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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

I Watched An Adult Movie Last Night — With My Mother

What are you thinking? What’s wrong with you people? Are you the few –or the many; how would I know? –that actually respond to viagra spam? Are you the folks that pay to watch a scrawny hotel heiress have desultory congress on a cameraphone? I’d better explain, I guess.

I am the parent of two small children. An “adult” movie has at least one adult in it. That’s it. No sponges. No rabbits. No Sneetches. Adult persons talk to one another and do things that adults would do with a camera pointed at them and David Mamet telling them what to say. That’s an adult movie.

That’s a rare thing at my house. I do not understand persons that watch adult things in front of their children. Self-abnegation for the sake of others is the hallmark of adults. You really must look into it. My ten year old can recite every thing he’s ever heard or seen verbatim, with accents, so I know they’re paying attention. He’s going to hear enough dopey things at school. I’m not going to make it worse by watching Reservoir Dogs while he does his spelling homework.

My relatives are visiting from California, and we’ve done everything relatives do, but after all the frosting and bug juice and basketball and playgrounds and croquet and Playstation and Spongbob and bubbles and ice cream and hot dogs and Monopoly, I decided that all the adults could sit in my living room and watch a movie with a few expletives in it. And a big honkin’ bear.

The Edge is David Mamet making an action picture. For those of you who don’t know, David Mamet is a playwright, and a screenwriter, and a regular old writer too. Off the top of my head Mamet is:

The Verdict
Glengarry Glenross
The Edge
The Winslow Boy
The Spanish Prisoner
Happy Texas
State and Main

Anyway, he’s got that knack of putting words in people’s mouths that sound like people would say them, but seem to encapsulate world views and themes and conflict and, and, and… compare and contrast Mamet’s prose style with the style of Cheryl Printup’s short story…

I’m sorry, I lapsed into a college writing class. I didn’t like those. For me, college writing class, for as long as it lasted, consisted of me and twenty-nine girls, sitting there reading Emily Bronte or some other girl that could use a stiff drink and a boyfriend with a tattoo, and them nattering among themselves about that tripe until they got to the part where the heroine is walking through the dewy garden barefoot with Heathcliff or whatever the closet fruit’s name was and there was a lot of scattershot adjectives about burgeoning stamens and dripping pistils and men in a boat and ripe fruit, and the female teacher would invariably turn to me in the back row and ask: “What do you feel this imagery is driving at, Mr. Sullivan?” while the twenty nine ingenues turned and glared at me.

Lady, she should have shoes on and run off with a gardener and be done with it. The Chatterley broad did. Leave me alone.

Give me something… adult. Give me Mamet.

6 Responses

  1. 3rd paragraph from the end: I think you put the adjective “stiff” in front of the wrong noun in that sentence.

  2. 3rd paragraph made me laugh aloud; such memories of college days wasted, looking for sex metaphors in Victorian literature. I would have been one of those girls glaring at you except for the decades difference in our ages. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Edward Fairfax Rochester though.

  3. As a parent of four youngish kids, I knew exactly what you meant by “adult movie.” Good definition.

    I’ve really come to appreciate Pixar films. They are of course fun for the kids, but there’s a lot for adults to enjoy. I particularly like the way they encourage positive moral values (like loyalty, hard work, faithfulness, courage, trust, kindness, and self-sacrifice) without moralizing.

    They’re not David Mamet, but they’re good films — and ones that you can watch with your kids and enjoy.

  4. I do not understand persons that watch adult things in front of their children. Self-abnegation for the sake of others is the hallmark of adults.

    I happened to be at the local Outpost of Corporate Evil (WalMart) recently. Around the corner was an adult with two grade-school-age kids trying on shoes. At one point one of the boys was trying to explain why he couldn’t get the shoes on as fast as this woman wanted, and she yelled back, “Well, do whatever the f#%@ you got to do!”

    I just don’t get it. Maybe the lady was having a bad day. Maybe the kids were getting on her nerves (though they weren’t acting up as far as I could tell). But in any case — Why? Is this really what you want to pass on to your kids?

  5. Emily Bronte Adams weighs in.

    Edward Fairfax Rochester isn’t as funny sounding as Heathcliff so I played dumb and used it.

    Pastor Jeff, sportin’ it fresh, is a good father to his kids and always gives people the benefit of the doubt first, and so is in the right job description too.

  6. Me mum had me watch everything; she took me to the theatre to see Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? and I tried to do it as our school play until UberNunFuehrers stepped in to enforce the treacle of Bye Bye Birdie on us all…

    2001, Midnight Cowboy, Bonnie and Clyde…all childhood favorites…and Disney, too, of course!

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