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Politically correcting our favorite movies


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I'll play along--but I have to ask.   Why is it BS? Why is it bad that we're more sensitive.   I'm sure the answer is "because it ruins the funny", ands I don't disagree. But if it isn't funny to the

I think that there are two separate issues:   1) Types of things being acceptable in the past but not making it into modern movies   2) Erasing content from old movies.   In the case of 1, that's li

If you're American, Stevil, you live in a society founded by puritans. It's never really been washed out of the fabric of US culture. That's why we're having this discussion. Keep that in mind.   In

Guest El Chalupacabra

What about American History X? As good of a movie as it was I can see people today thinking it was racially offensive even though the overall point of the film was to demonize racism.

I agree with you on the point of the film. The message is explicitly stating how pointless racism and hate groups are, and if you join one, you will either end up in jail, or dead, which pretty much is true when you think about it. I've not heard of anyone saying that film is pro-racism, but if they are, I think they are missing the point. But I can see howsomeone might feel the film is offensive because it has white characters using very offensive racial slurs. Kind of a tough call because it would be hard to tell a story like that otherwise, but it definitely would be something most broadcasters would not want to show.

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I think that there are two incredibly different issues: broadcast and existence.

 

If we're just talking broadcast, movies like American History X are problematic for a lot of reasons beyond the language. The entire movie is brutal, and that alone is going to make it difficult for a lot of broadcasters, and it's too old to be a draw for the ones most likely to show an unedited version. We're talking brutal scenes of murders and rape. That's not exactly the normal NBC lineup.

 

But if we're talking about whether it should be as difficult to buy American History X as it is to get a DVD of Muppet Babies to show my kid, that's a different question. The idea of erasing history, or making it so that only academia has access to our cultural history, is disgusting to me.

 

I do agree with Driver, regarding some warnings on certain things. Especially cartoons, which I've seen done well in the past. I don't know that every film needs one, because there is a point as an adult where you just have to be an adult and know what you're watching. Especially for movies 30+ years old (Revenge of the Nerds).

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The problem with films like American History X is that in order to make your overall point you have to go to some very dark places in order to do so at the risk of glorifying what you're trying to denounce. Other films spring to mind when I say that. A Clockwork Orange was supposed to denounce violence, but the sheer cool factor of Malcolm McDowell in full droog attire is the enduring legacy of the movie.

 

A better example is Natural Born Killers. It tried to denounce violence by bombarding the viewer with it for two plus hours, but I think many missed the point of the movie and ultimately viewed the main characters as sympathetic and their violence justified.

 

While I'll never miss the NBK type films of the world, I hate to think that an overly PC climate would prevent another another AMX or Clockwork from being made. Hell Scarface was supposed to show the futility of crime, yet all anyone remembers of that film was a coked up Tony Montana saying hello to his little friend.

 

I'm wondering if these films have contributed to political correctness in movies we see today. Perhaps they just don't trust viewers to be smart enough to get the overall point, so they just color within the lines in order to avoid controversy at the expense of their art and the quality or their work.

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On my end, writing violence is always something I try to justify-- but it's really hard for things on the page to make it to the final product.

 

I think it's an ongoing problem, fun violence vs gritty violence, in most films of the last 50+ years starting with Spaghetti Westerns.

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I was thinking about you when I posted that, knowing that it must be frustrating knowing that what you write may wind up completely different from what ultimately comes out, yet your name is still attached to it.

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Personally, I won't do "real" horror stories. Like home invasions, kidnap/torture, serial killers, etc.-- unless they have a supernatural bend to them. Everything I do is either tonally off enough it can't be real or is supernatural.

 

That's for horror anyway, crime stuff is harder.

 

I think modern westerns have done a great job of "earning" their violence by making the moral tale of story just as deep-- like Unforgiven, for example.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

I think that there are two incredibly different issues: broadcast and existence.

 

If we're just talking broadcast, movies like American History X are problematic for a lot of reasons beyond the language. The entire movie is brutal, and that alone is going to make it difficult for a lot of broadcasters, and it's too old to be a draw for the ones most likely to show an unedited version. We're talking brutal scenes of murders and rape. That's not exactly the normal NBC lineup.

