There are certain movies you know ahead of time not to see with your parent—like Fifty Shades of Grey, Shame, basically anything directed by Judd Apatow – unless you’re just particularly fond of awkward sex jokes while you sit next to your mother. But then there is a whole other set of movies that sneak the awkward up on you. You think you’re going in to watch a buddy-comedy, only to find a five minute sex scene that makes you wish you were invisible – while your parent gives you awkward side glances (or even worse seems completely comfortable with the onscreen shenanigans).
To help you avoid those crushingly awkward moments in the future, here’s a list of 12 Movies Not to Watch With Your Parents. Warning: some of these are also NSFW. We kept our selection for this limited to relatively recent movies that on the surface seemed, if not completely innocent, then not as poor a selection for family movie night as they turned out to be
American Pie (1999)
Most of us now know that American Pie is an inappropriate choice for the weekly family night, but when it came out, many thought it was just another run-of-the-mill teen comedy. Premiering during the golden-age of young adult comedies, the film was critically well received and earned big money at the box office, leaving unsuspecting viewers surprised when they discovered the movie’s premise. It follows four high school seniors as they attempt to lose their virginity before graduation.
The set-up is awkward enough to watch with parents present, but the most cringe-inducing scene happens early on when Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) practices having sex with an actual apple pie. Other scenes include Jim’s dad Noah (Eugene Levy) offering him sex advice and pornography, and Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan) telling Jim about that “one time” at band camp – not to mention a direct run at parental sexuality and objectification via Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge).
Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The second installment in The Matrix Trilogy, Matrix Reloaded takes place six months after the events of the first film, with Zion and its inhabitants under threat. With The Matrix already established as one of the greatest sci-fi films of movie history by the time the sequel came out, Reloaded was a huge success at the box office, even if many fans found it to be a disappointing follow-up.
But one of the biggest surprises (and disappointments) was the slow-motion “orgy.” Technically, only Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) have sex, but the act takes place at a huge celebration on Zion with rave music and sweaty dance. Normally, only one sex scene wouldn’t land a movie on this list, but this one was just weird, long, and out-of-place enough to earn the movie a spot.
Team America (2004)
Team America is a satirical comedy about United States politics with marionettes instead of actors, which sounds hilarious and probably pretty safe to watch – thanks to the puppets. With positive reviews and political controversy surrounding the film (due to its parodying of Kim Jong-il), it’s easy to mistake Team America as funny film that everyone should see. But this puppet comedy was written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady – also known as three writers for South Park.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to watch puppets have sex while sitting next to your parents, go ahead and watch this film with them. Other awkward moments to look forward to: a song about AIDS (which could lead to the ever dreaded parental safe-sex conversation); 62 uses of the f-word; and did we mention the puppet sex?
Borat is a mockumentary following Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he leaves his fictitious home of Kazakh to travel through the United States and interview Americans. In fact, much of the movie is unscripted interviews with Americans who actually believe Cohen is Borat. A critical success, the film was praised for its satire and humor, even earning Cohen a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.
However, designed to shock, the film will spark all manner of uncomfortable conversations regarding sexism, prejudice, politics, and more. And while you might be fine with having those conversations with your parents, you will also have to endure a scene where two naked grown men fight over pictures of Pamela Anderson. Equally awkward to watch with the parents is Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno – which features a multi-second scene of nothing more than a penis swinging in circles.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
A romantic-comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall follows Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) as he attempts to get over his ex-girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) by traveling to Hawaii only to run into Sarah and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) at the hotel. Well received by critics, nothing about the film suggests how awkward watching it with parents can be – until you find out Judd Apatow produced it.
Within minutes of the film starting, viewers see Peter standing naked and in full view of the camera as Sarah breaks up with him. Later, viewers are treated to an awkward sex-off as Sarah overhears Peter and hotel concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis) getting it on and begins competing to see who can make the loudest coital noises.
Watchmen, a comic book adaptation from Zack Snyder, is set in an alternate history during the height of the Cold War and follows a group of retired superheroes as they investigate a supposed conspiracy against them. At the time, it was seen as a faithful and dark take on the superhero genre, with unique visuals.
