"Thank God We Invented the… You Know… Whatever Device."

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Kim Masters at Slate reports that MPAA boss Dan Glickman might have accidentally kicked off a movie-wide ban on the portrayal of smoking.

Last October, Glickman sent a letter to 40 attorneys general addressing the MPAA's concerns about smoking in movies. He said that the MPAA was turning to the Harvard School of Public Health for guidance. "My objective is to gain consensus among the member companies of MPAA on Harvard's pending recommendations, and then begin implementation," he said.

Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at U.C. San Francisco and creator of the Smoke Free Movies campaign, says Glickman probably expected Harvard to come up with a limp education campaign and leave it at that. But Harvard got tough. In recommendations presented to the industry last month and made public this week, Harvard said the studios should eliminate smoking altogether from films "accessible to children and youth."

Meaning anything below R, but no one thinks R-rated films will be safe forever. But the blanket ban sounds dull. It'd be far more entertaining if the MPAA required that everyone who smokes in the movies must be a villain, or must die for their sins like the promiscuous teens in slasher pix.

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  1. One of these days, I’m going to make a slasher flick where the slut is the only one who *doesn’t* get killed by the maniac.

    -jcr

  2. For the life of me I can’t remember what “PG” stands for. Something to do with parenting if I recall….

  3. Having everyone who smokes be a villain will increase smoking, not decrease it. What they will need to do is have everyone who smokes be ugly.

  4. Cool- soon we can expect “smoke porn.”

  5. Where is Will H Hayes when we need him?

  6. P Brooks, you should probably check Google if you don’t think there’s smoking porn already

  7. Cool- soon we can expect “smoke porn.”

    Sometimes you are so last century, or earlier 🙂

  8. JP SEZ:
    Having everyone who smokes be a villain will increase smoking, not decrease it. What they will need to do is have everyone who smokes be ugly.

    JP:Most people are ugly, so won’t MORE people identity with smokers?

  9. Applied logically, the concern over the portayal of unhealthy behavior (smoking) in the movies will extend to other staples of the “art” form: explosions, flying cars, exploding flying cars, cussing, cussing while exploding in a flying car…not to mention skinny black guys portraying fat and angry (but oh so hilarious) black mammies, mean teenage girls having unprotected sex…in short, it signals the end of American cinema as we know it. Huzzah!

  10. True story: My apprentice, Darth Vader, smoked so much that today he has to wear a breath mask. Really sad.

    His wife died from smoking too much. He blames himself. As he should.

  11. Danny is like Georgie. Georgie failed in every real world business, where as Danny has failed as congressman, Secretary of Ag and now MPAA big chief. Maybe the two can hook up after Georgie saves the world for democracy and enter into a Failed People, Inc.

  12. I lead a rather sheltered life, apparently.

  13. I have a cunning plan:

    (1) Implant an RFID tag in each child at birth (to be removed at the age of majority);
    (2) When child molesters are released from prison, surgically install a neck brace, either wired to shock or blow off the head of the offender (depending on the degree of his initial offense) if he approaches within 500 feet of a RFID-emitting child; and
    (3) Cease worrying about the problem.

  14. I can hear Hillary now:
    “Barrack is a smoker, Barrack should be banned from the media! Not only is he kinda black, and maybe an Islam….HE IS A S M O K E R !!!”

  15. These movies should only be allowed under bridge screenings.

  16. We should probably ban eating unhealthy food too, I mean what if I see someone eating fast food? That totally means I’m gonna eat fast food too. It should be banned.

    Remember in the Lion King when Timon and Pumba were eating bugs? I totally went out and ate a bunch of bugs, I had to go to the hospital. This is a serious problem.

    We should probably go back and censor out all the cigarettes in the past movies too, you know so there will be a black rectangle over the cigarettes. That’s the only way to assure that our kids don’t take up those evil cigarettes.

  17. Darn it Dmitri, your post made me want some KFC. You should be banned.

  18. Oh for fuck’s sake.

  19. I can hear Hillary now:
    “Barrack is a smoker, Barrack should be banned from the media! Not only is he kinda black, and maybe an Islam….HE IS A S M O K E R !!!”

    And his supporters are supporting big tobacco! All of his campaign money should be taken to treat second-hand smoking victims.

  20. While clicking I came upon this site. It states that the current Disney animated release “Meet the Robinsons” not only has smoking in it, but promotes it.

    Has anyone seen this film? Can they be even remotely correct?

    http://smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu/problem/now_showing.html

  21. If they ban smoking in movies, how are they going to end the sex scenes?

    Pretty soon there are going to be two categories of film: G and Black Market.

    It’d be far more entertaining if the MPAA required that everyone who smokes in the movies must be a villain, or must die for their sins like the promiscuous teens in slasher pix.

