How I Became the Academy’s Biggest Nightmare

There is something that makes me entirely Un-America. That will leave the one visitor I had from Saudi Arabia yesterday (hi!) scratching her head, “I thought you’re supposed to be a New York Cliché?” I still fit the bill: what I am about to tell you just proves I’m an outsider who flew to the city, away from her bizarre family. Super cliché, right?

Okay, here’s the thing.

Never have I ever been to the movies with my family.

Nope, my family never did this. I have never had this experience.

Weird right? I’m an only child, my family is only three people! The three of us have never sat in a movie theater together. Never in the history of the world. Movies were not a valued form entertainment in my household growing up. “Read a book,” was my mother’s well versed phrase. But really, movies just weren’t an option. By the time we got a VCR in my house, I was nearly a teenager. Fortunately my father took it upon himself to keep me from “freak status”. I owe it to him that my elementary school social standing remained some where above that of home schooled kids. He took me to see the amazing Disney movies that were released during my childhood: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. I think he enjoyed Aladdin even more than I did. So I’ve been to the movies with my dad, but to this day I have never seen my mom in a cushioned seat in front of the big screen.

Barney the Dinosaur
He’s PURPLE? Are you KIDDING me? Ugh, he looked so much better in my imagination

We did have a TV, but it wasn’t like most televisions in American households in the early ’90s. I can’t say my mother was a remote Nazi because our TV did not have a remote. Many children have watched Sesame Street and Mister Roger’s in black and white, but I did it in 1990. I imagined Barney the Dinosaur was red and blue until my classmates started showing up with his purple face plastered on their lunch boxes.

Saturday morning cartoons were a coloring book for my imagination. We never had cable but I was allowed to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Well, under one condition: that I mute the sound during commercials. No, I am not kidding. I remember my first major act of rebellion against my mother was sneaking a listen to the jingle for Polly Pocket!

It’s kind of amazing my parents did this. Honestly, I’m grateful for it. Perhaps these a-typical American viewing trends are the main reason I grew into the unique individual I am today. In San Francisco, it wasn’t difficult to find friends whose parents also heavily restricted TV and movie viewing. Since moving to New York, I have found many more individuals who are shocked by my media void. I am notorious amongst my theater friends because nine times out of ten, when they bring up a movie, I haven’t seen it.

Take this year’s Oscar nominated films. I haven’t seen a single one of those nominated for best feature. I’m the Academy’s worst nightmare. I really only see movies in NYC if I am invited by a boy. I’ll go, and appreciate that he pays for my $14 ticket, but I can’t help thinking We’re in New York City! There are so many more interesting things to do then watch a movie that will be on Netflix in 3 months! But now that I haven’t dated in over six months, I realize how grateful I am to the boys who take me out to movies. They keep me from turning into my mother.

There are nine movies nominated for Best Picture. Here is a list of nine movies I have not seen, the top contenders for Best “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS” Picture.

  1. Jaws
    8. Groundhog Day
  2. It’s A Wonderful Life
  3. Back to the Future
  4. Gone with the Wind
  5. Goldfinger, or any of the James Bond Canon
  6. Raiders of the Lost Ark, or any of the Indiana Jones trilogy
  7. The Godfather
  8. The Muppets Take Manhattan
It is nothing short of insane that I have not seen The Muppets Take Manhattan! Two things I love: Muppets and Manhattan wrapped up in one movie. Of all movies on the list, this is the one I’m most excited about.

It is absolutely insane that I haven’t seen The Muppets Take Manhattan. But with all these movies, I don’t feel like I can just watch them by myself on a snowy Saturday. It should be an occasion when I watch these, right? I at least want to share the experience with someone who will understand what a step crossing these off the list with me will be! Any volunteers? Any one else not seen any of those movies?

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

12 thoughts on “How I Became the Academy’s Biggest Nightmare

  1. this is funny.. .also, i haven’t seen any of those films either! i watched a bunch of tv as a kid and most disney movies but haven’t see those classics geared towards adults. i do agree with your number 1… maybe you can start hosting NY CLiche movie nights?

  2. Totally hear you on this… My parents weren’t as strict as yours in terms of TV, but I can only think of once that I went to the movies with them, and for the most part my dad controlled everything that got watched on TV, so I never really developed much interest in it.

  3. I’ve never seen a James Bond movie either… and I don’t intend to start! 😉

    But you definitely have to see Muppets Take Manhattan! You will die of cuteness when the Muppet babies sing!

  4. I’ve only seen jaws (I think, who knows it is used so much for clips) back to the future and a couple of James bonds.
    I like movies but struggle to watch thins more than once unless lots of time has passed by or it is awesome.
    Some classics I have never seen to most peoples disbelief
    Grease- all the way through
    Top gun
    Bed knobs and broom sticks
    Any lord of the rings
    Any Harry potter other than bits of the first one.

  5. I watched Gone with the Wind in my film class, and I watched Indiana Jones with my dad in my sister. I think I watched PART of Groundhog Day and PART of Muppets Take Manhattan. I normally choose movies based on the actors, so maybe that’s why I don’t watch as many “deep” movies as I should?

  6. There’s a few of those that I haven’t seen (Back to the Future, James Bond, and Indiana Jones). I’m not into the latter two, and I’m not sure why I haven’t seen Back to the Future.

    I also haven’t seen any of the Best Picture nominees for this year. I used to be obsessed with movies, but the past couple of years I’ve been more content to binge watch six seasons of some television show on Netflix. Netflix has ruined me.

  7. I don’t go to movies that often either, though I do like the popcorn in movie theaters. 🙂 I’d rather watch TV or go to a play than go to the movies, though I still like sitting in a movie theater in front of a giant screen. I didn’t see any of the movies that were nominated either, though I have seen Back to the Future. That’s one I would recommend watching. (I didn’t really like the sequels though.)

  8. I just saw Back to the Future and Gone with the Wind recently. Both worth watching. Groundhog Day is pretty good, as is Indiana Jones.

    I didn’t go to the movies a lot with my family (I do remember seeing Aladdin in theatres too! And my sister credit so hard during Homeward Bound my mom had to take her out of the theater…)

    But I went to the movies ALL THE TIME when I was a teen. We saw ALL the late 90s teen flicks. Such good times.

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