 

But if we're talking about whether it should be as difficult to buy American History X as it is to get a DVD of Muppet Babies to show my kid, that's a different question. The idea of erasing history, or making it so that only academia has access to our cultural history, is disgusting to me.

 

I do agree with Driver, regarding some warnings on certain things. Especially cartoons, which I've seen done well in the past. I don't know that every film needs one, because there is a point as an adult where you just have to be an adult and know what you're watching. Especially for movies 30+ years old (Revenge of the Nerds).

I should clarify what I am terming broadcast, which maybe I used incorrectly for a lack of a better term: Broadcasting to me is not just limited to traditional TV, but also includes cable, streaming, etc. The reason I bring it up is because I believe "broadcasters" have a right to censor, or not show movies at all. Depending on the content, they have an obligation to do so, sometimes. Sure, I think having a debate and criticizing a "broadcaster" if they are being overly PC is valid, but ultimately if said broadcaster owns their method of distribution, and has the ultimate say so.

 

 

However, as far as a movie having the right to exist unaltered basically is a freedom of speech issue, so I think I agree with you and Driver. Like I said in an earlier post, I think that movies can be a form of historical record, and altering them or destroying them should be discouraged. That includes when said film is offensive. I think if you start censoring, altering, or just plain taking a movie out of existence, whether it is interest groups pressuring the owner of the movie to destroy it, or through government mandate, that is where I have a problem with it. That is a slippery slope . That said, if the owner of said movie wants to alter or take it out of circulation, they have that right too. Depending on the alteration or removal of circulation, sure, like broadcasting, if it is a case of being overly PC and deserves criticism, I think that is fine, too.

 

Also, I fully support warning screens prior to the movie or video. Anyone that complains about that, I think is taking it too far.

 

In short, it gets complicated.

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Ok another one. Pulp Fiction. After seeing Bill Maher get so much flack for using the N word it amazes me that Tarantino thought he could get away with using that word, as a white guy, and even more shocking is that he got away with it. Much like Maher he's probably not a racist and was just going for a shock factor, but unlike Maher he didn't get shit for it (unless you count Spike Lee).

 

It's strange because earlier in the film one of the rednecks who raped Marcellus used the term and ultimately got his dick shot off but then Tarantino himself shows up and uses the word flippantly like it was no big deal. While the former case worked for me, the latter case did not.

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But the Wolf shows up. He's The Cleaner. The film doesn't show us or explicitly state it, but Tarantinos character is still a loose end and a witness to the crime. The Wolf's job is to get rid of loose ends and make problems disappear. The implication, I don't think Tarantinos character survives the encounter either. At least, I got the implication that was happening.

 

Still you're right, his use of the N-bomb is pretty jarring

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I mean, RotJ is my favorite movie of the saga, so obviously this doesn't affect my overall enjoyment of the film. Mostly I just address the problematic stuff so other people acknowledge it.

Yes, girls can be terrible, but girls don't run Hollywood. :p

I'm curious if you've watched the Twilight films and what you thought of them?
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I've seen parts of them on TV, but never read the books or watched the movies all at once.

 

Wait - that's a lie. I went to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 with a group of friends because I had nothing else to do and was told it involved a c-section by vampire teeth. I was not disappointed.

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I ask because those movies portray a very weak female. Bella was basically nothing without her boyfriend. She went into a deep depression when he broke up with her, started committing acts of near suicide and didn't start coming out of it until another guy showed romantic interest in her. It's everything wrong with how women should be portrayed, particularly when the target audience is impressionable young girls. Yet this franchise made gobs of money and it was mostly a female audience driving that.

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Guest Robin

In regards to that thought:

 

I have seen many adore this idea that Princess Buttercup "grew up" and is now a General. I totally get the base premise here, and it's cool, but I also feel it sorta screws up an important message; it's perfectly okay to be Buttercup or Antiope.

