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Moriarty's Rumblings From The Lab #4

Hey folks, Harry here. Below, Moriarty goes into great detail about a good many issues concerning the MPAA, but none are so IMMEDIATELY important as the trouble with EYES WIDE SHUT. Warner Brothers deserves a smack upside the collective noggins of all involved. It is a shame and a travesty that Terry Semel and Robert Daly. In fact, I recommend calling 1-818-954-6000 and asking to speak with Terry or Bob... Or Lorenzo Di Bonaventura or Robert Guralnick or Diana Rathbun or Jeff Robinov or Courtenay Valenti or William Young or Christopher deFaria or Michael Andreen or Lynn Morgan or Jennifer Perini or Mark Scoon or Lionel Wigram. That'd be a good starting point. If you don't know what the fuss is all about, read Moriarty's column below or Click Here to Read ROGER EBERT's Piece about having seen the 'before and after' scenes! This is... Simply outrageous. And a studio with real integrity would at least give ADULTS the option of seeing an Unrated print at the same time as having the R version available. Or... better yet... Just release the uncut one. Though it is most likely too late to do anything about this... We should make it LOUD and CLEAR where we, the film patrons, stand on this issue. Now... On to Moriarty...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

The sounds of the new Art of Noise CD echo through the Moriarty Labs tonight, and it's a good thing. It's soothing, even if it is strange to veer from John Hurt's somnambulistic mumbles to the odball juxtoposition of Rakim (of "Erik B. and" fame) rapping over what can only be called technoclassical music. It's hypnotic, and that's just what I need tonight... soothing the savage beast and all that.

I don't want to give the impression that this column is going to be nothing but me ranting about what's wrong today, though. There's some things that have really impressed me lately. I enjoyed the hell out of CURSE OF THE BLAIR WITCH tonight on the SciFi Channel. It's one of the canniest pieces of film publicity I've seen recently, and it proves a theory that I've been bouncing around with frequent Labs visitor Segue Zagnut. When people go to Disney World or any similar park, they frequently have to wait in long lines for the attractions. When you combine those long waits with the sun and other elements, you have the recipe for some hardcore freaking out. Doesn't happen, though (much), and there's a reason. The teams who design those attractions start the ride long before you actually reach your seat. The better that whole pre-ride is, the more excited the people waiting are going to be when they finally get in. A beautiful example would be either the Indiana Jones Adventure or Star Tours at Disney, or the Back To the Future Ride or Jurassic Park at Universal Studios. It's immersive, it draws you in, and it sells the entire reality.

When this is applied to the release of a film, it can create an audience that isn't just excited to see a movie -- they're rabid. If you've actually got a good movie to back up the hype, you're going to end up with a giant monster hit on your hands. The good folks over at Artisan Entertainment and Haxan Films certainly have this all figured out, and the decision they made to utilize all the Phase II footage originally shot for, then cut from, the film is damn near genius. The special lays out such a convincing argument for the reality of the Blair Witch legend that I'm a believer again. I had no idea the Phase II footage was created with as much aplomb and intelligence as the actual feature film, but it's obvious that both Dan Myrick and Ed Sanchez are enormously talented. I'm curious to see if they take the bait with that proposed "younger X-FILES" style TV show they've been offered. I'm equally curious to see if they go to Burkitsville during the first sweeps season of the show. We'll see...

New Line and Paul Thomas "not directing DEATH RACE 3000" Anderson have also come up with an ingenious way to start the ride early, and it all hinges on the top secret character Tom Cruise is playing in the top secret film. There's a phone number in the film that is pivotal in the life of Frank T.J. Mackey, Cruise's character. In a move that distinguishes MAGNOLIA from pretty much every film that you've ever seen, it's a real phone number -- no "555" in sight. As we get closer to the release of the film, you'll be able to call that number and get hipped to the words and wisdom of Mackey. "Respect the cock and tame the cunt," indeed.

As I read MAGNOLIA, which is big and bold and splashy and strange and shocking in equal measure, I had to wonder if Tom Cruise is up for another battle with the MPAA and CARA over his language in the film. I hope he is. Based on what I've heard from people who have spoken with him on the subject, he's passionate about artists rights. I'd love to know what he thinks of the botch job Warner Bros. is making of this last week before the release of EYES WIDE SHUT. Remember after Kubrick died? We were told over and over again that no one would change anything, that Stanley was done with the film. Well, that has to have been a lie, since the print that was shown to critics this weekend had unfinished effects work. Even if Stanley approved the idea of the digital censorship (and I can't imagine he was too thrilled about it), he certainly never saw the final effect, which has already caused an uproar among the critics who have seen the film. Roger Ebert offered a particularly cogent analysis of the situation in his Monday column, and it got my blood boiling. In the middle of the film's central sequence, we're suddenly going to be slapped with a hamhanded attempt to "protect us" from the view of simulated sex. In concept, the idea of placing people over the offending portions of the image isn't a terrible one, if it's done with some grace and subtlety. Ebert compared it to the scenes in the AUSTIN POWERS movies when Austin's nudity is barely disguised by various items. Warner... please. I don't want this final experience with Kubrick marred by some lame last minute fix. You even acknowledged in print today that you worked with the MPAA on the changes, even though you still vigorously deny that it was ever in danger of an NC-17. You can't lie to people like that for months, then suddenly change some part of the story and expect us not to notice. You can deny things, and that's your right. But when did it become acceptable spin to just plain lie? Shouldn't there be some sort of standards here? Besides... this compromise is something that makes me uncomfortable. When studios start making pre-emptory changes in art, the whole thing starts to collapse. There are suddenly ideas that no one will touch, and it has nothing to do with their validity. It's all political, and cowardice will always rule the day.

One has to wonder if FIGHT CLUB would get the green light now. My guess is that it wouldn't. There's some genuinely dangerous thoughts in the shooting script, and that's what makes the project so exhilarating. If they pull off what they wrote, it's going to burn the world down. I know that the few people who have seen it who have offered me any reaction have been hard-pressed to describe it. One person wrote me that it's "the kind of film you feel in your guts for days." I got a long letter from someone inside the production earlier today, and he was able to answer some of my questions about something that I stumbled over in the recent PREMIERE cover story on the film. There's two teaser spots that are described in the story, both of which were shot specifically by David Fincher as teaser trailers.

The first trailer described was Ed Norton in a movie theater, addressing the audience directly in the style of a public service announcement. Norton asks everyone to turn off their cell phones and warns them not to talk during the movie. Then he adds, cheerily, "And remember, don't ever let strangers touch you in the bathing suit area." The second trailer is also done in the manner of a PSA, this time with Pitt talking to the audience, talking about emergency exits and smoking. He finishes by asking, "Did you know urine is sterile? You can drink it." Fincher designed the trailers to be sent out without titles or a date or any indication that they are tied to a movie. It's fully in keeping with the tone of the film. It's a perfect way of starting the ride early.

And you won't see the spots.

Fox hasn't even submitted them to the MPAA for approval. They figure there's no way it's going to happen, so why start fighting early? The film's going to have plenty of controversy to contend with when it's shown to the MPAA soon, so why not focus on that?

