On Ryan McNeil’s latest off-the-hook episode of the Matineecast his guest, Jessica of the Velvet Cafe, recounted the story of the time she made her way into the theater to see the ABBA: The Movie even though she was not of the proper age. And then Ryan opined how in some ways he misses that sensation, seeing a movie you’re not supposed to be seeing and seeing it on account of, shall we say, nefarious means.
This is a long-standing tradition of youthful America – sneaking into R rated movies at the non R rated age. I can only imagine in these industrious days of sprawling megaplexes that can, at times, house upwards of 72 theaters it is far easier to sneak into the off-limits movie of your choice than it was in the old days (i.e. The Late 80′s / Early 90′s – I will now commence crying), and while I’d like to advise these PG-13 whipper-snappers on the verge of buying tickets for The Vow before brazenly sauntering into a showing of Project X just how rebelliously fulfilling it was to pull off a Rated R coupe, well, the truth is, I rarely ever succeeded.
A friend and I were dropped off at the theater in the summer of ’91, bought tickets for City Slickers, (im)patiently waited for just the right moment and then slipped into a theater showing Terminator 2: Judgement Day. We didn’t even make it past the previews before the dreaded usher arrived, shone his flashlight in our direction and asked – gulp – to see our tickets. We didn’t even bother. The jig was up. We rose to our feet and trudged up the aisle like we were bound for Alcatraz.
My best friend and I were denied entrance to Mario Van Peebles’ Posse in 1993 (in retrospect, the ushers saved us from a pretty mediocre film, although Billy Zane did sport an eyepatch) and were instead forced to endure Made In America with Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg and Will Smith which was ironic because later that fall I drove to the theater – repeat: drove to the theater – to see Six Degrees Of Separation with Will Smith only to be denied entrance because despite being old enough to have a license to drive myself to the theater I apparently wasn’t old enough to see Will Smith as a con artist. Sigh. (Speaking of which, I think going to see Six Degrees Of Separation at 16 says all you need to know about me.)
Ah, but readers, for my many failures I can always cling to The Great Cocktail Swindle Of ’89. My mom dropped me off at the Southridge 3 while she tended to some shopping at the mall housing the theater. I bought a ticket for Caddyshack II, fully intending to see this golf comedy sequel I didn’t actually want to see all that much only to realize the alluring marquee directly across from my own bore the words Cocktail. Oh, how I yearned to see Cocktail! The soundtrack was climbing the charts! Yes, the charts! It had Maverick! It had Elisabeth Shue (i.e. My Malin Akerman Of 1989)! There were no ushers in sight. No other patrons eyeing me suspiciously. It was a weekend matinee in the dog days of summer. All I had to do was cross into the other theater. It was close. IT WAS SO CLOSE! I made my move, feeling like Indiana Jones entering the cave at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark. “But Señor, no one’s ever come out of there alive.” I scurried to the front of the theater, took a seat in the middle of the row, scrunched as low as I could, and waited to be busted.
Except……I never was. Perhaps the ushers were more in tune to the lax attitude of the south side of Des Moines than the uppity yuppies of the west side where I saw most of my movies, but I don’t remember one employee so much as entering the theater. Cocktail’s not a good movie. Of this we can be sure, yet it also will always hold a special place in my heart. Every time it inevitably turns up on Bravo or TNT I smile whimsically and reminisce.
“But, Nick,” parents of America are thinking. “What sort of lesson is this to impart? That as an impressionable youth you snuck into a movie requiring a parent or adult guardian to see booze and sex and more booze and suicide and lines like ‘A man will always be judged by the amount of alcohol he can consume?’” A fair point. But let the record show the one thing I took away from Cocktail more than any other, the lesson that has remained with me to this day: you never ever smite Elisabeth Shue for a Bar Hussy. And that’s a lesson all Kids of America, regardless of age, should learn before they turn 17. No?
YOUR TURN! WHAT R RATED MOVIES DID YOU SUCCESSFULLY OR UNSUCCESSFULLY SNEAK INTO?! SHARE BELOW!