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August 24, 2012


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NDB: I actually realized my gaffe after posting, but there's no edit function, and I figured someone would correct it anyway. I tell ya, that Rodney still gets no respect. Thanks for stepping up!

Wolfmansrazor: Did your mom know what the title SUMMER OF SAM referred to? Seems like that would've been enough to keep her from taking a 12-year-old to it. :)

I saw FRENZY when it first came out with a couple of buddies. We were both only 14, unaccompanied by an adult, but the ticket-seller didn't seem to mind. We saw other R-rated movies there, too, such as PLAY MISTY FOR ME and THE TODD KILLINGS, with nary a peep from the management. I guess maybe a small-town theater would rather have the revenue than enforce the rating. (And, no, none of us looked older than 14 at the time.) Oddly enough, one of my buddies bolted from the FRENZY screening in disgust -- not over any of the murders, however. No, his breaking point was the scene in which Vivien Merchant serves Alec McCowen that awful-looking fish head soup.


Re FRENZY: The scene where the villain breaks the dead woman's fingers was (and still is) hard to watch.

Chris L.

Regarding spam comments at the old place, who exactly is this Randy Ford person from '09? My God, he's scarier than Norman Bates + Robert Rusk. Don't care to hear HIS embarrassing stories...

Dan Coyle

You know, my first reaction to that picture was, "Is this a post about John Nolte?"

I don't recall an awkward moviegoing experience, though I'm not sure my grandmother really appreciated or understood what was going on in JFK.

The weirdest movie viewing experience was watching Cronenberg's Videodrome for the first time immediately prior to watching the series finale of Twin Peaks. That was like dropping acid to a 13 year old.

Owain Wilson

My Dad is big movie fan but stopped watching them in the cinema ages ago, so I was always (and still am) trying to drag him to see something on the big screen he'd be interested in.

He loved Robert Altman so he agreed to join me for a trip to see SHORT CUTS. I was 16.

All those long, long takes of Julianne Moore's special bits and Madeline Stowe's knockers ... it was agony.


The only director to include FRENZY in his top ten for the 2012 Sight and Sound poll is Bela Tarr.

Nathan Duke

"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" for my 15th birthday with my parents, "I Served the King of England" with my in-laws and "Happiness" on a date.


I hope during Philip Seymour Hoffman's early shenanigans in HAPPINESS, you turned to your date and said "It's funny because it's true!" It's a big missed opportunity if you didn't.

Peter Nellhaus

My mom got me out of high school (senior year) to see the Denver film critics' screening of the then X-rated "Midnight Cowboy". I also saw "Swann in Love" with her. Last film we saw together was when she wanted to see my DVD of "Taxi Driver".


My brother and his wife saw HAPPINESS on their first date. They're getting divorced now, but they had a reasonably good run (14 years as a couple, married for 7).

Stephen Bowie

When I was a pre-teen I went to a friend's house where Tim Burton's BATMAN was being screened on VHS. The friend's conservative father started fast-forwarding through any violent or profane parts. I was horrified, gave the father a lecture on freedom of speech, and never went to their house again.

So I guess I don't have any of these stories, or else I was oblivious to any awkwardness that anyone else was feeling.

Nathan Duke

Come to think of it, I think I went on dates to see "Spider" and "The Sweet Hereafter" as well. Great movies, bad dates.


I once went on a first date with a girl in college. We went to see "What Dreams May Come." Not exactly a first date movie, but we were both into film. What she didn't tell me (afraid it was going to wreck the date) was that her sister had just died in a car accident the week before and the funeral was the day before our date. When she broke down crying, we left and she told me what happened. Didn't I feel like the freaking asshole.