Well... mainly because that's what Fincher wants. He's not making a film here that's about action figures and lunchboxes and demographic targets. This is a jet black piece of rage and fury, and it should be sold using the most unconventional imagery possible. Don't lie to people, Fox. Don't try and convince them this is anything other than a spiritual heir to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. This is a picture with teeth, with a real philosophy behind it. "You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. What happens first is you can't sleep. What happens then is there's a gun in your mouth. And what happens next is you meet Tyler Durden. Let me tell you about Tyler. He had a plan. In Tyler we trusted. Tyler says the things you own, end up owning you. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything. Fight Club represents that kind of freedom. First rule of Fight Club: You don't talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club: You don't talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club: If it's your first night, you fight. Tyler says self-improvement is masturbation. Tyler says self-destruction might be the answer."

Does this sound like a film that you soft-pedal, that you need to position in the marketplace? FIGHT CLUB could be a genuine event, along the lines of a BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. The book has plenty of rabid Space Monkeys already converted, and now it's time for Fox to get out of Fincher's way, to offer him the support he needs. If the MPAA doesn't like the ads, then come up with something even more subversive. After all, their refusal of SOUTH PARK: ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE as a title is what led to the infinitely nastier BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT.

By the way, that reminds me. Nominate Mark Shaiman for Best Musical or Comedy Score. Don't argue. Just do it.

I want to give the regular readers of this column and this site an assignment, a mental task. We've covered several stunningly bad decisions by the MPAA and CARA on this page recently, and every article has been followed by gigantic Talk Backs in which people line up to shout, "Screw Jack Valenti!" and the like. While this sentiment is obvious in the face of the decisions being made, it's not terribly productive. What it does manage to do is prove just how passionate and provocative a subject it is. While I applaud the original concept behind the MPAA's creation of the Classifications and Ratings Administration, the branch of the organization that actually rates movies, I think it is clear now that the system is broken beyond repair. The idea of only parents having a say in how films are rated is fine if all ratings are used for is the information of parents. That's not true, though, no matter how hard Valenti spins it. Ratings have an economic effect on pictures, and they place a chill on the artistic process. There are great adult stories and topics that no studio will touch out of fear. We are finishing our first 100 years of film, and in many ways we are more limited than ever. We have amazing tools and toys to use in capturing stories onscreen, but our hands are tied by a system that no longer services anyone fairly.

I want the readers of this page to send me their serious suggestions for how to improve or reform the system. I don't want to read a lot of "Fire Jack Valenti!" mail, either. Let's figure out how to self-regulate the film community without shutting out certain avenues of expression. Let's figure out how to give parents the information they need, how to give filmmakers the freedom they want, and how to give audiences the straight, unfiltered visions of their favorite artists. Use my e-mail address at the end of the article or click on the graphic at the top to write me, and next week we'll try and sort through your ideas and some of our own.

A few quick observations before I go tonight. On this evening's POLITICALLY INCORRECT, Bill Maher had on Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, and Shannon Elizabeth on the show to represent this weekend's big winner AMERICAN PIE. One of the points he raised was that the material about Stifler's mom could only be done with an older woman and a younger man, that no one would dare break the taboo the other way for fear of another LOLITA-like situation unfolding. Well, my guess is that Maher doesn't know anything about Sam Mendes' AMERICAN BEAUTY, coming this fall from DreamWorks. I've had this script for months, and I've picked it up and reread it three times, a rarity for me. I'm not sure what I think of it, but I'm sure it's bold and I'm sure it's going to drive some groups insane when it comes out. There's a relationship between Kevin Spacey's lead character and a teenage girl that is not played for laughs in a conventional sense, but which should provide some of this year's more unforgettable moments. I'm still hoping to catch an early look at this one to get a better handle on it. At least I know that whatever cut exists now isn't going to be tampered with any further -- the film just got its R.

There's a number of new TV spots out for IRON GIANT, and they're a mixed bag. Some of them use '50s music to fabulous effect, and they capture the gentle humor of the film quite well. There's some others that are the work of an obvious lunatic, though, with action scenes from the film cut to the music of the Scorpions. Yes, the hair band from the '80s, an era that has nothing whatsoever to do with the film. This decision confounds me on many levels, not the least of which is that the music the film uses is already great. I recently was blessed with a new fairy godmother over at Rhino Records who has been leaving soundtracks under my pillow. The IRON GIANT collection is great, and I fully agree with Harry that "Edd's Kooky Pad" is one of the most delirious little novelty beatnik tunes I can imagine, infectious beyond words. Even more impressive is the KING KONG soundtrack that I woke up to the other morning. Holy cow, is this thing cool. It's a beautiful restoration of Max Steiner's legendary score, and it's also a sampling of dialogue and sound effects so you can, in essence, listen to a radio show version of the movie. How beautiful is that?

Anyway... I've got to go. We're preparing many experiments here at the Labs for you, including our long-promised look at LORD OF THE RINGS, a look at the final finished print of MYSTERY MEN (much has been done since our earlier look), and that Bill Murray overview I mentioned last week. I got distracted by some of the standard Hollywood monkey business, but I'll try and get all those out to you guys soon. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 13, 1999, 5:13 a.m. CST

    DWD: Save Your Breath

    by DwDunphy

    Warners is ecstatic that they've proven critics wrong about 'Wild Wild West' as it continues to make money and leave 'South Park' in the dust. They don't care about artist's rights, or final wishes, or director's cut. If you care about such things, they don't care about you. Neither does the mob of the majority, drowning out the sentiments of the few who have outrage of EWS' digital fidgeting. Movies are a business. Art can come from them, but art can come from anything. Steel can be turned into sculpture but you don't expect art from the metalworks. Perhaps it's time we look at studios the same way; providing product and nothing more.

  • July 13, 1999, 5:17 a.m. CST

    Boycott Eyes Digitized Shut!

    by r_dimitri22

    I call for a boycott of Warner Brothers and a boycott of Eyes Digitized Shut until the real film is made available. I know boycotting a new Kubrick film is a tough thing to do, but are we going to allow artistic integrity to be trampled in this manner? I as much as anyone wanted to see a Kubrick film on the big screen, but I shall not contribute to this.

  • July 13, 1999, 5:29 a.m. CST

    A Call to Arms

    by r_dimitri22

    Moriarty, I appreciate your request for intelligent feedback on how we can reform the system. I posted my boycott message before I read your column. That is not my solution. In fact, I have no solution at this time. I will be boycotting Eyes Wide Shut until I can see it as it was intended. This is a personal boycott, but any or all are welcome to join me. Your column today was thoughtful and well-written. I think your strongest point was that the rating system is not solely for the protection of the children. There is absolutely no reason that art suitable for an adult audience should be sacrificed in the name of the rating system or box office receipts.

  • July 13, 1999, 6:01 a.m. CST


    by Jonte

    I laugh at those americans claiming their version of democracy to be the greatest.Censorship of the worst kind!!!

  • July 13, 1999, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Hope I die before I get old...

    by reni

    I'm sorry but what change can we make? It's all about money anyway.

  • July 13, 1999, 6:09 a.m. CST

    by smokeyjoe

    well hoo-ray for the religous freaks and the PC police. they've turned this country into a place where my nephew and his little league team can't view simulated thrusting. what happened to cruise's statement about not allowing the studio to mess with the film? where's scorsese and speilberg and altman on this one? the days of distributing a film through the studio system need to be over, as do test screenings and fast food tie-ins and soundtracks and everything else that's destroyed film. bring back the 70's!

