While I don’t have a ton of personal experience in this situation, I have been married for a grand total of 4 months now so I’ve begun to dip my toe into the, “Wait, is this movie going to get too weird for this viewing situation?” thought pond.
Considering this subject, I’ve come up with a list of films that I will NEVER in a million years watch with my in-laws for fear of dying from absolute embarrassment.
The Worst Movies To Watch With Your In-Laws: Magic Mike XXL
Okay, Magic Mike XXL is the first film that I’m including on this list because I happened upon it playing on TV earlier this week and ended up inadvertently watching the whole thing, thinking the entire time about how grateful I was that my in-laws were not present.
Like other films included in this list, this sequel to the 2012 blockbuster Magic Mike is just a bit too raunchy to co-watch with anyone that you aren’t wholly comfortable watching sexy stuff with. Because honestly, with the exception of a few scenes, the whole movie is basically “sexy stuff,” only with clothes on and with a soundtrack of pop and hip-hop music from 2015.
going to bring up MAGIC MIKE: XXL (2015) in every conversation i have tonight
— john (@thedudejohn) October 3, 2021
If you’re curious about the plot (not that people flock to male stripper sequel films for the plot), protagonist Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) has been making handcrafted furniture in his Tampa workshop for the past 3 years, when he receives a call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash), an old stripper pal, who tells him that Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), their leader and emcee, has died. Except, Dallas isn’t actually dead. He’s just run off to Macau with the show’s new lead dancer, “the kid” (Alex Pettyfer), to stage more lucrative stripping productions.
Without an emcee and a definitive leader, the remaining strippers in Mike’s old crew, the “kings of Tampa” (Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodríguez, and Gabriel Iglesias), are forced to disband their act and go their separate ways. Though not before a last hurrah at an annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. And predictably, they need Mike’s help! The film quickly takes a road-trip turn when Mike relents and decides to join them on the trip from Tampa to Myrtle Beach.
Just like Magic Mike, there’s no lack of stripping in this movie. As the name would imply, Magic Mike XXL kicks the “male entertaining” into high gear. Do I think Magic Mike XXL is a bad movie? No, not really. Unlike some of the other movies on this list, it’s not terrible. Sure, I’d watch it with my girlfriends while hungover the morning after a bachelorette party. But would I knowingly consent to sit down for 115 minutes with my in-laws to watch this celebration of the male physique? Hard no, my friends. There has to be a line somewhere, and wherever that line rests, Magic Mike XXL is at least a city block’s distance past it.
The Worst Movies To Watch With Your In-Laws: Nymphomaniac
Yikes. Okay, when I was thinking of additional films to add to this list, a friend suggested Nymphomaniac (2014) and I laughed in horror at the very idea of watching this with my in-laws, or ANYONE’s in-laws, for that matter. Why you may ask? (Hint: it’s in the name.)
That Nymphomaniac movie did things to me. I was scared for weeks
— ị na-eri ike? (@confettiboy) April 6, 2020
Written and directed by controversial Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac is a highly graphic NC-17 erotic art film that details a woman’s lifelong sex addition over the course of 4 long (and uncomfortable) hours. Released in 2 volumes, Nymphomaniac is captured in a series of extended flashbacks that detail the sexual history of the protagonist, Joe, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, while in an informal therapy session with Seligman, played by Stellan Skarsgård.
Joe’s retelling of her own sexual past leaves no stone unturned. This movie is NOT easy or pleasant to watch and illuminates the significant, often life-ruining consequences of sex addiction. Also starring Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, and Christian Slater, Nymphomaniac earned plenty of pre-release buzz due to the fact that the film includes non-simulated instances of “IRL” sex.
“We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in post, we will digital impose the two,” Lars Von Trier explained during the film’s 2013 premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. “So above the waist, it will be the star and the below the waist, it will be the doubles.”
If you read the paragraph above and DON’T know why I included this film in the list of “Worst Films to watch With Your In-Laws,” then I don’t know what more I can say to you to convince you. Still don’t understand my rationale? A quick Google search of the film’s reviews will tell you all you need to know.
That is to say, Nymphomaniac (Volume I and II) did receive lots of critical praise and positive attention following its debut. As an art piece, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do by revealing an authentic depiction of sex addiction and the negative consequences therein. But a film to watch with the in-laws after enjoying a lovely meatloaf dinner at their home on a Sunday, it is decidedly NOT.
The Worst Movies To Watch With Your In-Laws: Monster-in-Law
Okay, I know I know. This movie seems a bit too on the nose to be included on this list. It fits squarely in the “in-law rom-com” subgenre. Isn’t it a bit too obvious to include on this list? Nope! Wanna know why? Because, not only is Monster-in-Law a movie about a terrible mother-in-law, it is a straight-up terrible movie! Thus making it awkward to watch with your in-laws for numerous reasons.
This 2005 romantic comedy positions Jane Fonda’s character, Viola Fields, and Jennifer Lopez’s character, Charlie Cantilini, squarely against each other in a ruthless battle over 1 man: Michael Vartan’s Dr. Kevin Fields. The premise is really simple: J.Lo’s Charlie, a fledgling yoga teacher/dog-walker/aspiring fashion designer, and the charming and handsome (and financially stable) Dr. Kevin (Michael Vartan) meet, hit it off, and fall in love.
