The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Awkward moviegoing experiences

with 25 comments

What’s your most awkward experience related to moviegoing?

If you’d let me guess, I’d say chances are that it has something to do watching explicit sex scenes in company with your parents or some other relative.

You know how it is. Of course we have those “important conversations” with our teenagers if we need to, but aside from that on some level we still want to live in the illusion that the stork must have brought us. We don’t want to imagine our parents doing THAT, as little as parents want to think too closely about what activities their children take part in with their partners. The moment we watch a sex scene together, we risk shattering the wall of discretion we’ve agreed on. Sex exists all of a sudden. We know that they know and they know that we know. Yak.

My moment of awkwardness
We’ve been sharing awkward experiences in a discussion thread at the Filmspotting forum where I use hang around.

My own contribution to the topic was nothing spectacular. Either I haven’t been into much of awkward situations, or – more likely – I’ve been able to repress those memories successfully. Anyway, I’ll share the moment of awkwardness that I came to think of.

It happened a few years ago, when my oldest daughter was about 11 years old, old enough to go to movies on her own. It was close to Christmas and I got the idea to send her and a friend of hers off to see a what I assumed was another nice, cosy “spirit-of the-season” movie that would put them in the right mood.

As they returned home I asked them about how the movie had been, but they just blushed and refused to talk about it any further.

The movie in question was Bad Santa. As I checked it up a bit closer than I had on beforehand, I felt like a Bad Mother.

Yeah, I told you it was a lame story. Especially compared to the following story, provided by Sandy, who is the gentlest woman you can think of, spreading warmth and happiness around her in the forum. Considering her personality she’s the last person in the world I’d expect ending up in the position she did during a theatre visit.

Sandy’s story
With the words of Sandy:

”In 2001 I was teaching a youth group on Wednesday nights and would go to a late show in a neighboring town after I was finished as a reward. I purchased a ticket to Josie and the Pussycats and sat in an empty theater.

20 minutes into the show, the lights went on and a swat team came down on both isles surrounding me. One of them came up to me and asked to see my license. I handed it to him and he left but the rest of them stayed put, and would not talk to me. After a long while he came back in, handed me my license and said, “Sorry for the inconvenience. Enjoy the movie.” They all left, the lights went down, the show started back up and I burst into tears. I didn’t know if I could leave and didn’t dare move, so I stayed and watched and cried. I hate Josie and the Pussycats.

After the movie I went out into the lobby and there where a dozen people standing around. They were not allowed to leave and the road was closed. While waiting, I talked to some of them about what had happened and they joked and said if I just turned myself in, they could all go home. We waited for an hour and finally I talked one of the workers into turning on a movie for us. After a while, we were allowed to go. I think a police car discreetly followed me home.

The next day as I was driving through a canyon, I almost drove off the road when I heard on the radio about a murder near the theater and that there had been a witness seeing a woman in a dark blue shirt walking toward the complex. I didn’t go to the late show for over a year after that.

Link to a news article about the case

They later caught the murderer. It was a woman and, I think, an employee of the victim.”

Friday night toast
It’s hard to beat that story in terms of awkwardness. But don’t let that stop you. If you have an awkward moviegoing moment to share, please go ahead and open your heart! It’s Friday night, the bar is open and we’ve got all time in the world for storytelling.

The toast of the week goes to Sandy.


Written by Jessica

February 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

25 Responses

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  1. Jessica, this is it. Exactly. — “The moment we watch a sex scene together, we risk shattering the wall of discretion we’ve agreed on. Sex exists all of a sudden. We know that they know and they know that we know.” And it feels awkward all our lives, doesn’t it? I still cringe if I happen to watch a film with a sex scene in the presence of my parents. We’re all adults, yet the whole situation is undeniably weird.

    Sandy’s experience is incredible, glad you shared it here, too. And that it happened to her, of all the people, the sweetest person imaginable. Pretty sure no awkward movie experience tops hers!

    • I still cringe too! It’s just… unnatural. Not something that is meant to be shared with your parents.

      Sandy’s story was too entertaining not to spread a bit further. And it’s especially hilarious to us who know here from the forum. She’s the last person on Earth I’d suspect for that kind of crime.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm

  2. Actually, one of my most awkward movie experiences have to do with sex and parents. When I was 12, my parents took me to the theatre see Animal House.

    Yeah, I know.

    I guess they didn’t know much about the movie and when nudity came on the screen, rather than sit with her hands covering her face, she tried to cover my eyes. That didn’t turn out well for either of us. I instinctively tried to get her hand from my face and it just highlighted the moment.

    But Sandy’s experience is the best. Or worst. Wow.

    Steve Kimes

    February 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    • Oh dear. I don’t know what I’d do in that situation but trying to cover the kids eyes seems like a bad idea. I’d probably rather say something like “oh, this is adult stuff that you might feel uncomfortable watching, especially with me around. I’m not going to watch this myself, but you can do as you like”.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

  3. Presumably watching a sex scene while in the room with parents gets easier when you aren’t a teen, everything seems more awkward when one is a teenager. All the same, there was a bit of discomfort watching The Kids Are All Right in the theatre with my parents. I didn’t realize the sex scenes between Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo would be quite so forward. The fact that we were watching the film on my selection amplified this. If it’s something they picked, it isn’t as uncomfortable because I don’t feel responsible for the situation. Anyway, I watch a lot of stuff far worse but I have the good sense not to watch it with my parents (or anyone else for that matter).


    February 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    • No I definitely don’t think it gets any easier as you’re older. I go to movies now and then with my mother, but the idea to watch for instance Shame in her company wouldn’t occur to me. And then I’m in my 40s!