    That’s pretty much the way Hollywood plots already treat firearms. As soon as you learn characters (other than cop, action hero, or mafia) own guns, like guns, shoot for recreation, or hunt (including having mounted heads on the wall) you just know they’re badguys.

  22. “Oh for fuck’s sake.”

    That used to be banned.

    Isn’t anymore.

  23. If they ban smoking in movies, how are they going to end the sex scenes?

    The now obligatory rutting scene ends and one lover sits up and reaches for some out of focus object on the end table. (Off camera sound of match being struck.) CUT.

    Outtakes of hot post-coital puffing action to be shown only in the Director’s Cut DVD.

  24. Smoking crack and shooting heroin will continue to be blessed.

  25. If I did not give a shit about my pink lungs i would take up smoking just to piss those fuckers off!

  26. Man, you know you’re living in a surreal world, when the when the writings of Kilgore Trout turn out to be prescient.

  27. I hope they have a WW2 movie where the Allies and the oppressed light up smokes in a celebration of freedom. Then because they are smoking, they can be portrayed as murderous villains.

  28. Sort of on topic… did anybody catch 60 Minutes last night with somebody named Rick Berman (not the Star Trek guy, I presume) speaking out against the nanny state? The other side was represented by that “heart attack on a plate” kook. In my eyes Berman came out like a hero even though the folks at 60 Minutes were doing everything in their power to make him look like the kook with crazy ideas. I thought I was bizarro world – up is down, left is right…

  29. Rhywun,

    I was at the wife’s uncle’s house for Easter dinner yesterday. After the Masters Tournament, 60 minutes came on. I saw the promo for the nanny state piece. I got excited. The piece on MC Caine came on. Dad-in-law changed the channel to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Gawd, that show is even worse without Bob Saget doing his milquetoast bit. Did you know they call it “AFV” now?
    Anywho, 60 Minutes piece. Who was the reporter on it? Any interesting tidbits?

  30. Do you smoke after sex?

  31. Do you smoke after sex?
    maybe only a little burning sensation…

  32. I don’t know how you fellow libertarians think about this. But this is censorship, no matter how you look at it.

    Watch the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated, it is a great documentary on the MPAA.

    No private agency should have the power that the MPAA does to control government. Think about it, they tell people what goes into their movies. Not only that but they get all kinds of anti-piracy laws passed with the american people having no say.

    But no! the MPAA says this is to protect freedom of speech because of obscenity laws, and how they don’t tell people whats wrong with the movie. Well that’s false..

    In the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated they follow a couple of people getting their film rated, and record one of the conversations. They outright tell them the parts that give it the R Rating, hence, you take this out or get this R rating, that is not protecting freedom of speech, that is control. They do the opposite of what they say.

    Not to mention they hire a PI and find out most of the people who rate movies are old and republican (and majority seem to be women).

  33. How about banning the pointless sex scenes and dumbass villains who insist on having a conversation before they kill someone?

  34. I’m assuming that this would apply to TV as well? Didn’t X-files have a character simply named “cigarette smoking man”? Are Popeye reruns out? What about portrayals of smoking done by anti-smoking groups?

  35. “Thank God We Invented the… You Know… Whatever Device.”

    That was a really funny line in a well-above-average movie, but it always bugged me that the premise didn’t make a lick of sense. They wouldn’t have an all-oxygen environment in space, and cigarettes wouldn’t blow up if they did- they’d just burn really fast.

    Also, you know what bugs me? Nerdy nitpicking.

  36. “How about banning the pointless sex scenes”

    that would be those with the famous “L shaped blanket”

    or anything like this…

    (relatively SFW)

  37. or anything like this…

    God, that was bizarre, in a bizarre way. I think that may have turned me off for about a month.

    And I *like* Indian women….

  38. Who was the reporter on it? Any interesting tidbits?

    Some really old guy… Morley Safer? Berman was continually referred to as “Dr. Evil”. And I seem to remember the dude who’s responsible for banning foods left and right calling him a “terrorist”. All pretty well-known stuff around here but the report was so damn one-sided it was ridiculous.

  39. What if the cigarette is used as a weapon rather than a source of pleasure? I mean, watching lit cigarettes being used to burn people and start fires on gasoline-covered surfaces isn’t nearly as dangerous for the little angels as watching someone enjoy a smoke, is it?

  40. I mean, watching lit cigarettes being used to burn people and start fires on gasoline-covered surfaces isn’t nearly as dangerous for the little angels as watching someone enjoy a smoke, is it?

    Correct. Pleasure = Evil.

  41. I’m awfully conflicted about this. On one hand, I support artistic freedom in film and the MPAA is already ridiculously strict. OTOH, it sucks seeing people smoke in movies because it makes me want a cigarette and smoking sections are pretty rare in movie theatres.

    Rhywun, just summed up This Film Has Not Been Rated’s whole point: for the MPAA, pleasure does =evil, unless we’re talking about the pleasure of creating violent mayhem.

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