The end of the year means end-of-the-year lists. And while, okay, it’s kind of useful to plumb the depths of 2018’s releases to reflect on which films will stand the test of time — even though it’s a moot point, because the answer to that question is “Paddington 2 and only Paddington 2” — there’s a more specific end-of-year assessment that needs to occur.
I’m talking about Hot Dads.
Hot Dads have been everywhere over the past 12 months. They’re the John Denver of 2018, which makes sense, because what’s more dad-like than John Denver? Ryan Gosling was a Hot Astronaut Dad in First Man. Sterling K. Brown packed a lot of Hot Dad action into limited screen-time in Black Panther. Boyd Holbrook was the Hot Dad to an adorable Jacob Tremblay in The Predator. The Hot Maybe-Dad trifecta of Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård dad-danced to ABBA in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Josh Duhamel was a bro-in-remission Hot Dad in Love, Simon. Gabriel Byrne was very literally a hot dad in Hereditary. Steve Carell silver-foxed it up in Beautiful Boy. Even Fix-It Felix found adoptive fatherhood in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which qualifies him for Hot Dad status as long as you’re into the whole animated twink thing.
Just how many Hot Dads made their way to cinemas, sporting slightly uncool haircuts and sensible shoes, in 2018? To give you an idea: all those Hot Dads I mentioned? They don’t even crack the top ten. Welcome to the Hot Dad thunderdome, where the Dads, Daddies, and Zaddies of 2018 are ranked by a series of very rigorous dad-based criteria. Ten Hot Dads enter. One Hot Dad leaves.
Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding took the Hot Dad mantle upon his strong, broad shoulders in Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor, playing the husband to Blake Lively’s modern-day femme fatale. His ability to provide for his child is practically nil (he wrote one successful book years ago and has been coasting ever since), he foists his kid off on a family friend practically right after meeting her, and he hops into bed with the aforementioned friend (Anna Kendrick) right after his wife’s funeral. Everybody in this movie is more or less an awful person, and Golding’s Sean is pretty dumb besides, but … look at him. Pure, lustful shallowness won’t take you all the way in the Hot Dad rankings, but it’ll at least get you in the door.
Pep talks: +2
Not having sex with your son’s best friend’s mom immediately after your wife dies: -1,000
9) Hugh Bonneville, Paddington 2
Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is a smoldering sexual dynamo. The pure animal magnetism oozes from his pores, which he is sure to keep healthy and unblocked by way of using face masks, because he is free of retrograde, gendered ideas surrounding masculinity and skin care. He’s very flexible. He sticks up for his adoptive child, who is also a bear, because Henry Brown is open-minded like that. He may not look like much compared to, say, a Henry Golding or a Chris Pine, but his moves in the bedroom were good enough to lure Sally Hawkins away from her last boyfriend, who was a fish creature. And that fish creature fucked.
Wears a suit well: +10
Used to be a dab hand at coconut shy: +5
Always smells faintly of salmon: -7
8) John Cena, Blockers
John Cena starts out Blockers as a decidedly un-hot dad. Regressive ideas about female sexuality resulting in a frantic race to stop his daughter from getting a little post-prom action? Sexual double-standards aren’t hot, John Cena! But, Blockers being the sex-positive comedy that it is, Cena’s Mitchell eventually comes around to the whole “teenage girls should have bodily autonomy” thing. In the meantime, even if he’s doing it for the wrong reasons, John Cena will do anything to protect his daughter, including butt-chugging. Did Chris Pine butt chug in A Wrinkle in Time? No.
Fashion sense: -5
Intense, professional grip: +15
Proper disdain for man-buns: +8
7) Chris Pine, A Wrinkle in Time
But, counterpoint: Chris Pine does look like Chris Pine in A Wrinkle in Time, so … that ain’t shabby. Mr. Murry is a world-renowned scientist who figured out how to teleport between dimensions, and that … probably has some sort of sexual implication, doesn’t it? I mean, the man’s literally a genius. He could figure something out.
Was willing to abandon his son Charles Wallace on Camazotz: -500
Every man on this list is as different as so many grains of sand on the Hot Dad beach (baggy, Hawaiian-printed swim trunks a requirement). A Quiet Place’s Lee Abbott is the most traditional — or dated, your mileage may vary — of 2018’s Hot Dads. He’s a very manly man: strong, silent, humorless, beardy, authoritative, not the best at expressing emotions. But he loves his family more than anything else, even if he has trouble showing it sometimes, and he’ll do anything to protect them. And you can’t really blame him for the “silent” part, what with the whole “aliens who will kill you if you make a sound” thing.
