To The Movie Theater with Mom and Dad

When was the last time you went out to watch a movie with your parents?

According to all these blockbuster trailers from franchises like Marvel and Fast and the Furious, movie theaters are on finally back. Disney will continue keeping 70% of our mind share and 80% of our funds as we march toward a capitalist nightmare state of theme parks and movie sequels. Either way, I am still excited to go out and see some movies!

The last one I saw inside was Bad Boys for Life. I want to tell you it was stupid and I hated it, but it was stupid and I loved it. It was 100% the kind of movie that I would have loved to watch with my mom and dad back in the day. We never went to movies much, but we never saw movies we hated either. Well I didn’t hate them.

My parents love movies. The only thing my they love more than watching movies is hanging out at home. At home you can have a cookout, eat what you want, change the channel to keep up with the sportsball game, and you can talk. You can talk during the movie if you want to. In fact, my mother may like talking during movies more than watching them.

Conversely I’ve always been the type who would use any excuse to go to the movie theater, but after remembering how my parents watch movies there, I can see why I used to leave. If ever my parents were prompted to leave the house for cinematic entertainment they would respond with a comment like, “Do I think they paid all this money for this house and those cable channels to spend money going to watching some bullshit I can’t turn off? Hell naw!”

I recently found out on the 99% Invisible Podcast that as much as I owe my theatre love to my high school friends having great tastes in jobs that let me see everything that came out for free, I also owe it to the invention of the Megaplex. Not surprisingly, this Texas invention of the that became so massive (pun intended) at the time that it even changed the way movies were made in Hollywood. There are many times where the choice of wish lavish theater to go to made the difference of going out at all. The Megaplex is apparently how we got arthouse films in wide releases like Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was an interesting era of movie watching that unfortunately, this led to… a gallop toward our capitalist nightmare state. Remember when 12 screens were all showing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s a Martha of box office catastrophes.

The Megaplex! - 99% Invisible
Back in the early 1990s, movie theaters weren't that great. The auditoriums were cramped and narrow, and the screen was…

Yet, excited I remain to go to my beloved Alamo Drafthouse or surviving Megaplex and partake of her marked up flavors someday soon. My parents probably won’t be in tow, but I have the memories of seeing some of my favorite movies with them. It’s one of the benefits of having young parents. You get to grow up together and develop a love of the movies from cinema to cinema.

Here are a few of my favorite examples along with what I remember about them.

Movie #1: ET the Extra Terrestrial (ReRelease)

I was a pretty young when one came out, but it was such a popular film they would continually rerelease it. They used to bring stuff out multiple times back then. They would do anything to keep us from renting VHS tapes and watching movies at home.

What I remember about the movie without looking anything up?

ET the Extra Terrestrial is about a young boy that meets an alien and turns that alien into his pet. The alien can heal the boy, make him fly, and just wants to phone home. Young Drew Barrymore screams a lot, but nothing like she does in Firestarter when she and her psychic dad use her flame powers to murder the government.

Memories About the Experience

I can only remember bits and pieces of the experience. This being my first time to the movie theater, my parents really pulled out all the stops for me. We bought a terribly expensive commemorative cup, ate tons of popcorn and candy, and then threw up all over the floor. That would make this my first, but far from my last, mess at the movies.

Favorite line?

DREW BARRYMORE: Back off! Just back off!

No.. wait.. that’s Firestarter. I like Firestarter much better than ET.

Movie #2: Critical Condition

I come from a Richard Pryor/Eddie Murphy house. If they were in it, we found a way to see it. While this is obviously because they were funny men who made funny movies, my parents also thought it was important to support any Black guys carrying movies at the time.

What I remember about the movie without looking anything up?

Critical Condition was a Pryor vehicle in which he plays a crime guy sent to a hospital to be checked for an insanity plea. Naturally he gets confused for a doctor and I think you just watch Richard Pryor pretend to pretend to be a doctor while a horrible storm rolls in. It’s like a disaster movie that’s funny.

Memories About the Experience

I just remember my father cackling the entire time. I mean, this guy laughs at everything Richard Pryor does. He laughed pretty hard at Jo Jo Dancer which is the Pryor movie where Richard burns himself up looking for more crack to smoke before reviewing his life. Honestly, Pryor is that funny.

Favorite Line:

BOX: “Nobody kicks my dog, motherfucker!”

