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August 24, 2012


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A similar experience: "A Clockwork Orange" with my grandmother, under the misapprehension that it was an animated Disney feature.


Haven't had many of these situations in a movie theater. Home video's another story. Some "highlights":

AMERICAN BEAUTY with Dad and stepmom. His reaction: "No families are really like that." Tried to watch FARGO with them as well, but I don't think we made it past Buscemi, Stormare and the two girls in the motel room.

EASY MONEY. I'd seen this one in the theater, and didn't remember anything objectionable about it (I guess it was rated R, but for some reason I thought it was PG-13). So when I agreed to bring a movie for my then-girlfriend and I to watch while her parents and grandparents were out to dinner, that was my choice. I should probably mention here that this was a very religious family. Things were going fine, until they all returned home at exactly the moment when Rodney Dangerfield and Kurt Vonnegut started trading multiple "Fuck yous!"

I think I mentioned this in another thread before, but there's also nothing like being 13 years old, sitting between your Mom and Dad at the drive-in, watching full-frontal Cybill Shepherd in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, or Britt Ekland having phone sex with Michael Caine in GET CARTER. Not awkward at all.


Yeah, for me it was watching Lethal Weapon 2 with my dad, which came out when I was in the 6th Grade. It was a family trip to the movies and my younger brother and sister, who went to go see "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" with my Mom, while I begged my Dad to take me to an action movie. All was well until the love scene between Mel and Patsy Kensit. Very awkward moment for both of us.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Not parental, but... I met my first really serious girlfriend while we were both travelling. When we got back to the states, we were long-distance, and then decided to meet up at her sister's in another city where neither of us lived---we'd both stay there for a week and, uh, hang out. I got there, and she informed me that It Was Over. I was shattered, and pathetically tried to convince her to change her mind, all to no avail... *And* we were both trapped in the city, staying with at her sister's, for days more. We decided to go to the movies, so we wouldn't have to talk. And chose THE PIANO. By the time they were negotiating keys for sexual favors, it was a very uncomfortable experience for everyone.


"Summer of Sam" with my mom when I was 12, neither of us knowing beforehand that it was a couple shots of John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino banging shy of being NC-17. Nor were we aware that it would come to hold the record for most "fuck"s per minute. The film was a near constant stream of sound and images which are awkward to watch with your mom, ESPECIALLY when you happen to be going through puberty at the time.

A close runner-up would be the time I watched "Martyrs" with my girlfriend, and it nearly caused us to break up.


When I was 10 or 11, my mother took me to see Revenge of the Nerds. I'd love to say that this was the result of my cunning effort to get mom's permission to see an R-rated movie, but it was actually her idea. The best I can figure, she knew I was a socially awkward child and thought this might be an uplifting, empowering movie that would inspire me to own my nerdiness. Forty-five minutes later, we're both staring at a movie screen filled with a woman's pubic hair while Curtis Armstrong gleefully announces, "We've got bush!" Much like your post-Frenzy trip back with grandma, the car ride home was...quiet.

Jaime N. Christley

When I was assigned to the USS George Washington, a little ways back, I was one of the few guys in my squadron with an adequate DVD collection, and when the officers found out about it, they naturally wanted to borrow titles every evening. (And exclude me from the ready room where they watched them, because I was an enlisted man, but that's another ball of twine.) Anyway, the request came down for TRAINSPOTTING, flying in the face (so to speak) of stern guidance from yours truly that this was Extremely Ill-Advised. I happened to be passing through when the movie started, and my squadron commander (a real David Costabile type, only a foot shorter and wider at the waistline) took one look at the screen and asked the room "This isn't one of those movies with a bunch of homos in it, is it?" As you can probably gather, the screening didn't survive too long after Ewen Bremner kissed dat odder fella.

Didn't get many requests after that.

Thomas D.

I may have mentioned this before, but I saw Rocky Horror with my parents at a drive-in when I was five. Let's just say I was not prepared for a singing transvestite.

Also, all the pussy jokes in Predator were pretty awkward for a 7-year-old watching the movie with his dad.


Wolfmansrazor said:

"A close runner-up would be the time I watched "Martyrs" with my girlfriend, and it nearly caused us to break up."

