New York Times entertainment reporters Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply reviewed the year at the box office on Monday, another record year of almost $11 billion spent on movie tickets.
The top five grossing movies were all sequels (or in the case of “Monsters University,” a prequel), but the article got a little weird when they called it a “tough year for the good-behavior watchdogs of popular culture,” but only talked about scenes with smoking and guns!
It was a tough year for the good-behavior watchdogs of popular culture. Oprah Winfrey smoked in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a late-summer hit, as did Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County.” Cigarettes glammed up the cafe scenes in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The monitoring group SceneSmoking.org even gave a black lung rating for excessive tobacco use to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” (Smog?)
By June, every major studio was peddling guns in its marketing for films like Universal’s “R.I.P.D.” and “2 Guns,” and a study backed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that gun violence in the top-selling PG-13 movies had surpassed that in best sellers rated R.
There was no mention of the Parents Television Council, which moonlights a little at the movies. They highlighted the Annenberg study on gun violence, too, but the Times duo ignored their campaign right there in New York City over the porny French lesbian film “Blue Is The Warmest Color.” The IFC Center there showed this film with the explicit ten-minute sex scene and waived the NC-17 rating, making it perfectly fine for teens ato attend. (Brent Bozell, another good-behavior czar, wrote about this, too.)
There’s some other “good-behavior watchdogs of popular culture” the Times isn’t in the habit of noticing: Movieguide.org, Decentfilms.com, and the anti-porn group Morality In Media.
On the other hand, the Times also ignored the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation as they started complaining about the lack of gay characters at the movies. In their version of “good behavior watchdogs,” the best-behaved studios try to put a lesbian or transgender in every movie, even the ones for the children.