Adolescence on VCR.

I wonder if my years alternate in quality. 2005 was a great year. Though I'm hoping for a Q2 rally, 2006 has been a rather shitty year so far. After raiding my family's storage closet and the Internet, I decided to get the VCR out of the closet and do a bit of age regression in the past week. Here are the two tapes in question.

Clue II: Murder in Disguise, The VCR Game Did anyone else ever play this in the 80s? My family never really did board game night, but we did play a lot of this game. I remember watching the tape endlessly when I was 5 years old, the same way another kid may watch their favorite Disney movie. I'm glad to see there are some fan sites out there. Sadly the first Clue game in my mom's closet is in Betamax format, but watching Clue II, just as a movie, was every bit as wonderful and lame as I remember it.

A friend of mine had a DVD movie trivia game that we played, where every 4th question or so was based on a movie clip from the disc. Screw that – why doesn't anyone bring this game back? The VCR version was a pain in the ass because to re-watch parts for clues involved an endless amount of rewinding fast-forwarding; a track-skip button would be perfect.

Swindle (1991). I don't know the correct way to go about explaining this, but I will do my best. I don't know about other men, but when I was around age 13 there was a Cinemax adult movie where everything made sense. Both in what was depicted on-screen, and in how a male audience member usually reacts to said movie. For me that movie was Swindle. It may creep some of our family-values crowd (among others) to explain it in this way, but I think of this movie as "my first" movie. Do other people have such "a first" movie in their minds when it comes to cable softcore movies? If not a "first movie" per se, a Cinemax movie they feel some sort of strong allegiance to? (please leave the titles in the comments, anonymously if you must)

I don't know exactly what month or what year I watched the movie Swindle, but I can tell you with a large degree of certainty it was around 1:00am. I believed I saw the movie twice, at which point (hence the ephemeral nature of softcore) it disappeared from the airwaves. I was in a discussion of good versus bad softcore movies the other week and realized on some level I idealized this movie though I didn't remember much about it. I found a cheap, used (*ahem*) VCR copy online, took a deep breath, and ordered it. The deep breath was necessary because I was worried that a lot of the stuff I find sexy, erotic, etc. about women, something that I think of as being essential piece of who I am, would be derived from what was an awful, cheaply-produced throwaway softcore movie. The movie was awful (why did people do those things to their hair in 1991?), but thankfully any correlation was stuff I already remembered and not enough to scare me or make me doubt myself as a person.

This got me thinking about my age group, the ones who grew up with Cable television but not the Internet. Every age group has a knee-jerk reaction against what the kids these days are like (myself more than most, I was a camp counselor once as a summer job), and good arguments can be made against their music, clothes etc. I have to wonder about their access to porn. Not in the Tipper Gore "we must protect the kids!" way, but in a "these kids never had to stay up till 1am to try and catch The Bikini Car Wash Company" way. The Internet gives them a billion bikini-less car washes at their fingertips. They didn't learn the hard way that USA Up All Night was never, ever going to show a naked boob on the air, they didn't have to smuggle an adult magazine the same way a terrorist may try and get plutonium, and they never came up with complicated ways of taping shows on the VCR while leaving no evidence that it took place. All they have to do is type a word into google's image search and everything is right there. Forget Grand Theft Auto – I honestly believe the lack of having to sit and wait till 1am for your naked T&A is what's destroying the character of the kids these days.

I am equally worried that I have such detailed opinions on these matters and that I'm having a hard time turning this into a platform from which to run for office.

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7 Responses to “Adolescence on VCR.”

  1. Liz Says:

    Mike, your self-disclosure is inspirational. Please allow me to share my early-adolescent love of a particular Showtime series: The Red Shoe Diaries. The basic "plot" of this show is that David Duchovny (I shit you not) reads a series of letters he has received in response to a personal ad aloud to his dog, Max. The ad in question asked for "secret fantasies" from women. Each episode recounts the story told in a different letter.

    This brilliant narrative structure, along with the fact that I was 13 and bored at my dad's cable-equipped and largely unsupervised house at one in the morning, resulted in my fervent following of this series. My goals in life were to make the color guard and to see David Duchovny actually appear in one of the stories. Both came true within the year. Thank you, Showtime, for showing me the New Way.

  2. Samantha Says:

    Liz, I am so with you on that one. The Red Shoe Diaries rocked.

  3. mike Says:

    And didn't Duchovny always read the letters in a field or near railroad tracks, instead of his living room like where everyone reads their mail? good times.

    Only female responses…odd.

  4. The Osiris Says:

    When I was a young-un I found a book of photography that my Dad owned.
    It showed pictures of females that had shaved their pubic hair into designs, such as a heart shape.
    Being the curious fellow I am, this entranced me and I was drawn back to it on many occasions.
    This may not even belong in the 'soft-core' category, featuring no action at all, but merely a nice introduction into the female body.

    Cheers

  5. Ed Says:

    TV Guide capsule reviews of movies helpfully pointed out "brief nudity" (which was always, of course, inadequately brief), nudity, and "adult situations."

    Now, in practice adult situations are actually things like balancing a checkbook, disciplining children, making major purchases of durable goods, and so on. How this became a euphamism for "peoples gonna do some bangin'" I have no idea.

    Quoth Meatwad: "Now _that's_ an adult situation. And I should know. I'm an adult."

  6. trek Says:

    Thanks for this great ace man

  7. casio エディフィス Says:

    カシオ 中山仁