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Ummm… Mom… Dad.. What Were You Thinking?
posted by Dave on 2/20/01

My parents took me to a lot of good movies when I was younger. I have a sizable list of movies that I can proudly say that I saw in the theater. On the flip side however, there were some choices that my parents made in their movie selections, that I can only scratch my head and wonder, what the hell were they thinking?. With that in mind… I’d like to present to you:

My Top Five “Why Did You Take Me To See That?!?” Movies

5) Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987)

My Dad absolutely loved the original Revenge of the Nerds. I can honestly say that one of the hardest I’ve ever seen the man laugh is when the Nerds go looking for housing.. and the one guy interrogates Booger through the mail slot, “What you want? Why you here? Fuck off!”… Since we enjoyed the original so much, it was only natural to go see the sequel. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse sequels than this one… but normally one would know to catch it when it comes out on video or wait until it appears on cable. I mean listen to this plot: The Tri-Lambs go down to Florida for a Spring Break Greek Conference. Now the evil Alpha Betas led by Bradley Whitford (who achieved 90’s icon status for essentially reprising his Nerds II role to play the villain, Eric, in Billy Madison) try to get the Tri Lambs kicked out of the conference, basically to get revenge for the Adams College Chapter, who the Nerds thwarted in the first movie.

The Alpha Betas frame the Tri Lambs for stealing their car.. and then proceed to drop them off on a deserted island, so they can’t go to the conference to clear their names. Well, luckily for the nerds, there just happens to be a tank and all sorts of guns and ammo on this island; and they drive the tank all the way to the conference and crash through the wall of the hotel and end up in the pool. They end up clearing their name in regards to the auto theft accusation, and everybody overlooks the fact that they just did thousands of dollars in damage to the hotel. The Nerds rejoice!! The Alpha Betas must have been a tight knit organization, to give up valuable Spring Break drinking time, just to try and screw the Tri Lambs. I was in a fraternity at college.. and let me say that whenever we took a road trip to another school, not only did every other chapter of our fraternity we ever meet, completely suck but we were lucky if they let us come into their house to use the bathroom. At least we got to use our secret handshake though… Of course, half of the “brothers” I met from other schools, I didn’t want to be seen with in public, nevermind give a fancy handshake to.

4) Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

This wasn’t a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that my Dad felt that it wasn’t necessary to actually see the original Nightmare on Elm Street before going to see the sequel. I guess he figured I was going through my horror movie phase… and I would see anything regardless of whether or not it was a sequel to a movie that I had yet to see. This wasn’t like Iron Eagle 2, where you could pick up the plot with ease either. Freddy Krueger was an established character, whose back story was explained in the first movie. I sat there, pretty much clueless, paying close attention so that when I rented the original the next day.. what I was seeing before me would make any sort of sense. Two years later, my Dad would redeem himself by taking me to see A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors… which absolutely rocked. As far as Part 2 was concerned, just because I had rented such horror classics as Silent Night, Deadly Night and Chopping Mall, didn’t necessarily mean I was ready to jump into a Nightmare on Elm Street sequel cold turkey.

3) Troll (1986)

Now keep in mind that this movie was supposed to be scary. All I remember was my Mom taking me to see this with one of her friends. The only explanation I can come up with is that my Mom and her friend toked up and thought this movie would be so bad that it might be kind of comical. No such luck. This movie flat out sucked. The funny part is that Julia Louis Dreyfus can’t seem to get this movie off of her resume’, as I’ve seen talk show hosts bust her chops by showing clips of her tour de force performance. Years later, Troll 2, a sequel that has absolutely nothing to do with the original would be made… and it would win it’s way into my heart, as the movie so bad, that I just had to own it. Not many people can say they saw Troll in the theater and own Troll 2 on video. I am far from proud of the fact that I am one of them.

2) The Razor’s Edge (1984)

I’m just going to assume that my parents were both on a lot of drugs for most of 1984. I remember one night they woke me up at 10:00 to go to Chuck E. Cheese and a midnight showing of Ghostbusters. (I’ve smoked enough weed in my day, to know a banged out, all too cool, spur of the moment decision when I see one). There was another Bill Murray experience that year… a not so funny one, The Razor’s Edge. I mean, did they even read a review for this movie? Did they just see a commercial, see Bill Murray in it, and decide that the whole family was going to have a raucous good time? All I remember about this movie is that it was boring as hell, and some woman in it committed suicide by slitting her wrists, That’s a perfect combo for your 10 yr old son… long and boring with just a sprinkling of suicide equals a kid that will grow up to write about how traumatic going to this movie was, 16 years after the fact. Here is my interpretation of my parents coming to the decision to see this movie:

Mom: “You wanna see the new Bill Murray movie?”

Dad: “What’s it about?”

Mom: “Beats me, but if it’s even half as good as Meatballs, it’ll still be funny as hell.”

Dad: “The kids like Bill Murray… we should take them along instead of leaving them with a babysitter.”

Mom: “Bitchin"! Start rolling a joint, while I go tell the kids to get dressed, cause we’re going to see the new Bill Murray movie tonight. They’ll be so excited…”

I have yet to see this movie since I saw it in the theater. All I know is that I wasn’t ready to witness Bill Murray make his “dramatic” debut back then… and chances are I’m still not ready now…

And finally we come down to the number one, absolute worst movie my parents ever took me to see… aka: Dad.. How could you!?!?!

1) Staying Alive (1983)

It was bad enough that as a toddler my parents had me imitate John Travolta’s mirror performance from Saturday Night Fever…I’m sure that their 4 year old son looking in the mirror screaming, “Al Pacino! Al Pacino! Attica!! Attica!!” while putting his arms up in then air, was quite comical…but what happened when I was 9 yrs old was just taking the joke too far. The year was 1983. For all intents and purposes, disco was really, really dead. John Travolta’s career was starting the downward spiral that would culminate with the “Look Who’s Talking” trilogy… So what does Travolta do? He makes one of the most unnecessary sequels of all time… Staying Alive. It wasn’t as if Saturday Night Fever left you thirsting for more, nevermind six years after the fact. I like to think that the sentence, “I’ve been waiting six years for them to finally make this movie!” was never uttered by a single human being on opening day.

To sum up the plot, Travolta’s character, Tony, struggles to use his only talent (the ability to dance) on a professional level. In the nightclubs, he was a God… but in the high stakes world of professional dancing, he’s just another Italian with high hair and a cleft chin (aren’t we all?). He auditions for the lead in this expressive dance play, where he is partnered up with a snooty British bitch, who thinks her dance credentials are above Tony’s “real life” dancing experience. In the end, when it comes down to showtime, she gets nervous and freezes when she is supposed to jump up and meet Tony on this huge, tacky, hydraulic set piece. Tony maintains his composure however and heroically extends his arm and yells at her, “C’mon… Jump!”. In the end Tony and the British bitch realize that they are from two different worlds, but on the dance floor they have a common ground, on which to lay the foundation for romance. My dear lord.

I can’t believe I just wrote all of that… and directly from my memory no less. I guess sometimes seeing movies in the theater that are really bad, leaves just as indelible an impression as seeing movies that are really good. Either that, or I just have the propensity to remember some utterly useless information. Sure, ask me what the balance in my checking account is and you’ll get a blank stare… but ask me what the plot to Staying Alive is, and I’ll write you a novella about it. Story of my life.

C’mon… Jump!!