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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, March 23 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Hollywood's good news...?

I found good news/bad news in a report about the latest finding of the Hollywood movie business appearing on news sites on Tuesday. It seems the "industry" has discovered that "most American moviegoers don't want much sex in their movies." That seemed like good news on its face, especially as it was a follow-up on reports a week or two ago that R-rated movies have been on a steady decline while more "family-friendly" PG and PG-13 releases have been gaining dominance. This kind of news is of interest to me only as a cultural barometer, as I haven't been averaging a single in-theater movie-a-year for some time now. "The old adage 'sex sells' no longer applies to the movies. 'Sex will not make something that is otherwise not entertaining sell,' producer Tom Pollock says. 'Movies work because they make you laugh, cry, or (be) scared. Audiences won't go to a movie because of sex.'"

At first this seemed a good sign for those looking for encouragement for the conservative side of the cultural divide. But working down to the nitty gritty, the trend isn't all positive: "'If you spell sex in marketing materials, it doesn't sell,' producer Peter Guber says. 'If you spell fun, it sells. Sex inside a comedy candy-coats sex and allows the audience to feel comfortable. Laughter covers up insecurity. 'Sex sells, but not serious sex. Films can be sexy, but they can't portray the sexual intimacy most people crave. In the movies, you have to have safe sex palatable to a younger audience. The portrayal has to be violent or funny.' Which is why vulgar, dumb, funny sex plays in such movies as 'There's Something About Mary,' 'American Pie,' and 'Road Trip.'"

That's the bad news. All my life I've refused to laugh at dirty jokes, and more recently I refuse to watch TV shows built on an attitude of snide acceptance of sexual hijinx—vulgarity—as a main subtext in shows like Friends, which I watched once, thought maybe it was the Laverne and Shirley of the '90s and gave it a second chance, but then turned off by the first commercial break on realizing it was really about the joys of singles sex in the city. Speaking of which, it's almost a cultural must that everyone know what the show with that name (Sex In the City) is all about, but even now that it's rerunning on a basic cable channel I receive, I've never tuned it in. Nor have I looked in on this year's most discussed new show, Desperate Housewives, and don't expect I will. Its reputation alone turns me off.

I'm not a prude. I had Last Tango in Paris (originally released with an X rating in 1972) on my Best Movies of My Life list for many years and still appreciate it as worth discussing. Like the sleasy TV fare mentioned above that would be rated PG or PG-13 if shown theatrically, that most famous Marlon Brando movie is much about sex, too, but it's not playing it for laughs or easy entertainment. It doesn't, as the write-up in Tuesday's news outlets says, "sugar-coat" anything but tries to get at a bit of truth. Most of my best movie reviews (when film critic was one of the hats I was wearing) are of R-rated films. Most of them are somewhat graphic, almost all are gritty, but they aren't sugar-coated portrayals of sex as just fun or funny.

Is sex funny? Let's look at that question in a bit more depth. Meanwhile, I leave you with these thoughts...

Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16).

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he who commits fornication sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Three engineer jokes

1. To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Thought for today

Christian one-liners:
Forbidden fruits create many jams.

Sent by Carl Essex   

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