Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Parental Video Curse

In the early 80's my family would rent videos on the weekend. We would also rent a VCR since they were so new and not everyone owned one back then. I remember watching the same video 2 and 3 times in a row like I see my kids doing today. I also remember the feeling of watching a movie and just as an uncomfortable part (swearing, sex, or nudity) would come on my parents would always come walking in the room. These were not bad movies we watched. This would happen regardless of what they were rated. You could rent some rated G Disney movie and Polyanna will start doing some inappropriate nasty dance as soon as a parent came in the room. (Not that Polyana ever did that and not that I ever rented it).

On one occasion I was at a friends house with several others watching a murder mystery which was very entertaining. My friend's Dad came in and sat down and within 15 seconds of that time there was a major shift in the direction and content of the movie and it got extremely uncomfortable. I just remember the TV ended up getting turned off and our video party was over. I walked home in a daze wondering what had happened and where that scene came from. I now know that it was just the parental video curse.

I remember when my brother in law rented Conan the Barbarian and later brought it by our house. I didn't even think about the rating and I started watching it with my friend Sam. We didn't get too far into when my Dad came downstairs and sat down. I remember Conan had killed some guys in a competition and his slave masters brought a lady wearing a leather/fur bikini to his cage to reward him. My spidey senses kicked in and I knew where this might lead so I said "I just remember I am supposed to draw a basketball for my art class" and I ran out of the room. I left my friend with my Dad and came back about 10 minutes later. Sam was red in the face with a mixture of embarrasment and anger and was furious with me. My Dad suggested we turn the movie off. I never did see how that movie ended but I'm still glad I took off when I did and Sam is still mad at me for ditching him during such an uncomfortable situation.

Another thing I have noticed over the years is how we forget so much about a movie we saw a long time ago. Many times I have told someone how much I enjoyed a certain video I saw when I was younger so I recommend it to them or rent it for myself and later find myself saying "I don't ever remember that scene" or "I had no idea they swore so much in this", or "I promise this is rated PG". Some examples of movies that I have been surprised to re-watch 20 years later are: Logan's Run, Agatha Christie movies, Clash of the Titans, Jaws, Monty Python, Dragon Slayer, Benny Hill, Airplane, 16 Candles, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc. There were alot of movies made in the 70's and 80's that were rated PG that today would be PG-13 or R, but I am not going to complain about MPAA rating inconsistencies now. That can be a topic for another day.

I just wanted to give a heads up to all the young people out there and let them know next time you are planning a video (DVD) party go to IMDB or screenit first for content details because your parents will walk in the room at the very most inopportune moment.


Heather Kelley Pinegar said...

Tom Rogers-
I still remember being at work and thinking to myself that you would be the BEST movie critic ever and that you needed your own show....I still think that! family photo is so cute on your facebook page and when did you have that adorable baby girl???? I still need to come and say hi. We have another court date on October 22nd which will hopefully be the final and hopefully we get our money back than so I can start my routine again.

Der Grexxie said...

Funny you should mention that Chaka--my dad took me to my first R-rated movie ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS nest on opening night because he was afraid the city council would ban it the next day. I was in grade eight at the time. I even saw an X-rated movie with him in Poland (Russian film with Polish subtitles) once but it was a graphic art history biography, not porn. Now if Conan had been an art house film with subtitles I think things may have gone differently for you. Your poor friend Sam!