Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An Open Letter to the Movies

Dear Whomever is in charge at the movies,

We need to talk. I’m not sure which of you is in charge of the movie previews, so I’m writing to all of you about all the adult content in your trailers.

Now, let’s be clear. I have no problem with movie trailers that have adult content, if the movie has adult content. That’s great. In general, I’m pro adult content, being an adult, myself (chronologically, at least).

And before we get too far into this, I’d like to thank you all for continuing to make movies with adult content. I tend to enjoy them.

What I didn’t enjoy recently was when you chose to show these movie trailers with all the adult content. You see, my wife and I took our three sons - ages 13, 11, and 9 - to see Marvel’s new movie Black Panther.  

It’s rated PG-13, so I know what you’re going to say all defensively at some point – “Hey Mr. Parent, how come you brought an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old to a PG-13 movie?” To that, I would respond, “Bite me.” We did our homework.

We always do our homework, and Black Panther is rated PG-13 for violence. It’s almost all hand-to-hand combat stuff, and frankly, on a normal Wednesday afternoon, our boys’ fights make the movie’s combat look tame. (All three of them are available for hire, by the way, if you’re ever looking for small stunt men.)

There was one bad guy in the movie who had a cannon hidden inside his fake arm, which I didn’t consider an issue. I considered it to be what it was - completely awesome.

What we are mostly concerned about as parents these days is explicit content. There was hardly any bad language and the only remotely sexual parts of the movie were a few brief kisses.

But you know what I didn’t get to do my homework on ahead of time? That’s right - which trailers you were going to show ahead of our acceptable PG-13 movie.

The first one was for a fun little rated R film called Red Sparrow starring Jennifer Lawrence. Turns out she’s a Russian hooker/spy/assassin.

That’s nice.

The trailer started with her sitting on a hotel bed in a low-cut red dress. A man puts a stack of money on the nightstand and says, “Take off your dress.”

Thanks for that.

Then she kills him with a garotte and leaves the hotel. Then we get to hear the back story, narrated by a nameless American spy - she’s part of a group of young Russian officers called the Sparrows, who are trained to seduce and manipulate.


Oh, look, you flashed over to a future Sparrow watching a training film containing two women in black leather bikinis with riding crops, fuzzy blindfolds, and choke collars.

That’s nice.

Then there’s more rapid-fire images of Jennifer Lawrence seducing people with various parts of her body, intermixed with blood-sprayed walls and dead people.

Gosh, movie people, thanks for that fun visual and auditory learning experience for my kids.

You followed that gem up with a hilarious romp of a trailer for the raunchy comedy I Feel Pretty - also rated R - starring Amy Schumer.

I assume you folks over there in the movie business know who Amy Schumer is. So I assume you know that nothing even remotely PG-13, PG-14, or even PG-28 has ever come out of her mouth. She’s the female Andrew Dice Clay without the weird New Jersey accent.

And yet, there she was on our screen, standing in her underwear in front of a full-length mirror, woman-handling her boobs.

Thanks, movies.

Apparently, her character is not happy with her body or her life in general, until she hits her head and wakes up thinking she’s a gorgeous supermodel.

It was fun when you showed the footage of her entering a bikini contest and gyrating on stage, crawling around seductively while running her fingers over a bar patron’s lips, and pouring water on herself.

What was also really great was when she was obviously totally naked, telling her boyfriend he was getting “a sneak peak of what’s to come.”

That was a special time for our family.

So, again, to be clear, a sincere thanks from me for making those movies. I want to see both of them. But you showed their trailers to my kids ahead of a Marvel comic book movie about a cool superhero guy who fights crime with a magical armored body suit and a neat accent.

That was stupid of you. Your target audience department needs to be fired.

Please do me, and the rest of the parents of America, a favor – if you don’t have any relevant and appropriate trailers to show, just play some more ads for your snack bar with that $35 tub of dancing popcorn.

Or on second thought, don’t. Just show us the damned movie.

Thanks a million,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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