Oceania A rant about sex and violence in movies and tv

Discussion in 'Oceania Discussion Boards' started by TheOzhaggis, Jul 14, 2005.

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  1. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5
    I saw Sin City recently. (You may have read my scathing review ...)

    It had a big impact on me. And not in a good way. But this isn't a rant about Sin City. Not directly, anyway. This is a rant about forests, not trees.


    It really made me wonder ... what sort of world are we making for ourselves?

    We're serving up sex and violence as entertainment. We sit and we eat popcorn while we watch people get shot, blown apart, skewered, have sex, get crushed, and torn limb from limb.

    I see two problems with this ...

    First, on a basic level, our minds don't know the difference between movies and reality. This is a neurological fact. What we see on the screen, our mind experiences as if it is happening right in front of us. The human brain was not created with movies in mind (no pun intended). It does not distinguish, it only experiences. So when we sit and watch gratuitous sex and violence at the movies, we are in a very real sense creating and living in our own Sodom and Gomorrah. The movies (and tv) we watch become our reality.

    Second, what does this say about us that we enjoy it? What does this say about us, that we watch people suffer pain and torture and death and dismemberment while eating popcorn, and call it good entertainment? Is this not more than a little sadistic?

    Are we much better than the Romans, cheering and applauding while we watch people being torn limb from limb by lions or gladiators ?

    Some claim that western society is morally corrupt and evil. Is it so hard to imagine why when this is how we choose to pass our time and amuse ourselves?


    I'm thinking of a question from buddhism. For each and every thought and action, ask yourself, does this benefit humankind? Or, if you like, does this harm mankind?


    I think we are doing ourselves real harm. And it only seems to be getting worse.

    /rant


    Locking at author's request.
  2. SithLord-Mixo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 5
    I think entertainment has always been based on sex and/or violence in some ways. Look at the bible! and also mythology.
  3. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The Bible's not meant as entertainment. And go read "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell before you start talking about mythology; fables and myths are told to indicate something about the fundamental human condition (i.e. the moral of the story and so forth).

    Otherwise I register gentle harmonics with what Oz is saying. On the other hand, what we see on the nightly news is often just as violent (if not as sexy) as anything in the movies. I've actually found the more "documentary-style" movies like The Killing Fields, Hotel Rwanda, Schindler's List, and The Exorcist far more disturbing than any Michael Bay production. But that's just me.

    No personal attacks.
  4. HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 6
    You also have to keep in mind that we live in a period of history where the odds of a person like you or me facing real violence in our everyday lives more than once or twice is fairly low, when compared to countless centuries before us when violence of some description - through wars or otherwise - was a fact of life. Humans may well be sadistic by nature, but better for us to act it out in the cinemas and on our computer screens than on other people.
  5. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5

    I should have distinguished between violence and senseless, gratuitous violence. For example, the violence in Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List (or the news) versus the violence in (as an example) Sin City. There is no sense that the violence in SL or SPR is entertaining, that either the filmmakers or audience are enjoying it.

    My problem is with films where there is a sense that the filmmakers and audience are enjoying the violence, that it has become an amusement with no real sense of gravity or shock. Shocking violence should be shocking, not fun.
  6. JOHNNAGE_THE_BRAVE Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 4
    There are two kinds of people in this world, both who would possibly enjoy SIN CITY or similar films for different reasons.

    *The Roman sitting in the Colisseum cheering as he sees a lion bite off someone's head. He enjoys and is fascinated by gore- the kind of guy who will watch a movie for some elaborate death scenes.

    *The scholar writing about how humans can be so primitive and refers to Romans sitting in Colisseum. They won't be entertained by the violence as the Roman guy would, but rather be disturbed or frightened, but appreciate the gravity of what is happening.

    Schindler's List has violence- but it is there to communicate the atrocities, rather than to give a thrill to a neanderthal.

    Sin City (Although I haven't seen it yet) in both the graphic novel (which I have read) and the film is more of an homage to an era and a genre of the gritty crime dramas in radio plays and comics (Which even in the 50's were quite violent) and is there to be apprected primarily on those terms rather than to whip up imaginative and gritty violence like is blatantly obvious in a movie like Friday the 13th.

    However Its always been said that those violent 50's horror and crime comics were also a part inspiration for the serial killer Ed Gein! Those comics though like the flood of movies that were churned out at the time of Halloween and Friday the 13th were more of the genre that employed graphic violence as a spectacle like a freak show.

    SIN CITY is an Homage to an old genre that would use violence as a spectacle, and is more fascinated with popular culture than violence on its own.
  7. SithLord-Mixo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 5
    the bible was/is entertainmemt for non believers and there are advertising campaigns out there billing it as the greatest action story ever told etc etc blah blah. Although i acknowledge that was not the bible's intention.

    lol
    creak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    lol


    No personal attacks.
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Actually, is exists more to deal with the residual guilt America feels for the Holocaust. Schindler was a despicable man, in reality; one of his nicer acts included selling the gold ring made from his survivor's gold teeth and buying Schnapps.

