Cinema offers a wide range of emotions, themes, and experiences. However, within this cinematic landscape, there are some movies that are uncomfortable to watch in the company of parents. One obvious reason why it is better to avoid watching certain movies with parents is the explicit content. Although cinema has become bolder and more realistic when it comes to adult themes, this can make certain scenes uncomfortable for parents to watch.
Explicit sexual or violent content can create an uncomfortable atmosphere due to the intimate nature of such images. In addition, the values of individual families, the age difference between the children and the parent, and personal sensitivities may differ, which underlines the importance of personal boundaries and convictions… Therefore, we present to you a top ten list of movies that are better to watch alone.
- “Basic Instinct (1992)
The main character, police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), is investigating a particularly brutal murder in San Francisco when he suspects the murdered musician’s girlfriend, an author of shocking novels, who has recently detailed a similar crime in a book – a blonde woman kills her lover with a knife used to crush ice during a sexual relationship.
Nick thinks that Catherine Tramel herself may have been the killer or someone who wants to “frame” her for it. During the interrogation, the girl behaves brazenly, provokes the officers, and withstands the lie detector test in cold blood. She also has an alibi. But gradually, the secrets of Catherine’s past begin to emerge, and Nick, who is carelessly caught up in this quagmire, becomes more and more dependent on Catherine’s erotic whims and the sexual masochistic games she imposes.
The term “erotic thriller” is not often used to describe movies nowadays, but for “Basic Instinct” it certainly fits. You and your friends may enjoy a good murder mystery now and then, but this is not a movie you will want to solve together, as it contains some infamous adult content, as well as some… scenes that go on for a very, very long time. Any family watching this movie together will sweat more than Wayne Knight in the movie’s infamous police interrogation scene.
- “The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Scoreses’ “The Wolf of Wall Street” tells the true-life story of Jordon Belfort (played by Leonardo Dicaprio). It is the story of a young Wall Street stockbroker, his ups and downs, and the failure of the American dream. Jordon Belfort got his first job on Wall Street at the age of 21. His manager at the time, Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), gave the Wall Street newcomer the secret to staying afloat and succeeding in the fiercely competitive financial world. In a short but brilliantly acted scene, Matthew McConaughey gives all the credit for his Wall Street success to drugs, sex, and alcohol.
Belfort has built up an enviable fortune in fraud over the years without any remorse. His company grew from 25 employees to a Wall Street empire with hundreds of employees. The young stockbroker had so much money that he didn’t know what to do with it. He spent most of it on a carefree lifestyle. Rampant drug use, lavish parties, yachts, alcohol, women, and more drugs, this was the life of the Wolf of Wall Street until FBI agents became aware of his activities.
It is the continuation of a series of movies that proves that different generations are far from being able to enjoy all the movies together. While 2011’s “Hugo” may be a surprisingly good family movie, its sequel “The Wolf of Wall Street” is not. The three-hour movie shows in unwavering detail the excesses, crimes, and debauchery of corrupt Wall Street businessman Jordan Belfort – not a movie you would want to watch with young children.
- “Titan (Titan, 2021)
Ducournau’s beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy is a nightmarish yet deceptively comic mix of sex, violence, bright lighting, and thumping music. It is surprising and rare when it is impossible to predict what will happen later in the movie. The only scene that ends as one would expect is the opening scene, in which a little girl (Alexia) misbehaves in the back of the family car.
She demands her parents’ attention and kicks the seat of the dad who is driving the car until he turns to his daughter to calm her down and – you’ve probably guessed it – causes an accident by hitting a concrete barrier. After a nasty brain operation, Alexia is fitted with a titanium plate in her head, the fitting of which affects the girl in such a way that she – who is supposed to avoid cars after a painful accident, but, on the contrary, falls in love with cars and, just after leaving the hospital, hugs and kisses a vehicle parked in the street.
It is easy to call this a movie that should not be watched with parents, but it is even easier to go further and say that even those who watch without parents should be very aware. We see a lot of shocking material in “Titan”, and although it is certainly a strong and memorable movie, it will definitely not appeal to everyone.
- “Crimes of the Future” (2022)
Cronenberg proposes a completely original way to naturally produce the organs needed for transplants. The movie depicts a future world where people no longer feel physical pain. And the authorities are no longer able to record a new kind of anomaly. Some inhabitants of the future world deliberately turn their bodies into garbage recycling machines, contributing to a better ecology. And lovers of spicy sex are happily exchanging good old-fashioned pleasure for surgical experimentation.
And where there is demand, there is bound to be supply. As the demand for transplantable organs is huge, performance artist Sol Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) grows them in his own body, and surgeon Caprice (Léa Seydoux) separates them from the body of a volunteer “donor”.
In addition to some truly gruesome and sometimes horrific images, it is also a crime and science fiction movie, with a complex film noir-type plot involving synthetic transformation and mutations, and sophisticated surgical procedures performed for artistic purposes. It is an imaginative, uncompromising, and very strange movie that is guaranteed to create a totally inappropriate atmosphere for any family movie night.
- “Babylon (2022)
The action began in Hollywood in 1926. Silent cinema is still making waves. Brad Pitt plays Jack Conrad, a famous movie actor of the time, and Margot Robi plays the role of Nell La Roy, a young woman who wants to become famous. Also important is the character of Manuel (Manny) Tores, the cool Mexican actor Diego Calva, who is, so to speak, the one who starts it all. The trio have their moments of glory and their lows, each in their own way.
What happens next is difficult to describe, but in a nutshell, we can say that the movie starts on an upswing, with the best moment of the characters’ lives, and then continues downwards, to destruction, to decay. After all, fame is a street prostitute who gives herself to the highest bidder, and that is what this movie is about – fame and its pursuit. In other words, the movie is about Hollywood.
