Mother's Day

poster for "Blown Away" (1994) starring Tommy Lee Jones


I was 11 years old I my mom was a fan of Tommy Lee Jones.  A new movie had come out on VHS where Mr. Jones played an insane criminal mastermind, known for his skill at constructing rube–goldbergian explosive devices.  The movie was called “Blown Away”.

Every friday my little brother, my mom, and I would rent a movie from Midtown Video on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, and this time she chose “Blown Away.”  We got home while it was still light out, made some popcorn, and started the VCR.  Oddly there were no movie trailers at the beginning nor an FBI warning.  The movie just started.  The first scene was a panning shot on a rural roadway of a man on a motorcycle with the title blasted onto the screen accompanied by an ostentatious electric riff.  The motorcycle stops at a horse stable and we cut to a mid-range shot of the man getting off of his bike. A lady wearing really tight riding clothing gets off her horse to greet him.

“Who you lookin for?” says the girl.


“I think Claudia is up behind those mountains.  Come on, I’ll take you to her.”

“Great.” says the man.

As they started walking, a low-budget dissolve transition begins.  They arrive at a house with a good view of the green valley below and enter.  The man follows the girl into a dimly lit bedroom.

“She’s not here.  What should we do while we wait?”

“I don’t know,” says the man.

“I know,” says the lady.  They start kissing and the man immediately rips off her shirt.  The cheesy guitar music starts up again.

After about 30 seconds of this my mom turned off the VCR.

“I don’t think this movie looks very good.  I think I’ll return it and we’ll rent a better one tomorrow.”

My brother and I agreed.  This movie seemed weird and boring.


I was now a naive freshmen at NYU.  I was setting up my computer in the dormitory when it hit me. `I watched pornography with my mom.’  One of the Midtown Video employees must have switched the original VHS (starring Tommy Lee Jones) with a porno of the same title.

I returned to the task at hand, of installing Microsoft Office.


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