  • July 13, 1999, 6:15 a.m. CST

    eyes wide shut ratings

    by pookie

    In the UK, including Scotland, we have a restrictive classification code for theatrically released movies. This is good and bad. The clssifications, if you don't know them, are "U" for Universal, "PG" for parental Guidance (both allowing unrestricted access), "12" no-one under 12 allowed into the movie, "15" ditto but for 15 year olds and "18" ditto but for 18 year olds. We have no classification like your "R". So all adult movies are restricted and therefore less prone to studio censorship, for commercial reasons or otherwise. Therefore if you want to see Kubrick's movie in its fullest glory, your best bet is to visit these shore later this year. My guess is it will be uncut. Here endeth the lesson

  • July 13, 1999, 6:16 a.m. CST

    how about a spoiler warning next time?

    by pieguy

    Sorry to be off topic, but how about you warn readers that a link you provide has spoilers in it, fatty? Be warned: The Ebert piece, while right on the money, gives away the plot of the film and talks about its climax. Now I'm sorry I read it.

  • July 13, 1999, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Eyes Wide Shut question

    by emorr

    Why didn't they just take the NC-17 and live with it? If you're not interested in kids seeing it, and it's a challenging adult piece of film, why strain for an R and have things like this pop up at the last minute? This isn't a rhetorical question. I'm curious.

  • July 13, 1999, 6:45 a.m. CST

    What MPAA replaced

    by Pope Buck 1

    The problem with criticisms of the MPAA has always been that MPAA is still an improvement on what came before. Namely, hundreds of local censorship boards around the country, coupled with heavy-handed self-censorship of the industry at large. Because a movie could, for ANY reason, be "banned in Boston," or Kansas, or Atlanta, or any number of other places by the local "decency" boards (or condemned by national entities such as the Catholic League of Decency), the studios made all of their movies adhere to the Production Code -- essentially making ALL movies G-rated. The R rating has always been an easy way out of having a true "adult" rating (and thus having to -- *shudder* -- turn away paying customers because they're under 18). So, do we make all movies inoffensive because, a la "American Pie" and "South Park," kids are going to get in to see them anyway? Or do we stop treating the NC-17 rating as if it were automatically the equivalent of pornography? I agree, Warner's is missing a golden opportunity to de-stigmatize the NC-17 rating, which was set up as just such an "adult" rating.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Eyes Wide Shut

    by DarthVader57

    First of all, let me say something to some of these comments I've read. First of all, the one who whinned about reading what EWS was about, why else would you come to this site?? This site is dedicated in telling the people the latest news on movies. If you want to be left in the dark don't read any stories related to the movie. Second, you all have to realize something. The movie companies such as Warner Brothers, Fox, and Paramount aren't making movies to raise controversy or make people think, they make'em to make shit loads of money. That's why people buy Warner Brothers stock. If you want to see a movie that isn't just a money maker, go see independent films, where people don't have to worry about company stock prices. Now don't get me wrong, I agree with you all that Warner brothers truly failed to destigmitize the NC-17 rating and ruined the integrity of Kubrick's last movie. It's just most of you don't take into account that Warner brothers is a company solely to make money and make their stock holders happy, which is to make money and more money. Another thing MPAA is pretty useless, in my opinion. I can't believe the stories I've read of the stupidity of some of the actions the MPAA took.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Which 10 cities is "Blair Witch" opening in?

    by Encelladus

    The limited public first release of "Blair Witch Project" on July 16th is only opening in ten cities, I believe. I haven't seen this list posted any place just yet, so if you have a copy of it lying around the lab, Professor, or if anybody else has it, please throw it up here for all.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:06 a.m. CST

    I was afraid of this...

    by W. Leach

    I didn't believe that tripe from Warner Bros. four months ago about not tampering with EYES WIDE SHUT. I knew they'd HAVE to find a way to cover up the "offending" footage. You'd think a celebrity like Tom Cruise would have the clout to...ah, never mind. The damage has been done, hasn't it? On a lighter note, I too caught that CURSE OF THE BLAIR WITCH special on Sci Fi last night. Now, more than ever, I REALLY want to see this movie!! Call it a 60-minute promo if you will, but dammit, it worked for me. Good enough to rival anything on A&E's BIOGRAPHY. It's great that the filmmakers took great care in presenting this. They could have easily slapped together back-to-back clips from the movie, and interviews with the actors. But they chose to create a documentary with the same care they took to make the movie. What I didn't know was that most of the interview footage came from scenes left on the cutting room floor. Neato.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:10 a.m. CST

    by pieguy

    The number of theaters that will actually show NC-17 rated movies is so minuscule that to release a $65 million (or whatever the hell it cost to make) film with that rating in those theaters would absolutely guarantee that the studio takes a shit bath. It's the same thing with the unrated-adults only tag - the MPAA is set up such that it behooves studios to follow/use the ratings system (that's how they forced it to catch on back in the 70s), and now it's gotten so that they can't live without it. The fact that the NC-17 rating essentially has become the same damn thing as the X rating (which, ironically, the NC-17 rating was devised to replace to negate the stigmata associated with the "X") proves that something has been wrong with the MPAA and the ratings system from the very start. But the door swings both ways. Remember Batman Returns (also a Warners movie)? All that violence and sexual innuendo would have gotten it an R rating if Warners hadn't lobbied it so hard as a movie for kids. I for one was pretty shocked that it was PG-13 when I saw it, and I was 17 then!!! Then again, Danny DeVito eating whole raw fish and talking about pussy may have knocked a few things loose here or there . . .

  • July 13, 1999, 7:25 a.m. CST

    I said it before...

    by Pitfighter

    ...And I will say it again: I do not envy you over there in the States. I think a previous poster had it right that in more ways than one, you are defiling your "democratic" image with these rediculous actions. Well, of course, YOU (the readers) aren't doing anything of the sort of course, but it's still a shame...I think I can bet money on the fact that EWS will be released uncut over here (the Netherlands). So for once...waiting a few months longer will actually be worth it!

  • July 13, 1999, 7:27 a.m. CST

    A world of shit

    by W. Leach

    I posted before I read Ebert's tirade against the censoring of EYES WIDE SHUT. Now that I've read it, I have to comment again. What is this "Austin Powers" crap? Like the superimposed images won't be noticable? God, reading Ebert's discussion of the controversial orgy scene, I thought to myself, I've seen stronger stuff in R-rated movies that seem to have no problem slipping by the MPAA. Really. I don't know how many unneccessary sex scenes I've seen in R-rated movies, especially in the last few years. Of course Kubrick is no stranger to controversy: he was forced to edit A CLOCKWORK ORANGE from an X rating to an R. This basically meant he had to speed up the threesome scene between Alex and the two girls he picked up in the record store, and cutting out a few images of brutal violence and "the old in out, in out" during the Ludvico treatment sequence. In FULL METAL JACKET, Animal Mother is supposed to cut the head off the Vietnamese sniper at the end, and the platoon kicks around the severed head like a football. Kubrick actually filmed this scene, but ultimately scrapped it, choosing the present one where Joker shoots the dying sniper...his first kill. DR. STRANGELOVE ended with a massive pie fight in the war room, with the president being hit head-on with one, and falling to the floor, knocked out. "Gentlemen, the president has been cut down in his prime," or something like that, is supposed to be the next line of dialogue. But with the recent death of JFK, Kubrick scrapped the already-shot pie fight (although he later said he cut it because the actors seemed to be having too much fun with it). Still, EYES WIDE SHUT should be released as it was originally made. Kubrick obviously would have wanted it that way.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:32 a.m. CST

    blair witch

    by Khaless

    Hi, Encalladus (forgive me if I misspelled) You might wnat to try the haxan films site.( If you go to the blair witch project segment and hit the links button, there should be a link to the site that shows the theaters which will get the limited release. Later!

