NEXT TIME I’LL
CHECK THE RATING
We were in the
foothills of Quebec a couple of weeks ago, visiting my wife’s mother. At
87 years old, she doesn’t get out much, so my wife likes to keep her
moving as much as possible when we visit.
about going out to a movie this afternoon?" my wife suggested as we
all sat around doing our usual nothing.
agreed, but I was at a point where I would have agreed to go to a lecture
on women’s role in theology. I was that bored.
As for my
mother-in-law, she also thought it was a fine idea, even though we’re
never sure if she actually heard the question. Her hearing isn’t what it
used to be, but that might be a good thing, considering the movie we
We actually had
two choices—The American, starring George Clooney as an assassin chased
by other assassins, or Going The Distance, a romantic comedy starring that
girl-next-door, Drew Barrymore, and Justin Long.
the choice was clear. No sweet 87 year old woman would want to see a
shoot-em-up bloody thriller. A cute little romantic comedy –that was the
perfect ticket for my lovely, matronly mother-in-law.
more research, such as checking the rating of the movie, might have been
wise. But off we went to be entertained, unaware that all of us were about
to be scarred for life.
My wife and I knew
we were in trouble from the opening moments. The proverbial
girl-next-door, Drew Barrymore, turned out to have the mouth of the
rapper-next-door. She dropped the f-bomb 20 times in the first few
minutes, and that was only used to embellish her description of various
other sexual innuendos.
I looked at my
wife, who had her hand over her eyes, worrying about her inheritance. I
stole a glance at my demure little mother-in-law. She was staring intently
at the screen, possibly in shock.
We thought about
leaving, but seeing a movie was one of the highlights of the week. And
maybe, just maybe, my mother-in-law’s hearing was so bad that she was
missing some, if not all, of the filthy language. Besides, I think the
movie was supposed to be funny, and she certainly wasn’t laughing.
So we stayed.
Unfortunately, my mother-in-law’s eyes are fine, and she had no problem
seeing the next scene, where Drew Barrymore, who lives in San Francisco,
and Justin Long, who lives in New York, reunite and make mad, passionate
love on a kitchen table.
I don’t know how
low you can sink in a movie seat and still see the screen, but I may have
set a record.
No way I was going
to look at my mother-in-law now---maybe never again. I did glance at my
wife, and there was nothing we could do but laugh. And trust me, we weren’t
laughing at the movie, which was one of the dumbest romantic comedies I’ve
Again, we thought
about leaving, but it would have been even more embarrassing at that
point. Besides, we’d seen and heard it all at that point. It couldn’t
get much worse.
That’s when Drew
and Justin, separated once again, decided to try phone sex.
PLEASE, NOOOO!!! THEY CAN’T DO THIS TO US. HAVE MERCY!!! SHE’S 87
YEARS OLD, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! PLEASE, NOOOO!!!
Oh, but they did.
Split screen, no less, with Drew in bed in California, and Justin in bed
in New York, fully clothed with one hand on the phone and the other hand
under the cover, doing what most 87 year olds haven’t thought about
doing for a long, long time.
When the movie was
mercifully over, we waited for the theater to clear before walking out,
just in case someone felt like arresting us for elder abuse. Once outside,
my wife, trying to hold back her laughter, had to ask. "How did you
like the movie, Mom?"
No, she didn’t
show off her new vocabulary by saying it was f***ing awful. In fact, she
had no response. Either she didn’t hear my wife’s question, or she
wasn’t talking to us.