5 Classic Movies That Have Become Horrifying With Age
Wind the clock back 30 years and look at stand-up comedy. Lots of dumb blonde jokes, cracks about gays, rambling bits about this new "Flock of Seagulls" band. Of course, you can still find all of that on-stage in places like South Dakota, The Land That Time Forgot, but the rest of the world has moved on. And so it is that we turn a kinder, wiser eye to pop culture of the past and go, "Holy shit, we really thought that was okay?"
American Pie Thinks It's Cool To Secretly Record Sex
American Pie, a movie that spawned seven sequels despite the fact that nobody saw any of them, is about four dudes who pledge to lose their virginity before they graduate high school. At the risk of spoiling it for you, shenanigans ensue.
The nerdy Jim manages to attract the attention of exchange student Nadia. Naturally, his buddies convince him to set up a webcam so they can watch him get laid, because in 1999 only weirdos watched Internet porn, while real men asserted their heterosexuality by watching their closest friends get boners. Jim agrees, because that is the law of shenanigans, but instead of emailing the webcam link only to his friends, Jim accidentally sends a mass email to his entire school. Oh, no! Hundreds of people get to see Nadia get naked without her consent, rather than just the few intended guys which ... would have somehow been okay? What?
The only bigger load of bullshit here is a streaming video connection working that well in 1999.
Nadia's parents force her to return home as punishment for accidentally becoming an amateur porn star -- it's the girl's fault, of course, always the girl -- and while Jim is initially mocked for premature ejaculation, another girl soon agrees to date him, because the video convinced her that getting in his pants would be a "sure thing." Lesson ... learned?
Heathers Is Ridiculously Pre-Columbine
Heathers was a dark high school comedy about Winona Ryder's Veronica befriending cool outsider Christian Slater's J.D., only to realize that he is in fact a homicidal lunatic. Slater plays a new student who wears a trench coat and sits in the corner. Two jocks in letter jackets immediately decide to bully him as part of the ongoing Coat Wars, and Slater responds by pulling out a goddamn gun and firing blanks in their faces.
Add a fade to black and a government seal, and this is an anti-gun PSA today.
In the next scene, one of the titular Heathers scoffs at the thought of J.D. getting any punishment worse than a brief suspension, and Veronica finds his antics both hilarious and kinda hot. And indeed, J.D. is allowed to return to school without any consequences, which makes it pretty easy for him to murder three students before attempting to blow the whole place up and finally committing suicide via bomb vest. You can probably see why this film didn't age well as a comedy, but aged fantastically as a grim portent of the dark future to come.
The Bad News Bears Has Cute Kids Using Racial Slurs
Bad News Bears is the story of Morris Buttermaker, an alcoholic former baseball player who's recruited to coach a team of incompetent misfits. If you guessed that what they really win is a valuable life lesson, step forward and claim your prize.
Bears came out in 1976 and was rated PG. That rating is an important part of what makes Bad News Bears so insane. If it had been rated R as an unflinchingly authentic look at troubled teens, we'd have no issues here. But it's not; it's supposed to be a wacky jaunt for all ages. Here are a few of those zany antics:
One of the children, Tanner, complains that his team sucks because "All we got on this team is a bunch of Jews, spics, niggers, pansies, and a booger-eating moron." Later, when Amanda joins the team, because every sports movie is legally required to have a The Girl character, Tanner complains "Jews, spics, niggers and now a girl?" This is considered adorable:
Speaking of the girl, Buttermaker throws beer at her and makes her cry when she tries to convince him that he's not a bum, which in other movies would be the start of an inspirational turn-around, but here just illustrates what a terrible creature humanity has become. The 11-year-old also gets hit on by Kelly, the talented troublemaker who smokes cigarettes, complains that the Bears are a team "for faggots and old farts" and says the only reason he hangs around is because "There's nice ass at the field," despite only looking a couple years removed from Kindergarten himself.
We get that the whole joke is how inappropriate both Buttermaker and his kids are, but put their antics in a modern film and you get less of an "Oh, those uncouth children with their hearts of gold" comedy and more of a "We need to step in and do something about this horrible epidemic affecting our children" think piece.
"Hey, Coach, can I have one?"
"Why not. We've gotten away with the rest of this shit."
Pretty Baby Really Wanted To Show Us A Naked, Underage Brooke Shields
1978's Pretty Baby is the coming of age story of the 12-year-old Violet. Aww.
It's set in 1917. Violet lives at a brothel with her prostitute mother, has her virginity auctioned off by the cocaine-sniffing Madame, and marries a creepy photographer three times her age whom she met because he likes to take pictures of the prostitutes. Euugh.
Did we mention that Violet is played by Brooke Shields?
"Wait, wait, wait ... If I finish this scene, do I have to go on some kind of list?"
It gets even worse when Violet escapes to live with the photographer, because the movie portrays it as her seducing him, as opposed to, you know, a grown man abusing a little girl. But don't worry -- he knows she's still a kid, so he buys her a toy doll and she calls him "papa." In between sleeping with him and otherwise acting as his wife. Jesus, the only thing that keeps this from being a flat-out horror movie is Shields' laughably bad Southern accent.
Again, that subject matter is fine if this was a serious and poignant movie about growing up in a time when girls were routinely exploited. But that's not how things went down. Whether it's showing a nude Shields taking a bath after having sex or having her pose naked for her husband's photographs, the director really goes out of his way to ensure that viewers get a nice good look at some 12-year-old booty.
The trailer doesn't think any of this is creepy. It portrays Violet as irresistible, and calls Shields "breathtaking" and "changing" (as in changing into a woman before your filthy, roving eyes). Oh, and that photographer character who takes pictures of prostitutes and marries a 12-year-old? He's not portrayed as a van-dwelling weirdo, but a charming and caring man. Also, they called the movie Pretty Goddamn Baby, which is about a step away from advising pedophiles to sit in the back row and wear a trench coat.
Related: People Keep Getting Naked On Zoom
Sixteen Candles Is An '80s Movie With A '40s Racial Stereotype
Sixteen Candles is about the timeless teenage practice of pining over an unrequited love while also having to beat off the advances of a creepy nerd. And it is a parade of atrocities that we hope no modern teen ever has to go through. First, Molly Ringwald's Sam basically gets molested by her grandparents. Grandpa tries to give her a hug that makes Ted Cruz's advances look wanted, then says "I better go get my magnifying glass" when grandma comments that Sam's "got her boobies." Oh yeah, and then grandma gives them a good squeeze.
Sam is then introduced to Long Duk Dong, the Chinese exchange student who, no shit, is introduced via wacky gong sound effects:
Also referred to as The Donger (heh) and the Chinaman (uh-oh), Long feels like he wandered out of a 1930s yellow peril story. "Mystical" music plays in his scenes, he uses forks as chopsticks, he speaks in broken English, he's baffled by American customs, he's weak but conniving ...
Not only is this guy actually Japanese, but he was born in fucking Utah.
Even when he does get a girlfriend, the joke is that even she's manlier than him. And no amount of romantic success can make the line "Ohh, no more yanky my wanky" not sound like it came from a World War II propaganda movie shown to American soldiers moments before they had to go storm a Japanese island.
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For more films you had no idea should make you a little uncomfortable, check out 5 Disturbing Implications Of Famous Children's Movies and 5 Horrifying Aftermaths Implied By Movies With Happy Endings.
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