  • July 13, 1999, 7:41 a.m. CST

    theater owners association

    by Jarvis

    It seems pieguy has hit it on the nose--theater owners won't carry NC-17 films. Therefore studios can't make money on NC-17 films, therefore they don't make them. Part of the solution will probably have to be lobbying the association of American theater owners (whatever that group calls itself) to make a compelling case for carrying the "grown-up" films. (Call them "grown-up" so as not to startle anyone with words like "adult" or "mature".) Theater owners have as much power and responsibility, when it comes to destigmatizing the NC-17 rating, as any of the film studios. I think that once the studios are confident that theater owners will carry their films, they'll be a bit more daring in their "product." This shouldn't be an impossible project, especially if theater owners are going to start checking ID for R-rated-film admission. The clearer it is that "impressionable youngsters" aren't going to make it into controversial films, the easier it should be to placate the type of people who boycott anything of which they disapprove. (Not including those who are boycotting Eyes Wide Shut because they disapprove of the changes, of course.) But theater owners, like everyone else involved, are in business. If they no longer fear getting picketed, they'll run anything that will make money. The most difficult prospect for studios will be the recognition that the destigmatizing process will start slowly, not just among the theater owners, but among audiences, who, except for the few progressive cinemaphiles, will probably skip the first new NC-17 films until it becomes obvious that it's OK to see a "grown-up" film. How to go about successfully lobbying the theater owners, unfortunately, is a mystery to me.

  • July 13, 1999, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Boycott Eyes Digitized Shut!

    by r_dimitri22

    Pass the word on! I already sent an e-mail to everyone I know and asked those who were with me to forward it.

  • July 13, 1999, 8 a.m. CST

    Boycott (continued)

    by r_dimitri22

    If you want to join me, let me know. I'll forward you my boycott message so that you can send it to those who might be willing to help.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Well said, Montag606! (more on boycott)

    by r_dimitri22

    Excellent analogy to Peter Keating and an outstanding vitriolic outpouring! Join me in the boycott.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:05 a.m. CST


    by r_dimitri22

    One of my best friends and fans of film sent me a message echoing the sentiment about it being all about money. He more or less told me to accept the situation and tow the line. Get off my moral high horse, he more or less said. I have something to say to that. Yes, America is about capitalism. However, America is first and foremost about ideals and principles that I would hope are not purely lip service. Join me in the boycott!

  • July 13, 1999, 8:19 a.m. CST


    by danielnoah

    Moriarty: RE: THE LYSISTRADA STRATEGY I am glad for your reasonable and diligent attempts to confront the MPAA problem - a problem that has clearly revealed itself to be one of censorship. I have to begin by saying that the proposition of a boycott among moviegoers is simply not realistic. There is no way that those who might spearhead the opposition of MPAA-related censorship are going to convince enough people to stop seeing movies. I, for one, despite my fervent feelings on the subject, would not miss EYES WIDE SHUT if soldiers stood at the doors threatening to execute me. Anyone who feels strongly enough about the MPAA censorship to get involved is not going to give up the very movies that inspired those feelings in the first place. I believe there is a much more realistic and powerful method for ending studio participation with the MPAA. A quick aside before my treatise: I have long employed a surreptitious method of protest against studio pictures. It is this: if you must see a film released by a studio whose actions you wish to protest - just buy a ticket for a different movie! I have engaged this technique for several years as a means to supporting independent film. When I cannot keep myself away from a studio picture, I simply purchase a ticket for whatever indie film is on the marquee at the multiplex, then slip into the studio picture. I get to see my studio picture, and the little guy gets my money. Back to the MPAA issue. I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that it is high time for the MPAA to be taken down. And "FIRE JACK VALENTI" t-shirts aren't going to do it. The MPAA and the studios with which they are complicit in their methods of censorship are playing hard ball, and the only way we are going to effect change is to play hard ball right back. It has been proven time and time and time again that large, bottom line-oriented corporations do not budge on policy issues until the are threatened by either legal action, or by some significant damage to their income. It is time we, the artists who produce the product their income is dependent upon, begin to pose that threat. Filmmakers must get organized. If the Money Men are going to hit us and the filmgoing public where it hurts, then we have got to hit right back. Screenwriters, directors, producers, actors, composers, cinematographers, agents, lawyers, marketing persons - all of us must join forces to form a coalition to oppose the MPAA rule. This coalition should exist independently of the DGA, SAG, WGA, etc. It should be a universal, umbrella union through which the people who make movies, studio and indie both, combine our efforts to affect a boycott of the MPAA system. The coalition should be founded on a simple policy: If it is not in the artist

  • July 13, 1999, 8:28 a.m. CST

    No ratings necessary

    by Gatsby

    Here's a valid question. Do we even NEED a ratings system? Film is an art, that's a fact--When you go to an art museum, is there a cover on the painting that says "No viewers under 17 allowed?" Why is it destructive to let kids see nudity and violence on film, why do movies make them go out and kill people, when they can go to their local art museum and see more nude bodies, painted, sculpted, and photographed (both male and female), and more maimed, decapitated and murdered people then they would ever see in 20 years of attending movies? If you look at Hieronymous Bosch, you can even see a dude with flowers flying out of his butt. A Dutch painting from 300 years ago, considered a masterpiece! Why do we have a rating system for movies and not for plays? It's okay for Nicole Kidman to be onstage naked and in adult situations in the Blue Room, but not in a Kubrick film? Books are not rated, and yet they contain some of the most volatile and profane things ever conceived. They've incited people to war and to have sex too--some of the most revered books ever such as the Bible and the Catcher in the Rye, but we're not putting NC-17 on these (well, sometimes on the Catcher in the Rye, but never in the Bible, which in fact, contains descriptions of murder and maiming and anal sex and rape) What the hell is this rating system protecting us from? I think the ratings system has outlived it's usefulness (if it was ever useful). If people are really THAT concerned about protecting their kids, READ REVIEWS--they always give a description at the end of who the movie's appropriate for, or go see the movie before you let your kid go. Ahh, that's all I have to say

  • July 13, 1999, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Eyes Wide Shut Uncut in Mexico

    by MrFunnyShoes

    Just got some news that might interest some... Eyes Wide Shut will not be censored in Mexico. It opens here on September 3, and will be named OJOS BIEN CERRADOS. It's still almost two months away, but it's still at least one way of watching the real thing.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:40 a.m. CST

    I don't understand?

    by Alan Boxleitner

    Why is the studio worried about an NC-17 rating. They should be proud and shouting to the world that it's NC-17. Just think, what person male or female would not pay $8 to see Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in a "dirty" movie.They are the drawing power behind this movie and not necessarily Stanley Kubrick. Just think of how people got mad when George made theater demands for TPM. Hey, well at least we got to see his directors cut.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:42 a.m. CST

    I don't understand?

    by Alan Boxleitner

    Why is the studio worried about an NC-17 rating. They should be proud and shouting to the world that it's NC-17. Just think, what person male or female would not pay $8 to see Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in a "dirty" movie.They are the drawing power behind this movie and not necessarily Stanley Kubrick. Just think of how people got mad when George made theater demands for TPM. Hey, well at least we got to see his directors cut.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Sorry it was muddled

    by Gatsby

    That last post was muddled because I was angry, so I figured I'd clarify. My point was basically if all of these other art forms are readily available to our children, and they contain things much more graphic than is depicted in movies, why do we need ratings on film. There's no law that says that movies need to be rated. I think movie ratings are a way of protecting the raters and the vast majority of the unthinking American public from addressing their own discomfort with the subjects of sex and violence, rather than that of their children.