W, having seen (and admired) MARTYRS myself, I'd just like to say that I've had daydreams about how awful it would be to sit through that thing film with the wrong company; thanks for sharing, and for the laughs.

Jack Laughing

At one point I thought I would introduce my folks to films I knew they had heard about but wouldn't likely see on their own. We were doing fairly well with this, and I was sticking to mainly critically-acclaimed mainstream new releases.

One weekend I brought over Pulp Fiction, thinking my Mother would enjoy the clever dialogue and it would be funny enough to maintain their interest. Mentally I locked on to the overdose scene, thinking if we got over that hurdle we'd be all good. Somehow I managed to forget about the Gimp, Zed, and Maynard, the ill-fated Marvin, or the long monologue from Tarantino himself about the nature of his home and what might be stored there. Even Christopher Walken's monologue pales in comparison.

The last 45 minutes or so of that movie was painful to sit through, and I don't think they laughed or made a peep once the story entered the pawn shop. As the film ended, they both had a sour look on their faces, and not much was said of it that weekend.

Thus ended me bringing home movies ever again.

Brian Dauth

Also saw FRENZY with my grandmother -- albeit on television. My grandfather did not approve of such films, so he sat in the kitchen and played solitaire.

Worst with parents was WORD IS OUT on public television. I changed channels after about an hour.

When I went to the New York Film Festival with my Dad when I was in high school, he was fine with the nudity in the films -- he said that European directors were different in that the nudity was a part of the film and not just there for the sake of nudity. When the rare occasion when Mom went she did not agree -- though they both adored Fassbinder films. Go figure.


Awkward for a different reason: I went to see CARRY ON BEHIND (not one of the better Carry Ons I must say) with my cousins one summer holiday back in the 70s and there was a man in the row behind us having a wank during it.

Not as if we were in some Soho dive either, it was at the bloody Hammersmith Odeon. Guess he must have been a big Elke Sommer fan.


That's a lovely story...lovely...lovely....

Here's mine - Peter Jackson's Freudian gore epic Braindead (aka Dead Alive) with my mother.


I've just remembered one that I wasn't involved in. My parents used to have a big 'Sunday lunch' dinner at which my elderly grandmother was brought over, and they used to want to end the afternoon with a film.

At first I was tasked with choosing the film and wracked my brains over something suitable - usually a nice classic Hollywood film (Lilies of the Field went down particularly well). Eventually my resources dwindled and I got a little more daring, trying them on Pleasantville (tactfully leaving for a drink during Joan Allen's tree exploding into colour epiphanal masturbation scene), and Topsy-Turvy (forgetting the couple of scenes of nudity).

Then I showed them Kenneth Branagh's musical version of Love's Labour's Lost, which I thought would be suitable for everyone because of the nice songs. Unfortunately Shakespeare went down like a lead balloon and I was told that my film providing services would not be needed from that point forward.

So I had a quiet Sunday to myself the next week, enjoying the chance to watch what I wanted. But what film had my parents chosen to show my early 80s grandmother, without pre-vetting or running past me first? The Sweetest Thing, which is the film that features the musical number where the lead female trio empoweringly sing about their favourite penises. Apparently my parents found watching that with my grandmother excrutiating.

I think my grandmother stayed home on a Sunday after that.


I had ‘Amarcord’ on the other night and my 8-yr-old sat down with me to watch. I hadn't seen it in a while so was racking my brain trying to remember if there was anything objectionable, I couldn’t think of anything. Once I explained away why the man had climbed the tree and wouldn't come down, I thought we were clear. Then with about 10 mins left in the film, young Titta pays a visit to the Tobacconist, and is fiercely assaulted by her large ‘mammalian protuberances.’ The initial giggling turned to horror as the poor guy was being chased, smothered and gasping for air. I explained the actress was wearing ‘a special effects suit’ and this was meant to be funny. I didn’t want to appear like it was a big deal so I let it run expecting it to be over very quickly, but man, does that scene go on and on… We have a poster of that film in our living room, I do notice that he has paid a considerable more amount of time studying the caricatures of the townsfolk than before.