    Sorry, carry on. :)

    E_S

  9. Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2001
    star 6
    So when we sit and watch gratuitous sex and violence at the movies, we are in a very real sense creating and living in our own Sodom and Gomorrah.

    I don't think you can compare watching a film to creating Sodom and Gomorrah...I don't see God destroying movies.

    Are we much better than the Romans, cheering and applauding while we watch people being torn limb from limb by lions or gladiators ?

    No, in theory, we're not. Plenty of people still watch bloodsports, and some of us even compete in them. Obviously there's a difference between, let's say, a bloody Muay Thau bout and two gladiators going at it with swords and other weapons.
    I dunno about youm but I can imagine myself and others here watching a battle in the Colleseum if we were alive back then.

    My problem is with films where there is a sense that the filmmakers and audience are enjoying the violence, that it has become an amusement with no real sense of gravity or shock. Shocking violence should be shocking, not fun.

    What's wrong with watching simulated violence and having a good laugh? Films like Kill Bill, Terminator etc are just there for enjoyment. We are not 'spose to get something from it over then getting to see some cool action. What's the problem. Because I can see someone get shot in a movie dosn't mean I don't care about seeing someone get shot in real life.
    It all comes with maturity...hence movies have ratings to determine who can see it and who cannot.

    Voilence is in human nature. Most people when they see a domestic argument in a restruraunt or a fist fight in the street will want to look...it's like when things like Sept 11 happened...when people heard about it, they put the enws on to hear how many people are killed and to see if there is any video footage. I know this is a generalisation but there you go.

    Actually, is exists more to deal with the residual guilt America feels for the Holocaust.

    I thought it was more to tell the Jew's story...Spielberg being of Jewish descent and all.
  10. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5
    I don't think you can compare watching a film to creating Sodom and Gomorrah...I don't see God destroying movies.

    First, I didn't say He would. This is not a theological discussion.

    You don't seem to have understood what I said. Perhaps its my fault.

    What's wrong with watching simulated violence and having a good laugh? Films like Kill Bill, Terminator etc are just there for enjoyment.


    And I think you've just proven my point.
  11. Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2001
    star 6
    This is not a theological discussion.

    That's convenient...I'm not making it one.

    And I think you've just proven my point.

    If you're going to start a discussion topic at least answer the questions pitched at you. That's not an answer...that's dodging.
    Are you a StarWars fan by any chance?
    Serisouly...are you?
  12. Sith Magician Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 1999
    star 5
    Elliot, I'm, just going to interject between you two to say that you did in fact prove Oz's point, and I wouldn't bother with the loaded question of violence in Star Wars films because that PG violence is worlds away from what is shown in films like Kill Bill, the Terminator series and Sin City.

    I agree with Oz, much of the violence is superflous and seems tacked on for shock value of late.

    Also, you can't compare films like Saving Private Ryan to fiction. SPR happened, why water it down to protect sensitivities when you're trying to portray the biggest war this planet has ever seen? What would be the point? Again, this is very different to having a scene in a film where someone is doused with petrol and has an ear cut off simply for some cool visuals.

    People enjoy these films, but seemingly for different reasons. I enjoyed Kill Bill because it paid a lot of tribute to the Kung Fu and Western movies I grew up watching, I found myself laughing and entertained by things like camera angles and crash zooms while others in the audience may have been getting off on the violence (even if it was done in a very Pythonesque way) and so long as that person is able to judge right from wrong upon leaving the cinema, great!

    Unfortunately, such violence and gratuitous sex is not limited to R films, and more and more of this slips down the ratings ladder into films where children, right or wrong, are legally allowed admittance.

    It's not needed, why do we need a scene of the hero and heroine pulling over by the side of the road straight after a machine guns blazing car chase and getting it on? Does it progress the story? No, it's so the studio can throw a few suggestive frames into the trailer to get young teenage boys to go see a film. Most of the time, it serves no other purpose to the story, the only two exceptions I can think with a sex scene that progressed the story and was done in good taste hapen to both have been James Cameron films. I'll leave it to you to guess which two.

    Oh, and Elliot? Don't try to tell me you don't get off on screen violence after that screening night we had while shooting down south. ;)
  13. Syrix_Kahl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    In all reality, I think this is where you answered your own question.

    I'm going to try very hard not to turn this into a theological discussion or a debate on religion and/or belief. Hopefully I'll be able to make a point with as few words as possible.

