Parental Guidance Suggested: Introduction
One thing you may notice about some of my movie writing here, particularly about films released in the 70s and 80s, and how often I mention being an unsupervised child. My parents were young hippies when I was born, and I got the impression that neither of them were particularly champing at the bit to have children. They were, in many ways, children themselves, and would remain so until long after that sort of thing could be excused. What did that mean for me? It meant living a somewhat feral existence of not having a proper bedtime, and eating meals that came predominantly from a can or in a greasy, salty paper bag. I also had no guidance and no structure when it came to the media I consumed. I think that for both of my parents, even though they clashed over just about everything else, they thought that to force restrictions, to say “no” every now and then, would have made them uncool, and they both eagerly, desperately wanted to be perceived as “cool” parents.
So, y’know, I watched a lot of shit I shouldn’t have been watching. I read a lot of shit I shouldn’t have been reading. Like in my introduction to the Brian De Palma project, I knew I wasn’t supposed to be watching or reading any of it. I don’t think I understood much of what was happening, only that it was very grown-up, and much of it didn’t seem very pleasant. While I developed a talent for being able to immediately locate the “good part” in virtually any novel, I didn’t become one of those precocious, “12 going on 30” kinds of kids. If anything, as my parents disappeared ever further into their own asses, both before and after divorcing, I became a bit of a Puritan in my actual, everyday life. I didn’t even say the word “fuck” out loud until I was out of high school, even though I had seen or read acts of simulated sex dozens of times by that point. I was overcorrecting for not having any sort of guiding hand or real structure.
So why not keep focusing on that incredibly weird time in my life? Sure! Misplaced nostalgia with self-therapy, it’s a winning combination! Plus, it’s another opportunity to write about movies no one’s thought about in a minute, or several minutes, or ever since they last watched them. I have no doubt that as you read my posts here, you occasionally think to yourself “I wonder what Gena thinks about the 1980 male prostitute drama American Gigolo?” or “Sure, reading about Supertrain is fun and all, but what I really want is 1,000 words on Mortal Passions.” Well, you’ll get that — though, admittedly I’ll probably go through all the hits first, to steel myself before getting myself into the Cinemax After Dark level stuff like Meridian: Kiss of the Beast and Doppelganger, which I have recorded an episode of Kill by Kill about but haven’t nearly scratched the surface. I mean, there’s just so much happening in it, and it neither starts nor stops with Drew Barrymore having a murderous twin.
Join me on this fascinatingly sleazy journey starting soon, won’t you? We’ll be both the adults and the children in the room.