Movie theaters have become mom-free zones

October 23, 2006|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

If you're looking for a way to add some guilt and stress to your life, here's a suggestion: Take your 85-year-old mother to a movie that's totally inappropriate for her.

This is what I did on a recent visit to my mom's, when she decided we needed to get out of the house.

"Let's go to a movie," she said. "You pick which one."

Well, there wasn't much playing at the movie theater in the small town where she lives.

There was a gross-out (Jackass Number Two) and a martial-arts (Jet Li's Fearless) flick playing, along with the always-cheerful Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

So I picked The Departed, which had just come out and had an all-star cast that included Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sure, it was a Martin Scorsese movie.

Sure, it was R-rated.

Sure, it was about Irish mobsters in South Boston.

But I'm thinking: How bad can it be?

I'm thinking: OK, it'll be The Godfather, only with a lot of pasty-faced guys with brogues busting heads and pulling guns.

So we go see The Departed.

We even get there a few minutes early, so I can get my mom a pair of those headphones seniors can use to hear the movie better.

After the obligatory 19 previews, half-dozen commercials for Coke, the U.S. Army, etc., and a warning to turn off your cell phone "for the enjoyment of everyone," the movie begins.

Almost immediately, one character says something like:

"You [bleep], I'll cut off your [bleeping] head and shove it up your [bleep]."

Ohhh-kay.

So right away we know this isn't The Sound Of Music.

But I'm not freaking out just yet.

Look, my mom isn't a prude. She's 85 and Irish-Catholic. But she's tough and open-minded. A few bad words aren't going to send her screaming down the aisle.

Good thing, too.

Because seconds later, another character says something like: "You know what, you [bleeper]? You might be the biggest [bleep] and [bleep] I have ever [bleeping] seen in my [bleeping] life."

OK. By now, I'm starting to sense this might not be the best movie to take your mom to.

Here I don't think they've even rolled the opening credits yet. And already we're on the way to setting a world record for Most Curse Words While Developing the Back Story.

Well, I think, thank God for one thing. At least it isn't violent.

Which is about when they show this terrifying montage of the Jack Nicholson character on a killing spree, wiping out people with a hatchet, guns, knives, everything but a vegetable peeler.

All with the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" wailing in the background.

Hoo, boy.

In the darkness, I look over at my mom.

Before, I was praying that her headphones didn't work and she couldn't hear anything.

Now I'm praying her eyes are going and she can't see anything, either.

But she's just calmly watching the movie.

In fact, from the expression on her face, you'd think she was watching the Discovery Channel.

Anyway, this is how the movie goes for the next 2 1/2 hours.

The language never lets up -- it makes the dialogue in Goodfellas, Scorsese's Italian mob opera, seem like banter between choirboys.

And the violence just gets worse and worse.

People get punched. People get shot. People get stabbed. People get pushed from the top of tall buildings.

Blood is splattered everywhere.

As the movie rolls on, I keep sinking lower and lower in my seat.

What have you done? I keep thinking. The woman's 85 years old! She doesn't need to see this!

When it's finally over and the lights come on -- I won't spoil the ending, except to say no one's whistling "Happy Days Are Here Again" -- I launch into a profuse apology.

"Mom, I'm so sorry," I say, "I had no idea the language would be that

be that.??

?Oh, the language didn?t bother me,? she said. ?But it was a little violent, wasn?t it??

Oh, yeah. Just a bit.

Next time she needs a night out, I think we?ll go to the mall.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com /cowherd.

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