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Are the movies really dying? Part II

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Are the movies really dying? Part II

Old 08-10-05, 12:35 PM
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Are the movies really dying? Part II

Interesting article by Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/edi...nd_on_kids_tv/ .
In the Globe, it's titled Common Ground on Kids' TV. In its syndicated version, its title has been changed to Hollywood's too filthy - even for liberals (e.g.: Canada's National Post), making it relevant to the movie industry in general.
What's she on about?
1. Even liberal (i.e. leftist, Democrat) parents agree that something should be done about sex and violence (with an emphasis on the latter) in Hollywood movies and the home gaming industry (e.g.: Grand Theft Auto).
2. Hollywood is literally getting away with murder and burying its head in the sand at the same time, hiding behind liberal platitudes like the right to free speech and the horrors of censorship. Meanwhile, movie attendance is mysteriously dwindling.
3. The American nation has never been so divided as since the last presidential election, with the right boycotting the so-called "liberal" medias and the left being wishy-washy on all issues that have remotely to do with morality (for example, less bloodshed on the screen).
4. Liberals and Democrats would do well (like Hillary Clinton does) to side with the right on the question of controlling the level of violence their kids should be subjected to against their parents' will, instead of missing the boat of popular opinion.

Here's the whole article:

ELLEN GOODMAN
Common ground on kids' TV
By Ellen Goodman | August 7, 2005

THIS IS how the rant entered its second generation. Two women who share their DNA with a toddler were sitting within the television range of a baseball game. Suddenly the screen shifted from the game of Johnny Damon to an ad for ''The Amityville Horror." Balls and strikes gave way to blood and gore.

As the boy's eyes widened in horror, the mother grabbed the remote control with an adrenaline rush usually reserved for snatching children out of traffic. The two women then launched into a diatribe about how thoroughly remote is their control of the media, indeed how out of control they feel in shielding even the most carefully protected child from the world beamed in, around, and over their heads.

Lest you think these two women belong to a tribe that wants to ban ''Harry Potter" for wizardry, let me describe them. The grandmother is a certified First Amendment junkie and journalist. The mother runs a theater company and a troupe that lives up to the name Broad Comedy.

These women work on one edge of the cultural bell curve. If they have turned ballistic at home invasions and totally unsympathetic when media moguls defend sex and violence as a matter of ''creative freedom," exactly who's left on their side? When more than 70 percent of Americans think that moviemakers ''don't share their values" and are ''out of touch with most Americans" -- thank you Pew survey -- that vast entertainment complex has lost nearly everyone who lives in a family with people under 18.

Want to know why PBS is so popular that its funding is likely to be saved? It isn't Bill Moyers, bless his heart, or ''Antiques Roadshow." It's the PBS safety zone for kids programming.

Want to know, conversely, why the Family Movie Act passed, thereby allowing technology to edit out sex and violence on videos over the outrage of the auteurs? It isn't because we all want sanitizers editing nakedness out of ''Schindler's List" or gay characters out of ''My Best Friend's Wedding." It's because even these two women found themselves in uncharacteristic agreement with Family Flix's Sandra Teraci when the supersanitizer said, ''A lot of people are just really tired . . . of turning on the TV or renting a movie and constantly being hit by violence, profanity, and nudity."

Parents are forever being told to monitor their children's media without being told how. We are subject to ratings creep -- yesterday's R is today's PG-13 -- and Internet creeps. The most recent evidence of our impotence came over the video game, ''Grand Theft Auto." It turns out that this popular teaching tool for crime and violence could be easily modified so players could create their own pornfests.

In ''Everything Bad Is Good for You," maverick Steven Johnson swears that today's popular culture is making us smarter. It isn't the content but ''collateral learning" that matters, says this unabashed fan of ''Grand Theft Auto." We should worry less about ''the tyranny of the morality play," he says, and smile more about the way the games challenge skills. But if the culture now provides a ''cognitive workout," what muscle is it building? Better and smarter pornographers? Maybe everything bad is worse for you.

The older of the two women joined the counterculture some decades ago when the younger was still a schoolgirl. She wonders why the issue still remains largely the property of the political right. When Tipper Gore tried to get parental ratings on records -- back when there were records -- she was trashed by the left. The supersanitizers given the go-ahead by the Family Movie Act are largely religious right-wingers.

