Sex and Violence

"Hi kids, do you like violence. Wanna see me stick nine inch through each one of my eyelids." (That's old Marshall Mathers aka Eminem aka Slim Shady, for those of you that don't know) Well, apparently in at least two movie theaters in Utah, the kids do like their violence. It was announced by movie theater owner Larry Miller and his representatives that they will not be showing Zach and Miri Make a Porno, the upcoming new release by filmmaker Kevin Smith. They have deemed this movie to graphic and too close to an NC-17 rating to show in their peaceful little town. Meanwhile, at the same theaters, kids indulged themselves in showings of Saw V this past weekend. Let's see, two people making films about sex to pay rent or a person forced to either be blown up by a bomb or dig a key from behind their eyeball to save their life (okay, that's Saw II but you get the point). Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

While the pendulum on this issue seems to sway back and forth most of the time, it more often than not leads towards the showing/depicting of sex that takes the brunt of criticism. Take, for example, in movies. I worked at a movie theater for four plus years of my life, and had the pleasure of dealing with parents dropping off their kids, aged 12-16, to watch rated R movies. After kindly informing the parents they would need to attend the movie with their kids, I'd say a good 80 percent of parents asked me if their was sex/nudity in it. If I replied no, the answer was usually, "Then why can't they go alone? I don't care if my kids sees guts/gore/blood/violence. As long as there are no breasts." Are you kidding? There are breasts in life just as much as is there violence. You'd rather let your kid watch a movie where someone is gutted than let them watch two seconds of nudity? Should you really be letting your twelve year old watch Saw anyways? The answer should be no, but it hardly ever was. I'm not one to tell people how to parent, but at least realize what your kid is watching first.

I can use the aforementioned Eminem as the other side of the spectrum, just for a brief glimpse at the other side of the argument. When his music blazed onto the scene in the late 90s, parents and religious advocates chided him for his masochistic and violent rhymes. They wanted to skim right over the songs were he was asking parents to take the blame once in awhile. In true form, they let their kids go buy Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, both who had a plethora of sex appeal and who's songs oozed with sexual tension and sexual innuendos.

Now that is out of the way, back Larry Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz and car dealerships throughout the state of Utah. While he is more than in his right to not show a movie, at least do it because of the merit of the movie. Maybe don't show Saw V. Not because of it's violence, but maybe because it's not a good movie. This is the same man that refused to show Brokeback Mountain. The reason, as we all know by now, is because of his religious beliefs. Maybe nobody in this town would have seen it, but I think that is doubtful. This is the state that hosts a tiny independent film festival at Sundance every year, and from what I've heard, has a fairly prestigious film program at BYU. While there may have been other places to catch the film in this market, Larry Miller had a chance to prove he was above a petty man, but he didn't. Of course, he owns the Utah Jazz, so I don't blame him.

Now, I'm not saying Zach and Miri is an Oscar worthy movie, but it's not even getting the chance in these theaters. Even certain tv channels have taken from removing the "make a porno" part from the title. Kevin Smith is a good filmmaker and has earned the right to have his movie shown to all parts of the country. I'm sure he isn't losing sleep over two theater chains in Utah, but at the same time, he should have the same equal opportunity as Saw V. Maybe Larry Miller can look at this movie as a metaphor for today's society. These two people in the title are cannot afford to get the basic things in life, i.e. shelter, electricity, food, so they decide to make money anyways they can. Many people in today's economy are looking to get money any way they can. Sure, they aren't making pornos, most probably won't, but I'm guessing Larry Miller would want people to creature elaborate games of murdering people to get money than to have sex. Perhaps that's not exactly the point of Kevin Smith's film, but it's a thought. It's what the bible would have wanted.

Speaking of which, there's plenty of sex and violence in the bible. Check out Genesis. Or Deuteronomy 20:10-17. Or Revelation 20:7-10. Just a little side note, thought it might be useful. I won't get into the religious aspect or the fact religious groups blame way too much on pop culture because that is an entire different blog in and of itself.

To be quite honest, this is an argument that could go on forever. I could bring up CleanFlix, a company from the same state that takes the sex and cursing out of movies. I could argue that parents weren't upset with Grand Theft Auto until the developers put in the main character simulating sex with a hooker. I don't have statistics on that one, so I won't go into it. I could get into Elvis not being shown on television below the waist due to his gyrating hips. I just think it's a sad state when parents would much rather sit their kids in front of crappy horror movies or crappy Vin Diesel movies than let them watch a comedy about people in their 20s attempting to make a porno. To me, the movies with sex are usual more rooted in real life than any of the Hostel movies that have come out. Kids should be shown how to murder but they should not be shown about sex. Why corrupt our kids with the love between men and women? Or in the case of Brokeback Mountain, which is the love between a man and man, but a story about the struggle of love for straights and homosexuals. People are so quick to jump to conclusions about sex, that they forget their is usually something much deeper than just a title. Just because it has the word "Porno" in it doesn't necessarily make it an evil movie. Though when a movie does have the word "Saw" in it, well, it probably has a saw in it and makes it an evil movie. And Larry Miller, I forgive you for living in your fantasy world where you try to control sex, but not violence. You do own the Utah Jazz after all.



Jen_Smitty said…
I completely agree...but somewhere these are the same people who blame video game violence for the reason kids go to school and shoot there classmates!!!!! THE MADNESS!!!!!

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