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Has PC Ever Ruined a Movie For You?

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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 23, 2012, 3:39:02 AM PDT
I have to give Christopher Nash credit for this one. During the comments to the reviews of the 60's television show UFO, a reviewer gave the show a negative rating for "sex teasing" which I took to assume the rather standard way women tended to be portrayed in a whole lot of the shows that emerged from the '60s. I took umbrage with people criticizing him for his honest opinion which I can see as completely valid if you weren't born in the '60. To which Chris replied:
"On the other hand I despise the PC rubbish shoved down my throat in modern productions. "

I had to admit, that the idea of PC in films is becoming rather evasive to the point that it does ruin or marr some otherwise fine productions. It becomes increasingly noticable when Hollywood now attempts many historical films. For example back in the day, probably pre-80's everybody drank and smoke, and in the movies it was "in your face", but that was a pretty accurate reflection of the society at the time. Smokers were not the social pariah's that they've become in recent times. No opinion on that, but if you're making a film or television series set in any time before the 80's it comes off weird to never see any character smoking, especially if you're old enough to remember those times.

I'm also seeing lots of films getting criticism because there are still filmmakers that have to sense to realize that characters didn't necessarily think like people do today, and they let them act as they naturally would have had they been real. This includes characters being racist, sexist, promiscuous, or stupid.

Anyway I think this is why I really like filmmakers like the Cohen's and Tarentino, because they don't let the idea of PC get in the way of them telling the story they're trying to tell.

So have any of you had films in which the effort to be PC took you out of the film and caused you to question it, or ruined the film for you altogether? Also which films do you like that totally flies in the face of the PC police and are very good because of it.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 4:22:15 AM PDT
Severin says:
Although I haven't seen it I understand that "Pearl Harbor" has no one smoking in it. Ridiculous. There has been a cry recently to rate any movie with smoking in it as 'R' no matter what else is in the film.

A great example of a movie I did see was "Wild Wild West." I was a fan of the TV show, having grown up watching it. But the film cast Will Smith as James West. Nothing against Mr. Smith but the substitution of a black man for a white one in that time period has vast repercussions. It didn't help that he acted like it was 100 years later. It detracted from the movie way more than the giant mechanical spider.

I think that there are also a lot of older films which will not get released on DVD because of prejudices of the time. There has been editing of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry cartoons and Little Rascals shorts because of then-accepted stereotypes.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 6:04:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 8:42:52 AM PDT
Yeah, I wasn't even considering the impact of PC on older films. Even Johnny Quest got edited for some unPC language used. I think we all have to remember that as well as entertainment, films are also a kind of time capsule and as such they do have a certain historical significance. People of this generation really need to grow up a bit when it comes to looking at a lot of these. Trying to eradicate the past is probably worse than trying to forget.

[I'd forgotten that a lot of cartoons were edited because of guns also. Warners cartoons were especially hard hit, so that if you see a lot of the bugs bunny shorts they don't make any sense at all. At least two episodes of the original J. Quest aren't even in syndication because they are considered too graphic. Strange when you can see a lot more violence on prime time television these days.]

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 7:37:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 7:37:42 AM PDT
vivazappa says:
PC has ruined many films that would have been rated NC-17 and ended up R because of the advertising pressures to cut the original.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 8:08:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 8:10:58 AM PDT
Regarding smoking, these days there are probably more 13-18 year olds smoking than full-fledged adults since either they imagine they're going to live forever or they're trying to commit suicide, so any movie with smoking in it can easily be rated PG-13.

Regarding PC, well, it doesn't fit exactly, but the closest thing I can think of is "Starship Troopers," in which the director had a polar opposite political outlook from the novel's author.

Heh. Talking of cartoons, remember Bugs Bunny in blackface?

If you aren't familiar with BBC's 1980's Robin Hood show, you wouldn't realize that Kevin Costner's movie stole a lot from it. For instance, the show had a Muslim character "Naseer," who got turned into Morgan Freeman's Moor character in the movie.

Edit: Thelma and Louise and the Lifetime Channel. 'Nuff said.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 8:10:07 AM PDT
Severin says:
It's truly Orwellian. At least the Three Stooges shorts weren't edited (as far as I know) or the Woody Woodpecker cartoon sets that came out, no apologies from Whoopi Goldberg on those. Okay so they reflect the mindset of their time, get over it. We've outgrown those attitudes for the most part.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 9:20:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 9:29:44 AM PDT
Thinking of a recent film that I think was considerably hurt by PCism (though it had some other problems as well) was the Captain America film. They tried so hard not to offend anyone, that the picture ends of as merely mediocre. Sad when you can see the skeleton of a really good story in there.