It is the rare Democrat like Hillary Clinton who gets it. Clinton was a leader of the pack that got ''Grand Theft Auto" rated ''adults only" and is willing to make a pact with superconservative Rick Santorum to back a bill for research on the effect of media on kids. For the most part, aside from an occasional call to the better angels of Hollywood -- who leave their wings at the conference door -- the campaign against media mayhem has been left to the untender mercies of the right.

The problem is not one ad for ''Amityville." Nor is it about one toddler at the Heffalump stage of pop culture. It's about a world in which families are trying to shape their children's values, while Hollywood feels unashamed. Today, the right creates a counterculture as a wildly successful recruitment tool and the left remains inhibited by cries of censorship and the clink of Hollywood dollars.

This is a time when Democrats keep talking about finding common ground. Take it from one family entering its third generation. The most crowded piece of common ground is right under your nose.

Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is [email protected].

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

Last edited by baracine; 08-10-05 at 12:37 PM.
Old 08-10-05, 12:52 PM
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Move attendance is dwindling, but I would have though it was because of hometheaters, DVD, and bootlegs among other things. I wouldn't have thought that morality was such a big issue to so many. Sure, there will always be some who don't like a particular aspects of movie (be it sex, gore, violence, profanity, etc...), but I have a hard time believing this is a widespread phenomenon.
Old 08-10-05, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
Movie attendance is dwindling, but I would have though it was because of hometheaters, DVD, and bootlegs among other things. I wouldn't have thought that morality was such a big issue to so many. Sure, there will always be some who don't like a particular aspects of movies (be it sex, gore, violence, profanity, etc...), but I have a hard time believing this is a widespread phenomenon.
Bootlegs? That's part of the morality issue, isn't it? But, seriously, as an officially-sanctioned "old codger", I despise every aspect of today's movies, but especially the gore and violence filling in for lowered standards of craftsmanship and writing (the general dumbing-down process of going to the movies). That's on top of hating the sight of uneducated teenagers talking outloud to themselves and into their cellphones in a public hall. I find it interesting that if Hollywood suffers enough monetarily from some sort of unorganized backlash against sex/violence/profanity at the movies, the producers will have to come up with their own version of an "uplifting" movie experience. This I can't wait to see!

Last edited by baracine; 08-10-05 at 01:13 PM.
Old 08-10-05, 01:40 PM
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"It turns out that this popular teaching tool for crime and violence (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) could be easily modified so players could create their own pornfests."

Sorry, the article lost me when it got to this point. Popular teaching tool? Who knew that GTA:SA was educational software all this time?
Old 08-10-05, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by brainee
"Sorry, the article lost me when it got to this point. Popular teaching tool? Who knew that GTA:SA was educational software all this time?
For some kids, it's the only education they will ever get...
Old 08-10-05, 02:13 PM
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Well, I don't see how movies are any more graphic than they were years ago. I think I've cringed more at watching 70's movies than ones made nowadays. I think so-called blood and gore of the Amityville Horror commercial is implied and not actually shown. I just don't see what the big deal is, basically it comes down to parents becoming more lazy when they need to be more responsible. Cartoons and videogames came around and parents got off easy now those things are starting to turn against them. God forbid they spend some time with their kids.
Old 08-10-05, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
Move attendance is dwindling, but I would have though it was because of hometheaters, DVD, and bootlegs among other things. I wouldn't have thought that morality was such a big issue to so many. Sure, there will always be some who don't like a particular aspects of movie (be it sex, gore, violence, profanity, etc...), but I have a hard time believing this is a widespread phenomenon.
Agreed, movie ticket sales are dwindling because many people get better home theater experiences in their own home, without the distractions or added cost of the movie theater. Getting people into the theaters has nothing to do with morality, otherwise this same concept would also apply to dvd's. DVD sales are huge, the morality hasn't affected them at all, neither has it affected video game sales as GTA (the poster child for violent games) is one of the biggest sellers.

