FUCK FLIP YEAH!
Along with beef, chain stores, wars of aggression, & freedom, I would think Hollywood is one our top cultural exports. One of those things that "define" us on the world stage. Well, with that utterly unsubstantiated assertion in mind, bear witness to this lil' blurb from AP:
Smoking will be a bigger factor in determining film ratings, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday . . . [the MPAA's] ratings board, which previously had considered underage smoking in assigning film ratings, now will take into account smoking by adults, as well. That adds smoking to a list of such factors as sex, violence and language in determining the MPAA's G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 ratings. Film raters will consider the pervasiveness of tobacco use, whether it glamorizes smoking and the context in which smoking appears, as in movies set in the past when smoking was more common.Before I even go on here, one little snippet from the article makes me laugh: "Violence"??? Since when has that had jack shit (uh, I mean jack crap . . . uhh, I mean jack doodoo) to do with ratings?
I'll be the first to admit that most movies feature way too much smoking. It just looks silly. People don't smoke as much as they used to, and when the supposedly glamorous or wealthy characters on screen smoke constantly, it looks inauthentic. I think many directors use smoking as a visual crutch: letting the character light up absolves them of the responsibility to create stronger, fresher images, or write more fully realized dialogue.
But that's their choice. Hollywood has long thrown money & marketing at hacks. It's the 'Mercan Way!
And that leads me to another funny part of this story. As always in the United States of Wussiness, it's all "about the children." But anyone who's ever been a teenager knows that an R rating does anything but discourage them to see a movie. If anything, it makes it more likely that teens and pre-teens will go. Has any teenager in history ever failed to get into an R movie because they were unaccompanied by an "adult or guardian"?
And what's next? What will they add to "Profanity," "Nudity," "Smoking," & "Thematic Elements," to earn that coveted R rating? "Intelligent Dialogue," "Pervasive Lack of Cartoonish Action," "Realistic Depiction of Violence"?
Any thoughts? Additional suggestions to the MPAA?