Smokey and the bandit

“When you tell somebody somethin’, it depends on what part of the country you’re standin’ in… as to just how dumb you are.”

Nobody could say that except Burt Reynolds, but we know a few folks that are dumb no matter what part of the country they are in.

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Oh myy. Somebody really doesn’t like smoking do they? Let me see, out of the God knows how many films I’ve watched since the age of about 13, there must have been hundreds of scenes that included someone either sparking up a ciggie, cigar or just generally having a ball tooting on one.  Do I find that disturbing in any way shape or form? No siree.

Most of the time, the “smoking” scene is likely to be during a car chase, some kind of “and now you shall die Mr Bond” scene, or heaven forbid after sex. What I usually took away from scenes like that generally included, how I wanted to drive a car like that, be the evil mastermind with plans on world domination (still working on that), or the usual fantasies (I am not going into those here!). In no way did those scenes actually encourage me to start smoking or want to smoke.  I will make one exception here, and it isn’t a film but a game. Mass Effect 2, the bloody Illusive Man and his habit. I always wanted a smoke at those points, mostly because they were dialogue and generally pretty dull but that is the only exception.

So why does our not-so-liberal prof have it in for Hollywood?

From 2002 to 2014, the share of youth-rated (G/PG/PG-13) films with tobacco imagery fell by nearly half, from 68% to 36%. However, almost half of PG-13 films still featured tobacco imagery in 2014. There has been no substantial decline in the percentage of all youth-rated films with smoking since 2010.

Films rated G or PG comprise about 20 percent of all top-grossing films. Tobacco presence in these films continued to be very low, less than a single incident per film on average. PG-13 films comprise 45 percent of top-grossing films. On average, there were 19 tobacco incidents per PG-13 film in 2014, near the top of the range observed between 2002 and 2014.

Oh, so he doesn’t like these youth films then?

While the share of PG-13 films with any smoking has decreased, tobacco incidents per PG-13 film with smoking have increased. In 2014, the average PG-13 film with smoking included more tobacco incidents than in any year since 2002 — and more than were seen in R-rated films since 2007. As a result, there were as many total tobacco incidents in PG-13 films in 2014 as there were in 2002: more than 1,150.

R-rated films average twice as much smoking as PG-13 films. But audiences for youth-rated films are more than twice as large as for R-rated films, and more youth-rated than R-rated top-grossing films are released each year. As a result, in 2014, PG-13 films accounted for 56 percent of US moviegoers’ tobacco exposure (10.6 billion tobacco impressions) while R-rated films delivered 43 percent (8.3 billion).

Ah. Oh. You know, the fact that this person watches more films aimed at the younger folk is a little, um, disturbing. Almost as disturbing as the thought of him watching R rated films and enjoying them. No, not those types of films! Jeez, the course of your mind is more than a little disturbing ;-)

The rise in on-screen tobacco incidents and continuous delivery of billions of tobacco impressions to young moviegoers, despite temporizing gestures by the US film industry, underscores the urgent need to modernize the MPAA’s R-rating to cover all future films with tobacco imagery. This would give all film producers a voluntary, market incentive to make the films that children and adolescents see most smokefree.

To be honest, smoking in films has never ever ‘influenced’ me to smoke.

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Ah, he’s part of the “Smoke Free Movies” rubbish. That makes sense, as a “leading tobacco control expert” he absolutely must inhibit all social pleasure. Now I noticed very quickly that it is an all male line up for “smokiest actor/director/producer” and to be fair to the ladies, those chaps (mostly) are freaking handsome (yes there is some jealousy there, but not much).  There are a few actresses that smoke in films, but I guess Mr Frampton has it in for the men, probably because he is just jealous of their looks, or possibly the money. Doubt it’s the latter as he’s getting a huge chunk of change from being a goyt.

So is it about movies “influencing” the behaviour of the kids, or is it more about ‘public health’ attempting to control what we see, hear and do?

By moving all films with smoking in them to R rating, that limits (from the current crop of films) what kids can actually see. That is a bit harsh isn’t it?  So, out of the current top ten movies and DVD releases, what do we have?

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Top five of each, Avengers: Age of Ultron, classified as ‘smokefree’.  Only one in the top five has smoking instances (10-29 according to the site). Whilst the DVD and Blu-Ray top five, all contain incidents of smoking, including Paddington! (1-9 incidents).

Bottom5MoviesDVDs

To be honest if “Penguins of Madascar” has smoking in it, I would be extremely worried, whilst “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” has copious smoking, well Bilbo is definitely a chain smoker but he’s a hobbit, it’s kind of what they do. Not going to touch on the dwarves.

GandalfTheWhiteAh Gandalf, tooting on that long pipe of his. In a film rated (in the UK) at 12A. Is this what they are worried about? Let’s face it, if the kids parents smoke, or if their friends parents smoke, hiding smoking in a film isn’t going to make much difference now is it?

SavingKidsLivesOh, right. The new Surgeon General is saying that by removing smoking from films, they can save the lives of a million children. It’s always the children isn’t it? I am not a role model for someone elses kids, and I’d be willing to bet that most of the actors in these “smokiest” films consider themselves to be role models either.  They are just doing what they love to do, star in Hollywood films, I mean who wouldn’t want to be paid lots of cash to do the stuff they do?

True, some of them do try to be role models but with the constant press attention anything slightly out of that mold and they go nuts. But hang on a tick..

WhySmoke

 

Having worked in actual stage productions I can answer this one. Depending on the scene, the actor or actress may find that lighting up or already smoking adds to the scene.  It is up to the director to agree with that based on his vision of the show. There are going to be times when the director is right and smoking doesn’t add to the scene, and there are times when the director is wrong.

Don’t forget the character must always be believable on set/stage otherwise the whole scene just falls flat. It is more or less the same in films, the director has a vision for the film and if a particular character needs to spark up, then it’ll be put in.  Is there a place for smoking in films? Absolutely, although I would like to see more vaping in films, which will no doubt come under the same, if not more criticism.

It wouldn’t surprise me if these ignoramuses came up with a way of fining the studio for every “instance” of smoking seen in a film produced there. You know, all in the name of ‘public health’, or is it for the kids. I never can tell with this lot.

One thing is for certain, some of the recent films to roll out of Hollywood have been pretty good in my opinion, containing smoking or not. Although, there were a few that could have been better had some of the characters exhibited more human tendencies, such as sparking up a ciggie or vaping. But I’m no film critic, I leave that to actual “experts” not nannying muppets that claim to be professors.

“Oh I love your suits. It must have been a bitch to get a 68 Extra Fat and a 12 Dwarf.”

-Bandit