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SEX AND VIOLENCE
13 January 2006
You've probably heard that the Jordan Commons Megaplex in Salt Lake City, owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, has abruptly changed plans and will not be showing Brokeback Mountain, a movie about two men in love. Just hours before opening, the theater management "reneged on their licensing agreement," and refused to open the film.
When asked the reason for pulling the movie, Cal Gunderson, the theatre manager, declined to comment.
"I think it sets an example for all the people in Utah and he's my new hero," said Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum. "It's such a terrible show, and it is such a horrible message. I just think (pulling the show) tells the young people especially that maybe there is something wrong with this show."
I decided to see which movies are showing at the Jordan Commons Megaplex instead of Brokeback Mountain to get some sort of idea about what sorts of movies are OK for families to see in Salt Lake City and what kind of messages Ms. Ruzicka feels are good ones to send to young people.
The megaplex is showing Grandma's Boy, the description for which says that the movie contains "drug use, strong crude and sexual humor and nudity."
Good family movie. Take the kids.
The Megaplex is also showing Hostel, the description for which reads: a mixture of many of the most terrifying things about human nature and the world at large, culled from many impossible-but-true stories of human trafficking, international organized crime, and sex tourism. Relentlessly graphic and deeply disturbing, the film is sure to shock even the most hardcore horror genre fans. HOSTEL tells the story of two American college buddies Paxton and Josh who backpack through Europe eager to make hazy travel memories with new friend Oli, an Icelander theyve met along the way. Paxton, Josh, and Oli are eventually lured by a fellow traveler to whats described as a nirvana for American backpackers a particular hostel in an out-of-the-way Slovakian town stocked with Eastern European women as desperate as they are gorgeous. The two friends arrive and soon easily pair off with exotic beauties Natalya and Svetlana. In fact, too easily Initially distracted by the good time theyre having, the two friends quickly find themselves trapped in an increasingly sinister situation that they will discover is as wide and as deep as the darkest, sickest recess of human nature itself if they survive.
This one has brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language, and drug use. Another family flick. And then you can all go out for a good thick raw steak afterwards. Or perhaps some ladyfingers.
Want something lighter? How about an alternate Heath Ledger flick, Casanova. Notorious womanizer Casanova sets his sights on an unattainable prize. With a reputation for charming the opposite sex regardless of their marital status. This one only has some sexual content. Bring Grandma too and watch the nice unclothed heterosexual folks cavort.
There's Munich, with strong sexual content, nudity and language.
There's The Ringer, with crude and sexual humor, language, and some drug references.
There's Fun with Dick and Jane with sexual humor and "humorous drug references" (yeah--nothing funnier than drugs).
There's Memoirs of the Geisha, where a 9 year old girl is sold into sexual slavery and is abused by her new owners.
And there are a couple of more bland films, like Harry Potter (which some say glorifies witchcraft), the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (which is supposed to contain a hidden Christian message -- that may explain why this one is OK), and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (which surely appeals to all those large-family Mormons).
But when I see what is OK with Larry Miller, it makes me wonder why a movie that contains one sex scene that contains no nudity, a couple of tender kissing scenes and lots of great scenery is not OK and all the rest of this blood, gore, sex and drugs is OK. (Yes, that's a rhetorical question--of course I know the answer.)
I suppose if Jake Gyllenhaal had gone after one of the sheep instead of Heath Leger, or if he had raped his wife, that might have made the movie OK.
In the meantime, if you want to go to a movie in Salt Lake City, prepare for blood, violence, gore, strong sexual content and lots of nasty words to go with your popcorn.
But don't look for any sweet love stories, if the lovers in question happen to be of the same gender.
Miller obviously didn't check in with Family Research Council, which has decided not to boycott the movie and, in fact, to ignore it. "We don't want to draw attention to them. We would almost be doing them a favor if we were to mount a big campaign -- we'd be making a martyr out of the movie, so to speak. I don't think we want to fall into that," said vice president Peter Sprigg.
Well, sorry, Pete, but Larry Miller opened the floodgates.
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