Everything is a dream until it comes time for Kevin to introduce Charlie to his mother Viola, a former talk-show host who has recently been replaced by a younger host and is NOT handling it well. Viola fears that she will lose her son the same way she lost her career and so she makes it her personal mission to obliterate their relationship and destroy her son’s happiness. (Eek. Sounds like a great movie to watch with your mother-in-law, right?)
Viola and Charlie hurl malicious curveballs at each other throughout most of the movie, most of which are pretty predictable and unoriginal. But upon re-watching this movie recently, the most damning scene is when Viola actually POISONS her future daughter-in-law at her rehearsal dinner by tricking her into eating nuts despite having a severe nut allergy. Um… nut allergies are not a laughing matter. J.Lo’s character could have DIED and then the movie would be over. But, because this is Hollywood, she just has a swollen face meant to draw easy laughs and an augmented case of embarrassment.
The film was meant to be Jane Fonda’s return to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus from Hollywood. And, while her performance wasn’t panned as much as the rest of the film, it was definitely not the comeback the actress rightfully deserved.
Roger Ebert put it aptly in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times when he wrote, “You do not keep Jane Fonda offscreen for 15 years, only to bring her back as a specimen of rabid Momism.”
While the reviews were critical, regular people seem to love it:
I could never get tired of watching Monster-In-Law. JLO and Jane Fonda🤌🤌 pic.twitter.com/h5s3qRENAx
— Sithandwa Nomoyi (@IAM_Stha) October 3, 2021
The Worst Movies To Watch With Your In-Laws: Meet the Fockers (and also Meet the Parents, but especially Meet the Fockers)
Like Monster-in-Law, Meet the Fockers is a film in the small but ever-present in-law-comedy subgenre that hits just a little too close to home if watched with your in-laws. While Meet the Parents, which in and of itself, absolutely qualifies for this list, its sequel Meet the Fockers takes it 1 step further, with not 1 but 2 sets of in-laws.
Please do not misunderstand me, Meet the Fockers is honestly an excellent movie, and so it feels weird being on the “worst” list of anything. This is a comedy that must absolutely be watched at some point (just with different company than your in-laws). I’m not a huge fan of sequels, since they tend to disappoint, but this film is 1 of the few examples of a sequel that I can think of which is just as good as the first installment. And with an absolute blockbuster reception at box offices during the 2004 holiday season, its commercial success speaks for itself.
Like Meet the Parents, this film stars Ben Stiller and Teri Polo as a now engaged couple, Greg and Pam, along with Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner as Pam’s parents. Except now in the sequel, the couple decides to introduce their parents to each other. Greg’s parents, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, are about as different from Pam’s parents as you can imagine. And the cringe-worthy moments in this film abound! In fact, they are the primary reason that this film made it on the list.
The cringy-ness (although incredibly well-executed) is too much to consider watching with any parental figure of your significant other. A few examples of why: a cat flushes a dog down an RV toilet and there’s a whole scene surrounding dismantling its septic system. Barbra Streisand is an unabashed sex therapist specifically for senior citizens. A baby’s preserved foreskin is lost in a pot of fondue. (Out of context, this sounds a lot stranger than it actually is in the movie.) NONE OF THESE are things you want to experience in a cinematic context with someone who raised the person you are in love with.
Save yourself the desire to melt into the couch, and watch Meet the Fockers with just your partner. Trust me, it will be a more enjoyable experience for the both of you.
The Worst Movies To Watch With Your In-Laws: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Okay, this last movie is pretty special. When I told my own mother-in-law that I was writing this article, I asked what her idea of the worst movie to watch with your in-laws was. And ye olde The Rocky Horror Picture Show was her immediate answer! It was such an excellent throwback selection that I felt deeply compelled to include it on this list.
cure: Rocky horror picture show soundtrack
— Gloomy Ghost Em 🌿 (@nnaturenurture) October 4, 2021
Sure, the premise sounds innocent enough. An engaged couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) have car trouble during a rainstorm near a castle. They knock on the door to use the phone. And what they find behind those doors is nothing short of a fabulously kitschy, sci-fi, orgy-laden, musical bacchanal. Starring Tim Curry as the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the costumes alone in the movie are enough to elicit gasps from more conservative audience members.
I can think of nothing more embarrassing than watching the gyrating, pearl-clutching perversions of this cult classic musical (which my mother-in-law and I both happen to really enjoy, by the way!). But for the purpose of this list, there’s a time and place for every film, and “Time Warp” just does not shine in this circumstance. So save yourself the awkwardness and watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show with companions whose proclivities are a bit more aligned with yours.
Better yet, since we’re smack dab in the middle of spooky season, see if your local indie or art-house theater is doing a live midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending 1 of these interactive events, make sure you’re up for it. It’s fun, it’s loud, and there’s audience participation. Just make sure to leave your in-laws at home.
Have any ideas of movies you would absolutely HATE to watch with your significant other’s parents and family sprung to mind? Let us know on Twitter @Hollywood_com. We’d love to hear your 2 cents about this cringy cinematic circumstance!
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