News Item:
Movies restrict smoking

If you’re old enough to remember when Hollywood was called Tinsel Town, or grew up watching old movies on late night TV, you can probably imagine a dozen movie stars uttering that title line [Hey mac, got a light].  It, or a variation, was heard in almost every Bogart flick.  James Cagney would ask it of a thug wearing a slanted fedora.  Even good guy Jimmy Stewart would ask for a light on a street corner.  Mae West would scratch the ‘mac’, and insert ‘big boy’.

That phrase, from any character in a motion picture today, could bump a film’s rating from a G to an R.  Smoking in theaters, not in the seats, but on the screen, will carry as much ratings weight as sex, violence, and adult language, according to a new press release from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Smoking is bad for your health, no one will argue that.  We’re just wondering if there’s some kind of backlash going on here.  For quite a while now, there’s been concern that films were getting too graphic, too violent, too sexual.  Maybe this is a sign that the pendulum is about to swing to the other extreme.  Al Pacino, in Scarface, but without his cigar.  Johnny Depp, in Blow, but without the drugs.  Robert Stack, in the Untouchables, pointing a finger instead of a machine gun.  Hmmm… guess that would depend on which finger he was pointing.

The movie ratings are designed to protect our children, which is something parents used to do.  Cruise past your local multi-plex on any Saturday afternoon, and watch how many moms and dads drop off an SUV full of kids, and there’s not a G rated film listed  anywhere on the marquee.  The case can be made that ratings would actually be more appropriate for the evening news.  Movies are fantasy, the news is real, and kids pick up on that.  Forget the R for taking a puff.  Go straight to the X.  It’s not that long ago that x-rated cigars were on the news every night.

Full Story: Reuters

Cartoon from Sid in the City

Be Sociable, Share!