You can't choose your family. You're kind of stuck with that smelly kid brother or granny who always wants to kiss you on the lips. Why? Why does she do that? But if you could choose your family, and choose them from the movies, what are the options?
Best Big Sister
Kat Stafford. Julia Stiles in Ten Things I Hate About You. The Atticus Finch of older sisters - forthright, determined, morals, values, etc. She also won't go on one measly date so you can go to the prom so boo to her. Then again, that scowl just gets annoying after a while, doesn't it?
So it has to be…
Muriel Heslop. Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding. I'd be a better kid brother than those no-good layabout blodgers who are liable to shoot through in their yutes. It might take Muriel a while to cop on, but she's got heart.
Best Big Brother
Let's face it, you wouldn't want any of the Corleones for brothers, would you? Sonny might kill the guy who offended you but he will get the guy's brains all over your nice Ivy league suit, and Fredo? Well, Fredo... Fredo is...
Raymond Babbit. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. He might be too much too handle if you're a selfish down-and-out car salesman but just get him in front of a television in time for Wapner and he'll be fine. Plus if you're in a bath he'll warn your folks that the water's too hot. He's a good guy.
Brandon Walsh. Josh Brolin in The Goonies... He's prepared to brave gangsters and all those booby-traps that a dead pirate has laid on for you. And it's not just because he fancies yer wan from Lucas; he genuinely cares. A nice brotherly hug on the porch because you're sad about moving house says it all.
There's really only one older brother, though:
Denny LeChance. John Cusack in Stand By Me. Although only in two scenes, John Cusack comes across as supportive - he'll read your story when your dad isn't interested - and highly unlikely to hold you down and fart on your head, which actually happened. On numerous occasions. Denny wouldn't do that - he'd give you his favourite baseball cap and take you fishing and teach you how to drive and stuff.
Best Little Brother
Tristan Ludlow. Brad Pitt in Legends Of The Fall. He might knob the woman you love but when the bullets start flying he's not going to disappear.
Ozzie Riley. Ciarán Fitzgerald in Into The West. The little scamp. Fair play to Oz, though - he gets the gravity of the situation and doesn't whine all that much. Even when he doesn't have shoes. Fair play.
The winner, however, is…
Mikey Walsh. Sean Astin in The Goonies. If you had to pick a kid brother who was always getting up to something and getting you into scrapes, Mikey has to top the list. The little tyke. You'd want to hold him down and fart on his head. See? Violence is inherited in the system.
Best Little Sister
It was hard to think of one. They're all annoying, aren't they? Curly Sue, your one from Three Men And A Little Lady, etc. But then after some mental gymnastics, I came up with these:
Jeanie (Seana) Bueller. Jennifer Grey in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Okay, she might be out to get you because you got away with it again, but when it comes down to it she's a good egg and will step in to save your ass when you most need her.
Briony Tallis. Saoirse Ronan in Atonement. She might ruin your life but she'll really really really regret doing it. Really.
Hanna Heller. Saoirse Ronan (again) in Hanna. The trained-since-birth assassin can certainly look after herself but she doesn't kick ass as well as…
Mindy Macready AKA Hit Girl! Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick Ass. She can have whatever she wants. Not that you want to spoil her but because she's lethal. Seriously.
Movies have some great dad moments, like Dennis Hopper taking one for Christian Slater in True Romance, but this dad poll is for consistently great dads (we get the impression that that scene was a redemption for Dennis). There are some serious contenders:
Atticus Finch. Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mocking Bird. A stand-up guy who is prepared to put himself on the line to defend what he believes in. The man has values. He has respect ("Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."). But he's also no craic whatsoever. You get the feeling that playtime will be between 4.37pm and 5.12pm and then you have to wash for supper.
Man. Viggo Mortensen doesn't get a name in The Road but 'man' sums up who he is. He doesn't try to sugar-coat things for his son but he puts his life on the line every second of every day for that kid, losing some of his humanity in the process.
Furious Styles. Laurence Fishburne in Boyz In Da Hood. Sound advice in a neighbourhood where saying the wrong word or looking at the wrong person can get you shot is paramount. Furious comes up trumps on that. Plus his name is Furious.
Guido Orefice. Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful. Pays the ultimate sacrifice and does it with a smile on his face, but let's face it - the guy was irritating.
Harry Stamper. Bruce Willis in Armageddon. That's Bruce Willis in Armageddon, people.
But my nod goes to:
Chris Gardner! Will Smith in The Pursuit Of Happyness. For the entire movie Will Smith busts a gut to keep the horror of his spiralling situation away from his son. That's strength. That's honour. Pretending that sleeping in a subway toilet is an adventure when inside you're dying takes moxy.
There were a lot up for this but I've narrowed it down to just three…
Peggy Boggs. Diane Wiest in Edward Scissorhands
Helen Buckman. Diane Wiest in Parenthood
Lucy Emerson. Diane Wiest in The Lost Boys
Okay, so Diane Wiest in anything. She's just so gentle and kind and desperate to understand you and you'd have to f**k up royally before she'd turn her back.
Ree Dolly. Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone. You might be a workshy nogoodnik who has abandoned your family in the Ozarks but teenage Ree isn't about to let you shirk your responsibilities. While tracking you down, Ree is also looking after your wife, whose mechanism is gone, and your only son. A strong contender is Ree but I'm going for…
Vada Sultenfuss! Anna Chlumsky in My Girl. Just because.
The Grandfather. Peter Falk in The Princess Bride. He'll come over when you're sick and read you a book about fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, true love and miracles. But he'll also pinch your cheek really hard and you hate it when he does that.
John Hammond. Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park. The man has a park of dinosaurs. But he might send you on an untested inaugural trip in the middle of a bad storm while he's cosy at home so it has to be:
Grandpa Joe. Jack Albertson in Willy Wonka. Come on. Who else were you thinking?
This is where we're stretching it. These aren't 'uncles' as such but friends of the family. Possibly your dad's college buddy. Guys you can go to when dad pisses you off.
Keys. Peter Coyote in E.T. Such a kind touch amidst all the cold, sterile whiteness that surrounded Elliot when he was at his lowest ebb.
Gar. Sam Elliot in Mask. He'll piss off for months on end and not write but you'll wake up one morning and he's in your kitchen making you breakfast. Also, his deep voice will vibrate the pictures on the wall, which is kind of cool.
Elizabeth Perkins in no particular movie from her 80s heyday. She'd be cold and sassy at first but she would warm to you eventually. That wouldn't stop her thinking twice about calling you on stuff. You wouldn't get away with much codology around Liz and that's okay.
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