Friday, May 18, 2007

Movies aren't realistic, it turns out

In its decades long effort to kick the habit, the Motion Picture Association of America will now make smoking an even bigger factor in determining ratings. In the past the MPAA had only considered underage smoking when setting ratings, but now that standard will apply to everyone.

This happened about a week ago, and since then there have been a slew of articles mocking the decision and pointing out other things -- from fast driving to dangerous Spiderman web maneuvers -- that the MPAA should keep away from the kids.

As of yet, nobody has pointed out the worst poison movies feed to the young and impressionable.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the people in movies are better looking than the people in real life. Much much better looking.

Granted, this is one of the reasons I like watching movies. If I wanted to see a bunch of mediocre looking people mulling about I would go to the mall. But think of the children here. All the crunches, the plucking and pruning, and the vomiting that will take place to meet these impossible cinematic expectations. Not to mention the shattered self-esteem, and the self-destructive behavior born out of Hollywood-imposed insecurities.

Not that it's all bad. Everyone should try to look good. In fact, if people tried harder I'd be able to go to the mall again. Where Hollywood really shirks responsibility and gets nasty is in the ugly duckling films it puts out. The ones where the "homely" high school loser -- played by an attractive actor -- transforms and gets the prom king or queen at the end.

That's just cruel. There are certain people who will never be good looking, no matter how many crunches or post-meal trips to the bathroom. (Or good lighting and professional hair and make up, for that matter.) Doesn't the MPAA owe them and their long nights of blocking out parts of their mirror and weeping into a pizza box anything?

Yeah smoking looks cool, but that classroom film featuring the guy with a hole in his throat talking through robotic voice machine also makes a pretty strong impression on the young. On the other hand there is no downside to looking good, if you are able achieve it . Even when the good looking are old and have lost their greatest gift they still have all the nice things their pleasant physical appearance helped them get.

You actually don't have to be good looking to have a happy life -- you just wouldn't know that from watching movies. One day, when the MPAA starts really caring about the negative and pervasive effects of its product, movies will be regulated to provide more accurate representations of how people look.

That will be the day I stop watching movies altogether.

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