At some point around the end of elementary school or the beginning of middle school, I started refusing to go to the movies with my parents, for the obvious pre-adolescent reasons. But, throughout high school, I would make exceptions if I judged us to be far enough away from any place where I might be spotted by a classmate. And that is how, one evening in the fall of 1999, I ended up accompanying them to American Beauty. In 2013, what most people will remember about this film is its middlebrow critique of middle-class America, and maybe that one awful moment with the plastic bag. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that what’s burned into my memory is the excruciating scene in which Annette Bening’s Carolyn, the archetypal suburban mom, indulges in surprisingly athletic, explicit extramarital sex with Peter Gallagher’s Buddy Kane. We talked a lot about the death of the American Dream in the car home that night, but that one particular moment (or Kevin Spacey fantasizing about his teenage daughter’s friend) never came up. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
When I was 11 my mother decided it’d be a great idea to go see How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Mind you, this is a film in which Taye Diggs wears mank tops half the time and nothing the other half, a fact that is very clear in the trailer. But my mother doesn’t have an eye for detail when it comes to pop culture, so she assumed it would just be a liberating film about a high-powered woman finding herself in the tropics. In other words, a great movie for a young girl to see to learn about self-empowerment, goal-setting, and having it all. Oh, the ’90s.
Fast forward about 45 minutes. I’m in my movie seat, practically feigning rigor mortis because I’m so tense, but still pretending to be asleep in order to avoid watching the excruciatingly long and drawn out sex scenes that run throughout the whole movie. Maybe there weren’t that many, and maybe they weren’t that long, but having to watch more than one steamy sex scene with your mother is enough to make any sixth grader want to die quickly and painlessly. — Lillian Ruiz, Social Media Director
This is probably the worst film you could ever watch with another person. So you can imagine that watching it at 15 with your mother is hardly the ideal situation. The scene where stripper Natalie Portman shows her lady parts to Clive Owen was particularly difficult to sit through, with my mum who thought I was an angel teenager. As far as she knew, I hadn’t so much as watched American Pie (I had). Regardless, my 15-year-old self had plenty of post-screening questions for my mother, which I think she handled pretty well. She responded by taking out the sex advice pages of my teen magazines before I read them, and later told me which pages not to read. Guess which pages I turned to first? Blame it on Natalie Portman, I say. — Chloe Pantanzi, Editorial Intern
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What about you, ONTD? Ever felt uncomfortable watching a movie with your mom?
I saw Titanic with my mom when I was like 9 and had to walk out of the room during the sex scene lmao.