The duration and the content of the movie are probably the two main reasons why the movie couldn’t make up for its high budget, but it still has its own fans. Those who are not put off by the length of the movie may find it worth seeing, but they may prefer to watch the movie (especially the first half hour or so) on their own.
- “Mid90s” (2018)
Set in Los Angeles a quarter of a century ago, in 1990, when CDs had not yet replaced cassettes, MTV charts are the main source of popular music and 13-year-old Steve (Sunny Suljic) is still considered a child by both his mother (Katherine Waterston) and his older brother (Lucas Hedges).
Since the brothers live with their mother, the older brother, Jen, takes on the role of male parenting, often hammering Steve with the truths of life with his fists. The normal routine starts to change when Stevie is accepted into the company of skateboarders after having borrowed his brother’s skateboard. Together with his new friends, he will not only master a new means of transport, but also gain a more serious life experience: he will learn to smoke not only cigarettes, but also pot, taste the taste of alcohol, and experience the pleasure of first kisses and sex lessons. In a word, he will gradually become a “real man”.
Most importantly, the movie shows how children of this age often talk to each other without adults around. Since swearing is a new and exciting concept, many children in their early teens do not hold back in this movie. It is not advisable to watch it with parents unless the viewer is prepared to be asked the awkward and inevitable question of whether they also used to talk like that when they were 13.
- “American Psycho (2000)
Patrick Beitman (Christian Bale) has a high-paying job on Wall Street. He dresses only in luxury, quality, and stylish clothes, mostly Valentino suits, and has a very beautiful fiancée, Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon). He can talk for hours about good music or expensive champagne. At first glance, he appears to be a man who is not very distinguished, who cares only about himself, and who lives a perfectly ordinary life during the day. But after dark, everything turns upside down, and the man’s behavior changes beyond recognition.
Living his perverse “American dream”, Patrick becomes a cold-blooded killer who feels nothing but intense contempt for others. His cruelty seems to have no limits. He is a murderer and rapist, and his victims are usually helpless and weak people, such as prostitutes or the homeless.
Of course, it’s a great movie to watch alone. The adaptation leaves little of the brutality behind compared to the even more horrific source material, but by satirizing those with excessive wealth and power, and by employing the blackest comedy you’ll ever see in cinema… Watching almost any part of the movie with your parents (except perhaps the iconic business card scene) would be deadly uncomfortable.
- “Taxi Driver (1976)
Vietnam war veteran Travis Bickle is forced to work as a night taxi driver due to chronic insomnia. Confronted with crime, violence, drug addiction, and prostitution in the darkness of the big city, a man with a damaged psyche decides to dig through the muck and carefully prepares himself for a responsible mission.
The taxi whose Trevis wheels through the cross streets around 42nd Street and Times Square in New York is like a space capsule, moving through a toxic environment saturated with the stench of crime, and the man who looks out of the capsule’s window looks like a man from another galaxy. Trevis is truly a stranger to this world, which he observes for a long time but then takes decisive action to make a difference.
“Taxi Driver” is a movie of despair and psychological tension. It is probably best appreciated by a single viewer, as it can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing to share the experience of watching it, even with other people, not necessarily parents. The themes of loneliness and isolation have a stronger impact on solo viewers, and much of the confrontational content of the movie would be too crushing to watch with parents.
- “Annette” (2021)
Watching Annette, you often get the impression that the classic of modern cinema has once again “stacked” elements of different genres – drama and tragedy, comedy and opera, forcing the characters to sing even in the most unexpected situations. The plot of the film develops between two different poles – the “high” art of opera and the one-off “neigh”, which does not aspire to any heights.
The director warns the audience about the eclectic style of his movie from the very first frames, when, in the background of the opening credits, he addresses the audience, saying: “Ladies and gentlemen. Please concentrate properly. If you suddenly feel the urge to sing, laugh, smile, or cry, please do it in your own imagination and only there. We strongly urge you to remain silent and hold your breath until the very end of the play. Breathing until the end of the play is strictly forbidden. Despite this (self-)ironic prologue, “Annette” will soon “get serious”. There will still be humor in the movie, of course, but it will mostly be tinged with pessimistic rejoinders of Henri’s performance to the audience.
It is a really long movie that wanders into some very dark places. It’s also a musical, which makes everything seem even more sinister and uncomfortably surreal. Long (deliberately) bad comedy sequences, quite intense love scenes, a creepy puppet, and a running time of almost 2.5 hours. Despite the content, your parents may find this movie too weird to “digest” it. In fact, the only thing more nightmarish than watching Annette with your parents might be not knowing what to talk about after the credits.
- “Borat (2006)
A movie about a crazed Kazakh journalist played by Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat: A Pornographic Monkey’s Gift to Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Pence to Benefit the Recently Shrunken Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat traveled to the United States for one purpose only: to make a documentary about the country. In pursuit of his goal, he will realize that the United States differs from his home country in many aspects.
Like many of Sasha Baron Cohen’s movies, Borat satirically mocks many of the problems of the Western world and takes aim at the provincialism of the United States of America, a country such as Kazakhstan that many Americans are not familiar with, not to mention the culture. Cohen and his character seem to be testing people’s boundaries, ethical, and moral, and in this way, he is challenging the bubble in which many of the countries of the Western world live. “Borat” is a true anti-Semite (it is worth mentioning and reminding here that Cohen is Jewish), and there is no shortage of jokes about Jews in this film. Cohen appeals to the attitude of the whole Western world toward Jews and tries to say that negative attitudes toward Jews are still alive.
The combination of low-level silly comedy with biting satire and social commentary makes Borat surprisingly intelligent, but also very crude. Some parts of the movie can be difficult to watch alone, not to mention parents laughing nervously in the same room.
Gediminas Jankauskas, Dora žibaitė