Watch 5 Filmmakers Recall Their Most Cringeworthy Moments at the Movies with Mom & Dad

In sixth grade, my friend Amy Osborn’s par­ents took us to a screen­ing of Annie Hall. The bed­room scenes with Car­ol Kane, Janet Mar­golin and Diane Keaton were chaste by today’s stan­dards. The repar­tee was so beyond my frame of ref­er­ence, it caused but lit­tle dis­com­fort. What did me in was the two-line exchange between a car­toon Woody Allen and Snow White’s Wicked Queen con­cern­ing her peri­od (or lack there­of)Are You There God? It’s Me, Mar­garet was our sacred text, but its most sen­sa­tion­al sub­ject matter—menstruation—was deeply taboo out­side of my 1970’s Indi­ana tribe. I could have died, know­ing Mr. Osborn was sit­ting right there. The one con­so­la­tion was that my own par­ents weren’t.

These awk­ward encoun­ters can be defin­ing, which explains why the Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val sought to fer­ret them out as part of its One Ques­tion series. It’s impres­sive that the four direc­tors and one pro­duc­er fea­tured above decid­ed to pur­sue careers in film after inad­ver­tent­ly shar­ing with their par­ents such ten­der moments as a mas­tur­bat­ing Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man in Todd Solondz’s sem­i­nal (par­don the pun) Hap­pi­ness or the relent­less deflo­ration scene at the top of Lar­ry Clark’s Kids.

Per­haps you can relate. If so, please spill the gory details below. Pro­vid­ed you’re strong enough to revis­it the trau­ma, what was your most cringe-induc­ing moment at the movies with your mom or dad, or—let’s not be ageist here—your kids?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Grow­ing Up John Waters: The Odd­ball Film­mak­er Cat­a­logues His Many For­ma­tive Rebel­lions (1993)

The Sto­ry Of Men­stru­a­tion: Watch Walt Disney’s Sex Ed Film from 1946

Dustin Hoff­man Talks Sex from the Com­fort of His Own Bed (1968)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day grows less ashamed with every pass­ing year. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (8)
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  • Leigh says:

    When I was a fresh­man in col­lege, my dad vis­it­ed me and we went to see Mid­night Cow­boy. He was a very con­ser­v­a­tive, old school guy and thought it was going to be a West­ern! Jon Voight’s male pros­ti­tute and Dustin Hoff­man’s deprav­i­ty dis­gust­ed him, though I love it. That evening opened a cul­tur­al divide between us that was nev­er ful­ly bridged again.

  • Steve says:

    I was 16 years old and went with my par­ents to my first R rat­ed movie, Deliv­er­ance. I always remem­ber sit­ting between them when the squeal­ing pig scene with Ned Beat­ty hap­pened and was not game to look side­ways. Noth­ing was ever said by any of us, but it was a mem­o­rable moment, still now 40 years lat­er.

  • Julie says:

    My dad took me to see The Rul­ing Class when I was 17. I’m in my 40s now, still cringe at the mem­o­ry.

  • Jerianne Trammell says:

    I don’t know that it was as hard on me as it was my par­ents. Dad­dy could­n’t stop laugh­ing and Moth­er was mor­ti­fied after we saw one of the “Every Which Way” movies we were walk­ing down the crowd­ed side­walk after­ward and I inno­cent­ly and not qui­et­ly asked them “What is the clap”?

  • bob stepno says:

    My dad took me to see a dou­ble fea­ture of “Our Man in Havana” and “Gene Kru­pa Sto­ry” when I was 10 or 11. I remem­ber hav­ing many unan­swered ques­tions. “But /why/ did the pret­ty lady in the bar want him to unlace her top? Are there ladies like that at the bar where you work?”

  • Alban Elfed says:

    When I was about 15, I was intrigued by the mys­te­ri­ous nature of the trail­er for Eyes Wide Shut. At that age, my Mom & I did­n’t spend much time togeth­er & were at each oth­ers throats most of the time, so one night we decid­ed to go to the movies & see the film, which she had nev­er even heard of. I had only seen the trail­er & did­n’t real­ly know what it was about because it was so vague. Need­less to say, it was very awk­ward, but we man­aged to watch the entire film, which was hilar­i­ous to me because she was ultra-reli­gious & also a chil­dren’s min­is­ter at the time. It was a very uncom­fort­able & qui­et ride home after­ward.

  • Joann Locascio says:

    My kids loved the Chuck­ie movies so when The Bride of Chuck­ie came out, I took them to see it, not real­iz­ing it was rat­ed R (not smart, I know) I spent half the movie with my hands over the eyes of my youngest son and daugh­ter (ages 6 and 8 at the time) We still laugh about it.

  • Patrick says:

    I saw Psy­cho with my moth­er and father at the cin­e­ma. I was liv­ing with my par­ents at the time. I was, I think, 30, 31 years old. Some funky Oedi­pal stuff there.

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