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The Best Life Advice From Movie Dads

Father’s Day is coming right up, and you know what that means: time to make a run to your favorite tie shop, or cigar store, or butcher. But why not put forth a little more effort for dear old dad this year, eh? After all, fathers are an endless source of vital life advice — at least, according to the movies. So, in the continuing spirit of gleaning tips for living from cinematic parents, we present some of the best advice from movie dads:

“I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads, Ken. That’s serious.” –Jack Butler (Michael Keaton), Mr. Mom

“There are basically two schools of shaving, OK: Down, like that, or up, like that. Never, I repeat never, sideways, like that.” –Bob Jones (Michael Keaton), My Life

“There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country — and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.” –Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams), Mrs. Doubtfire

“I don’t know if this will make sense, but I’ll try to explain it to you. I think the reason why Mommy left… was because for a long time… I kept trying to make her be a certain kind of person. A certain kind of wife that I thought she was supposed to be. And she just wasn’t like that. She was… She just wasn’t like that. I think that she tried for so long to make me happy… and when she couldn’t, she tried to talk to me about it. But I wasn’t listening. I was too busy, too wrapped up… just thinking about myself. And I thought that anytime I was happy, she was happy. But I think underneath she was very sad. Mommy stayed here longer than she wanted because she loves you so much. And the reason why Mommy couldn’t stay anymore… was because she couldn’t stand me. She didn’t leave because of you. She left because of me. Go to sleep now because it’s really late, OK? Good night. Sleep tight.” –Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), Kramer vs. Kramer

“You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we’re helping him get those things in our shabby little office… This town is no place for any man unless he’s willing to crawl to Potter. You’ve got talent, son. I’ve seen it. You get yourself an education. Then get out of here.” –Pa Bailey (Samuel S. Hinds), It’s a Wonderful Life

Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs in "American Pie"

“I have to admit, you know, I did a fair bit of masturbating when I was younger… It’s like banging a tennis ball against a brick wall, which can be fun. It can be fun, but it’s not a game. What you want is a partner to return the ball.” –Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy), American Pie

“Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.” –Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), Boyz N The Hood

“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” –Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), The Godfather

“The richness of our lives shall be yours. All that I have, all that I’ve learned, everything I feel… all this, and more, I… I bequeath you, my son. You will carry me inside you, all the days of your life. You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son. This is all I… all I can send you, Kal-El.” –Jor-El (Marlon Brando), Superman: The Movie

“I was a wonderful father… Did I ever tell you to eat up, go to bed, wash your ears, do your homework? No, I respected your privacy and I taught you self reliance.” –Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” –Mac MacGuff (J.K. Simmons), Juno

George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller in "The Descendants"

“I don’t want my daughters growing up entitled and spoiled. And I agree with my father – you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.” –Matt King (George Clooney), The Descendants

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something. Not even me. All right?… You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” –Christopher Gardner (Will Smith), The Pursuit of Happyness

“You always listen to your mother, understand? Do what she tells you to do. She’s your best friend. Tell her you love her every day. You’re too young for girls right now but there’s gonna come a time, and when it does, you treat them like princesses, because that’s what they are. When you say you’re gonna do something, you do it. Because your word is your bond, son, that’s all you have. And money, you make money if you get a chance. Even if you gotta sell out every once in a while, you make as much money as you can. Don’t be stupid like your father – everything is so much easier with money, son. Don’t smoke. Be kind to people. If somebody chooses you, you stand up, you be a man. And you stay away from the bad things, son. Please, don’t be caught up in the bad things – there are so many great things out there for you.” –John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington), John Q

“Well, that’s the thing about life, is the surprises, the little things that sneak up on you and grab hold of you.” –George Banks (Steve Martin), Father of the Bride

“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” –Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), To Kill A Mockingbird