How do you do a WWII film and not have Nazi's is beyond me. The other is the reinvention of the Howling Commando' as this multicultural unit, which doesn't make any historical sense (the fact that it's based on a comic doesn't matter)

The Wild Wild West debacle I'm not sure is entirely a PC issue, but just greed. Smith at the time was the biggest box-office property around, and Hollywood has never had any respect for television. Not saying making the James West character black couldn't be done, but it was ill-conceived. You basically have to re-write the whole series from the ground up, to give it any kind of credibility, which the writers they had obviously weren't capable of doing. If you're going to go that far, then you might as well do your own original thing and call it something else. It still would have stunk, but people wouldn't be left with bad aftertaste.

Speaking of the WWII thing. Do you really think a series like Hogan's Heroes would survive the PC police in this day and age?

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 9:30:17 AM PDT
Mickey Ryan says:
Anybody remember Mel Gibson's 'The Patriot'? His loving relationship with the black slave was so ridiculously PC it almost was insulting.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 9:56:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 10:01:26 AM PDT
The Patriot also made one of those glaring mistakes of giving characters 20th century attitudes that would not have had those attitudes in the time that they were living. His attitude toward his kids was one example. You see this cropping up more and more with films set within any historical context.

I'd mentioned films that handled it right and got criticized for it. In the Cohen's True Grit, there is a scene where there's a hanging, and one of the convicted is a Native American, all the others get to say last words, but he gets cut off short and dropped. The girl who is the protagonist watches dispassionately and goes on about her business, which is exactly what that character would have done had she been real! Sure we know racism and prejudice is wrong, but that's not the way the majority of people felt in the 1800's. While they might not personally have felt that way themselves they certainly wouldn't have thought twice at someone having those attitudes. Trying to force people to act otherwise is dishonest to good storytelling.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 9:58:21 AM PDT
Mickey Ryan says:
Agreed, James. I hope they don't do this with Day-Lewis' upcoming depiction of Lincoln but something tells me not to get my hopes up.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 10:04:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 10:50:32 AM PDT
That's whole era is such a touchy subject, I don't hold any hope out. Spielberg is rather iffy on how he handles films. He can lean toward sentimentality, or he can be serious It depends on how close he feels personally to the subject. I know he tends to respect WWII. Schlinder's List and Empire of the Sun are excellent films, I don't know how he feels about the Civil War. He has certainly matured as a filmmaker over the years, and I think he's beyond the blockbuster mentality, so maybe he won't feel the need to go PC with a biopic of Lincoln, but just tell the story as accurately as possible.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 10:24:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 10:25:11 AM PDT
vivazappa says:
Could you imagine a PC version of Blazing Saddles???

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 11:41:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 11:41:46 AM PDT
C. J. Vasta says:
No, that's better suited to the X-Box.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 12:25:18 PM PDT
Kevin Beirne says:
Nope - it would suck.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 3:01:25 PM PDT
Severin says:
Tarantino is coming out with "Django Unchained" in December, you'll see it done right. I've already seen the trailer. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 4:10:24 PM PDT
Kevin Beirne says:
Can't effing wait.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 6:17:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012, 6:21:14 PM PDT
Yes, I'm very interested in how the public is going to react to Django. Tarantino is probably one of the best dialogue writers out there, and he's also a fan of the exploitation era. He's never really done a true historical piece, (I don't really count Inglorious Basterds as a historical). I'm sure Django is going to be fun, but I'm not sure how it's going to work as a whole. Still he's never really let me down before. One thing is certain, Tarantino works because he's not PC, he does what he wants. The premise of Django is certainly as un-PC as you can get. Certainly a black director could never get away with it. Nor do I think the public would be curious if that were the case. The picture would be labeled a "black" film and lost in urban theaters with very little fanfare. Django has an extraordinary cast, and Tarantino directing and writing it. That alone will get people to look at it with an open mind to a certain extent.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012, 9:29:16 PM PDT
D. Robinson says:
The Sum of All Fears changed the villains from Islamist terrorists to neo-Nazis. I thought that was pretty dumb at the time.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012, 7:07:24 AM PDT
That truly odd, since Islamist have been Hollywood bad guys since the beginning of cinema. The real reason was probably that it was too close to 9/11, and Hollywood was very skittish for a good while in portraying Terrorist after that, or incurring ill-will in how they did it. It was probably just playing it safe.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012, 10:24:44 AM PDT
"Reign Over Me" A slap in the face to any 9/11 survivor.

