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Who needs to go to the movies for nudity? That's what the internet is for.

Are you not seeing enough naked chicks at the local multiplex lately? Blame global warming. No, I mean blame John Ashcroft:

Hollywood's diminishing appetite for sex is partly attributed to the influence of a more socially conservative government under George Bush, the president, and his attorney general, John Ashcroft, a member of the Pentecostal church noted for his moral certitude.

Paul Verhoeven, the director whose film Basic Instinct drew more attention for Sharon Stone's risque leg-crossing scene than it did for the quality of its plot and acting, told Premiere magazine: "There's a drip-down effect of this government's position in the film industry, so you will see much more other things than nude scenes on your screen." He added: "What do you expect with Ashcroft who is an ultra-Christian puritan?"

I don't know. What would he have expected if Tipper Gore were living in the White House?

And what do you expect when Hollywood types open their mouths? Verhoeven hasn't had a movie out since George Bush took office. His troubles really have nothing to do whether the U.S. Attorney General is an "ultra-Christian puritan" or a flaming homosexual libertine. But I can understand that he'd sooner blame his lack of work on a lurking-under-the-bed Ashcroft rather than accept that it might have more to do with his not having a real hit since before the elder George Bush left office. (That would be the aforementioned "Basic Instinct", which came out in 1992. Incredible that a Republican president would allow that movie to be relased, isn't it?)

As for the rest of Hollywood, where anti-Ashcroft feeling borders on psychosis, you'd think that they'd be cramming movies full of more sex and violence just to tick Ashcroft off. But the fact is there aren't as many R-rated movies these days simply because studios tend to make more money with movies rated PG-13, PG, and G. Note that on a list of the highest-grossing movies of all time, the top R-rated movies are "The Matrix Reloaded", currently at #22, and 1984's (!) "Beverly Hills Cop" at #30. If only that dirty Ashcroft hadn't been secretly pushing Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings (all movies a supposed "ultra-Christian" would love, don't you think?) on an unsuspecting American public...


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Comments (4)

Partha Mazumdar:

For what it's worth, most "top grossing films of all time" lists aren't worth much 'cause they're not adjusted for inflation.

Like, it's hard to believe that, arguably the most popular movie of all time, and (adjusted for inflation) the highest grossing film of all time, "Gone With The Wind," (#49 on this list) actuallyt grossed less than "The Mummy Returns" (#47 on this list).

Adjusting for inflation would move up a lot of the great (and high grossing) films of the late 1960s and 1970s, like the Godfather.

But you're point is still made.

I know - the list is an imperfect illustration of my point. I read recently in Entertainment Weekly that of the top 15 highest-grossing movies of last year, not a single one was R-rated. That would have been a better comparison, but I couldn't find a link the the article on line. In any case, I'd say it has hardly anything to do with Ashcroft and everything to do with consumer choice (and the fact that the largest portion of the market - teenagers - are pretty much excluded.)

(As a side note: remember about 20 years ago, people were writing the G-rating off as dead (famously, George Lucas fought hard to have Star Wars given a PG instead of a G). Eventually, studios learned to make better G-rated movies (from Beauty and the Beast to Finding Nemo).)


I think it's also harder to get an "R" rating now due to society's greater tolerance--some movies that would have been rated "R" 10 or 20 years ago are probably "PG-13" now.

I don't disagree with PoB's last point, but, it's also due to the fact that there is a PG-13 now, which there wasn't 20 years ago. (I'm being coy; it was actually instituted 19 years ago.)


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