Wednesday, September 21, 2005


'Son, Don't Push That Button, It Glamourises Violence'

I see that the risible Advertising Standards Authority has made yet another absurd decision, no surprise there. Since the last of my moans about them is dated September 14th, it seems they're turning out the daft decisions faster than ever these days. The decision this time is to ban the interactive posters for 'Sin City', the Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino comic book adaptation, as it was claimed that the excerpts from the film glamourised violence.

'Sin City' was, incidentally, a pretty poor film, and certainly hugely undeserving of its place at number 90 (currently) on the IMDbs best films list. That's ahead of 'Oldboy' and 'Annie Hall.' Gah. In fact, a large part of the reason I disliked the film was because I felt it really did glamourise violence, and did so in a way that was neither intelligent nor particularly artistic. Just because they filmed it in nearly total black-and-white-but-wait-there's-a-splash-of-colour doesn't mark it an arthouse masterpiece, and for those who claimed it was, they really, really need to see a few more films. It was - horror word at the ready - postmodernism at it's very worst.

So, given how I feel about the film, why do I object to the ASA decision? Well, according to the distributor, there were 486,570 interactions with the posters and just one complaint. I'm not the first to moan about the fact that just one complaint can cause a ban. Why? How can it conceivably be justifiable to ban something because 0.20576131687243% of times it was used prompted a complaint? I was one of 486,570 interactions, and can indeed confirm that all the bad language and violence had been stripped from the miniscule clips they showed.

Interactive posters are a new phenomenon, but this decision should get them dead in the water straight away. It's going to be impossible for the distributors of any film rated 12A or above to consider them now, because a precedent is set for removing them on the grounds of 'offensiveness.'


Still on the film front, I see questions are being asked about the tax breaks Gordon Brown has been giving to the British film industry, and which are now being withdrawn.

Every other year there's much moaning about how the British film industry is going to pot, and how it's become too expensive to shoot here, and so on and so on, yet I'm all in favour of removing all of the tax breaks and grants that Gordon was promising.

There is one main reason for this - grants encourage bad product. The more money goes to filmmakers indiscriminately, the less they need to produce films that are actually good. With no government support, filmmakers need commercial backers, and commercial backers want a return on their investments.

This might sound like Thatcherite philistineism, but consider 'Sex Lives Of The Potato Men.' That was one of the most execrable pieces of utter dross ever made, and was made thanks almost entirely to funding from The Film Council. Anyone who has seen it will understand why this is a terrible, terrible indictment of public funding - a 'sex comedy' without any sex, a complete waste of the comedic talents of people like Julia Davis, Mark Gatiss and Lucy Davis, and an enormous blackmark against the careers of nice people like Adrian Chiles. It truly was hideous, juvenile and embarassing in every conceivable way, but if you're British, you paid for it.

Hideous - and we paid for it.

Egads, your governing boards act just like the FCC. Our FCC has levied multi-million dollar fines against national broadcasts based on the complaints of between one and one dozen complainants. In a nation of 400 million souls!

Censorship be damned, that's just plain inefficient.

My personal peeve:In the USA it usually is because of sexual content, not violence.

Like the Janet Jackson tit episode. It was in the half-time show of what is arguably the most genuinely violent sport the USA. It was ONE breast. No one fines the NFL for showing people slamming into one another like freight trains....

So the movie was rotten? I didn't see it, mainly because I really get squeamish around graphic violence.
I thought "Sin City" was a good attempt to do something a bit different that didn't quite come off.

Then again, I liked "Sex Lives of the Potato Men"
I found the sight of Janet Jackson's pendulous breast extremely offensive... though probably not for the same reasons as most! Yak!

Johnny Vegas was a novelty at first- i found his fake drunken ramplings about the fading pottery industry in St Helens hilarious. Now he's just a fat pisshead. 18 stone of idiot (produced by that ginger knob Chris Evans) was one of the worst programmes i have ever seen...
SafeT -

Come on, give us some credit, we haven't plumbed the depths of the FCC yet!

Seriously, I absolutely agree about the breast thing - I was watching when it happened, and not only did I barely see it, but I was utterly unoffended at the same time. It really was making a planet out of a thimbleful of soil. Ridiculous.

Paul B -

Please tell me you're joking. Please. Lie if you have to.

Happyviolet -

It was something of a disaster. I watched it once before promising never to watch it again. drnking humour's all very well and good, but at some point it's just laughing at the alcoholic.
Okay... I'm joking. And I'm lying about joking :oP
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