    Christianity teaches Original Sin. Basically, we are born as flawed beings, we are imperfect and there is nothing physically that we can do to rectify that. (But that's another discussion.) God may have destoryed Sodom and Gomorrah, but it doesn't change the fact that they were populated by people from the same lineage to Adam as you and I. If it is possible for a society thousands of years ago to decay into such a cesspool that there is not one redeemable person among them, is it not possible today? If even one man stood for God in Sodom or Gomorrah, God would have spared his wrath that he might work through that one man to see a change.

    Fast-forward to 2005. Look at the various societies, cities and countries around the world. Look at everything that exists that would offend God as deeply as the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and ask yourself why you think we have been spared? By the grace of God for the few people in those places.

    The fact is, much of the world is decaying daily. Sex annd Violence aren't just splayed across Films and Television programs, they're all over the news in every medium and they're in the streets. To coin a bit of a question: Which came first - the violent movie or the violent crime on the street? Is the prevalence of violence in entertainment the cause of more violence in our societies or the other way around?

    Yes, it's a sorry state. I haven't seen Sin City, but I look forward to it. It's had some good reviews from fans of the comic, and I have to say I'm intrigued by the stylistic 50's gangster/film noir appearance. I'll also be comparing the violence now, with films like American History X, The Passion and as has been mention Saving Private Ryan.

    Now I don't want to turn this into a theological debate either, so I'll leave it at that. However, I think my point is valid - in upholding my own opinion and in agreeing with Oz's comparison of our society with that of Sodom and Gomorrah. For those of you who do want to respect someone else's right to believe in what they want to believe, I'd appreciate it if you "can't say anythin' nice, don't say nothin' at all". Alternatively, if you do want to have a discussion on religion, belief and theology, I'm sure we can work something out. Just not here.
  14. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
    Again, this is very different to having a scene in a film where someone is doused with petrol and has an ear cut off simply for some cool visuals.

    Reservoir Dogs...touche.

    I haven't been here for a while, but I think this thread is quite the interesting. Violence in films...I'm going to leap right into this. As far as I see it, there are few reasons why strong violence is necessary to a film:
    1) It's historical fiction, like Saving Private Ryan...as Sith pointed out, why dumb down the violence when it actually happened.
    2) The violence is there to serve a point. In the film adaption of James Jones' The Thin Red Line, the violence within the film serves to create and sustain a strong anti-war theme. It's not there to entertain - unless seeing weaponless Japanese soldiers bayonetted is your thing. It's also not a true story (I'll use the term 'true' loosely as only elements of Saving Private Ryan were based on fact). So, therefore, it can be used to create a theme or an idea...
    3) It is used as a directorial trademark, or
    4) Violence is used as a stylistic homage to an older generic form of film. In the case of Sin City, the genre is obviously film noir - which, as has been said, was gritty.

    I don't think violence is that bad in film. Once you've seen enough of it, you become desensitised and it doesn't matter. The violence in the Kill Bill trilogy becomes comic, as I'm sure it might in Sin City. This may or may not be a bad thing, but I'll leave it up to the 'experts' on FF to figure out...

    What I'm arguing is that violence is sometimes necessary in films to create an impact. Would the Terminator still fall under the same category of an action/thriller were it dummed down to a pg level of violence? I don't believe so.

    As for sex...well I just think it's plain unnecessary half the time. :p
  15. Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2001
    star 6
    Oh, and Elliot? Don't try to tell me you don't get off on screen violence after that screening night we had while shooting down south.

    That's the thing. I'm not saying I don't...because most people do :)
  16. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5

    Sodom & Gomorrah was obviously a bad choice of phrase. I was hesitant about using it for this reason, because of the religious / biblical connotations, but decided to use it because it was a well known example of a morally corrupt society. If someone knows of a secular example I'd be more than happy to use that instead.



    As for star wars ... Death and violence in starwars carry a sense of gravity and suffering, even for villains. When Jango is killed, we see his son devastated. When Dooku is killed, we see his fear, and see Anakin's reluctance and guilt. When Zam loses an arm, the reactions are human (and humane).


    As for people saying that films like Sin City are a homage to film noir ... what films are these? Which films contain violence on the levels of Sin City? Name some. The style and plots many be a homage, but the level of violence is not. And that is the issue. The depiction of violence has escalated beyond the radar of film noir.




  17. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
    Sin City, as a film, is stylistically nostialgic of the film noir genre. Yes? Good.
    As for the violence, it's perhaps an allusion to the gritty, 'hardboiled' nature of the film noir genre. It might be intended to exemplify the toughness of both the setting, and characters within the film. It's also probably meant to emphasise the violent and decaying nature of the society that the film is set in.

    As for why the directors opted for hardcore violence...maybe, just maybe, it was needed to prove a point and establish the theme. Or, possibly, it might just be because violence (on screen) is more socially acceptable than it was back when the original film noir movies were popular.

