Fifteen Flicks to Avoid on Family Movie Night
Picture this: There's nothing on network so Mom or Pop finds a movie on a premium channel or slides in a DVD from the local video store. Everything's fine until two actors start a simulated bump-n-grind in 53 unavoidable inches of high def skin on parade. The room gets quiet. Your face gets hot. You do your best not to look at anyone else while your insides curdle and you long to be anywhere but in that room. Sound familiar? Whether your 15 or 50, watching certain subject matter with your elders can equal sheer mortification; with that in mind, we've compiled a list of twenty films too awkward to watch with the folks:
American Pie: This flick (directed by Paul Wietz) caused quite the uproar when it was released in 1999. Jason Biggs heads up a cast about four friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before graduation. If the scene involving Jason Biggs pleasuring an apple pie isn't discomfiting enough for you and your folks, consider the tagline: "There's something about your first piece." That "something" is that your parents should never be there for it.
Brokeback Mountain: This 2006 Ang Lee directed film caused waves with its groundbreaking material about a forbidden relationship between two cowboys over the years. A moving, well-crafted screenplay (Larry McMurtry), haunting direction and memorable score (Gustavo Santaolalla) won't make you any more at ease watching this one with the folks, no matter how open-minded a family you are. If you can watch a graphic gay sex scene with your father in relative comfort -you're the exception, not the rule.
Wild Things: Homoeroticism goes more than one way (pun intended): The bisexual "love" scene between Denise Richards and Neve Campbell in this 1998 crime thriller was watercooler and beer night fodder for years. Also starring Matt Dillon and Kevin Bacon, the scene is definitely hot, but not in mixed company. Bottom line: Your Dad might still be able to enjoy it, but nobody else in the room will.
Heavenly Creatures: Beautifully wrought, finely imagined, visionary to say the least. Directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy) and starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, the film is based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two close friends whose shared love of fantasy, music and literature drive them to commit an unspeakable crime. Watch this one with your Mom and she might start watching you - for homicidal tendencies.
Basic Instinct: You can argue you don't see anything, but the mere implication of staring past Sharon Stone's uncrossed legs right into her va-jay-jay during that infamous interrogation scene is unsettling... More so if you're chillin' on the couch munching on juju fruits with the 'Rents. Michael Douglas. Icepicks. Graphic sexual situations. Sharon's nether regions. Which is the most awkward for family viewing? Pick your poison.
Jackass: Embarrassing for grotesque violence, gratuitous nudity, and sheer buffoonery as cheap shock value. Most parents who don't long for latent childhood or reckless Frat days will be unamused, less-than-entertained, and suddenly anxious you're trying the same asinine stunts at home. Johnny Knoxville and his equally loony friends (Bam Margera, Steve-O) give Americans a bad name in Japan (wearing panda outfits no less), go postal on a once civilized golf court, and heckle live alligators. The boys (who deem stapling scrotums to thighs to be the height of hilarity) even had the audacity to embark on a sequel, Jackass Number Two. Are they having a laugh? They may be but parents aren't.
Chinatown: If that whole, "She's my sister! She's my daughter! She's my sister!" bit doesn't have you and your parents cringing with the sheer ick-factor of it all, seek immediate family counseling. The 1974 Roman Polanski film (starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway) is a classic whodunit in more than one way. We won't ruin the entire premise, just know that one big topic in this film is not exactly family friendly.
Thirteen: Military school, boot camp or institute for wayward children, here you come! Catherine Hardwick's 2003 drama about a well-behaved pre-teen led down a path of drugs, crime and promiscuity played more like a horror film, prompting parents everywhere to overturn drawers, check under mattresses and strengthen curfews. If you dare to fire up this flick with the folks, the tag line "It's Happening So Fast" will also refer to the consequences next time you make one wrong step.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Let's face it - some humor is generational. Whether it's the frequent frontal male nudity close-ups (awkward for Dad), simulated intercourse using chess pieces and play-by-play commentary on oral sex (awkward for Mom) or current pop-culture guffaws they just don't get (awkward - and irritating for you) skip this current comedy from writer/star Jason Segel if hanging with the parental units. Unless they're the hippest of the hip that is... In which case they already saw it without you.
Dazed and Confused: Run, don't walk away from drug movies if family quality time is on the agenda. In this 1993 picture from Richard Linklater, it's the last day of high school in a small 1970's-eraTexas town. The characters are all trying to achieve one of three goals: To get stoned, drunk or laid. View this one with the folks and you'll be peeing in a cup first chance they get.
Borat: Great movie to watch with the folks... NOT! The conceit: Borat Sagdiyev aka Sascha Baron Cohen is a TV reporter in Kazakhstan who journeys to the U.S. to document American society and culture. Cohen's mockumentary relishes placing Borat in chaotic situations with real people; the oftimes hysterical results - not to mention Borat's own comments and behaviors - range from endearingly naive to outrageously crude. If the profanity and sexual innuendo doesn't leave Grandma clutching her chest, then the now famous nude wrestling scene between Sacha Baron Cohen and Ken Davitian as Azamat certainly will.
Caligula: Not your average, dry historical biopic. Gee, where to start: Perhaps with the excessive Roman Emperor's violent endeavors to attain the throne? Maybe with the elaborate orgies he orchestrates? I know - we'll start with the incestuous affair with his sister! Get the picture? There is more than one version of this notorious epic, including a special "hardcore" version. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole and Sir John Gielgud, perhaps the most objectionable thing about this movie is the tasteless waste of a stellar British cast on semi-pornographic drivel. Blech!
A Clockwork Orange: Wow, Malcolm McDowell gets a twofer on this list! Unlike Caligula, A Clockwork Orange, directed by the late great Stanley Kubrick is actually worth a look. Alex (McDowell) and his three "droogs" live and wreak havoc in a futuristic Britain rampant with lawlessness. Drugs, rape and unprovoked violence is not beneath our hero and his cronies, until Alex undergoes an experimental treatment to rid him of his violent tendencies. He seems reformed, but are appearances what they seem? It's fascinating, but view with your family at your own risk: No matter how masterfully handled, most parents don't really appreciate the "old ultra-violence".
Kids: Drug use; Raw sexual situations; HIV and teenage pregnancy; kids engaged in behavior and language beyond their years: Larry Clark's disturbing 1995 portrait of low-income teens coming up in New York City makes the East Village portrayed in Rent look like Sesame Street. If you're under 21, steel yourself for an unsolicited (and hopefully unwarranted) lecture as soon as the credits roll.
Requiem for a Dream: What did we tell you about drug movies?!? This 2000 flick (Directed by Darren Aronofsky) is one movie where being over 21 is no safeguard from a serious chat with Mommy and Daddy. Watching four individuals get hooked on various drugs and subsequently spiral out of control is powerful, wrenching and pretty provocative material. You can certainly choose to share it with your family, just know that you'll be quizzed afterwards like it was an Afterschool Special.
There are scores of others that can be added to the list, many of which are obviously off the awkward charts (um, Debbie Does Dallas anyone?). Any movies you would never watch with your parents? Tell us here!
Story by Shannon Peace
Starpulse contributing writer
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