  • July 13, 1999, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Democracy in America

    by Old Fossil

    Through out the last few days, there have been several posters who have complained about "Democracy in America". A few tidbits. There is no law that allows or prevents this nonsense with the MPAA. The MPAA is a private organization whos sole power comes from the studios. Their power comes from control of distribution channels. That power comes from us, the paying public. This is about money and profit. Not art. This is not the "Religious Right" or the "Liberal PC" crowd, it is about market forces driving a global company to make business decsions. And has often been said, when you mix art and money, art loses. This does not mean we can't fix the problem, but we must understand that it is not a governmental problem, it is an economic one. So the solution must follow economic means. While I will not be watching EWS (I personally have no desire to see it), I think WB scrwed up royally. I think the best solution is to move to a content based rating system where the ExecProd of a movie gives it a rating, then the studio and MPAA agree, and off we go. The rating would be something like N/L/V (Nudity, Language, Violence) with modifiers for the degree, plus aditional ones such as Adult Content, etc. Showtime and HBO seem to have this figured out, I'm sure the studios and the MPAA can. Once this is done, the market forces would allow movies like EWS to make a ton of money without the digital effects and the responsibility for keeping kids from "filth" would fall back on parents, not the industry.

  • July 13, 1999, 9:15 a.m. CST

    to Daniel Noah

    by r_dimitri22

    I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. My call for a boycott no doubt will have an at most minuscule effect. I realize that some people like you will see this film under any circumstance. I do hope that if they do, they will use your strategy of buying a ticket for a different film. If I did decide to give in, I would certainly employ your method. However, I think I actually now do not want to see it. I do not want to be thinking about this whole editing issue during what is supposedly one of the most tense moments in the entire film. Ebert's analogy to Austin Powers makes me fear that I might even find the editing to be comical. I wager that is not the mood for the scene as Kubrick intended it. If no one had ever told me about this issue, perhaps I could have watched the film and been caught up in it without knowing what had been done. However, since I do know, I will stand by my principles and wait for the letterboxed director's cut video release. Additionally, I do find two other hitches in your strategy. First, not all theaters that show studio releases even offer independent films. Hence, if I wanted to see a studio release and use your strategy, I would need to go to a theater that shows both studio and independent films. (Said theater will probably be of a lower quality, for that matter.) Second, your method is an unjust one to use on opening night at sold out showings, since the theater sells tickets based on seating capacity.

  • July 13, 1999, 9:27 a.m. CST

    re: grunter

    by Old Fossil

    Few things Grunter. 1) calm down, 2) take a chill pill, 3) you were right about them changing the film. Now, about the "Religious Right". Remember, the post Columbine which hunt and the ratings on music were sponsored by Pres. Bill Clinton and Tipper Gore (wife of AlGore). The poin is this, children have no right to go see a movie. Sorry. If I choose not to let my boys see EWS, then they don't have a right to see it. If, once they're adults, they want to go see it, fine, but while they are my responsibility, I have the obligation to raise them as I see fit in a morally consistent manner. My choice, my responsibility, my authority as their parent. If you want to fix this problem, do as i suggested before, fix the rating system. Then your insight is correct, it will change due to the economics of the situation.

  • July 13, 1999, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Kubrick authorized the changes

    by Sveinung

    Stanley Kubrick had authorized the digital changes in EWS, but would of course have preferred to leave it unaltered (he had to deliver an R-rated movie). But Ebert makes a great point, that people who have read about the controversy, will be so busy looking for the digital changes that they won't get the scene. And all these changes are very stupid, aren't they? Thank God I live in Europe! But please don't think of boycotting the movie, people...

  • July 13, 1999, 9:40 a.m. CST

    to grunter

    by r_dimitri22

    I would not presume to think that my call for a boycott would actually work. I did not present it as a long-term solution to the issues that we have with the MPAA. However, my sentiment is sincere, I will boycott, and you can't blame me for trying.

  • July 13, 1999, 10:38 a.m. CST

    What's the bottom line, Moriarty?

    by Fred4sure

    Exactly how bloated did the EWS budget get? You can't whine about Warner wanting the movie to play big in Iowa without recognizing their investment. It is an entertainment BUSINESS after all. --Fred4Sure

  • July 13, 1999, 10:53 a.m. CST

    You stupid fucking prick

    by Miranda99

    Bill Gerber left Warners over a year ago, as did Tom Lassally. Why don't you do something more constructive than copying out of an old Hollywood Creative Directory and learn something about how the MPAA works and the censorship that takes place there. Believe it or not, studio execs don't get to sit in a room and gleefully decide to destroy Kubrick films. In this instance I'm sure someone with the genius of Kubrick would leave the final edit in the hands of his family and editors not execs who aren't even at the studio anymore. And before you lump all execs together you'd do well to remember that one of them in particular worked very fucking hard to bring you the Matrix, which would never have seen the light of day without 65 million bucks worth of "evil studio money" You don't get to crash helicoptors into glass buildings in independant film. There, I feel better now!

  • July 13, 1999, 11 a.m. CST

    This whole thing pisses me off

    by -Z-

    someone mentioned above that the government does not get involved in the MPAA (a self governed organization empowered by the studios). One word: BULLSHIT. The reason why the Hayes codes and the MPAA were started in the first place, was because the government was threatening to regulate the industry because of it's depraved morality. I don't think the ratings system is necessarily a bad thing, but to say that the government, the religious right, and the liberal left had no part in this regulation is to totally ignore a large part of the situation. Technically, it is NOT your right to see smutty movies, and it is definitely NOT the right of an under 17 kid (who is not considered a legal adult) to see a smutty movie. Maybe because the framers of the constitution had no inkling that art would take the forms that it did. I dunno. But, to the best of my memory, there is no place mentioning the freedom of the arts (although the arts usually falls under freedom of expression). At any rate, the decision to self sensor usually happens because the studios/distributors fear political or social backlash (and while the reason they fear this is, as was mentioned, economic, the fact remains that small groups of people STILL manage to control what you are allowed to see and hear). The average consumer is pretty much powerless to stop this. Perhaps it IS time to get the government involved. If there was a definative ratings system (so many bloody kills/ sex scenes/ swear words = this rating) maybe studios and distributors would not feel so hampered and could release a film with an 18+ rating. (not NC-17, not X, a film for grown ups, as someone mentioned earlier). I mean, the way the MPAA rates films seems totally arbitrary and petty. Who polices them? No one. The studios will not stand up to them one by one, cause they'll get slapped down. Try to iumagine the difficulty in pulling all the studios together to go against the MPAA. Not likely. So, treat films like magazines and records are treated: if it contains grown up material, then don't let kids see it, period. Card people at the door. Yeah, it'll suck to be a kid and want to see the 18+ movie, but considering that I've seen several parents taking their kids to see the Matrix (and movies just as violent and disturbing) I think this whole problem might be made a little easier.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:01 a.m. CST