Mechanical know-how: +20
Sense of humor: -15
Lots of sweaters: +40
5) Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give
Whereas Henry Golding and Chris Pine deliver mostly on the aesthetic levels of the Hot Dad front — being actively awful and absent for most of the movie, respectively — The Hate U Give’s Mav (Hornsby) delivers on the more practical Hot Dad points. As the patriarch of a black family, he raised his three kids to have pride in their identity and to fight against injustice. That’s hot. Tattoos? Hot. Some points have to get knocked off, though, by the presence of Common, the cultural ideal of the Hot Dad, in the The Hate U Give cast. He’ll take a little bit of shine off any other Hot Dad in a ten-mile radius. Not your fault, Mav. Not your fault.
Will die to protect his family: +20
Pep talks: +45
Knows that Regina Hall is the best: +30
Is not Common: -25
4) John Corbett, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
All the girls who watched To All the Boys proceeded to lust after soft jock Peter (Noah Centineo) but can we please pour out a bit of Yakult yogurt drink to Lara Jean’s very own Hot Dad, John Corbett? In the taxonomy of Hot Dads, Dr. Covey belongs to the Wine Dad subset, meaning he’s a sensitive soul who more or less hovers around the periphery until it’s time to deliver a killer pep-talk or make sure his daughter is stocked up on condoms before a ski trip. You know what’s sexy? A realistic understanding of the pitfalls of sexual education in public schools! He’s a bit on the low-key side, but you know this silver fox has banged half the single moms in his town, and he sent them all flowers afterwards.
Pep talks: +50
Ability to cook Korean food as a way to keep his children connected with their late mother’s cultural heritage: -5
Ability to try to cook Korean food as a way to keep his children connected with their late mother’s cultural heritage: +500
3) Paul Rudd, Ant-Man and the Wasp
At this point, you may be wondering why First Man’s Ryan Gosling isn’t on this list. He’s Ryan Gosling! He’s famously hot, if you like guys whose eyes are too close together! But his Neil Armstrong was an emotionally constipated goober who had to be forced by his wife into telling their sons that his mission to the moon might kill him. If anything, Claire Foy is the Hot Mom and the Hot Dad in that movie. Paul Rudd in Ant-Man and the Wasp, on the other hand, is an actual good father who is willing to have honest talks with his child about the dangers of his chosen profession. He, more than any other Hot Dad on this list, actually seems to enjoy spending time with his kid, and he’s willing to make sacrifices (by way of house arrest) in order to do that. He’s very checked-in as a father. Imagine Hot Dads as a scale: You have the Hot Dads (Henry Golding), who coast by on good looks, and the Hot Dads (Hugh Bonneville), who don’t exactly look like they’re off a GQ cover but are genuinely good parents. Paul Rudd exists at the exact midpoint of this Hot Dad spectrum.
Dad jokes: +50
Probably isn’t going to fuck off to the moon without having a conversation with his kid about it first, Neil: +500
Probably introduced his daughter to Michelle Pfeiffer: +5,000
2) Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade
The dark horse on this list of Hot Dads is Mark (Josh Hamilton) from Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade. Like Dr. Covey in To All the Boys, he is a single parent, which ups your hotness quotient in the Hot Dad stakes. Mark, unlike the more paternally competent Covey, is an Über-dork who makes bad jokes and has no clue what he’s doing. It’s very relatable! But it’s his answer to a heartbreaking question posed by his self-doubting daughter Elsie — “Do I make you sad?”— that launches him into the Hot Dad stratosphere.
Absolute dork: +50
Bad dad jokes: +75
Probably made you cry: +500
The title of Hottest Dad of 2018 cannot be achieved without struggle. Searching’s David Kim (John Cho), like many a man on this list, did not start out with all his Hot Dad ducks in a row: He let the grief over the death of his wife shut him off emotionally and prevent him from connecting with his daughter. Then his daughter goes missing, leaving David to track her digital trail and, in the process, realize he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did. Hot Dad Mode, activate. Over the course of the film, David acknowledges his parental failings and makes a concerted effort to course-correct, thus earning the Hot Dad crown through merit and hard work. And being really, really hot.
Sense of humor: -5
Character development: +1,000
Being John Cho: +5,000,000