Monday, August 24, 2015

How the F-word changed movies

My director friend often raves about how bad movies are today. The difference between us is that I just like movies, any movies. And I've liked them since I was 3 years old. The first movie I ever saw was The Living Desert, a Disney movie that was a documentary. 

At one point, a rattlesnake shivered across the screen and I just went nuts. Screaming like crazy. It scared the hell out of me. 

But being in a small town of around 539 people, my mom simply carried me up to the projection booth where the local projectionist put me in a nice warm chair while he watched the 35mm film move through the projector.

For me, it was comfort from that damn thirty-foot long rattlesnake on the screen. I remember the sound of the projector, sort of like the sound of a rattling train. 

I was hooked.

During my grade school years I went to every movie I could see, and being in a small town, it wasn't hard. One movie played 3 nights and a new movie played 3 nights plus a matinee.

I watched westerns, dramas, comedies and mysteries as well as adventure movies. And one thing was common.

There was no cursing or swearing. Maybe a damn, but not much more. And it stayed like that for years. Sex was alluded to, but never explicit.

But that all changed with Mash, Robert Altman's new style of filmmaking. Not the TV series, but the movie, which is far better.

What was the big change?

In a scene where the Mash doctors were playing football against the army guys, one character said to the Mash team, something like this; "Knock his f---king head off."

Yep. That was it.

One single word changed film industry. There may have been another movie, but as far as I knew, this was ground-breaking.

After that, everything became new, nudity (mostly with women) had to be in almost every movie. The curse words were never really awful, but they were significant because that was our generation's needs. We grew up with nice movies but now they reflected the real world.

 And that's how it stayed for years, and everyone eventually just went with it. This was our generation, the boomers. And we saw lots of movies, like Chinatown, Three Days of The Condor, The Graduate, The Godfather and hundreds more. But the cursing was pretty mild.

But it was a change from our parents movies.

So now came the millennials, and that's most likely most of you. And you want your stamp on movies too. 

Curse words weren't enough.

You needed someone taking a crap on screen. 


And that opened the door for scenes of more bodily functions or malfunctions. Apparently it's funny.

Well, you got one up on us.

Even Sandra Bullock has to go to the bathroom in Two Weeks Notice.

And the industry changed with that, comedies had to have bodily functions, while the countless Superheroes who at least don't seem to have to go to the bathroom.

But my question now is; What next?


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