    However...just a thought...Frank Miller's comics are quite graphic themselves. If you're doing a movie adaption, then perhaps it would be best to keep it as close to the graphic novels as is humanly possible.
  18. stinrab Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 5
    I don't think you can compare watching a film to creating Sodom and Gomorrah...I don't see God destroying movies.

    No, that's Hollywood's job.

    It's not needed, why do we need a scene of the hero and heroine pulling over by the side of the road straight after a machine guns blazing car chase and getting it on?

    I'll agree with this, but with one exception - The Terminator

    As for why the directors opted for hardcore violence...maybe, just maybe, it was needed to prove a point and establish the theme. Or, possibly, it might just be because violence (on screen) is more socially acceptable than it was back when the original film noir movies were popular

    I'll agree with this. What about the Terminator movies? They're quite violent but the actual message of the films is the need for nonviolence.
  19. Sith Magician Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 1999
    star 5
    Stinrab, if you look at my post, you'll see I mentioned two James Cameron movies that were the exception ;)
  20. Syrix_Kahl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    No, no... the Sodom and Gomorrah examples fit perfectly - although I'd be reluctant to refer to them as "well known" anymore. My point was simply, by following the biblical "connotations" through their natural line of thought you're going to come to the conclusion that today's society is just as morally corrupt, if not more so.

    Although it's hard to talk about "morals" without tying it to one religion or another. Certainly, you cannot expect me to believe that the secular world actually has them. In any case, it all boils down very simply. Everyone is born with the knowledge of good and evil and the ability to differentiate between them. This is why atheists can still believe in a set of laws that's based on the Ten Commandments - Hey, "thou shalt not kill" sounds like it might be onto something...

    And regardless of this knowledge, the world continues to slip further and further into decadence and immorality. If there was a secular mirror to Sodom and Gomorrah, now would be the time to use it but there isn't. That's because the secular world makes itself to "look to taste like honey". Sexual depravity is made to look 'nice' to the eye, and appealing - a slew of "Adult" and "Men's" magazines are testimony to this fact. Violence is glorified in both fact and fiction in our cinemas and on our televisions.

    So, truth be told, yes, society is morally corrupt - probably at the lowest point it's ever reached. And in sticking to the Sodom and Gomorrah examples, if I were a pessimist, I'd be counting down the days.
  21. SithLordMara Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2001
    star 4
    ummm, sorry to say it, but our society wants to see sex and violence. dont get me wrong, i want to teach little kids when i grow up, so i'm not for influencing our children like this...

    however...

    if i opened a store with broccoli and chocolate for sale, i would make more on chocolate. people want what may not be good for them. that is why we are a fast food nation and we love seeing sex and violence in our media (tv, movies, music, etc.)

    sex sells. unfortunately, i was the chick screaming for jessica alba's number and i have the tshirt as well as the poster. shes hott :)
  22. evil-incarnate Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2004
    star 7
    Who has the right to say how someone else should live their lives ?
    Religious groups should be banned from going door to door on weekends. If I want to be spiritually saved.. i'll contact them.
    As for someone else frowning upon what I consider entertainment.... riiight...


    Amazing enough, I can actually watch these films & resist the urge to go out & dismember someone. Weird huh ??
    Why are films & other media always targeted for turning us into weak willed drones..

    Religion is control.. its a pity that those who administer religious control cant adhere to the rules that theyre preaching. Is religion all about money ? No.. Tell that to the Roman Catholic church..

    Society has thrown out any responsibility for self discipline. Its always someone elses fault..
  23. SithLord-Mixo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 5
    yes we all must have self-control, simple. I have been watching violent movies since i was maybe 3-4 years old. Look how I turned out :)
  24. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
    Religion is control.. its a pity that those who administer religious control cant adhere to the rules that theyre preaching. Is religion all about money ? No.. Tell that to the Roman Catholic church..

    Obviously, like me, you're an athiest. Which is all good and well, I can assure you. But before you go and make possibly insulting comments, think about how they'll have an effect on others - quite a few people who post here do not share your view. I don't like entering 'religious' debates, but your comment is...pretty bloody narrow minded.
    Religion can also be about spiritual freedom, discovery, and guidance. Go read a book, and then maybe you'll learn something. ;)

    Society has thrown out any responsibility for self discipline. Its always someone elses fault..[/i]

    This I actually agree with.
  25. evil-incarnate Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2004
    star 7
    How typical... a condescending Uni student.

    At 37, i've probably read more books than you ever will, JUNIOR, & have studied up on more religions than you've heard of. As for being worried about peoples feelings.. i'm not a psychiatrist or social worker, they'll just have to learn to deal with it. If they can tell me which God is the most powerful & benevolent, i'll sign up... K ?

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