Watching movies with your parents can be a real treat. You get to explain the plot to them a thousand times and you get to experience the eternity it takes for them to consume a small popcorn with no butter, but sprinkled with flavoring mom smuggled in her purse. But choose the movie wisely, or else the sound of them popping the tab on a canned soda won’t be your only source of humiliation. Oh, but this doesn’t just apply to movies in the theater! You know full well your parents can embarrass and humiliate you at home, and it doesn’t always have to do with their habits. There are lots of reasons not to watch certain movies with your parental units, not least the awkwardness of … adult situations. Here’s a list of movies to avoid unless you were a huge fan of that birds-and-bees talk from sixth grade.
Basic Instinct (1992)
This classic thriller stars Michael Douglas as a detective and Sharon Stone as the femme fatale he’s caught in a dangerous affair with, despite her involvement with a grisly murder investigation. These two don’t exactly keep it professional, providing more than a few scenes you’ll want to avoid, particularly the now infamous interrogation where her preference for going commando could have your parents blushing and you scrambling for the skip-ahead button.
Gone Girl (2014)
Based on the popularity of the novel, there’s a good chance one of your parents (likely your mom) actually read it and was waiting for this movie to come out. Regardless of how you feel, she’s seeing this thing, so if it’s her Mother’s Day request, or you’re snowed in and already caught up on your latest Netflix binge, here is how you survive this. When three key scenes come on — and you’ll know immediately when they’re happening — clutch your stomach and run to the bathroom. Give yourself 4-6 minutes, sprinkle some water on your brow, and when you come back tell her you’re done with Chipotle for a while.
Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015)
Your mom has absolutely read the book this movie is based on. Trust us, she doesn’t want to discuss it with you, or watch the movie with you. The best-case scenario here is that you and your dad take a page out of your dad’s playbook and maintain zero knowledge of the movie’s existence. Bullet dodged.
Magic Mike (2012)
Whether you’re a son or a daughter, watching Magic Mike with your parents could get uncomfortable for different reasons. As a daughter, you could be faced with the possibility of finding yourself attracted to the same male dancer as your mother. This could lead to an occasion in which you go to use the dryer after your dad, find a Tarzan loincloth, and your semester in Kenya suddenly takes a dark turn. As a son, you’ll have to live with knowing exactly which type of exotic dancing/costume combination your mother prefers, which could derail your plans to enroll in the Fire Academy. Think of your future and the lives you could save.
There’s almost nothing in Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2009 follow-up to Borat, that you would want to watch with your parents. First of all, it features more naked Sacha Baron Cohen than his wife, actress Isla Fisher, probably saw on their wedding night. Second, it’s an equal-opportunity offender, poking fun at every conceivable divisive topic, including politics, racial exploitation, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, child abuse, and so many more. And that’s not even touching the litany of problematic homosexual cliches and embellishments throughout. Should we mention the scene in which Brüno and his assistant engage in a session of love-making so vigorously acrobatic it could probably land them jobs with Cirque du Soleil, or have we already said enough?
Ted 2 (2015)
Quick question: How many times have you dropped an F-bomb in front of your parents? Once maybe, by accident? Well get ready to hear it 10,000 times, and in the charming Southie parlance to boot, meaning there’s a solid chance you’ll be explaining to your mom and/or dad why the little talking bear keeps saying "fawk" every 10 seconds. On top of that, should you decide to offer a parental screening of what is essentially a live-action, uncensored Family Guy episode, you’ll also be treated to the sperm bank scene that includes the line, "My friend is yanking out a sample in one of the rooms," as well as a racist Kardashian joke. What are you waiting for? Grab your folks and hit play already! (Seriously though, don’t.)
American Beauty (1999)
Take our advice and avoid the multiple reasons for awkwardly averted gazes in this admittedly classic film of the late ’90s. Yes, it’s a moving, albeit cynical, portrait of the suburban family dynamic that virtually any parent/child combination can find something to relate to. But it also has a bunch of scenes featuring Kevin Spacey doing stuff like pleasuring himself in the shower, attempting to have an affair with his teenage daughter’s friend, and being mistaken for having a gay tryst with that same daughter’s boyfriend. To say it would have made for uncomfortable watching when the movie was released — long before the terrible accusations Spacey is facing now — would even be an understatement. Now? Your parents don’t even have to be in the room to make all of that feel super gross.
