Friday, September 30, 2005
CleanFlicks = Censorship
We are walking a slippery slope. Yesterday, I wrote about a move underway by the medical industry to ban the filming of births in the delivery rooms (Movies on My Mind 9/29/05: "Filming Births: Banned in America?") and also of Sony Pictures' abandonment of the new Albert Brooks film for its use of the word "Muslim" in the title (Movies on My Mind 9/29/05: "Does This Mean the Terrorists Are Winning?") These restrictions on films are disturbing. Right in line with this ongoing trend is CleanFlicks, a company that literally edits the "dirty" parts out of a film and re-markets them for family viewing. Sensing pushback from Hollywood, the Utah-based company --which was started by Ray Lines after his neighbor asked if he would edit a film using his home-based software -- filed a preemptive lawsuit against the Directors Guild of America (DGA), asking for a ruling that their editing practices are legal. The case is still pending in a Colorado court, is expect it to last for years. I can see this going to the Supreme Court. So, should CleanFlicks compromise the impact of a masterpiece like Schindler's List and edit out the naked men and women on the way to concentration camp gas chambers? How about Meg Ryan's orgasmic screams in the deli scene in When Harry Met Sally...? Where would it stop? Films are works of art! I'll repeat that...films are works of art. And as such, should be given full protection from such tampering. Now, I know there will be those who will argue that this is just a choice, and the actual intact film (as it was intended) could also be purchased or rented. Or those who will argue that this is really no different from the edits a film incurs when shown on TV. I would argue this back...the more this happens, the more a mindset will be developed that it's OK to happen. Guess what? Schindler's List and When Harry Met Sally... are not meant for family viewing. That's why they are rated R. Who's to say that a film (a work of art) should be altered just to give a family a chance to see the film together? Want to see a film together as a family? Try Finding Nemo or Shrek or The Incredibles...all fun for children and adults alike. Why does a 10-year-old need to watch The Deer Hunter or The Godfather or even Die Hard for that matter? I mean, should we glue some pasties on the Venus di Milo? or add a fig leaf to cover up Michelangelo's The David? I'm sure there are those who would say yes, and they are the same misguided folks who will spend money so CleanFlicks can offer the whole family an evening's viewing of ...what?...The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? "Come on kiddies, you're gonna miss Leatherface. Hurry up with that popcorn and sit down!" Does anybody see the absurdity of what's happening?