"The Gospel Of John" Puts Mary Magdeline in practically every frame

"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" went to a PC extreme to force New Orleans African Americans, Russian spies and sailors, and promiscuous actresses in a positive light.

"The Blind Side" there is a song on youtube called "White People to The Rescue" that sums up my feelings.

"Seven Pounds" - Will Smith really damaged his legacy with this PC nonsense.

"Song of the South" - I don't think this glorifies slavery in any way shape or form. Why is it impossible to buy?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012, 2:19:52 PM PDT
Severin says:
Your mention of "Song of the South" reminds me, Disney edited "Fantasia" removing the black "servants" waiting on the female centaur, they zoomed in so you can't see them. More revisionism.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012, 2:47:39 PM PDT
Interesting list here. Just a few objections though:

Reign Over Me: It was Adam Sandler's sentimentality and obvious oscar baiting that ruined the movie, not anything resembling political correctness.

Benjamin Button: It's problems are its lengths and its pacing. The way I see it, these additions you mention really only added to the sluggish pacing (though I will admit that the film's barely watchable).

The Blind Side: Sheer bathos. If anything, it made the film more watchable, and it barely qualifies as PC (besides, Sandra Bullock can act).

Seven Pounds: Political correctness was never an issue here; it was the very subject matter mixed in with Will Smith's character and the way the plot and themes are set up are what ruined it. If anything, this film is both very self indulgent oscar baiting, AND it's ultimately very politically incorrect (in of itself, not a bad thing).

Song of the South: Too trivial to hate, and frankly isn't the least bit offensive so much as it is boring and uninteresting. However, the film itself wasn't ruined by these supposedly 'racist' themes so much as it is unavailable in the U.S.

And what films were ruined by political correctness? Virtually every single political film ever made, as well as a large portion of American animated movies and otherwise kids flicks.

And for shows, one could make the argument that 4Kids ruined many a show, but I felt they made a good portion of their properties more watchable (Pokemon was more memorable here, Yugioh GX doesn't take itself seriously at all, and their interpretation of One Piece is one of the most enjoyably idiotic things I've ever seen in my life).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012, 8:10:10 PM PDT
C. J. Vasta says:
Song of the South on the PC-hit list not because of alleged glorification of slavery, but because it showed black people in rural conditions according to Joel Chandler Harris. One reason that the NAACP went after Amos & Andy so ferociously was not because the show was more derogatory of blacks than say Lub & Abner was to rural whites. But it was because it portrayed them as rural hayseed types. It is true that blacks who came to the city brought their rural Southern culture with them, but this was anathema to the upper-class college educated blacks of the NAACP. Ralph Ellison's Invisble Man shows how Southern culture of emigres was denigrated by the northern urban upper-crust blacks.

The television version of Amos and Andy, the one with black actors, did have its black champions including Marla Gibbs. Although PC Whites helped keep it off the air, A black woman who grew up with the show as a kid wrote an article discussing the show and how much her family enjoyed it. She descibed them one of the minor characters an incompetent attorney who was played by a black actor with looks and a style similar to Don Knotts. She described a scene where he was ineptly arguing case in court, and beats a hasty retreat when a judge goes "Didn't I disbar You?" THen Kingfish asks, "Begging your pardon. your honor, but how much did our lawyer damage our case."
A white critic reviewing the same scene gets hung up on the fact that the judge in the scene was white!

Posted on Aug 25, 2012, 8:20:53 AM PDT
Its one thing to have PC in modern films vut to edit classic films cartoons,of another era,is
rediculous,if you can't handle watching as they were made,don't watch,or grow up!

Posted on Aug 25, 2012, 10:07:22 AM PDT
D. Larson says:
This discussion reminds me of radio talk show hosts, going through the New York Times searching for something to be outraged about.

Because they need a fresh outrage every day or two to keep the audience interested, see. They call it research. I call it grievance collecting.

And it's generally a waste of one's mental resources.

Is life really so long and time so cheap that we should waste it being angry about cuts to the Song of the South or expunging racist images from stuff nobody is watching anyway? Meh.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  49
Initial post:  Aug 23, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 5, 2012

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