Written by: Christopher Hawthorne / Directed by: Bob Balaban
“WHAT ARE THE LEFT OVERS FROM?”
Parents is a movie starring Bryan Madorsky, Mary Beth Hurt, and the man himself, Randy “Shitters Full” Quaid. It’s about a quiet young kid named Michael (Madorsky) growing up in 1950’s suburbia who has a pretty awkward relationship with his parents. They kind of tend to act like he just doesn’t exist, or that he was a complete mistake to begin with. Besides the occasional exception of the mother’s showing of affection, Randy Quaid is very negative towards Michael. Really, he’s just flat out creepy in this one. Wait…when is Randy Quaid not creepy?? He typically plays creepy characters, but in this movie it’s more of a dark two faced psychopathic creepy and not an asbestos exposed full blown moron type creepy. I’m cool either way. Their obsessive cooking of meat with every meal sparks Michael’s curiosity and his reluctance to even touch the stuff causes him to wonder what it is they’re actually eating. Drum roll……you guessed it, they’re cannibals. This takes Michael on a sneaky journey to find out the truth before he ends up on the menu. This is a forgotten movie that most people don’t really talk about, and I think it’s for two reasons. The first reason is because it stars Randy Quaid. For some reason, I think people never took his acting career too seriously. I mean, De Niro…DiCaprio…Quaid. Just sounds right to me. The second reason is probably just that the film really isn’t very good. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline is actually somewhat intriguing considering the 50’s Leave it to Beaver style time frame, but with the lack of gore and dead bodies required for your average cannibal film (minus a lonely severed leg), it just reminds me of an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark that lasted too long. It drags on and on and the whole time I’m waiting for the pace to pick up and things to get exciting, but before the film is even over, I don’t even care who gets eaten or even feel sorry for Michael anymore. I’m now to the point where I wish his parents would just go ahead and marinate him and put him out of his misery. This kid is really really screwed up. He never speaks, doesn’t even crack a smile (I don’t think), and on top of that, he has a personality similar to that of a dead moth. For a kid who seems so worried about his parents eating people, he never opens his mouth about it once. Which almost defeats the purpose of the storyline to begin with, especially because he doesn’t even seem to like his parents. So, what’s the harm right? If it were me, I’d at least tell my friends and build a pretty solid reputation with them. Who’s going to mess with a kid that might get you eaten by grown ups? The ending is supposed to be a twist “that you didn’t see coming”, but the harsh reality is that it was so completely predictable, I was kind of glad when it was finally over. In the end the movie just made me really hungry. I mean, you have got to see some of this food! There’s no way I would have passed it up, even if I knew it was mailman meatloaf or something. For now I think I’ll just stick to the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies and Kingpin for my monthly dose of Quaid.