– by Cecily Knobler –
I was home visiting my mom recently, and as we flipped through the cable channels she paused briefly on a showing of 50 Shades of Grey. “Is this like The Color Purple?” she asked, in earnest. “Like a sequel or something?” “Um, no Mom. It has nothing to do with The Color Purple.” “Well, should we watch it?” “Let’s not,” I answered, gently removing the remote from her grasp.
This got me thinking about all the movies that would be incredibly embarrassing and awkward to watch with my mom or dad. So without further ado, here are a handful of films you should skip if a family member is in the room.
1. 50 Shades of Grey
Let’s start with the movie that inspired the list. Except for the quirky, adorable beginning (involving Dakota Johnson fumbling around with her college assignment) there isn’t one scene in this film about medium-to-heavy bondage that I’d like to watch with my parents. In fact, even viewing this at the press screening with a creepy older critic sitting next to me felt extremely wrong!
2. Don John
Sure, Joseph Gordon Levitt has the cutest dimples. But they aren’t nearly as cute when you’re witnessing him be the “master of his domain” (to quote Seinfeld) while watching pornography for an hour and a half. It’s weird and gross and again, I felt strange watching it next to Leonard Maltin at the press screening. (Note: he wasn’t the creepy older critic from 50 Shades. He’s actually very nice!)
3. Knocked Up
This isn’t the dirtiest Judd Apatow film by a long shot (and I actually quite liked it) but watching Seth Rogan tear off Katherine Heigl’s outfit in a fit of passion is enough to make you feel uncomfortable even when you’re by yourself. Watching it with your family is way worse, trust me.
4. Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (or any TV movie about Lizzie Borden)
Let’s switch it up a second. It’s not just sexually gratuitous films that are tough to watch with your parents. What about one involving a daughter who hacked hers to death? Super awkward and possibly will inspire family therapy.
5. Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills
For the same reason it’s not fun to watch a young girl off her parents, it’s also strange to watch two grown men do it. I’m not saying your elders will think you’re getting ideas, but still. Unless you wish to prove that your family’s dysfunction is at least better than theirs!
6. Blue is the Warmest Color
Just because a film has French subtitles doesn’t make the lesbian sex scenes any easier to watch with your family. While a very lovely, understated movie, I wouldn’t gather the troops to watch this together next Christmas. But maybe that’s just me.
7. Diary of a Teenage Girl
A more recent film, I actually got this confused with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is a children’s movie. Luckily, I figured it out before suggesting it to my Great Aunt as a “fun romp to watch with her grandchildren.” (Because in reality, it’s a super edgy, sexually unflinching look at a troubled teen.) Oops.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
It’s not so much the scene where Leo DiCaprio is so high on Quaaludes that it takes him half an hour to crawl into his Lamborghini that’s tough to watch with your parents. It’s the countless breasts on countless strippers and prostitutes that’s shady. Oh and there are a few ultra uncomfortable scenes with Jonah Hill that, once viewed, you can’t “un-see.” (For the record, I loved this Martin Scorsese frat-boy/bad-boy movie!)
Going back to the early 80s, this high-grossing film (of course panned by critics) spawned quite a few disgusting sequels. Well, I say disgusting, but by today’s standards it’s all pretty tame. However, I personally don’t want to watch boys spying through a peep-hole (Psycho style) at lots of big-breasted unassuming women with my dad.
10. Dallas Buyers Club
I didn’t choose this one because it was especially sexual (although there are a few graphic scenes) or especially violent. I chose it because, having watched it with a family member, it inspired way too many questions. “Is Jared Leto a man or a woman? What’s up with Matthew McConaughey’s weight? Is Jennifer Garner really a doctor?” The list goes on. It got weird and I’m trying to spare you that weirdness, as well.