Also here is an article about theaters uprgrading video quality

http://www.forbes.com/2002/03/18/031...tribution.html
Old 08-10-05, 03:58 PM
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also with idiot parents taking their kids to see devils rejects, sin city, ect doesn't help the matter much.
Old 08-10-05, 04:15 PM
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Wow, just wow! And here I am thinking that, broadly speaking, Hollywood is far too tame when compared to both European and Asian cinema. I wonder what that makes me?
Old 08-10-05, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by flixtime
Wow, just wow! And here I am thinking that, broadly speaking, Hollywood is far too tame when compared to both European and Asian cinema. I wonder what that makes me?
Jaded and desensitized. Because of the millions and millions of people like you, and who become like you at a younger age than the preceding generation, the entertainment industry feels obligated to fill the airwaves from morning till night with shows designed to revive your flagging interest in blood, gore, guts, criminal activity and psychotic behaviour as the necessary springs of narration: lawyers's shows about criminal activity, emergency room soap operas that graphically show the results of violence, crime scene investigation shows that start with a body on a slab and proceed to dissect it in order to reconstruct a crime, reality shows about confronting your worst fears or catching criminals, award-winning fiction and reality series about the private lives of undertakers or mafiosi families, police dramas where the cops lead more miserable lives than the criminals they pursue, simple action dramas that always end with firearms and the obligatory homicidal car chase. And that's just the TV fare...

Last night I rented The Muppets' Wizard of Oz and guess who guest-starred, explaining his philosophy of graphic violence as being good for you? Quentin Tarantino! The only reason Kermit turned down QT's plan to turn his film into a bloodfest was the cost involved. Makes you wonder...
Old 08-10-05, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
Jaded and desensitized. Because of the millions and millions of people like you, and who become like you at a younger age than the preceding generation, the entertainment industry feels obligated to fill the airwaves from morning till night with shows designed to revive your flagging interest in blood, gore, guts, criminal activity and psychotic behaviour as the necessary springs of narration: lawyers's shows about criminal activity, emergency room soap operas that graphically show the results of violence, crime scene investigation shows that start with a body on a slab and proceed to dissect it in order to reconstruct a crime, reality shows about confronting your worst fears or catching criminals, award-winning fiction and reality series about the private lives of undertakers or mafiosi families, police dramas where the cops lead more miserable lives than the criminals they pursue, simple action dramas that always end with firearms and the obligatory homicidal car chase. And that's just the TV fare...

Last night I rented The Muppets' Wizard of Oz and guess who guest-starred, explaining his philosophy of graphic violence as being good for you? Quentin Tarantino! The only reason Kermit turned down QT's plan to turn his film into a bloodfest was the cost involved. Makes you wonder...
i rarely watch TV but recently had directv installed for the ifc and sundance channels. anyway, i tivo'd an episode of CSI the other night and was floored that something so graphic was broadcast regularly on public airwaves. if it was a movie it would have been rated R.
Old 08-10-05, 09:36 PM
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Hollywood came out with a great feel good movie that was appropiate for all ages and still immensely entertaining for adults. That movie was Cinderella Man.

People do seem to be attracted to sex & violence and Hollywood is a business. But I personally don't think movies are anymore violent now they used to be.
Old 08-10-05, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
emergency room soap operas that graphically show the results of violence
Don't you want that? Isn't that a good thing to show?

I wish more people could see that type of material.
Old 08-11-05, 02:41 AM
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I think Hollywood is more watered down now than it has been in the early to mid 70's and 80's.
Old 08-11-05, 03:14 AM
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A few people in this thread have nailed the main point right on the head. All of the moralists are operating under the assumption that TV and films are more violent, sexual, etc. than they were in the past. That this is assumed to be true and not examined in anything other than a cursory way shows that the articles above, as well as the purveyors of act-now-think-later policy and reactionary politics who wave these un-journalistic pieces of toilet paper at others as if they had any intellectual merit whatsoever, shows that our society is looking anywhere but inward for a cure for its ills.

Television and movies are no more violent today than they have been in at least 25 years. Children's programming today has nothing on the ultra violence that made up all kiddy shows from the early 80's through the early 90's. Nearly every horror movie that comes down the pipeline is rated at a soft-mid PG-13. If anything, our ratings system is becoming more stringent.

Go ahead and pop in a copy of The Garbage Pail Kids (yeah, yeah, I know) and try to stomach watching it all the way through. That movie, if submitted today, would hit PG-13 easily; however, it was rated PG in 1987. Its primary demographic was 7 year olds like me.
Old 08-11-05, 03:41 AM
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I only briefly skimmed all the previous posts, so I apologize in advance if I repeat sentiments already expressed.

