VINTAGE COLUMN: SEX, VIOLENCE - Content
VINTAGE COLUMN: SEX, VIOLENCE
Gary Oldman, left, Keanu Reeves, 'Dracula'; Uma Thurman, Andy Garcia, 'Jennifer Eight'
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, March 27, 2015
EDITOR’S NOTE: In a Deseret News column that ran Nov. 15, 1992, with the headline ‘Sex, violence are separate but often paired in movies,’ I wrote about how films often link sex and violence, and also whether it’s an accurate perception to view Hollywood’s treatment of religion as faith-bashing.
In the Deseret News story "Hooray for Hollywood?" that ran last week, a couple of survey respondents objected to our first question, "Is there too much sex and violence in entertainment today?" And several weren't sure about the second, "Do you feel movies, TV and music tend to `bash' religion?"
The objection to the first question was the linking of "sex" and "violence" in the same sentence, as if they go together. What was meant, of course, is that these two separate elements are most frequently dealt with in an offensive manner.
Yet it's surprising how often they do go together in modern movies.
This really came home to me the other night while watching "Bram Stoker's Dracula," directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The sex and the violence are specifically linked in a number of scenes.
And don't think it's just an indulgence in fantasies like "Dracula." Violence and sex have been played out together in graphic ways in several recent films, in and out of the horror genre — including "Candyman," "Consenting Adults," "Dr. Giggles," "Hellraiser III," "Innocent Blood," "Pet Sematary II," "Single White Female" and "Whispers in the Dark," all of which are in local theaters right now.
Bridget Fonda, left, Jennifer Jason Leigh, 'Single White Female'; Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, 'Candyman'
As for whether Hollywood "bashes" religion, Michael Medved in his book "Hollywood vs. America" suggests that it's a subtle thing, most often taking aim at Christianity — a line here, an innuendo there. And a couple of examples in the past couple of weeks have made me wonder if he isn't right.
In "Jennifer Eight," hard-boiled, burned-out cop Andy Garcia is asked if he prays. He says no, then goes on to explain a dream he had, in which God appeared to him and said he doesn't answer prayers because he considers them to be "junk mail."
And in "Dracula," the title character (Gary Oldman), in his final moments at the end of the picture, utters two lines of dialogue patterned after biblical quotations spoken by Jesus Christ on the cross.
Neither moment is inherent to the integrity of the respective films and both seem quite gratuitous, frivolous sideswipes at Christianity that really serve no purpose.
Hollywood may only infrequently "bash" religion head on, but movies do often digress for a quick jab at faithful believers — and for no apparent reason.