My Take by Jim Carl - April 5, 2012

NEIGHBORS (1980)
Neighbors had the biggest standee I'd ever seen in my life.   It was a beauty to behold.   It covered an entire wall of the movie theatre at the Mall of Abilene during Christmas 1980, from one side of the concession stand to the entryway where the usher tore your tickets.   It was life-size, and its facade towered several yards over my twelve year-old head, or so it seemed.   I thought Neighbors looked swell, but there was a teeny, tiny problem.   It was rated R.  Somehow, I didn't think my mother would take a shine to my seeing Neighbors.   She had a peculiar sense of humor.  Peculiar, meaning that she didn't appreciate my generation's sense of humor.  Too crude, for her taste.  (Many years later, alas, I would understand how she felt.)  But when you're a twelve year-old boy staring at a giant brick house made of cardboard with John Belushi himself blocking the door and Dan Aykroyd peerking through the window, what could your silly mother possibly know about funny?  This was a woman who never laughed once during Airplane!  Her idea of funny was Doris Day in Calamity Jane.
 
I'll tell you what is funny: The teenage cashier who sold me the movie ticket never once asked about my mother, just took my $4.75.   The old days, how I miss thee.
 
Neighbors marked the first time in my life that I saw an R-rated movie without an adult in tow.  Oh, I'd seen my share of R-rated movies at theatres before, including Carrie, Halloween, Maniac, and Friday the 13th.   In all those instances, however, I'd gone with someone who had acted as my chaperone, usually my mother or my Aunt Eva.  Neighbors was the first time I entered an R-rated movie all by myself, just because I could, expecting to see some extraordinary sights and, instead, feeling bitter disappointment.  Such a shame that the film didn't live up to my twelve year-old expectations.  To this day, I can not tell you the plot of Neighbors, or what happened, nor if anyone dies or even if anything blows up real good.  I have not a single memory about the movie itself, except that I didn't like it. What I can remember (just barely) is that there was hardly any nudity in that film, and except for one or two cursewords (which I'd all ready heard 1000 times as any teenager who wants to see the upcoming film, Bully, will tell you), the whole adventure wasn't worth the risk I'd taken.  And yet, Neighbors holds a special place in my memory for no other reason than it marked my personal passage into the criminal underworld.
 
What was the first R-rated movie you saw without an adult in tow at theatres?  Was the movie a memorable one?  Tell me about it.    
 

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