Snakes On A Plane: The Family Friendly Version?

As a parent of teens, I've recently weathered three disappointments when it comes to the movies. First and foremost, one of my favorite companies, Clean Films, wrote to tell us that they're no longer going to be able to provide edifying entertainment for our family:
It is with great regret that we write to inform you that Clean Films is going out of business soon. As you may have heard or read, after three long years of legal struggles, a judge in Colorado has ruled that we cannot sell or rent edited DVDs anymore. While we thought very strongly about appealing the decision, the potential costs and risks to the company, its customers and shareholders was just too great. Accordingly, we have agreed to close our doors after a brief winding-up period.
Second, M. Night's Lady In The Water was unbearably dull. Finally, a movie that we could all look forward to, and the king of clean suspense didn't deliver. Sigh.

And third, Snakes On A Plane, which sounded like the quintessential young guy's action/horror flick, is no longer going to be rated PG-13. According to this week's Entertainment Weekly:
About four months after the film wrapped, New Line execs woke up to what Snakes would be. "It was clear that the film needed more intensity," says (Toby) Emmerich (New Line President), adding that last summer's success with the R-rated Wedding Crashers helped assuage concerns ... New snake strikes were shot. The vicousness was amped up. One sequence involving a couple getting chomped while smooching in the john became a full-on mile-high-club sex scene.
Another New Line leader credits the changes to the movie's active, vocal, internet-savvy fan base. Well, I'm a blogger, too. And I think this decision to "intensify" reveals a terrible lack of judgment. I'll even go public and predict that while Snakes might start out strong, it's going to fizzle out without making much money. (Let's hope I'm right.)

Hollywood has always objected to operations like Clean Films, arguing that such editing attempts infringe on their "artistic integrity." Well, here's another idea. Why don't the directors, editors, and writers themselves spend a bit of extra time to clean up the films, offering not just the "unrated, uncut" version on video store shelves, but a "family friendly" version also? (Comcast recently offered this option for The Fantastic Four and The Honeymooners, for example.) I know we'd rent them. Wouldn't you?

As Adam R. Holz puts it in Focus on the Family's pluggedin magazine, we need to "vote with our dollars" when it comes to the movies. Let's make it lucrative for Hollywood bigwigs to apply their artistic talents to provide what Clean Films was trying to accomplish on our behalf.


Anonymous said...

All I have to say on this subject is, I cannot believe what is rated PG & PG-13 is appropriate for an adult, let alone a 13 year old! I am so sick of seeing and hearing about sex and body parts it totally disgusts me! Women need to start covering up their breasts (not just the nipples!) every bit of their sickly skin should be covered. And how do people find women's crothches and rearends that they crap out of 'attractive'? They are not impressive to say the least. Men wear more clothes than women. Everyone's umbilical cord was cut & fell off just like everybody elses, there is no need to expose your body and show everyone. Hollywood needs to be totally wiped off the face of the earth. The movies that are out there are nothing but trash. Same goes for tv commercials! Baseball games are about who's on drugs & viagra. Football is about bear & topless women dancing around. It is all gross! This is the human race?!?! I wish the government would totally ban any form of Hollywood "entertainment".

~Mark said...

First, welcome back Mitali! That was a loo-ong two weeks!

That's a real disappointment abotu Clean Films, but not a surprise. When you make Ron Howard and Steven Speilberg(sp) angry about changing their movies, you're in for it.

Snakes on a plane looks really uninteresting. It's like one of those "I never heard of it but the monster looks cool so I'll rent it" movies that occupy most of the shelves at neighborhood video stores.

Sad as it is, it's just another example of takign the easy way out. Why pay for and/or cultivate superlative writers/directors when you coulds just rhow some nudity, violence and cursing into the flick and accept the crowd who will come solely for that.

The only thing that matters to many of the producers these days in tv and radio is the biggest return for the smallest investment. Not quality, not public service and not pride.

Thankfully there is always a remnant, and that remnant ain't dead yet.

Lady in the Water notwithstanding.

Mitali Perkins said...

Anonymous, while I agree with you about some of Hollywood's excesses, I think you sound like you're reacting way too far to the opposite extreme. Perhaps you've experienced deep personal sorrow when it comes to sex.

God never intended the human body to be disgusting -- in fact, I believe that in the person of Jesus he took on human flesh with all of its' gory, smelly, lovely, earthy attributes. And our sexuality, when kept appropriately within the bounds of marriage, is a gift from God, too. None of us would exist without sex! If you're a Christian, think of the "Wow!" Adam expressed when he first saw Eve before sin even entered the world. God is the creator of all intimacy.

Yes, popular culture has gone nuts when it comes to sex, twisting and reviling its' goodness until young people are barely able to see the beauty and joy God intended when he gave it. And there is great suffering as a result. I pray that you will find peace and grace to see that God is still at work in this world, even in Hollywood's storytelling, and wonderfully shines in all that's fair.

Mitali Perkins said...

Hi Mark! Two weeks away felt WAY TOO SHORT to me, but thanks for the welcome back -- and for the encouragement in your note. I wonder how to get the message to the moneybags and creative types in Hollywood ...

Anonymous said...

Mitali Perkins,
Oh, I agree 100% about God's creation of sex...within a marrriage of ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN. Hollywood has totally gone overboard. As the radio, newspaper, magazines, etc... The true meaning of something wonderful has been twisted on display in a very inappropriate way. I believe it should be stopped so that generations to come can experience the wonderful pleasures that should exist when a male husband & female wife become ONE forever. Not on display for all to see, or changing sex partners daily, monthly, yearly, exposing every body part to everyone on national television, radio, theatres, magazines, newspapers, etc...Have you any idea what type of content is in moveis aimed toward our pre-teens and teens?!?! I think we, and our children, would be better without any of it.

Mitali Perkins said...

I get your point, anonymous, but I love the movies because they're STORIES, and Jesus himself used story to teach. They have amazing potential to change lives and hearts. Plus, God can use anything for His purposes, even Hollywood flicks.