My days as a callow teenage gorehound were an almost uninterrupted string of these, probably the worst of which was Cannibal Holocaust one Friday night with my dad. I should probably back up and say he's the one who got me hooked on splatter when he let me watch The Evil Dead at 13. He didn't protest my subsequent excursions into the darkest depths of exploitation cinema, and even got a kick out of some of it (the grosser and cheesier the better, usually--e.g., Fulci went down pretty well), so it's not like there was no precedent for us watching some rather depraved stuff together. But in no way did he deserve to be subjected to that. Nor, really, does anybody.

David Ehrenstein

Seeing "Victim" with my mother. It was 1961 and I was nanoseconds away from coming out. Her reaction to the film? "Oh that Dirk Bogarde is such a good actor."

Her reaction to me? Dead silence.


Given my father rarely went to the movies, or saw movies made after 1960 or so (with the occasional exception), I never had any awkward viewing moments with him that I recall. My mom was more open-minded than my dad was, but still avoided movies that were too violent or made her too sad (she made an exception for docudramas, so she did watch SCHINDLER'S LIST). So I rented FIVE CORNERS for her without having seen it beforehand, on the mistaken impression it was ultimately a heartwarming, nostalgic film about New York in the 60's. Boy, was I mistaken (though I ended up liking the movie myself). She made me pay attention a little more to what I rented for her after that.

On the other hand, when I rented INDECENT PROPOSAL for her (she was, and is, a major Robert Redford fan), there were no awkward moments like that; we both agreed this "controversial" movie was, in fact, incredibly boring (she even said as such halfway through).

Derek Hill

When I was around nine, my mom decided it would be a great idea to take my elderly grandmother and me to the drive-in. What did she choose? ANIMAL HOUSE. They weren't amused from what I remember. But I loved it.

Also, a very close friend told me that a guy once took her to a movie on a first date... I STAND ALONE. There wasn't a second chance.

Tom Block

"Frenzy" is one of those movies that makes me sorrier than usual that the Production Code existed all those years. If Hitchcock had *that* in him when he was in his 70s, I'd love to see what "Vertigo" would've looked like if he hadn't had a leash on him.

Noam Sane

When I was a kid, my mom or dad would drop me off at the theatre and then pick me up a couple of hours later. Apparently the thought of actually accompanying me to the movie didn't cross their mind. This was the 70s...Jaws, Dog Day Afternoon, Marathon Man, The Sting, Harry and Tonto. My parents were saps.

I guess the closest I can get to this dilemma is at a family beach-house vacation in the 80s...one night, on one of the 3 channels we got, was a PBS special about Monty Python. I'm watching it with my elderly aunt, and for some reason, it included the bit from "Meaning of Life" about sex education. "Have we covered Vaginal Juices yet?" asks John Cleese.

Why the hell PBS would include that bit, considering all the material they could have used, will always confound me. But needless to say, the party broke up.


I haven't really had embarassing film experiences. But I did once convince my sister to watch the DVD of BRINGING UP BABY I gave her as a gift. She may not have laughed once.

James Keepnews

Does anyone remember when THE DEER HUNTER aired unedited for television on syndication around '80-'81? It was my most miserable year at Catholic boy's boarding school, brightened by only a few events, like our housemaster walking in during the hunt after the lads return from 'Nam, when John Casale's character explains he brought along a handgun "in case." "'In case' what?," went the query. "In case you find your girlfriend sucking on some forest ranger's cock?" Good times, anytime you're out from under, not getting hassled, not getting hustled...


The Eyes of Laura Mars


When I was 20, I took a prospective ladyfriend on what was essentially a second date to see Cronenberg's CRASH. I'm still not sure how I justified that one to myself. To make matters worse, she brought two of her friends with her. The positive side? That counter move put me in a depressive funk that was perfectly suited for the film's subject matter.


My grandmother took my dad to see Barbarella under the mistaken impression that it was a musical about Italians.

My most awkward was one day in college when I sat down to watch Gunga Din in the lounge of my dorm and was joined by the three Indian girls who lived in my suite. Excruciating.

Joel Bocko

Saw Oldboy on a date. Funny thing was, the girl had already seen it, and it was her suggestion. Go figure...

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