Up on the A.V. Club today is another of those AVQ&As, the topic this week being “What Entertainment Did You Unfortunately Inflict on Your Parents?” It got me thinking, as two films I regrettably showed my parents (and then a third) immediately sprang to mind. As it gave me a laugh I figured I’d share.
I will never forget showing (or rather, trying to show) my parents Tank Girl. As I recounted years
and years ago when Jesse and I were still doing Films of High Adventure, I saw a piece on probably Good Morning, America! or some shit about Tank Girl, wherein Lori Petty told the tale of how when she looked a the script she immediately shaved her head, went in, and screamed “I am Tank Girl!” at the casting director or whatever. I was breathless watching the clips; drooled during every preview. But I was not of age to see Rated R movies and there was no effing way my parents would take me to see Tank Girl in the theatre. But when it came to VHS I rented it.
They turned it off right after the scene where Malcolm McDowell quotes some poetry at an unimpressed Tank Girl. “No,” I remember my father saying. “No way.” My mom did not argue. She was sort of shell-shocked by what we’d watched, if memory serves, and as an adult I can’t really fault her reaction. I mean, I still love you, Tank Girl, but… damn.
I finished it the next day, on my own, as I had been completely enchanted by everything about the film. And really, I’m pretty grateful we didn’t finish it, because the sexual weirdness of watching Lori Petty and Naomi Watts getting sexy with kangaroo men was nothing I really needed to experience with my folks.
The second film I recall “unfortunately inflicting” on my parents was more of a success with them, which in some ways was far worse. I really, really wanted to go see a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show because that was what one did in the 90s in West Palm Beach, FL. My mom and dad wanted to vet the film before agreeing, and in my early teenage desperation I agreed, having really no idea what it was about, just that going to see it was supposed to be cool, and I wanted to do it. So we rented it.
Uhhhhh… yeah! So, sitting through that, with my parents, at maybe 14 years old… it was agonizing. I was mortified by the content, as any teen might be sitting on a couch next to one’s parents, watching Tim Curry strut erotically around the cheap sets in fishnets. I was perhaps more mortified, however, by the fact that my dad in particular thought the film was SUPER AMAZING. Maybe it was that he, too, used to watch crappy old scifi films at the late night double feature picture show, but he got really into it. I distinctly remember him jumping up, delighted, to put on the subwoofer and the rest of his expensive enormous mid-90s sound system to get the full effect of the music, which he thought was “a scream.” He even did a little dance, as it was during “Time Warp” I believe. Yeah… I’m re-embarrassed remembering this, even though it brings a smile to my face. Miss you, dad.
In a fit of madness, even after watching the film my parents agreed I was allowed to go to the midnight showing, where I was promptly shoved on stage by one of the handlers and forced to chant an obscene song and then eat whipped cream off of an inflatable sex doll’s breasts before the movie went on, as will happen. I remember enjoying that viewing much more, as I was surrounded by anonymous creeps and weirdos, not my parents.
Oh jeez, writing this I now remember I also went to see Interview with the Vampire in the theatre with my dad. That was hella awkward, as well, as you might imagine!