O, comrades, gather ’round! Let me tell you of the forbidden wonders that have flickered before mine eyes! Hear of the wild thrills and pleasures that I, a mere lad of 8, have had the privilege to behold in the few brief years of my earthly pilgrimage: films bearing the wicked seal of not G, not PG-13, but R! Yes, R! A mark signifying only the most illicit of amusements! Gather, comrades, gather! Drink ye now from the cup that I have filled at the well of dark knowledge.
Never shall I forget the All Hallow’s Eve of my sixth year, the day that I first entered the great untried realm of R-rated movies. It was during a slumber party at my playmate Brayden’s house, where we naughtily succumbed to the temptations of his father’s Blu-ray copy of 300. And let me tell you, comrades, it was like nothing I had ever experienced—a relentless onslaught of vulgarities my virgin ears had not yet heard, eroticism my eyes had not yet seen, and savage acts of violence that eclipsed even the most violent of Power Rangers episodes. I rarely blinked as I watched, too exhilarated by the barrage of morbid stimulants flashing on screen before me. That night, my innocence was left behind on the bloody sands of Thermopylae. I was born anew.
2. American Pie
I was able to behold this marvelous R-rated romp on the Starz channel one day last summer while my parents were preoccupied having wine in the backyard with neighbors. And, o, what a tremendous joy it was! The movie follows five adolescent boys who, filled with excessive activity of blood and nerve, passionately seek to express their puberties upon vaginas, yet are frequently thwarted. One boy makes trouble upon a pie with his engorged genitals! Another diarrheas loudly and is ostracized! In one particularly compelling scene, a girl who speaks poor English becomes naked and tinkers with her groin, which, curiously, produced sordid radiations from my own groin as I watched. Unconsciously, I began vigorously rubbing my boyhood through my dungarees until it became chapped and had to desist. That certainly never happens during PG movies! Even though I did not at any point understand what was happening in American Pie, I nonetheless found it to be utterly magnificent.
3. The Passion Of The Christ
A curious film, this one. My dad invited me to watch it with anticipation that it would be integral to my spiritual development to observe a stylized interpretation of our Savior’s anguish, but alas, my soul remained unstirred. Yet, as is proper for American lads my age, I am sick and giddy with bloodlust, and I’m pleased to report that this movie was amply rewarding in its gore. For 126 consecutive minutes, our Lord is paraded through a labyrinth of suffering, His holy blood squirting hither and yon in such excess that your correspondent could not help but mutter, “Whoa,” again and again. The Romans, they flogged our Lord! They hit our Lord with a stick! They hurt our Lord in so many imaginative and spectacular ways that I could never have conceived on my own, providing rich inspiration for the violence I myself choreograph between my action figures when playing in the bathtub (never would it have occurred to me to have my Buzz Lightyear toy crucify my Greedo toy!). For those with a taste for gratuitous carnage and exceedingly creative acts of torture, I heartily recommend this R-rated bloodbath.
4. Sausage Party
Never has my bosom gladdened quite as it did the moment my mother granted me permission to watch Sausage Party on Netflix, she mistaking it for an animated children’s film instead of the glorious carnival of obscenities that it is. Believe me, comrades, when I say that this film is one of mankind’s crowning artistic achievements, peer only to the Sistine frescoes and the sonnets of the immortal bard. Each and every frame offers a new comedic treasure that would leave me convulsing uncontrollably with mirth, whether it was an anthropomorphic hot dog making whoopee with a voluptuous bun or a wheelchair-riding bolus of chewing gum spouting mathematical theorems. And, yet, for all the many smiles, the movie is also a powerful and haunting audit of the human condition, depicting the horrid realities of these modern times with devastating clarity. One character, a living bagel, is a profound embodiment of the Jewish experience in all its glory and suffering. Another character, a living box of grits, serves as a brutally honest portrait of life as a black man in America. I tell you, comrades, this movie changed me. It is one continuous hallelujah from start to finish.
5. Texas Chainsaw 3D
Surely there is no movie in all of human history more terrifying than this, Texas Chainsaw 3D, which I also watched at Brayden’s house. While I was delighted to discover that there were boobs in this movie—both big boobs and little boobs, all of them pleasing in their contours—the primal joy of gazing upon mammaries was dwarfed by the film’s myriad horrors, which were likely devised in the hideous mind of Lucifer himself. In the movie, a monster named Leatherface methodically slaughters all of the other characters one by one with his fearsome chainsaw, leaving yours truly crippled with fear, as if I, too, were but a fattened ox awaiting the butcher’s blade. Although I could not summon the courage to entertain the film in its entirety—instead retiring to my sleeping bag under the guise that I was weary—the hour or so that I did watch forced me to reckon with my own mortality in a way I never had before. I had known that sometimes in this world, a man must lay down his life for his principles, but until Texas Chainsaw 3D, I had not realized that oftentimes men must die for no reason at all. Death is a capricious and unsentimental brute who summons us per his whims, caring not whether you’re emperor or slave, adult or child. He is looming always, and what choice do I have but to be ready for my own death at every minute of every day? All I can do is wake each morning and recite this humble prayer: “God grant me preparation for the hour and all its possibilities.” And if I die, then so it is.