Box is big wrestler looking dude in the insanity ward at this hospital. He has a guy that thinks he’s a dog that he takes care of? That dog gets kicked by the bad guy at the end of the movie.

What I’m trying to say is, my parents were so cool, I always got to watch movies with bad language all the time.

Movie #3: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

This is the most intense version of the Turtles to exist outside of the comics to this day. I remember everything about this movie and even had the comic book adaptation of this film. It’s probably the 3rd best movie ever made. I try to watch it once every 18 months. Shout out to Jim Henson for living long enough to work on this one.

What I remember about the movie without looking anything up?

It’s about four anthropomorphic turtles that learn to be ninjas from their rat sensei before beating the crap out of a ninja street gang led by a dude covered in cheese graters. It remains the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

Memories About the Experience:

I was fortunate to pay the “first move ever” experience forward as my mother and I got to bring my younger cousin out to see first movie in a theater. She had enough of the cartoon by this point to know what was going on, but that only gave her more things to comment on:

“Where’s April’s yellow jump suit?”

“Where that nerdy girl with the glasses?”

“Who the hell is Casey Jones?”

“This is way more violent than the cartoon.”

“That red mask one is mean as hell.”

Good times! The we left the theatre and jump kicked every imaginary ninja in the parking lot on the way to the car.

Favorite Line:


Then Casey turns on a trash compactor to try and kill the Shredder. A decade of action cartoons and the ATeam taught me that nobody ever dies no matter how many bullets or blades you use. So in this indie move, Casey Jones stood alone… He always was a trendsetter.

Movie #4: Demolition Man

This is a Sylvester Stallone movie about the future becoming too safe presumably because of cancel culture. I know this because Dennis Leary is in it doing that thing he was known for where he’s mad he can’t say or do certain stuff. That’s how tired cancel culture is. 90s Dennis Leary had a whole career off of it.

Demolition Man has also got martial arts Wesley Snipes in it along with Sandra Bullock. She was the only actress crush I ever had once I saw her in a Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Until Michelle Rodriguez came out anyway. Sigh… then Gina Carano, who sucks now.

Oh… and the fanciest restaurant in town is Taco Bell.

What I remember about the movie without looking anything up?

Demolition Man follows our hero John Spartan who gets in trouble from blowing up every building in LA to catch bad guys. The last time he does this to catch his nemesis Simon Phoenix, Spartan is said to have caused the death of a bunch of people in the building. Rather than lock him up like a normal criminal, they instead put him in cryogenic sleep like an action criminal, because even in movies they don’t punish cops who kill people. Of course… they also put Simon Phoenix in one of those too so maybe they don’t punish anyone?

Anyway, like 80 years go by and suddenly Simon Phoenix gets out in the future. Only this time he knows all about kung fu, murder, and dropping dank one liners. The cops have no idea how to stop a guy this brutal because no one can eat meat or have sex, so they let John Spartan out to get Phoenix because it worked so well the last time. They need a real meat and potatoes man to deal with this level of violence.

Memories About the Experience

My parents took me to see this movie with my friend, Billy. From there, it’s honestly just a blinding white flash of awesome. Now this one, I hate to admit. But when we left the theatre, I turned to him and said, without irony, malice, or even teenage fear of judgement:

That was the greatest movie I have ever seen.

And nobody argued. Not Mom, nor Dad, nor Billy, because these are the kinds of violent movies we enjoyed in the 90s. Sure it wasn’t Robocop, but this movie had at least one laser gun in it and a computer that spat out toilet paper Sly could wipe his ass with. What’s not to love?

Favorite Line:

ERWIN (Played by Rob Schneider): We’re police officers! We’re not trained to handle this kind of violence!

This movie, silly and politically tone deaf as it is, hold up mightily thanks to the one liners, action hero Wesley Snipes, and looking back now the deep dive into the future world we are already living in. Nobody gets along, everybody hires killers, and we blow up restaurants in between bites of sewer rat.

I hope I’ve spelled out why you go see some films with your vaccinated parents at the theatre. They deserve to hate on everything you like and ask you silly questions the whole time. It’ll make your family even stronger.

To the Megaplex!

Michael Bridgett

Michael Bridgett

Michael Bridgett is an event host, songwriter, and actor that writes about this very wide world of ours. He also releases music as “Mike Dynamo” for Hypnotic Fist Technique, Funan Beat Empire and more
Tallinn, Estonia