Saturday, April 05, 2008

Parental Guidance Suggested?

Since Mrs. Hollywood's mother is visiting from Canada, I'm taking some vacation time - sort of. As Mrs. Hollywood puts it, "It's like a vacation, except you're working." But I really am taking some vacation time, and I think I really needed it.

But anyway, I'm doing things I don't normally do, like reading the newspaper.

Lagniappe, which is the Times-Picayune's "Arts and Entertainment Weekly" is an interesting snapshot into the state of the culture. Oh boy. The political correctness is utterly stifling. Isn't it amazing how much of a conformist you need to be to be "on the edge" these days?

Here's a little survey of some of the plays that are reviewed. First, there's one about a "young black girl in 1941 who prays for blue eyes." A story about race. Now there's a theme that has never been explored on stage. That's throwing caution to the wind. Then there's the "sophisticated Manhattan comedy that gets into some serious questions of gay marriage and haute couture." Ho-hum. Then, there is another play about race. That's a shocker. And over here is a "musical hit about talented little Tina, who would literally kill to get the lead in her school play." Kind of like the uplifting biography of Tonya Harding. And lest we forget, there is the "infamous San Francisco punk troupe of outrageous international drag performers." How could I live with myself if I don't get to see that one?

But wait, there's more! How about the "twisted tale" and "love story" about "Happy and Gaye Daye, who happen to be cousins and know it, have a co-dependent dysfunctional relationship complicated by the fact that they are" - I kid you not - "clowns and don't know it." All righty then. Here's another play: "the reminiscences of a snake handler, a rodeo queen, a woman obsessed with McDonald's, a baton twirler, etc." Okay. There's also the "newly relevant 1952 comedy about a girl determined to try out for the high school football team." Boy, I can hardly predict the plot on this one. Does anybody have a clue what the "moral" will be? That one's really up for grabs, anybody's guess. The suspense is killing me.

Over in the movie section, the reviews follow this pattern: number of stars, MPA rating, where the movie is playing, plot summary, the obligatory litany of objectionable content (which reads like the swiftly mumbled list of "possible side effects" of pharmaceuticals in the ubiquitous dope commercials on TV), and finally, the length of the film.

The "Litany of the Objectionable" is pretty long in most of the films. They are typically the same. It seems to be a staple of Hollywood marketing to include "language" (well, I should hope so, unless it's a silent film), "nudity," "violence" and "sexuality."

One movie struck me in having one more that the others don't. This additional bit of objectionable content is at the end, making it sound as if this is the crescendo, the pinnacle, the climax of the movie's nastiness.

Here's the list: "Rude and sexual humor, nudity, language, and..."


Are you ready for this.


Are you sure you can handle it?



Can you just imagine what it might be?



Blasphemy?



Cannibalism?



Cold blooded murder?



Sadism?



Vicious cruelty?



None of these.



It is rather...


Wait for it...


"smoking."

Yep, that's it. The film landed a PG-13 due to "rude and sexual humor, nudity, language, and smoking." Can you just hear a nice conservative couple in the midwest saying: "We were going to take Trevor and Emily to see this movie, and we were a little concerned with the objectionable content. We really like to keep exposure of our children to "rude and sexual humor, nudity, and language" to a reasonable amount, especially on school nights. But when we saw there was "smoking" in this movie, we decided that's just not proper viewing for a Christian family. In fact, we are planning on sending a letter to the theater manager protesting this filth."

Smoking? Goodness gracious, where will it end? Next thing you know, the Hollywood moguls will stoop to depictions of people eating hamburgers and riding bicycles without Federally approved safety helmets.

Things are getting crazy out there.

4 comments:

Pastor Beisel said...

I had the same reaction to a video I was looking at. Maybe it was the same one. Where will it end? Probably won't. The next thing you will see is "Rated-PG-13, for smoking, and failure to recycle."

Father Hollywood said...

Paul:

Interestingly enough, check out this lobbying effort. This group wants smoking to trigger an "R" rating.

I think "failure to recycle" may even be more serious - along the likes of NC-17 - if not a felony. I think the indie films probably should steer clear of that and stick with something less controversial, like maybe snuff films.

I can't call it to mind now, but I remember a fracas over a completely clean "Christian" film that was branded PG because it had "Christian prosyletism" in it.

So, when do we see the White Rabbit? Or does this life only make sense when played at the same time as Dark Side of the Moon?

Jeff said...

The lunatic is in my head... ;)

Father Hollywood said...

Drain bamage? ;-)