A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some sweet messages -- such as a segment featuring a single mom who tenderly cares for her daughter -- but many more are quite dark: A Latino boy is bullied physically and with racist taunts (later he has a fistfight that he implies helps him heal from this and other experiences); a man plans to kill his son with a shotgun; a bunch of 20-somethings accidentally kill a man.
Positive Role Models
Many different types of characters represented, including regretful fathers, angry children, an off-balance sister. We meet them in such short bursts that it's hard to draw conclusions about them, though some seem kinder than others, and some commit terrible acts.
Violence & Scariness
Upsetting scenes, rather than bloody/gory ones. A man prepares to shoot his son in the head with a shotgun; the son urinates in his pants (viewers see yellow snow), and the father lets him go. A woman puts honey on herself to attract ants; viewers see them crawling in and out of her underwear. One man tries to wake another he thinks is drunk (he's actually dead) by urinating at length on his face. A man with a degenerative disease dies, and his son and wife lie in bed with the body.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief sexual scenes, including a couple making out feverishly against a wall before falling into bed together; a teen boy hears his mother having sex with several men and sees them fondling her (part of one nipple is very briefly visible); teens tell sexual stories that refer to female body parts and acts ("f---ing," "t-ts," "ass"); women are seen in lingerie.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "a--hole," "bastard," "hell," "goddamn," "ass" (referring to the body part), "p---y" (referring to sex in general), "bulls--t," "jerk-off," "poophead," "c--k," "t-ts," "d--k."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Multiple characters drink beer, cocktails, and liquor. Multiple characters (including teens) smoke cigarettes. In one vignette, characters take LSD and psychedelic mushrooms (and make a fatal error).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards is a collection of vignettes based on the same-named short story collection by Robert Boswell. While there isn't much in the way of gory violence, some of the subjects and characters are quite dark and upsetting: a slowly dying parent, vicious bullies, an accidental death, a man who tries to kill his son with a shotgun. Other unusual, sometimes-brutal imagery includes a woman putting honey on her body to attract ants (viewers see them crawling in and out of her underwear) and a man trying to wake another he thinks is drunk (he's actually dead) by urinating on his face. Brief sexual scenes include a couple kissing against a wall and then in bed and a woman being fondled by multiple men (her nipple is partially visible very briefly). Teen boys also describe made-up sexual scenes with vulgar words for sex and body parts. Language is frequent and includes multiple uses of "f--k," plus "a--hole," "bastard," "goddamn," "p---y," and more. Several characters (including teens) smoke cigarettes and drink, and 20-somethings drink heavily and take LSD and psychedelic mushrooms, which leads to an accidental killing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Critics frequently dismiss movies by comparing them to student films -- and watching this meandering series of unconnected stories, which was literally Franco's student film, demonstrates why. Franco has assembled a very talented cast (just which favors did he have to call in from his A-list friends?), but since the seven vignettes showcased here are of such widely varying quality -- and since it's unclear exactly how they're connected or what conclusions we're supposed to draw from them being grouped together -- the whole movie is a bit of a forehead-wrinkler.
The best of the stories connect with viewers due to the actors' idiosyncratic charm. Wiig, always fun to watch, brings a little sparkle to her part as an outwardly sedate single mom/aspiring actress working as a house cleaner, whose inner life is full of satin sheets and red carpets. Jacob Loeb is compelling as a dead-eyed kid who moves to a new town hoping to find some fun and a girlfriend and instead becomes embroiled in a cover-up. But in between, there are a lot of "where is this going?" moments and clunky dialogue, the worst of which is uttered by poor Tamblyn as an off-balance sister. "The combined IQ of a colony of ants exceeds that of the average U.S. senator," she says, before telling a metaphorical story about a pair of famous monkeys who became a fish and a bird who could no longer understand each other's language. Franco completists will be the main audience for The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, a curiosity that ultimately doesn't go much of anywhere.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.