As long as there have been movies, there’s been somebody who thinks they’re too filthy to watch. Hollywood’s notorious Hays Code set the tone of Hollywood censoring itself, and that’s more or less been the way of film from La La Land ever since, to questionable results. But, apparently, Sony is taking the next step by actually marketing “clean” versions of some of its movies.
As revealed by Yahoo!, Sony is essentially going to put broadcast TV and airline edits of some of its movies up for sale. They’ll come as extras for digital purchases, instead of being sold as standalone movies. Sony is trying it with 24 of its movies, including headscratchers like Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the entire Spider-Man franchise and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Somehow we missed all the obscene words and nudity in those latter two.
Sony faces a few problems here. The most basic, as Seth Rogen pithily points out, is that filmmakers tend to object to these cuts. And with reason: They compromise the filmmaker’s vision to the point that even a deliberate cheesefest like Snakes On A Plane is somehow downgraded.
But another is the simple question of whether the people who want these cuts will be satisfied. Many of the movies on Sony’s lists can’t really be made clean without missing the point of the movie entirely. Say what you will about Hancock, but its plot does revolve around Will Smith as a drunken, profane, obnoxious, horny parody of Superman. What are you going to cut out that doesn’t miss the point of the movie? Shouldn’t people simply accept that sometimes, there are movies that aren’t for them? There comes a point where we all have to accept there are aspects of pop culture, be they genres of music or types of movies, that simply aren’t to our taste, and we have to live with that. Accepting that may not be better for studio coffers, but it may be better for Hollywood as a whole.