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I have to ask what's wrong with young boys or men having fantasies? Next thing you'll be telling me it's only males who have them? How many women bought books or went the cinema to see 50 Shades of Torture Porn again?

If you're American, Stevil, you live in a society founded by puritans. It's never really been washed out of the fabric of US culture. That's why we're having this discussion. Keep that in mind.

 

In terms of violence, racial or other controversial themes, or sexuality in films, I think it always goes back to whether or not it logically fits into the movie. If any (or all) of them belong in a film, given its theme, its plot, its characters and so on, then to remove them merely to not offend this group or that seems condescending and patronizing. On the other hand, it's also condescending and patronizing to throw in gratuitous violence or sex simply because some idiot thinks that stuff has to be there in order to sell a movie.

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Ok I've got one. What about The Toy? It's big time commentary on racism as well as the huge disparity between the rich and poor. The staff is made up completely of black people save for the English butler, other white people must drop their pants down at the will of the boss just to keep their jobs, and it's all being told through the eyes of a small child and his adult black friend. There's even a scene of them taking a bath together (with their clothes on).

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I ask because those movies portray a very weak female. Bella was basically nothing without her boyfriend. She went into a deep depression when he broke up with her, started committing acts of near suicide and didn't start coming out of it until another guy showed romantic interest in her. It's everything wrong with how women should be portrayed, particularly when the target audience is impressionable young girls. Yet this franchise made gobs of money and it was mostly a female audience driving that.

Ugghh, I hate that character so much! That scene in the second one where she completely shuts down for months because her vampire boyfriend leaves her was awful. What kind of message is that supposed to send to girls? You should never be so emotionally dependent on someone that you can't function without them.

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IIIIIIII....think that's a little different. I mean, a teenager shutting down because her boyfriend of a few months or so leaves her vs two elderly people who were married for 70 years? :p

That, and I don't think anyone should be so dependent on someone that you cannot live without them, no matter your age.

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Guest Robin

Romeo and Juliet?

 

Love can both provide incredible strength to persevere and despair that may not be conquerable; it depends on the situation, the people and that which surrounds.

 

If my wife, one of my children or someone close was ripped from me I am not certain how I would react and I resist the curiosity to contemplate that scenario.

 

This is of course different than the fiction or the reality of an abusive relationship.

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But the Wolf shows up. He's The Cleaner. The film doesn't show us or explicitly state it, but Tarantinos character is still a loose end and a witness to the crime. The Wolf's job is to get rid of loose ends and make problems disappear. The implication, I don't think Tarantinos character survives the encounter either. At least, I got the implication that was happening.

I never really got that impression. We got a shot of the trunk right before they leave, and Jimmie wasn't in there, which means Wolf would have had to go back for him later.

 

Closest I can find for a hint in that direction is the Wolf making mention of Marsellus providing new furniture for Jimmie and mentioning "oak" which I suppose could be code for a coffin. But that's pretty thin.

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Guest Robin

Romeo and Juliet was written in the 1500's. Using it as an example for Bella and Edward is exactly what's wrong with Twilight.

The origin of the most heralded romance is of relevance why? The reason we still talk about Romeo and Juliet is because it's a masterpiece, a timeless examination of human emotions. This isn't arguing that Bella and Edward are this quality, but they are or at least she is a teen consumed by intense emotions. Granted I have only laughed my way thru the horribleness that was the first film (while also high on pain killers after throwing my back out something awful). However what I gather about the franchise is it's typical of tunnel vision emotions that consume all ages but especially youth. Just because a person or character can be consumed by the intensity and depth of emotion doesn't invalidate them, their story or tag them as a sexist representation necessarily... it can just be they are human.

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Romeo and Juliet is a bad example as it was a different time and they were both young and stupid. ;D

Sorry, but I would never back down on this point of view. No one's life should be so tied to another's that you simply cannot go on without them. You can, you're just choosing to take the easy way out.

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Guest Robin

I certainly don't disagree with the argument and advice against taking one's own life here. I am hesitant to judge the depth of emotion and conclusions that flourish under such duress.

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