Film critic extraordinaire (and frequent Hit & Run commenter) Alan Vanneman investigates the gradual disappearance of Kirsten Dunst's breasts in the Spider-man series and concludes that it's "a symptom in a larger trend: the de-sexualization of American film!" (emphasis in original).
There was a time, after all, when the movies were the sexiest thing in America. As late as the eighties, if you wanted to get it on-by yourself at least-you went to the flicks. But today, the supply of both soft-core and hard-core sex via cable, the Internet, and DVDs has made it impossible for Hollywood to keep up. So why try?
Even R-rated stoner flicks like the infamous Grandma's Boy are much tamer than those of twenty years ago. The 1984 classic Revenge of the Nerds featured more beaver than a Walt Disney True-Life Adventure. Look for beaver in the multiplex today, and you won't find it on the screen. Americans are happy to watch some dude eating another dude's brain, but as for erect nipples, nuh-uh. It's the end of an era, mon ami, the likes of which we shall not see again. And you read it here first.
Vanneman's collected criticism here.