Seeing "Crumb" with a woman on a more or less first date (my memory is fuzzy after 17 years). Has there ever been a worse date movie?

Well, "Carnal Knowledge" would be pretty bad, too.

Bruce Reid

My parents indulged my burgeoning interest in movies and never censored my viewing habits. So when 13/14-year-old me needed a companion to the revival theater for a screening of The Fearless Vampire Killers, it wasn't too awkward to attend with my mom. Though I wasn't yet informed enough about film history to know what to expect of the second half of the double-bill, Lips of Blood.

The all-time winner at this sort of thing, though, is a friend of mine's taking his first date out to I Stand Alone. Heightened by the fact he'd seen the film months earlier, enthusiastically suggested it, and had forgotten why it had made such an impact on him. (In fairness, he'd caught it at a festival, and seeing a clutch of movies in shortened time had blurred them together a bit.)


Watching "Fast Time at Ridgemont High" with my sisters was pretty embarrassing, as I recall.

Jeff McMahon

It wasn't horribly awkward, but it didn't turn out well to get together with a bunch of high school friends (lads and lasses) and choose Frenzy to watch because, hey, Hitchcock is always fun.

Strictly because it was mentioned, I feel obliged to add that Martyrs is a terrible film and should be avoided by everybody.

Tom Russell

PINK FLAMINGOS, with my grandmother.


YEAR OF THE DRAGON with my grandmother and brothers. Ariane's nudity and horrible acting (I think it might be the worst performance ever in a mainstream Hollywood film) embarrassed everybody.

Tom Carson

I just answered the same question for Carrie Rickey, and I pity anyone who can top this: watching Last Tango in Paris at age 17 with my mother on one side and my girlfriend on the other. As we exited, my mom sighed happily, "Boy, would your dad have LOVED that movie," making my brain-freeze complete.


Ah yes, Ariane Koizumi... Is there any chance of casting her in 'Battle Royale' -- I don't mean a remake of 'Battle Royale'; I mean an *actual* 'Battle Royale' tournament -- alongside Klinton Spilsbury, Kirk Cameron and Norman D. Golden II?

warren oates

I was 12 or 13 at my grandma's house with my younger brother watching HOUSE OF GAMES on cable... Grandma walked in on us at the worst possible moment, during the bloody expletive-laden climax. It wasn't her sort of thing and she let out a grunt of disapproval and a "what are you watching" stare... Still, she didn't make us turn it of.


Even the 'House of Games' DVD commentary track, which begins with Mamet professing his admiration for George W. Bush and ends with him denouncing Orion Pictures, is good for a double-take or two.

Not David Bordwell

I don't have any comparable tales to Glenn's above, but one reason I can never grasp what THE GOONIES means to other members of my generation is that I saw it with my Evangelical grandfather (also at 12), and every time I remember that, all I can think about is what a creepy, disturbed old man he was. He condemned it, of course.

A lot of these stories also remind me of the really great episode of "That 70's Show" where Eric Forman winds up seeing ANNIE HALL with his mother.

Without wishing to tarnish jbryant's recollections, I did want to point out that Rodney Dangerfield exchanges "Fuck you's" with Kurt Vonnegut in BACK TO SCHOOL, not EASY MONEY. It's relevant to Glenn's story, because the issue is that Dangerfield has just failed a paper about SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE that he paid Vonnegut to write for him, with a comment along the lines of "you have no understanding of Vonnegut." BACK TO SCHOOL is a great, funny movie, probably Dangerfield's best performance and featuring an excellent supporting role for a young Robert Downey, Jr.


Glenn sent me on a nostalgia trip about when and with whom I saw memorable films as a youth. I think the issue of seeing "adult" or R-rated films is quite different for film aficionados of my age (who turned 13 shortly before the institution of the PG-13 rating, which happened to coincide with the home-entertainment boom). My parents were quite liberal in allowing me to see films, although the first "R" I can remember seeing in the theater with my father was PALE RIDER, followed by PLATOON, which he really wanted me to see (my mom is also fun to see movies with — we saw FROM DUSK TIL DAWN together, much to the chagrin of a former high school crush, who queried incredulously "you're going on a DATE with your MOM?").

