Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Utah Makes the National Movie News

Well, Larry H. Miller's trusty Megaplex theater chain has got itself in the national news once again by…well, take a guess.

If you guessed "endorsing Barack Obama for president," or "saying no on prop 8," you're wrong again. Man, you really suck at guessing. But if you said, "refusing to show another movie," you're right!

The movie in question is Kevin Smith's "Zach and Miri Make a Porno," starring pudgy funnyman Seth Rogen and not-so-pudgy funnywoman Elizabeth Banks. And it wasn't banned because Smith's movies show the directorial grace of an episode of "Married…With Children." Nope, it was because of the most unpleasant thing in the world: sex.

Sean P. Means filed the story for The Salt Lake Tribune, and the New York Post got the insight of Cal Gunderson, who once told me that 1.66:1 isn't a real aspect-ratio, and that I made it up.

…"we feel it's very close to an NC-17 with its graphic nudity and graphic sex."

Megaplex banned "Brokeback Mountain" while it was playing "Hostel," and as Means points out, Miller's company again endorses violence over sex:

The ban on "Zack and Miri" also comes a week after the horror movie "Saw V" opened nationwide, including at four Megaplex theaters. Among the grisly images in "Saw V" are a woman decapitated by blades in a collar and a man forced to crush his hands to escape being cut in half by a pendulum.

When asked by The New York Post about the apparent double standard of screening the violence of "Saw V" but not the sexuality of "Zack and Miri," Gunderson replied, "No comment." (By deadline, Gunderson had not responded to calls from The Salt Lake Tribune seeking comment.)

Update: The Megaplex at The District is definitely thinking of the children:
Friday night, managers at the Megaplex Theatre at the District, 11400 South Bangerter Highway, switched one of the showings of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" to a larger auditorium to accommodate more people. They forgot, however, to switch the movie that had previously been scheduled for the room.

So rather than the family-friendly, G-rated "High School Musical 3," the beginning of the very nonfamily-friendly R-rated "Sex Drive" came on the screen. The opening minutes of the movie include nudity.

"I could not carry my little children out before they were exposed to extremely vulgar and sexually explicit material," one parent complained in an e-mail to the Deseret News.


Anonymous said...

thank you, jeremy, for using the correct phrasing in this entry: what Megaplex has done is a "apparent double standard," not hypocrisy, as Means said in his column, er, article.

to my understanding, it would be hypocritical if Megaplex said no to Zack and Miri but played Deep Throat in back rooms. tits are tits, and guts are guts.

maybe something in Zack and Miri crossed the lines for them. hell, even the tv ads i've seen don't dare call the movie by its full name (make a porno).

maybe there are reasons why Megaplex can tolerate viscera and not vagina. me, i like them both in spades. but never at the same time.

Jeremy Mathews said...

Thanks for the comment, anon. Regarding the full title of "Zach and Miri," they have a version of the ad that uses the full name, for shows like "Saturday Night Live" (which mistakenly aired the abbreviated version intended for Monday Night Football) and Comedy Central fare, and one that doesn't acknowledge the whole porno thing, for the more "family-oriented" shows.