Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Parents (1989)

Despite the impression that my cluttered movie shelves might give to the snobfully inclined, I do actually know a "good" movie when I see one. And this here cannibal-feature most definitely fits the bill. A trip down the user reviews lane quickly shows that I am not alone in being both awed and inspired by this lean, grass-fed, 100% American horror flick. That's right, comparisons to Lynch and Hitchcock and Kubrick float around with words like 'Delicatessan' and 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' making a blushing appearance as well. In fact, this may or may not be a movie for the intellectually inclined (aren't dark comedies always a little bit in that bowling alley?), since I've read more than one essay in the comments section drawing on the brutal confusion of adolescence and the "cold, sanitized, and Uncanny." One Dubliner describes the film with a feathered pen in hand, writing that "parents as the symbol of unimpeachable, unquestioned authority whom we have to trust regardless of their real motives, are a potent representation of this chaotic universe, a universe that could crush us at any moment if it wanted to, but which we're stuck with" Yikes. Now add in a glimpse into the black abyss (yes, your mother's vagina during a late night bone session with the pops), a sickeningly shallow suburbian decade and clearly more red-meat consumption than is appropriate at any age, and you've got yourself quite the horror flick. None of the characters have names, there's limited dialogue and the music is suspenseful in a very familiar way (what's that? you say he hired Lynch's composer?). All in all, it's definitely a movie that sticks with you. And since I find myself asking everyone around me, "have you seen Parents?," and they all answer with a morbidly resounding 'no,' I thought a post was a definite requirement. And it's not like it's filled with no-names. Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt take the lead. And the director is a Christopher Guest acting favorite: Bob Balaban. Balaban hasn't even done much feature film directing (although I need me some "My Boyfriend's Back"). But I guess stars do collide, and this is America goddammit, because he bought this script off someone sitting next to him on a plane. So get out those cocktail napkins friends! Write away!
Let's see...what else...I did go to the trouble of Friending our lovely adolescent (he's grown up some since the 80's), but all I really learned is that everybody looks normal when they're posing in a family photo complete with awkward shoulder grips and pullover sports hoodies.
Oh yes, and the Germans are blunt as ever..'Daddy ist ein Kannibale!'

I deem it: Eerily familiar and satisfyingly unresolved!/A horror film that puts the meat where its mouth is!/Namelessly applicable and creepy, creepy, creepy!!

Ps. I threw in some of the photos that come up when you google "crazy parents" = ah life...