I love movies. I have for a long time. Hell, I’ll sometimes watch movies for the sole purpose of saying I have seen them. For the longest time my dream was to write and direct movies. Maybe I will, there’s still time. But it seems lately Hollywood is succumbing to the pressures of an overly sensitive society. And that pisses me right off.
While putting together Happy Friday last week I stumbled upon this article, but I couldn’t keep my thoughts short enough to fit the Friday format, nor could I stop the steam from spewing out of my ears. Maybe I shouldn’t care so much since I am old enough to see any movie I want. But I think it has more to do with my dislike of censorship and other people telling me how to raise my children, or the children I may one day have.
The American Medical Association Alliance, which by the way sounds slightly made up and a little redundant, claims “big screen smoking leads teens to pick up the tobacco habit.” I call this people not wanting to take responsibility for themselves. As hinted in the opening, I have been watching movies since I was a kid. Lots of movies, many involving people smoking. I have never once thought about smoking because I saw some cool actor doing it. The only person close to me who smokes is Dagger, and I can’t be certain but I am pretty sure he didn’t start smoking because Bernie Lomax smoked. People are always looking for excuses for reasons they do things not morally accepted by society.
You may be thinking, “Hart, what if Nick Naylor’s idea is being executed here? You know where he is working with a movie studio to make a movie with big stars smoking as a way to advertise cigarettes.” That may very well be, but how effective is that really? Did FedEx become increasingly popular after Cast Away? After Transformers came out did everyone go and buy a car from GM? Obviously not.
But it seems cigarettes are just the next thing to be designated to “R” rated movies. Making the 1980′s the best time to be a teenage movie goer. It was during this time a movie could show tits, Sixteen Candles; smoking, Uncle Buck; or using the word “fag,” Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and still get a “PG-13″ rating by the MPAA. If those movies were released today, in a supposed more evolved and advanced society, they would get an “R” rating. I don’t understand how it helps society to prohibit such things from being viewed?
Though I am not sure the rating system does that much good anyway. Do you think a bunch of minimum wage earning teenagers actually give a shit about keeping other teenagers out of “inappropriate” movies? I’ll give you a hint, absolutely not! The only place I have ever seen ID checking for movies, other the porn shop, is censor police Wal-Mart.
While I’m talking about the rating system being a joke, how come tits and cigarettes will garnish an “R” rating, but guns will not? Tits don’t hurt any body. Cigarettes do more harm to the person who chooses to smoke. But guns have the potential to do way more damage than cigarettes. So why the fuck is it ok for teens to watch John McClane, wait, SPOILER ALERT, put a gun to his shoulder and shoot himself in order to kill the bad guy, but totally unacceptable for them to see him smoke? This double standard upsets me most of all. I would be way more worried to see a teenager walking down the street with a gun than with a cigarette.
I’m not saying movies with guns should automatically be rated “R,” or the guns replaced with walkie-talkies, I am saying one item should not designate the movie’s rating.
Every week there are at least three new movies opening up, that’s over 150 new movies a year. The movie industry is going to be fine. So I see no reason they need to conform to society standards in such extreme manners. In fact I think the movie industry could even go so far as to say, “We’re the movies. We’re violent, we fuck, and we smoke. If you don’t like it, read a book.” I just want the movie industry to man up and go back to the glory days and remind me why I wanted to make movies with my life.
See ya in the pictures…
03 Jun 2009 Lee S. Hart