    This MPAA Flap Shall Pass, But What About FIGHT CLUB?

    by mrbeaks

    I'm of the mind that filmmakers should be applauded for creating provocative works, but there is a responsibility that comes with taking on such an endeavor (note: Oliver Stone is not a good example of this. JFK remains one of the most ridiculous films ever made if only for the amount of absolute untruths Ollie dreamt up and passed off as fact.) I read the novel FIGHT CLUB, and, while I wasn't especially impressed with it, I did feel some of the anger and restlessness that drove the story forward. My worries with Fincher's film stem from his mastery of the medium, and the potential for instilling dangerously anarchic thoughts in impressionable young minds. Now, don't get me wrong, such subversive ideas can be wonderfully liberating at a young age (just as I experienced when I was introduced to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and the work of writers like Terry Southern,) but some people might, well..... take it the wrong way, just as they did with Kubrick's masterpiece, which led to his supporting its ban in England. I guess my point is this film could set ablaze the currently smoldering resentment toward Hollywood (big studio film, big stars, anti-social content,) and make things considerably more difficult for everyone else. Just reading the passage Moriarty wrote above, and recalling Durden's interest in making bombs..... the whole thing makes my spidey-sense tingle. Perhaps, I'm being an alarmist. Just thought I'd throw these thoughts out into the ether.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:06 a.m. CST

    It's not just Mark Shaiman, it's Trey Parker too!

    by jay g

    Trey wrote most of the songs in South Park BLU by himself. He cowrote some with Mark Shaiman. Shaiman arranged the music, but give credit where it's due.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:18 a.m. CST

    It's 65 seconds people!!!

    by lavafreak

    Man i guess time is everything. This so called orgy scene that will be slightly obscured from our view is only 65 seconds long people. And do you people really care to see thrusting on screen. Yea kubrick might of wanted it but it has nothing to do with the story but seems to be the whole film. Come on people...the damn movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes and you go crazy over 65 seconds that were altered. I'm sure kubrick would have fought it but i'm think he would of ended up doing what they did anyway. Don't frat so much.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:55 a.m. CST

    It's 65 IMPORTANT seconds.

    by Gensu

    There are seconds in Schindler's List that are incredible, even though they are brief. Also, don't miss the movie, just sneak in. You hold the same principle of not giving them money and you still get to see (most of) Kubrick's last work.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST

    EWS *could have* shattered the MPAA's strangle-hold

    by TeleMuse

    I had hight hopes that EWS would completely shatter the MPAA's strangle-hold on the film industry, especially after the alarming news of the past few days concerning such films as "Coming Soon". Before I get into bemoaning how this is not to be, let me (take Moriarty's lead and) outline my own idea for how the film industry should ideally work: I am not saying that we should do away with the MPAA; I simply believe that it should not exert such influence over all films. The MPAA serves a valuable purpose: it tells parents that it's okay to let their children see Disney movies. *lol* Okay okay, in all serious now, the MPAA tells parents what they should or shouldn't let their kids see, and for parents that don't want to take the time to actually raise their children themselves, this is a valuable thing. *BUT* there is no reason why an unrated film, or one rated NC-17, should not be picked up by theaters just as readily as an equally good one rated G. I see no reason why rated films, regardless of rating, and unrated films cannot be played side my side in multiplexes. (I'll stop now before I launch into an "I Have A Dream" parody.) EWS could have brought about this grand vision. What theater manager in his right mind would *not* carry Kubrick's last film that also happens to feature Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman nude, even *if* the film was unrated or, *gasp*, rated NC-17. I seriously doubt that this film would have suffered a serious financial loss as a result of being released in its un-digitized form. In this way, EWS could have broken the MPAA's hold over the industry and over what can and cannot be shown in a neighborhood theater. There is still hope, I suppose; but if EWS failed to vanquish the MPAA's influece then I don't know what it will take. So in conclusion: don't do away with the MPAA, just don't *make* me listen to them. Let me see what I want to see as a world-wise adult. The MPAA should not be able to rob me of my choice to see an un-edited version of EWS in the theaters if I so choose, but they are.

  • July 13, 1999, 12:12 p.m. CST

    WB caved.

    by TeleMuse

    WB should have shown a little spine and decided to release the film NC-17. Imagine the addition amazing press! "WB Takes on the MPAA over EWS", "WB Champion's Kubrick's Last Masterpiece", that sort of thing. Any theater that chose to not carry the film just because it was unrated or rated NC-17 would be passing up a serious money-making opportunity; I think that theater owners would have realized that and would have carried it. I mean, it's Kubrick, Crusie, and Kidman, plus the latter two are nude! This should not have been a hard decision for WB, but somehow they managed to botch it completely. It is such a travesty...

  • July 13, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    It only takes one

    by madcow

    I work at Blockbuster and it makes me mad that the company won't carry NC-17 since "we're a family video store", yet we carry unrated soft core fare like Inside Hotel Erotica?! I have had many customers leave the store pissed, since we didn't get the film Happiness. In Ebert's review, he had the right idea, a big summer film with the powerhouse of Cruise/Kubrick behind it, could break the NC-17 taboo. Films like Kids and Happiness have a small audience, but if Blockbuster customers couldn't get the new Cruise film, there would be a larger portion of upset customers, and I feel that Blockbuster and others who oppose the NC-17 would have to cave in. It all comes down to the almighty dollar, if an NC-17 film made as much as an Armageddon, I think a lot of places would suddenly "rethink" their stance on the rating.

  • July 13, 1999, 12:30 p.m. CST

    I Wouldn't "Frat" So Much.....

    by mrbeaks

    .....if Lavafreak could gain a better command of the english language. We're talking about 65 seconds of a genius' final film, and they "should of" remained unblemished. I don't know why I'm getting so wound up by Lavafreak's comments. Check out THE IRON GIANT talkback and you'll see what I mean. Pretty funny stuff.

  • July 13, 1999, 12:49 p.m. CST

    I'm living in Wisconsin... If only in my mind...

    by Mean Ween

    so what if it get's an nc-17 rating? i'd rather it get that than have an edited R version.

  • July 13, 1999, 1:35 p.m. CST

    To add insult to injury...

    by jeffv

    Being a Canadian, I was living in hope that we would get an uncut international version (it's happened before: Highlander III such as it was was at least not cut down as it was in the U.S.), but according to Ebert's article, we're getting the same butchered version as the U.S. This whole irrational politic is bad enough by itself, but the MPAA doesn't even speak for us and we still have to contend with the consequences. I guess WB doesn't see Canada as a consequential enough market to bother noticing we have different ratings standards. Well, though I'm not going to call for a boycott from others, I for one am rethinking the idea of seeing this thing in the theatre and instead waiting for a hopefully uncut video release. After hearing so much about this whole deal, the cuts would just stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the impact. I'd rather see the original vision on the small screen than a butchered one on the big screen. (Besides, there's more to directing than just telling the guy to aim the camera and roll. The scene was shot with one vision in mind an now they're sticking digital Post-It notes over the "objectionable" bits. If Kubrick had been alive and had reshot the scenes to accommodate the ratings request, at least he could've compensated artistically for the change in vision. This patchwork effort will not. Reshoots at least have some integrity, but this is just cheap. Sure Kubrick is dead so a reshoot is not an option, but Kubrick was alive when the idea was proposed.)