Movies are dying in the sense that less and less people are attending viewings in actual theaters. For the cost of today's DVD's, and with more and more people having nice HT's, it's far more cost-efficient to watch in the comfort of your own home, without having to deal with all the crap that always accompanies a night at the theater. At home, if you have an interruption, you can pause or stop the movie, and even go back to watch it again. And since you own the movie, you can view it as many times as you want for the life of the disc, plus you get all the bonus features you don't get at the theater! But that's just the viewing part of it...

Movies themselves are also dying because, as I'm sure previous posters must have stated, it's pretty much all been done before. Hollywood rarely comes up with a really good, original idea anymore. All we have now are remakes and special effect extravaganzas (each one trying desperately to top the last), and the usual genres of romances, dramas and comedies all use variations of the same tired formulas. Example: Cinderella Man didn't do well at the box office. Could be because we all knew how the movie was going to play out and end before the trailer even ended! The same can be said for just about every movie made nowadays. Hell, in the extremely rare occasion I go to the theater, I'll sit and watch the trailers and make a concrete decision right then and there how each movie is going to be viewed by me in the future:

1. maybe go to the theater and see it,
2. definitely see it when it's done in the theater and hits DVD,
3. maybe see it on DVD if someone else lets me borrow it (I hate renting), or
4. not see it at all.

Needless to say, number 1 is the one that happens least frequently.

NOW...at the same time, I don't think movies themselves are dying in the sense that they'll stop making them eventually. Movies will always be made, I'm sure. They're a fantastic, classic form of entertainment. I do think (and this really is just my opinion) that the theater experience will someday become a thing of the past, if for no other reason than for the previously-mentioned cost of "enjoying" a night at the theater with your family.
Old 08-11-05, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
Hollywood came out with a great feel good movie that was appropiate for all ages and still immensely entertaining for adults. That movie was Cinderella Man.
A great feel-good movie about a man who bashes people's brains in, both on and off the screen. Hmmmm, I'll pass.
Old 08-11-05, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
Don't you want that? Isn't that a good thing to show?

I wish more people could see that type of material.
Historically, emergency room dramas were an early way to get unacceptable blood and guts past the censors. Books have been written about the psychology of the rubberneckers who automatically gather at the scene of car crashes, public suicides, shoot-outs and executions trying desperately to catch a glimpse of the dying victims. Guess what? They're the same people who watch these medical shows. They don't tune in for the morality play. They're into it for the cheap thrills, the glimpse of death and the morbid delectation in other people's suffering.These shows are modern circus games for the masses. Of course, they're getting increasing competition from the evening news.

Last edited by baracine; 08-11-05 at 10:53 AM.
Old 08-11-05, 07:13 AM
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You do realize that you aren't actually seeing blood and guts during "ER" and "CSI," right?

I've been around actual blood and gore...it's a very different experience. An actor with a squib and some food coloring shouldn't be affecting anyone's morality - unless they were idiots to begin with.
Old 08-11-05, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Draven
You do realize that you aren't actually seeing blood and guts during "ER" and "CSI," right?

I've been around actual blood and gore...it's a very different experience. An actor with a squib and some food coloring shouldn't be affecting anyone's morality - unless they were idiots to begin with.
For genuine vampires who crave real blood, there are always the reality ER shows and live surgery broadcasts. Slurp!

Last edited by baracine; 08-11-05 at 10:52 AM.
Old 08-11-05, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
For those who prefer real blood, there are the reality ER shows and live surgery broadcasts.
Are you actually saying that an reality ER show or live surgery is contributing to moral decay in this country?

You complain about "violence" in the movies and on TV - I'm pointing out that the "violence" you abhor is faked. It's not real. Anyone who can't see that has serious mental problems to begin with (or shitty parents, but that's a different topic.)

If the movies regularly featured actors actually getting killed or seriously injured, I'd agree with you. Since they don't, I don't.
Old 08-11-05, 11:12 AM
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I just wanted to make a few comments about the numbers below.


1. Even liberal (i.e. leftist, Democrat) parents agree that something should be done about sex and violence (with an emphasis on the latter) in Hollywood movies and the home gaming industry (e.g.: Grand Theft Auto).

---"even" liberal parents? Come on.

2. Hollywood is literally getting away with murder and burying its head in the sand at the same time, hiding behind liberal platitudes like the right to free speech and the horrors of censorship. Meanwhile, movie attendance is mysteriously dwindling.