Usually, seeing a superhero movie with the parents is a safe call, but usually superhero movies aren’t subversive twists on the genre that also happen to be Rated R. With plenty of violence and gore to earn the rating, the amount of nudity in the film will surprise many viewers – especially thanks to Doctor Manhattan’s disinterest in clothes (read: blue CGI penis shots). As a result, a slow-motion sex scene between two heroes will last an eternity… when sitting next to parents.
Black Swan (2010)
When you think ballet movies, you probably don’t expect an awkward viewing experience, but that’s only because you haven’t seen Black Swan. What seems like a girly-ballet movie at first glance, is actually a psychological thriller/horror film about a ballerina slowly losing her grip on reality as she competes for a spot in Swan Lake. Beloved critically, the film received five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Actress for Natalie Portman, which she won.
It seems like a perfectly safe movie to watch with the family until it reaches the graphic girl-on-girl sex scene. But it’s not just the sex scene that makes this movie uncomfortable. A terrible and highly dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship is one of the defining features of the film – which makes this a particularly rough one to watch with mom present.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Based on Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel of the same name, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about a journalist (Daniel Craig), aided by a computer hacker (Rooney Mara), who begins investigating the disappearance of a wealthy woman that took place forty years ago. Not only was the book beloved, the film itself also received positive reviews, praising the source material and both actor’s performances.
But it’s not just your average mystery, it’s deeply disturbing and chilling thriller, with two graphic rape scenes, one of which includes cringe-worthy use of a sex toy, that are hard enough to watch without sitting next to your parents – and that’s all before the downright haunting final revelations of the film.
Bridesmaids is a romantic comedy written by Annie Mumolo and Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wigg. Widely praised, even earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the movie follows Annie (Wigg) as she struggles to live up to expectations as her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) maid of honor. Rounding out the comedic talent in the film, the cast includes Chris O’Dowd, Rebel Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy. At first glance, it seems like the perfect movie to watch with your parents, particularly your mom.
But this is another Judd Apatow produced film, and the awkward moments come fast and quick. The film opens with Annie having not great sex with Ted (Jon Hamm), with plenty of position changes and moaning throughout. Other equally awkward sex scenes later, the girls are stricken with food poisoning – leading to Melissa McCarthy passing explosive diarrhea in a sink. Not to be outdone by her co-stars sex scenes, the film ends with a credit stinger of Melissa McCarthy’s character recording a funny (and not so sexy) sex tape involving her feeding a “hungry bear” a sandwich.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street is a biographical movie based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir from his time as a stockbroker in New York City. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonard DiCaprio as Belfort, the film was critically well received and earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Director.
But despite these great reviews, the film is full of disturbing moments, with more swearing, naked ladies, drug use, and gut-wrenching emotional abuse than is strictly appropriate for viewing with your parents. Watching it with them would basically just be you asking for a three hour lecture on drug-use and reckless behavior. Or your parents might love it, which would be equally scarring.
Despite the fact that Neighbors stars Seth Rogen – who often pushes the boundaries on parent-appropriate movies – it’s easy to think the film is just your average buddy-comedy. After all, it also stars Zac Efron (of High School Musical fame). When a frat house moves in next door to Mac (Rogen) and his wife (Rose Byrne), the couple complain noise is keeping their daughter awake, leading the neighbors to engage in all out suburban war.
In addition to parental drug use, which there is plenty of, an extended and awkward sex scene between Mac and his wife in front of their young baby raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions when watched with parents. And while you’re skipping this one, it’s probably best to skip another recent film from Rogen, This Is the End – until you want watch it with friends (rather than family).
Gone Girl (2014)
Another film based on a best-selling novel, Gone Girl is an easy movie to accidentally watch with your parents. The story follows Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) as he becomes the primary suspect in the disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). Billed as a psychological thriller, the film was both a commercial and critical success, earning Pike several nominations for her portrayal of Amy.
But just like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl quickly takes an uncomfortable turn as you learn that not everything is as it seems. There are several minor sex scenes with both male and female nudity (and a woman using a bottle in a sexual act) as well as bloody graphic violence. However, it is the film’s portray of marriage – especially the ugly side – that could make for awkward post-viewing conversations. Unfortunately, the twist in the movie is so brilliant it’s hard to not discuss, meaning there’s no way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation about what you just saw.
Those are our just some of our picks for movies you definitely don’t want to watch with your parents. Have you seen a movie with your parents that you instantly regretted? Are there any we missed? Be sure to share your picks in the comments section below.
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