We’re not really sure what kind of weirdly themed movie night you’d be having at your house in which screening the raunchy ’80s classic Porky’s would be appropriate. But if it just so happens to be "Teenage Deflowering Night" in your family room, then be warned, because this movie features high school kids in situations like attempting to hire a prostitute to lose their virginity, perving on girls in the shower, and listening to two of their gym teachers being so loud while getting it on they could have been heard from outer space. A nice bonus to that last one is that the female gym teacher happens to be Kim Cattrall, whom your mom may recognize from Sex and the City, which by the way, you should also not watch with her.
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
The Blue Lagoon is the story of two young cousins, played by Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, who get shipwrecked on a remote island. If you’re a teenager watching this with your parents, you’ll get to experience the simultaneous agony of watching the two main characters navigate puberty while you’re currently doing the same. Then, as the characters embark on their incestuous love affair, you will get to watch in horror as they spend a ton of screen time naked — again to reiterate — as cousins who make love to each other. If none of this results in the suggestion that maybe switching to a board game for the rest of family night might be a good idea, go ahead and toss out this fun fact to quicken that process: Brooke Shields was 15 years old when she starred in this film.
American Pie (1999)
In this teen comedy classic that references the aforementioned Porky’s virginity-loss pact, a teenage boy has a conjugal visit with a pie, another teenage boy drinks a beer spiked with … baby-making juice, another teenage boy gets it on with gross-beer boy’s mom, and they all spy on a teenage girl with a webcam while she’s changing, which is literally a crime. There’s a whole lot more than that actually, including a story about a very misappropriated flute that could likely lead to a series of questions about any real-life camp experiences one’s parents may or may not have paid good money for. It’s a slippery slope that could even trigger a full-on investigation into several year’s worth of missing socks and hand towels, the resolution of which no one ever needs to know about. Take our advice, and skip this entire franchise.
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
This gross-out spectacular from raunch kings Bobby and Peter Farrelly covers a wide spectrum of topics you’d never want to even hear your parents mention, let alone watch with them while your knees might be touching on the couch. You probably think we’re talking about the infamous "hair gel" scene, or maybe even the prom scene featuring a close-up shot of Ben Stiller’s character’s mangled twig and berries. And yes, either of those would be horrifying to watch with mom and dad, but the real potential for squirm factor is the rest stop scene that implies gay men meet up there en masse to engage in random, casual hook-ups. The look on your father’s face, as every family road trip flashes past his panicked eyes, would be enough to ruin Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of time.
Color of Night (1994)
Bruce Willis is naked in this movie, and we’re talking "full monty," which right off the bat should be a non-starter for family movie night. But it could also lead to several other uncomfortable revelations, which we will lay out for you now in case you’re somehow still planning to watch this with your folks. First, you could find out exactly the reaction your mother has to seeing mini McClane, and if you think about it, neither revulsion nor joy would make you feel any better. Second, you could observe your father seeing the same thing while trying to figure out if his wife has been lusting after one of his favorite action stars this entire time. That kind of compounding of an already flop sweat-inducing moment would be a dream case study for any Freudian researcher, so take our advice and give your psyche a break on this one.
Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
This Spanish-language film offers the perfect chance for the old "Eh, you don’t want to read subtitles the whole time" excuse, and believe us when we say you’ll want to use it. The title alone, which translates to "And Your Mother, Too," should give a clue as to what awaits you and dear old mom and dad in this award-winning teenage road trip flick from acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón. The premise is this: Two extremely … voracious young boys, Julio and Tenoch, go on a road trip with a beautiful older woman, Luisa, who also happens to be Tenoch’s cousin’s wife. You see where this is going, right? Well, it’s straight to Freaktown, that’s where because this crew gets it on. A lot. Cuarón keeps the camera unblinkingly on the action, resulting in plenty of opportunity for long, long, long stretches of awkward silence, while you and your parents watch graphic depictions of teenage relations. No, gracias.
As a general rule, anything from controversial director Lars von Trier is likely going to be off the table for family viewing. But if we had to pick one from his oeuvre that you should steer your unsuspecting parents away from, it would have to be his 2009 psycho-sexual horror film, Antichrist. Starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple using seclusion and rough, sad copulation to cope with the death of their child, Antichrist goes from awkward to outright traumatizing with scenes of violence so graphic they’d make even the most die-hard slasher-flick fan freak out. Trust us when we say you, your parents, and your blissfully innocent concept of scissor-use will all thank us for skipping this movie.