----There is a lot of reasons for the decline in Hollywood as others have pointed out throughout the thread. If it is truly that there is too much violence in movies then Hollywood will "correct" this problem by themselves. They are in the buisness to make money. PERIOD! If they are not making money with the present system then it will change.

3. The American nation has never been so divided as since the last presidential election, with the right boycotting the so-called "liberal" medias and the left being wishy-washy on all issues that have remotely to do with morality (for example, less bloodshed on the screen).

----- Here is the problem in that the nation can not "control morality" I know it is fun to sit back and make fun of the "liberal parents" who fight for first ammendment rights. I for one am thankful that some people stand up and speak up for the 1st ammendement. The first ammendement is more to me than a "liberal platitude." Do I like everything that comes out? Heck no, most of it is swill that I would not let my kids watch. Whatthe first ammendment gives us all is a choice. In trying to figure out what is "correct" or "right" whose measuring stick should we use. Mine? Yours? How much violnece is too much? Is nudity ok? Is showing a couple having sex appropriate? What about a joke that clearly goes over the heads of the kids in the audience? I bet if a dozen people actually read this you would have a dozen different responses to the "morality" of my questions. You see the first ammendment protects all this from an individual interpretation or an interpretation by an organization or party currently in power.


We have a current ratings in place (which I think is a joke), we have rules governing our radio and television waves and controlled by the FCC. However when you boil it all down the reponsibility for controlling what your child watches is not on the government! It is on the parents themselves. You decide what is appropriate for yourself and your family. You teach the morality to your own children. Parents that cry , " I did not know that it was this violent" or just frankly not involved in their childrens lives as much as they need to be.




4. Liberals and Democrats would do well (like Hillary Clinton does) to side with the right on the question of controlling the level of violence their kids should be subjected to against their parents' will, instead of missing the boat of popular opinion.


---Unfortuately the right in this case may be wrong. What would you have done to limit the violence? Banning, burning of materials, censorship forced on everyone because of bad parents? What is the solution in your eyes. If you dont like it great...dont watch, dont buy, turn off remote, that is your power. Heck even go farther with raising awareness, protesting, etc , but when you start heading into the censorship, banning waters in my opinion you are undermining the foundation of what the USA was built upon.
Old 08-11-05, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
I despise every aspect of today's movies, but especially the gore and violence filling in for lowered standards of craftsmanship and writing (the general dumbing-down process of going to the movies). That's on top of hating the sight of uneducated teenagers talking outloud to themselves and into their cellphones in a public hall. I find it interesting that if Hollywood suffers enough monetarily from some sort of unorganized backlash against sex/violence/profanity at the movies, the producers will have to come up with their own version of an "uplifting" movie experience. This I can't wait to see!

If you "despise every aspect" of the experience then WHY DO YOU GO?
The other part that cracks me up is the

"That's on top of hating the sight of uneducated teenagers talking outloud to themselves and into their cellphones in a public hall" line.

Have you ever even stopped and talked to them? How do you know they are uneducated? Nothing like judging a person by how they look and the fact that they are using a cellphone.
Old 08-11-05, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by masbrad
If you "despise every aspect" of the experience then WHY DO YOU GO?
What makes you think I go to the movies? I stopped a long time ago.

Have you ever even stopped and talked to them? How do you know they are uneducated? Nothing like judging a person by how they look and the fact that they are using a cellphone.
People who use a cell-phone in a movie house are, by definition, lacking in education, manners and civility. They are also unknowlingly destroying the movie industry. To talk to them, I would have to interrupt their phone conversation, on the other other hand, which is equally rude.

Last edited by baracine; 08-11-05 at 12:18 PM.
Old 08-11-05, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by masbrad
Unfortuately the right in this case may be wrong. What would you have done to limit the violence? Banning, burning of materials, censorship forced on everyone because of bad parents? What is the solution in your eyes. If you dont like it great...dont watch, dont buy, turn off remote, that is your power. Heck even go farther with raising awareness, protesting, etc , but when you start heading into the censorship, banning waters in my opinion you are undermining the foundation of what the USA was built upon.
The point made by the author of the article (not by me) is that American parents cannot control any more the values (or lack thereof) imposed on their children by the media (i.e. the omnipresence of violence on television, in movies and games). I personally think that I will survive this onslaught. But then I am an adult, free to make my own choices and willing to suffer the consequences of my bad choices. I would, however, feel a little safer walking down the street knowing that fewer children had learned how to use handguns from watching 50 Cent videos.

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