast desires for their kids’ happiness.

Kick-Ass

Big Daddy (Played by Nicolas Cage)

His name says it all. Cop-turned-vigilante Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) has spent the past several years fighting crime with his daughter, Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). Impeccably self-trained and talented in a variety of combat methods, this father-daughter team makes Batman and Robin look like amateurs. Many of us would agree with fellow vigilante Kick-Ass’s (Aaron Johnson) evaluation of Big Daddy: “your dad was insane.” Still, we can forgive the fact that he taught Hit-Girl how to wield a nunchuck instead of taking her to soccer practice because she is his utmost priority and, in the end, he sacrifices his life to protect her.

Little Miss Sunshine

Grandpa Edwin Hoover (Played by Alan Arkin)

Perhaps this heroin-snorting, foul-mouthed grandpa isn’t the best role model, but one thing’s for certain: out of any member of the Hoover family, he is the most supportive of granddaughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin). After being kicked out of a senior living facility, Grandpa Edwin (Alan Arkin) moves in with Olive’s family, where he spends his days training her to compete in pageants (not that he has any authority on the matter). The family eventually agrees to road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant so that Olive can compete. In the iconic final scene, she performs the raunchy dance that Grandpa Edwin choreographed for her and it serves as a sort of symbolic ode to his relationship with Olive and the way he hoped to make her feel like “the most beautiful girl in the world.”

Despicable Me

Gru (Voiced by Steve Carell)

Despicable super villain Gru (Steve Carell) may have built himself an army of minions and a repertoire of successful robberies, but there’s still room in his heart for love. Gru adopts three orphans to help him execute a villainous scheme, but, as time goes on, he grows to care about them a great deal, proving in the end that he will go to any length to protect them. A dad who tries to make his daughter happy by putting on a full-fledged ballet recital in his evil lair is a good dad in our books.

That’s What I Am

Mr. Simon (Played by Ed Harris)

In this coming-of-age drama set in the sixties, the school’s beloved English teacher, Mr. Simon (Ed Harris), is the most father-like figure. A champion of overcoming adversity, Mr. Simon shows his students how to be resilient when a perturbed parent tries to get Mr. Simon fired for being gay. Before gracefully exiting the school, Mr. Simon provides his students with fun and unconventional lessons, doles out wisdom and rightful discipline, and comforts the students who are victims of bullying. His endless compassion for the students is heart-wrenching.

Definitely, Maybe

Will Hayes (Played by Ryan Reynolds)

In this suspenseful and heartwarming rom-com, eleven-year-old Maya (Abigail Breslin) questions her father, Will (Ryan Reynolds), incessantly about his impending divorce from her mother. At last, giving way to her demands for information, Will tells her “a love story mystery,” in which he assigns fake names to the women he’d seriously dated, allowing her to try to guess which of them is her mom. He gives Maya a lot of agency throughout the film to comment on the things around her, whether that means regurgitating lines from her school’s health class or evaluating Will’s romantic life. Throughout the film’s narrative, the overwhelming consistency seems to be that Will and Maya will always have each other, if no one else.