Letter to the Editor: This time Hollywood has gone too far

OPINION – There is a disturbing, deplorable trend in the film industry that even those who cringe at any form of censorship must condemn. Several recent high-profile movies that feature some of Hollywood’s most talented A-list actors depict young people, even toddlers and infants, involved in scenes and using dialogue that by any standard would be considered profane, repugnant and definitely adult in nature.

Boss FI
Image from “The Boss” | St. George News

The films “The Boss,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” and “The Nice Guys,” are all appropriately rated R, and while I may not enjoy some of the more salacious and graphic content on display, I have no problem with adults making films by and for adults.

But a serious and unacceptable line is crossed when adult filmmakers hire children to participate in these lewd forms of levity.

In “The Boss,” several scenes show teenage and even preteen girls present during bawdy dialogue spurred on by group leader (played by Melissa McCarthy); and some girls are asked to deliver sexual dialogue that can’t be printed here.

Movie poster for "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" | St. George News
Movie poster for “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” | St. George News

Neither can the lines be repeated that the middle school-age actors are asked to perform in “The Nice Guys.” In one case a teenage boy offers to show his private parts to adult leads played by Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling – all in the spirit of ’70s-era comedy. One shudders at the thought of the number of on-set takes in which this young man had to deliver these obscene lines while being surrounded by a group of paid professionals filming this scene.

And if that doesn’t make your skin crawl – how about giving phallic sex aids to toddlers and infants and making raunchy comments at their expense as is the case in “Neighbors 2”?

No one wants to draw a boundary where comedy is concerned. While it is a sad commentary that many filmmakers gloat about making comedy that “pushes the envelope” (as if doing that alone requires some special talent or ability) well, I say, feel free to make the film you want to make.

But just as adults have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society from life’s realities, the danger of which they are too young to comprehend – like drugs, alcohol and sexual behavior, all elements of adulthood that have their positives when engaged in responsibly – we can’t throw that responsibility out the window simply because there is a movie to be made.

Movie poster for "The Nice Guys" | St. George News
Movie poster for “The Nice Guys” | St. George News

These examples beg the question: Where are the parents of these young, impressionable actors? What sort of person would allow his child to be part of such tawdry and potentially emotionally damaging material? Are these mothers and fathers so determined to have their child become a movie star that they can’t let them grow up first? Isn’t a parent’s first responsibility to protect a child from doing things they are not old enough to understand?

Like many, I adore film and respect the film industry, and we can all appreciate inspiring material, be it highbrow or hilariously lowbrow. But please, protect children from the coarser elements of life, even if it is in the name of art.

Submitted by Bruce Bennett, co-host of the “Film Fanatics” movie review show on St. George News. Bennett has been a film columnist for over 15 years and adjunct professor who teaches film at Dixie State University.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

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Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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8 Comments

  • Bob June 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Well it seems even the animated kid’s movies are full of sexual innuendo anymore. If u don’t want the kids around that type of thing u have to keep them away from all zionist-controlled cultural influences, including hollywood, pop music industry, cable TV, etc etc. The problem: this stuff was actually purpose-made to influence kids, and won’t be easy to keep them away from it

    • Chris June 20, 2016 at 9:05 am

      ” zionist-controlled cultural influences” Wow, you are one conspiracy obsessed Nazi.

      • Bob June 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

        oh my god a nazi! run for the hills! fact: Jewish interests own and control basically all of hollywood…

  • Bob June 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Really, just take a look at who makes these movies (hint: it aint mormons) LOL

    • 42214 June 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      Too bad, if it were there would be a lot more under age sex and molestation.

      • .... June 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm

        Hey whatever sells. ..let’s do lunch ! LOL !

  • mesaman June 19, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    The public holds the success or failure of the trash Hollywood is producing. If a movie makes a profit, that’s all the fantasy moguls care about. You couldn’t find a dozen entertainers in all of Hollywood whose morality was more than that of a billy goat.

    • Chris June 20, 2016 at 9:04 am

      and you couldn’t find a dozen psychology professors in all of academia whose intelligence was more than that of a billy goat.

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