      February 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

  4. my story will definitely pale in comparison, but the most awkward experience I ever had was when a drunk man–nursing a bottle of wine–came into the theater and started threatening people. He got kicked out.

    Dave Enkosky

    February 4, 2012 at 12:25 am

    • Oh dear. That was uncomfortable but I figure it was mostly awkward to the man, that will say if he remembered anything of it afterwards.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm

  5. LOL even when I was over 20 my mother would still tell me to cover my eyes during certain scenes…

    Bonjour Tristesse

    February 4, 2012 at 4:00 am

    • Haha… And you complied? Of course you did. Can’t go against your mother, can you? 😉


      February 5, 2012 at 9:12 pm

  6. Well Jessica I have a very different experience. This happened quite some time ago and you need to know that I am a great fan of Jacque Tati and cannot stop laughing at his jokes. I think the movie was Trafic and the movie theatre was Skytten in Solna (not sure if that is still around). Being a suburb the theatre was never full at the best of times. This time there was an audience of five. Imagine the echo when you are the only one laughing out loud and uncontrollably. And I couldn’t stop it. I felt very embarrassed. Now I have to say that I almost like the synthetic laughs so common in all TV shows and that is something, isn’t it. Even if it isn’t very funny you have the protection of a sound barrier.

    Science Guru

    February 4, 2012 at 7:45 am

    • Haha, I can imagine how embarrassing it must have been. And yet you did nothing wrong. Actually it tells something about how much you must have enjoyed Tati since not even the akwardness of the situation could prevent you from laughing. I’ve always hated the recorded laughs on TV shows deeply. For me it’s rather offputting from laughing. As soon as you put up a signpost – “This is a funny joke! Laugh!” the humor is gone to me. But I guess they might be useful as sound barriers as you put it. I never thought of it that way.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

  7. It’s not so much awkward as funny. My husband and I went to see the non-animated version of “101 Dalmations” a good few years ago. Nothing wrong with that, you might think, but at the time, his head was shaved, he had a wicked little goatee, and a row of piercings in his ear, a thick black leather biker jacket and looked for want of a better phrase “well hard” (he’s not, but if you don’t see the gentle expression in his eyes,…). I wasn’t much better than him, rocking my gothy look. We were both sat there, amidst all the families and children in their bright and cheerful clothes, sticking out like sore thumbs and being peered at by people who were obviously thinking “What are THEY doing here?”. The children sat behind us were particularly unsubtle, and didn’t endear themselves to us much by constantly swinging their legs and kicking our chairs. I think he turned around and gave them A Look at one point.

    We had the last laugh though when one of the children sat directly behind us turned to the other and said in a very knowing voice “You do know this is based on a true story?”…


    February 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    • Hehe! That’s a truly funny story! I think you provided some added value to the show, showing up in those costumes. The kids were fortunate to have you around with the tickling idea that you might have something to do with the actual movie.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      • Hehe! You know, I hadn’t even considered that – but now that you mention it, that does make sense, and amuses me even more!


        February 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

  8. Ah, Sneak Previews, always fun. Well, not all movies shown there are of the “plain fun” or “just action” type; in fact, most aren’t. Say, “Winters Bone”. Or “Thumbsucker”.

    A few years ago they showed “Black Book” here. “Here” is a cinema in Germany. “Black Book” is a movie about the Second World War, about the occupation of the Netherlands, the resistance, collaboration, about persecution by the Nazis, torture, arbitrary shootings. Right after the movie while the credits were running a woman behind me stood up and said in a very loud voice: “Again a movie in that we come off badly.” – Well, whatever that group is that defines that “we”, I don’t want to be a member of it.


    February 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    • Hehe. It’s embarrassing on her behalf. You’d believe that people would have self awareness enough to at least keep quiet if that’s the thing they’re thinking.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  9. Some of my most awkward film-going experiences involved me when I was in my teens and I went with my parents to see movies. That’s something I don’t want to do anymore though the last time I saw a film with my parents in a theater was True Grit, which wasn’t a bad experience.

    Watching American Pie with them in the theaters was pretty bad. My mother didn’t like the film at all and asked my dad “why are we seeing this”. It was embarrassing.

    Steven Flores

    February 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    • True Grit sounds perfectly fine. Yes, you really need to think twice before bringing your family to the movies. More and more I enjoy going on my own. If the movie is disappointing, it’s only my own disappointment I need to carry an care about, not someone elses.


      February 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm

  10. I think I have the most awkward moviegoing experience. I saw Shame with my mother. Fortunately, she didn’t ask questions during or after the movie, but I could tell she was a little disturbed.


    February 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    • Oh dear. Shame is about the last movie I’d like to bring my mother to. Sure, the sex scenes are anything but erotic. But it’s still… explicit to say the least. I can completely understand if you fell into an awkward silence after watching it.


      February 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      • Oh, we still talked about it, but thank GOD she didn’t ask me if my sole reason for watching it was to see Michael Fassbender completely au natural. (The reason I gave her, which was the truth, was because the reviews compelled me to seek it out.)


        February 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  11. I think for me it was Saturday Night Fever. I had rented and my mother was interested in rewatching it. As soon as the first breast made an appearance I wanted to turn the movie off. I don’t know if it was a feeling of embarassment or just not wanting my mother to see me in that situation.

    Of course nowadays it’s more of a shrug, but when I was younger that was a scary thought. Haha thanks for the idea Jessica.


    February 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    • Hehe. I never thought of Saturday Night Fever as a dirty movie but now that you say it maybe it is. In any case it shouldn’t have come as a shock to your mother since it was her second watching.


      February 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

  12. […] at the Velvet Cafe, discusses her most “awkward” moviegoing […]

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