Following Glenn's links to A. O. Scott's original column got me thinking about how much more "adult," dark, and edgy PG movies were prior to the PG-13 rating, AND how many of these PGs I saw with my own grandmother back in the day. This gave me reason to reflect that my grandmother is probably responsible in some part for why I love film today—I can recollect seeing some pretty amazing PG movies with her, and it occurs to me that she must have cherished the opportunity to take me to movies she actually wanted to see but couldn't justify without a child. Here's a list of the pretty "adult" PGs I think I remember seeing with my grandmother, scattered among more typical Disney, Muppets, and Don Knotts-style fare: Bakshi's LORD OF THE RINGS; WATERSHIP DOWN (I think?); FLASH GORDON; POPEYE; 1981 was a boom year with my first Bond, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, TIME BANDITS, and DRAGONSLAYER; THE DARK CRYSTAL, THE LAST UNICORN, and the SECRET OF NIMH in 1982; THE LAST STARFIGHTER and TEMPLE OF DOOM in 1984.

It's pretty amazing that I was exposed to the likes of Ralph Bakshi, Mike Hodges, Robert Altman, and Terry Gilliam before I had turned 10.

By the time I was 13, various members of my family would take me to whatever R movie I wanted to see (although my tastes were distinctively mainstream in those days), and thereafter I was able to catch up with any title I couldn't see in a theater at the local video store. I recall that my serious appreciation of film began when I rented BRAZIL and subsequently went to the community college library to check out THE BATTLE OF BRAZIL by Jack Mathews.

Anyway, my thanks to Glenn for reminding of this important role my grandmother played in my film education. It means a lot.


My mom reached over from the row behind to cover my eyes during the sex scene in Cold Mountain.

And she took away my Night at the Roxbury dvd when I was 16, which like, you know man, you can take away my Night at the Roxbury dvd but like, you can't take away my dreams man!

My most awful memory putting the parental controls on my parents was when I got the Onion yearly compilation book Dispatches from the 10th Circle for my birthday when I was in 7th grade. I was laughing so hard and so constantly in the family room that my dad wanted to, you know, have a peek man! Well, for him to know that I knew that he knew what I was reading in this very inappropriate book was a big no-no, so I paused, considered, and went on a fake, I flinch to say it, "selfish rage," making up stuff about how I had just gotten the book and I wasn't ready to share it with anyone and turning all red and huffy and pretending to be a princess, and I went to my room saying flatly that he would "never understand." Me and my dad have a really similar sense of humor and we loved watching A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, and Waiting for Guffman together. It was really heartbreaking to have to do that, but it needed to be done. He just wasn't ready...


I watched M. BUTTERFLY with my parents, and I had to answer my dad's question "How can he not know?" That's my story.

Andrew Bemis

JFK with my Nana, after a trip to the JFK Library, when I was seven. Like many sweet older Catholic ladies who've lived in a suburb of Boston their whole lives, she idolizes the Kennedys and thought it was a biopic. It was strange but not too uncomfortable; the movie fascinated me and made me a bit of a conspiracy nut through the second and third grade, and I didn't really understand why Joe Pesci and Kevin Bacon were painting themselves gold anyway.

Of my parents, my dad was much more conservative about what I could watch. He was furious when he found out I'd gone to see Eyes Wide Shut in high school, and it didn't help much when I explained that there was absolutely nothing arousing about the movie. But his rules went completely out the window if it was a movie he liked, or if it was subject matter he felt was important. I'll never forget when he insisted we watch Unforgiven together. During the opening scene, he explained "You see, Drew, back in the old West, cowboys would get so lonely, they'd pay for a woman's company."


Not to change topics, but I just saw that the last three spam comments for the IN THE COMPANY OF GLENN post are:

Politeness is to do and say the kindest thing in the kindest way.
Posted by: Beats by Dre | January 12, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.
Posted by: Cheap Canada Goose | January 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Bring up a raven and he'll pick out your eyes.
Posted by: Buy Canada Goose | February 01, 2012 at 02:21 AM

I just think that's worth noting.

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