  • July 13, 1999, 2:18 p.m. CST

    dreams and talk...boycott!

    by r_dimitri22

    As I said, my boycott is not a long term solution to the ills of the MPAA. However, at least it's something to do in the short term with regard to this specific film. In fact, I don't see any other short term solution. As for the "it's only 65 seconds argument," Ebert describes it as one of the most tense and disturbing moments of the entire film. (That bit at the end of the trailer with the red masked guy pointing sure looked freaky to me.) How would you like to be watching one of the most powerful points in the narrative but all you can think about is the laughable way that objects seem to conveniently cover up people's privates? As for the person claiming that we wouldn't be so upset if it wasn't Kubrick who was at the center of the controversy, I'll agree with that. I will say however that the fact that the man is deceased has a great deal to do with my protest. Sure he approved editing in general, but would he have approved in the manner in which it was done? Also, perhaps a high profile case is exactly what is needed to start the principles rolling for the entire industry. As for my subject heading which alludes to a Schwarzenegger quote, at least my boycott is an action. All this high-minded philosophizing does nothing. I think many of you (especially Mr. Noah) have presented some excellent ideas. Who in the industry is going to step up to the plate and implement them? I fear that no one will. If I didn't work in cubicleville, I'd certainly be willing to help the cause, but unfortunately I'm just Luke Skywalker endlessly gazing at the Tatooine skyline's twin sunset.

  • July 13, 1999, 2:27 p.m. CST

    double standard

    by smitty

    Did anyone notice the male genitalia clearly visible in the sketch of the dead search party during Curse of Blair Witch? Good thing the MPAA doesn't control cable. Congrats to artists like Todd Solondz for releasing movies like Happiness (brilliant). Try renting that one at Blockbuster. At least you don't have to sit through that stupid Regal Cinema rollercoaster when you see it in theaters...

  • July 13, 1999, 2:57 p.m. CST

    The War Of Independents


    This last weekend I saw all 8 episodes of England's "Queer As Folk" - the world's first soap opera which airs on their regular primetime free TV. I couldn't fucking believe it! I knew Europe was more progressive when it comes to being able to accept HUMAN LIFE without all the pruritannical censorship bullshit like here in America, but FUCK ME! Foul language every other scene - Fuck this and fuck that and even an occassional Cunt. In the first episode the completely amoral lead picks up a 15 year old and fucks him in the ass, and they show it. Butt shot after butt shot, flaccid dicks waving in the wind, hardons grasped under thin clothes. So we have swearing, we have sex, and we also have plenty of hilarious amoral activity - drugs and drinking and sleaziness. On TV?!!! What the fuck? How'd those stiff wanks get the upperhand on artistic freedom? We really have to declare war on the ratings system, we can't let the redcoats rule. I mean what the fuck did we leave for anyway? I have a friend who works at Spelling - some of the scenes shot down by the ratings board for Melrose Place: a lesbian kiss in prison, an abortion... how can these dumbass holier-than-thou suits wield such power over actual CONTENT? It boggles the mind.

  • July 13, 1999, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Who were the flaccid dicks waving to?

    by Fred4sure

    Just curious...

  • July 13, 1999, 3:47 p.m. CST

    DWD: Boycott? Get Real!

    by DwDunphy

    If you think that a boycott will make even the most remote difference in this movie's box office, think again. Movie boycotts never EVER work. They are meaningless posturing and only serve as extra publicity. WB did what they did, and while I don't agree with it, I'm resigned to the fact that the execs all need new Beemers and you just don't take business risks in modern industry. Right, it sucks. So does poverty and famine and racism and injustice. No one's done a damn thing about them; a movie just doesn't make that list.

  • July 13, 1999, 5:04 p.m. CST

    VERY disappointing.

    by dhartung

    I'm a bit on the fence on this one. First, I don't believe that NC-17 was a viable option for the studio on this one, given the budget, and the reality that so many theater operators face local pressure not to book NC-17 or unrated films. Nor do I believe that Kubrick himself had a problem with this, in principle: obviously he made attempts during production to meet that obligation. BUT I do believe that the MPAA ratings board is getting loonier by the minute, not least of all because of this bizarre, illogical, orthogonically non-sequitur hysteria of our "post-Columbine" era. Having read about their fucked-up, insane reasoning for censoring a woman's sexuality picture, _Coming Soon_, versus allowing adolescent but boys-will-be-boys safe-harbor kind of sex humor as in _American Pie_, I'm convinced that the entire system is desperate for revision, Jack Valenti be damned. If there must be a ratings system (and as sickened as I am by the idea having seen it in operation, I do accept that fact), then it needs to have content-oriented signifiers. S for sex, L for language, V for violence (and my God they could sprinkle those Vs around). Instead of allowing R and PG-13 to be the "mainstream" center toward which all films gravitate, let the ratings speak for themselves. The saddest part of this is that, the lovely Nicole aside, few teenagers would have been interested in this movie anyway, a complex psychological drama with all that inconvenient story and character. What a damned shame. What a sad day. What a God-damned shame.

  • July 13, 1999, 5:22 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    Regarding my last post, that was "lavalick" over on the IRON GIANT talk back; however, I still hold that his oversimplification of the matter at hand was wrong, as was JJ Gittes statement that Kubrick was "overrated." True, you are entitled to your opinion, but that still doesn't make your supremely shallow argument anymore valid. Content aside, you have to respect Kubrick as a master of technique (one viewing of PATHS OF GLORY should suffice as defense of that statement) just as you would a Von Stroheim or King Vidor. He was an artist for whom every detail counted; thus, even a minor alteration becomes an unforgivable act of vandalism.

  • July 13, 1999, 5:38 p.m. CST

    WOW more mature talkbacks!

    by cyboman

    I had stopped surfing over here because the talkbacks were turning into loser-filled flame wars. Today it seems to me like the talkbacks are better than ever... THANK YOU to whatever universal forces are behind this!!!

  • July 13, 1999, 6:25 p.m. CST

    What I think

    by cliffemall

    My opinion is that the ratings system should not be abandoned-merely trimmed. The only thing a film should be rated on is weather of not it is suitable for young kids to see. Older kids will see anything they want to, no matter what rating, so why not just standardise the rating? Roughly PG13 should be the standard rating. Of course, hardcore stuff should get X ratings, but that is hardly using cinema to further art. This way, young kids can be prevented from seeing the more disturbing films, and older kids can see that which they want to see (and will see no matter what raring is on it). If parents still don't want to their kids to see these older rated films, then that is their right as a parent. This system would allow the rest of us to see what we want to see, without pointless restrictions.

  • July 13, 1999, 6:37 p.m. CST

    MPAA ratings/title changes

    by thinker

    One thing I notice we're not really talking about here is the no Hell in movie title thing. Does anyone besides me recall a slightly cheesy and yet very well made movie called 'To Hell and Back- The Audey Murphy Story'? It certainly wasn't objectionable, and yet the title wouldn't have been allowed under the MPAA, which didn't yet exist when the movie was made. And I agree with everyone about how silly it was to prevent the All Hell Breaks Loose just to get Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Personally, if I were the type of person who got offended by a movie title, the one we got would have done far sooner than the one the MPAA refused to allow. Oh, and on the boycott subject, I am outraged by the changes, am not going to the movie unless they change this, but I agree that it will do no good. How many people are going to go despite the alterations, just to see Cruise and Kidman naked? Too many. Done for now.

