I have been silent for too long. I thought Dad would eventually tell you, but I see now that he is engulfed by his addiction and will never admit it to you. So I must. Mom, Dad likes Steven Segal movies. I just do not understand it. You two watch such great movies together. Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Remember the Titans, even Speed- you both seemed to enjoy them so much. His taste in movies seems so pure, wholesome- but beneath his Ebert-esque discernment lies an insatiable thirst for more. More action, ponytails, roundhouse kicks, environmental terrorists, and thirty second stare-downs. When you and the girls went to this year’s Mother/Daughter Retreat of Love and Celibacy, Dad went to Blockbuster. He thought I was asleep, but I sneaked down to the living room and found that he had rented On Deadly Ground AND Fire Down Below. He had watched both! Back to back! Sick bastard! I felt dizzy, nauseous but somehow made it back to my room. I locked my door and slid to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably- how could he do this to you, Mom? This is the man that took me to see Saving Private Ryan, told me to avoid any movie with Tom Selleck in a standalone leading role, for God’s sake he was by my side as I struggled to grasp the intricacies of The Godfather! How can he enjoy Segal’s overacting and irrational fight choreography? The man is visibly overweight! How can Dad believe that he has the stamina to fight four eco-villains at once?
Mom, if you can read through your tears, listen to me. You and Dad can get through this. It will be hard- at first Dad will deny ever hearing of Steven Segal, then his denial will evolve into defense. He will say he only watches it for the karate and Steven doesn’t mean anything to him. He will say Steven is the only American to have mastered the “Grab-n-Twist” neck breaking maneuver made popular in the James Bond series. But you cannot listen to him, Mom. Tell him Segal looks as if he is reading from a cue card at all times and his monotone makes the viewer lose interest after two sentences. Tell him that when Segal squints, tries to look stoic, and utters “It’s time someone taught these guys a lesson” it is NOT good acting! Make him see, Mom! Make him see!
I have a plan. Even though it will be painful, Mom, you must give a little to get a lot. Rent Bloodsport, featuring Jean Claude van Damme, and watch it with him. We both know Jean Claude should be modeling neckties somewhere, but Dad doesn’t. The absence of a ponytail will make Dad confused, but the slow-motion fight scenes and abysmal dialogue will leave him feeling warm and comfortable. Slowly, Dad will become less and less dependent on Segal until, like a Nicorette gum user, he will not even pause when he sees Exit Wounds on late-night TNT.
I love you, Mom. Help Dad.