For, Friday, May 15, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s hard to believe that 33 years ago I was complaining in the Deseret News that there weren’t enough movies aimed at adults. True and truer. Headlined ‘Adults are big movie fans, too,’ this ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column ran Feb. 26, 1982.

President Reagan says the movie industry these days makes it difficult for parents to take their kids to shows because the films “leave nothing to the imagination.”

He added, “I liked it much better when the actors kept their clothes on.”

Reagan made the remarks at a White House gathering of the Association of Independent Television Stations, as he received a special award for excellence in communication.

And it would seem he is reflecting popular taste — at least for more mature moviegoers.

According to a recent survey conducted for the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, regarding the moviegoing habits of 1,500 people in the United States and Canada, the percentage of older folks taking in flicks has risen considerably during the past decade.

The study noted that in 1973, 72 percent of adult moviegoers were between the ages of 18 and 29, while only 57 percent are under 30 today. In addition, the percentage of frequent moviegoers over 50 has tripled.

The idea that older moviegoers might be leaving home to head for the flicks was made noticeable last May with the immense success of Alan Alda’s “The Four Seasons.” Universal thought it had a film that would neither appeal to young people nor bring out older moviegoers — ironically it became Universal’s biggest 1982 moneymaker (number nine for the year, according to the trade journal Variety).


The young’uns may be giant hit-makers, but the over-30 crowd (and the over-50 crowd, for that matter) likes to go out to the movies, too. They just mind being embarrassed by what they see on the screen more than Cheech & Chong fans.

Personally, I’m glad to see “The Four Seasons” become such a tremendous hit and I’m glad that “On Golden Pond” is doing the same. It’s encouraging to see films about adult human beings with life problems I can relate to. Let’s encourage that trend.

Relative to that, it’s interesting to note that only two of last year’s top 10 films were rated R, and the objectionable material in both (“Stir Crazy” and “Stripes.”) could have been omitted and never been missed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Hollywood would wake up and go for quality films instead of quick-buck-makers or clones of and sequels to other successful films.

Don’t hold your breath, Mr. President.