  • July 13, 1999, 8:07 p.m. CST

    You're the man Moriarty

    by Basilica

    Moriarty kicks ass, and not just for the obvious reasons. He's the main person at AICN trying to get the viewer's response on every issue and trying to make an actual difference in the film industry. Keep up the good work Moriarty!

  • July 13, 1999, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Fight Club - READ THE BOOK

    by Maul99

    It certainly sounds as if David Fincher and screenwriter Jim Uhls have captured the essence of the novel. The cast is perfect, and the imagery from the first teaser is close to what I had envisioned. I just hope that FOX and Fincher don't bend over and take it up the ass from the MPAA. Just say "Screw 'em" and release the film unrated. I think Fight Club could still be marketable as an unrated film. It stars Brad Pitt - who does take his shirt off - so it should attract women. And the nature of the story should appeal to young men. STOP THE CENSORSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • July 13, 1999, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Once More Unto The Breach In Defense Of Kubrick

    by mrbeaks

    The old, sterile argument that's leveled against Kurbrick time and again. Pray tell, is that all *you* can pull out of your ass? A quick run through of the films you listed: since SPARTACUS was an inherited production (and a huge one at that,) and not subject to Kubrick's normal constraints, it is the least "Kubrickian" of the bunch, but still an impressive achievement nonetheless. Great script by then-blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, and excellent performances down the line (save for Curtis' accent;) I think some of that humanity that critics often bemoan the absence of is on full display throughout this intellectual sword-and-sandals epic. DR. STRANGELOVE..... satire the likes of which we haven't seen since (maybe CITIZEN RUTH, but they're very different approaches.) It's nowhere near as dated as some assert, and never will be until nuclear arms miraculously disappear off the face of the earth (i.e. never.) Check out those brief combat scenes (especially the POV shots from behind the M-60s,) and tell me Spielberg didn't borrow a tad for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Flash forward to FULL METAL JACKET (not a masterpiece, but far superior to other Vietnam films of the era, including Stone's morality play by way of sledgehammer, PLATOON,) and, if you know anything at all about combat, you'll consider it a tragedy that a man with such skill (not to mention a love for military history as John Milius pointed out in last week's New York Times Magazine) never got around to mounting his biopic about Napoleon. In fact, the battle scenes in BARRY LYNDON, which I found to be a lovely bit of straightforward storytelling, and, considering the use of natural light, a master class in cinematography, were impressively choreographed as well. 2001..... aside from one of the greatest cuts in history, special effects that set the industry standard, and the innovative use of classical music, I'll admit that it's fairly impenetrable (you should never have to read a book to discover the meaning of the film,) but there's certainly nothing wrong with a celebration of the ineffable. I'm not a fan of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, but, to be sure, it is a seamless, disturbingly exhilerating work of unrepentant violence. This is where the "inhumane" argument was born, and it fits for this one work. THE SHINING? A great haunted house movie that conveys a palpable sense of dread that few films have ever achieved. It was the first Kubrick film I ever saw, and I cherish it to this day, even if it may stand as a lesser work from a master. It just occured to me that I wasted my breath detailing all of this, since you never really addressed the primary thrust of my original post, which was that the man was a great technician, which often goes hand in hand with descriptions such as "antiseptic" and "static." I was initially asking for a simple respect for the craft. Note: forgive any possible redundancies in the above as I just finished with a particularly long day of work, and haven't the time to edit. A final thought for JJ Gittes: your similes are hackneyed.

  • July 13, 1999, 10:21 p.m. CST

    David Cronenberg

    by The Cars

    Shortly after Kubrick's death, I read an interview with David Cronenberg where he scoffed at the idea of us getting a true director's cut of Kubrick's final film. Cronenberg said that he understood that there was still some looping to be done, at the very least, and asserted that that is about 90% or so of an actor's performance. So Kubrick wasn't around to direct that, but I guess one could argue that he may have trusted Cruise and Kidman enough to complete such a thing to his liking, but can we really trust Cruise, who swore that the film would not be altered? Where is he now that all this is going on? I know he is in Australia, so maybe he doesn't realize what is happening, but one hopes he will not remain silent about this revolting development. Yeah, they said a lot of things right after Kubrick died-- it's a definite "R"--it will not be altered. And you mean to tell me that a significant amount of theaters would refuse to show Tom Cruise's first movie in three years, no matter what it's rated? Give me a break.

  • July 13, 1999, 11:02 p.m. CST

    I want my thrusting

    by Hersey-303

    While I've enjoyed the various point of views expressed on the issues, I'm afraid I have to lean to the pessimistic side. While we may appreciate film as an art, the industry exists to make money. If some booty-shakin' is going to hinder cash flow, then chop. While I don't feel this isn't cool (I'll feel tainted in the theater) I recognize the logic. Big wigs in Hollywood thik with their wallets. The only concern for us (customers) is whether or not they get our money in a manner that's cost effective. Think Cameron would ever get backing if Titanic wasn't an uber-hit. We are the prey my friends. Movies are products to be sold and unfortunately they don't come with warranties.

  • July 14, 1999, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Eyes Wide Shut is a lost cause.

    by Matt Murdock

    I think everybody needs to be just a bit more pragmatic here. Eyes Wide Shut is approximately three days from wide release; how much can our complaining accomplish to reverse any decision by Warner? The real issue is one addressed by Moriarty later in his column, regarding Fight Club. I know few would agree, but I respect Fincher about as much as I do Kubrick, and his new film- which, from the sound of it, will have to be sliced to pieces to garner an R rating- is far enough in the future that if somebody were to visualize a really decent method of making sure an uncut version hits the general public, it could potentially have an effect. I want to see Fight Club as it was envisioned in Fincher's head, but I can't figure out how it could be done. A solution would be nice.

  • July 14, 1999, 1:34 a.m. CST


    by njsarchasm

    From time to time I pass the information I find on American censorship to my mailing list buds. I call it The Triple 6 Club and if anyone would like to join, feel free to mail me. Yes, it's free. I am a proud Satanic American and subscribe to maybe 90% of Anton Lavey's philosophy. I cannot stand these actions taken by the rich incorporated. And as for Tom cruise and Nicole, HOW DARE YOU! YOU CORPORATE WHORES! This movie is not Far and Away; it is Eyes Wide Shut. Big fucking difference. Don't fuck with Stanley! Time and time again, the moral majority imposes their beliefs on every other "free" American. I thank you sir who mentioned the British TV show Queer As Folk. A TV SHOW!! This is a MOVIE! IT IS NOT A COLUMBINE MASSACRE; IT IS AN ART FORM! STOP FUCKING WITH ART! THE EARTH WILL SWALLOW YOU WHOLE!

  • July 15, 1999, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Blair Witch Theatre listings

    by joechan

    The theatre listings for the July 16th release of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT are available from the following site:

  • Aug. 11, 2006, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Just get some Pepto-Bismol, Mort.

    by Wolfpack