Friday, November 26, 2010

Will Anne Hathaway's nude scenes make audiences sick?

Earlier this month, moviefone had a blog posting headlined Seven Movies That Made Audiences Sick, in which are described seven movies that made audiences sick. Supposedly. Actually, the posting is about seven movies that allegedly made one or two people each ill at ease. Or, dead.

The impetus for the list is reports that the latest film from frequent masturbator James Franco, 127 Hours, contains a scene which is causing some audience members distress. As the moviefone posting states:
Some viewers have been so disturbed at the movie's climactic amputation scene that they have fainted from shock.
But there's no link to anything that might provide any proof that statement. It turns out there have been reports of people fainting at screenings for the film. But if you follow the links and read the stories, you find that all of those are based on hearsay. There's a lot of "people reportedly have fainted," and "I heard people being sick behind me," etc.

Where is the proof?

Movies can make people ill. I know because it's happened to me, personally. When I saw The Rock, I was made nauseated by the herky-jerky camera movement. That feeling lasted a few minutes, and then I got used to it. Just a few years ago, at an IMAX theater screening of Beowulf I had a much worse experience -- I became so nauseated that I could not drive home, and remained so for most of the night, and I had a headache that lasted for a day or so.

Beowulf made audiences sick! There were reports that The Rock nauseated audience members!

But back to moviefone: Links. That is a basic of blogging, or of online reportage of any kind. It takes a few extra minutes, but it's easy.

Unless, of course, your entire posting is just BS conceived for the sole purpose of driving traffic. For instance, the first of the "seven movies that (unquestioningly, stated as fact) made audiences sick" is Avatar.
Everyone knows that James Cameron's 'Avatar' killed at the box office, but you may be surprised to find out that it did so in a very literal way: A 42-tear-old Korean man fell ill while watching the 3-D epic and later died. His doctor's official verdict? "Over-excitement from watching the movie triggered his symptoms." An unfortunate footnote for the biggest smash in Hollywood history.
I retained the link from the original moviefone posting so that you can see what moviefone does. They offer no proof whatsoever that a "42-tear-old Korean man fell ill" while watching that film. Their sole link takes you to moviefone's own James Cameron page.

As for Avatar "killing" someone, I debunked that when the story first broke. Only, back then,  it was a Taiwanese man identified only by the surname Kuo. But maybe this moviefone blog posting refers to another incident? A google  search reveals that the only reference to a 42 year old Korean man becoming ill and/or dying from watching Avatar comes from this very moviefone blog posting. All other stories about a man falling ill while watching the film reference the Taiwanese man.

And none of those stories have any proof.


The rest of the moviefone blog posting continues in a similar vein. Generalizations and hearsay offered as proof, with absolutely nothing to back them up. The whole things reaches its nadir with the final movie that "made audiences sick," the classic Tod Browning film Freaks:
[O]ne viewer from the first, full-length test screening threatened to sue the studio claiming the movie had caused her to suffer a miscarriage.
One viewer threatened to sue because she made a sad and ridiculous claim that was unverifiable.  And from that, Freaks is labeled as one of seven movies that made audiences sick.

With that kind of proof being all you need to show that a film makes audiences sick, let's take a look at what some prude wrote over at Under the headline "Who Wants to See Anne  Hathaway's Breasts?," (apparently changed from the even more juvenile "Anne Hathaway's Breasts are Way Distracting"), we get complaints about the human body's presentation on film, specifically the new film Love and Other Drugs.
According to the logic of today’s Hollywood, the fact that [Anne] Hathaway and [Jake] Gyllenhaal flash so much flesh is an indication of the film’s artistic intent. Not so long ago (think Porky’s era), gratuitous nude scenes were pretty much de rigueur for American actresses until they became big-enough stars to say no. But increasingly, nudity has become a self-congratulatory indication of European-style seriousness, an interruption of the narrative to remind the audience we are watching A Work of Art.
Gratuitous nude scenes were pretty much de rigueur for American actresses?  What a stupefyingly stupid statement. It's so incredibly mind-bendingly nonsensical that I don't even know where to start with it. During the "Porky's era" (Porky's was released in 1982 -- was there really a "Porky's era" of American cinema?), it was necessary for American actresses to appear in gratuitous nude scenes? If all you ever watched was the type of films Joe Bob Briggs reviews, you might be forgiven making such an assumption. Maybe.

But all the author has is one film, Porky's, to back up her blanket statement.

As for the rest of it, the bits about nudity increasingly becoming "an interruption of the narrative to remind the audience that we are watching A Work of Art," we get this in the next paragraph:
This is not to say nudity never works on screen. Brokeback Mountain, a film in which Gyllenhaal and Hathaway also partially disrobe, deals explicitly with the characters’ shame and vulnerability, so the nudity feels not just natural but necessary. On the other hand, it can be just as jarring when an otherwise realistic film goes to absurd lengths to pretend the actors never see each other in less than their underwear or strategically wrapped sheets.
So after decrying the fact that there is an epidemic of pretentious nudity invading American cinema, the author cites an example of what she feels is appropriate cinematic nudity -- then mentions some phantom "otherwise realistic" films that show the "actors" nude or partially so.

That use of the word "actors" in that last sentence is telling. What the author is really getting at is she doesn't like seeing actors nude. It has nothing to do with the art itself; she can't even cite any examples to back up her case. So instead she makes another one:
The problem is, we know too much about the level of calculation leading up to those moments to suspend our disbelief. What is often meant to imply a character’s casual attitude about nudity in fact represents the most tensely negotiated moments of the film.
So that's the problem. This prude spends too much time reading gossip blogs, and has so little imagination that she can't just sit down and enjoy a film without thinking about all the great "insider" stuff she learned while reading Perez Hilton.

Apparently, the author of this article wants only unknown (and mostly powerless) actresses to appear nude in films. When they're too famous, and she knows who they are, well, their nudity is distracting.

Love and Other Drugs has clearly made at least one viewer upset -- upset enough to write an illiterate blog posting about it.

Love and Other Drugs is making audiences sick!

Anne Hathaway is apparently too famous to do nude scenes.


A.Jaye said...

I'll be honest - some people don't look good naked. I may be one of them but no one's going to pay to see me with my clothes off (unless I strike lucky). Ann Hathaway is one of those actors that the PR machine tell me is beautiful. While she wont crack mirrors she oozes zero sexuality for me. Sort of like Nicole Kidman.

Put your kit on luv.

Now is the 'internet era'. Outside of porn why would any actor take their kit off?

Anonymous said...

Anne Hathaway is my favorite actress, but now that she is showing up in all these movies nude it kind of changes my mind about her, i love all of her movies but i never thought that i would see her nude in one of her movies, i guess im just a little disappointed.

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