Smoking in the movies

Discussion in 'Movies' started by doug zdanivsky, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. doug zdanivsky

    doug zdanivsky Supporting Actor

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    Anyone notice how not a movie has gone by in the last year or so where someone has not enjoyed a good cigarette? Gratuitous cigarette scenes abound in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE that I've rented this year..

    Hidalgo, Open Range (they do a CLOSE-UP on Kevin Costner's coffin nail, for the love of all things good and Holy!!!!!!), the house of Sand and Fog, the Human Stain..

    I could go on and on..

    The cigarette companies must be paying a FORTUNE!!!

    Anyone else agree this is not merely a coincidence?

    What the heck???
     
  2. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I'd say it's less seen today than say 60 years ago. I don't recall a Bogart film that didn't have him smoking.
     
  3. doug zdanivsky

    doug zdanivsky Supporting Actor

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    I would agree, but wouldn't you say it's increased by a substantial margin in the last little bit?

    Just as cigarette companies are being excluded from more and more means of advertising (sponsering sporting/culteral events, magazine and TV ads)..

    Hmm...
     
  4. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Don't quote me on this, but I think I heard that some group was going to lobby the ratings group to get them to force an 'R' rating on every movie that had smoking in it.

    Makes sense to me. Just like that pineapple-flavored anti-cigarette ad. Why can't adults like pineapple-flavored cigs?

    Glenn
     
  5. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "Don't quote me on this, but I think I heard that some group was going to lobby the ratings group to get them to force an 'R' rating on every movie that had smoking in it."

    Walt Disney's Pinocchio -- Rated R
    Walt Disney's Peter Pan -- Rated R
    Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland -- Rated R
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -- Rated R
    Darby O'Gill and the Little People -- Rated R
    101 Dalmatians -- Rated R
    The Happiest Millionaire -- Rated R
    The Great Mouse Detective -- Rated R
    Oliver & Co. -- Rated R
    Pocahontas -- Rated R
    Dances with Wolves -- Rated R
    The Lord of the Rings -- Rated R
    Star Trek VI -- Rated R
    Rocky and Bullwinkle Vol. I -- Restricted
    Honey I Shrunk the Kids -- Rated R
    Raiders of the Lost Ark -- Rated R
    Oliver! -- Rated R
    The X-Men -- Rated R
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- Rated R
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I think certain period films like Hidalgo and Open Range should be excluded from your concern because people smoked a lot back in those times and filmmakers are trying to accurately portrayed that period of time.
     
  7. andrew markworthy

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    I don't utterly object to the use of cigarette smoking in movies, especially when it's a period piece when, as Robert correctly points out, smoking was a majority activity. However, I think at times it's a lazy shorthand for indicating that a character is stressed, and that's wrong.

    I have a bigger concern at the number of times a character who is portrayed as 'normal' is seen having an (alcoholic) drink when they are stressed, or as soon as they get home, they have a drink as a matter of course. Please note I'm not anti-alcohol, but I do object to it being instilled into people that drinking as a habit or as a panacea for stress is a normal or indeed expected thing.

    I don't want to see smoking or drinking scenes banned from movies, and I don't think kids should be shielded from such scenes (provided a message that either activity is unequivocally good isn't being portrayed). However, I think in some instances with a tiny bit more thought alternative and equally effective scenes could be shot.
     
  8. Mike Brogan

    Mike Brogan Second Unit

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    Other than using smoking to denote stress, as noted above; Directors also like to use it for the visual aspect. In oother words, smoke on the screen can look "cool" and provide a certain mood when properly lit and filmed. I guess you could say the same for shooting guns and blowing things up on film...these are not things that are exactly safe or healthy to be associated with but let's face it they look good on film.

    Giving an 'R' rating just because of smoking would be ridiculous. May as well give an 'R' rating any time a character puts himself into danger or does something stupid.
     
  9. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Another smoking in movies thread.
     
  10. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    I don't think smoking exists in movies as much as it once did. There are even plenty of actors who smoke who I don't recall smoking in their own movies.

    I remember the Ghostbusters commentary that said in the first one, they were all smoking but by the time the second one came, smoking was "out", so they didn't have the characters smoke.
     
  11. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Doesn't bother me at all, especially for period-pieces like Hidalgo or Open Range.

    Now, if I saw a close-up of MARLBORORO on a coffin-nail, that would be a different matter.
     
  12. Kristian

    Kristian Supporting Actor

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    I have a problem with smoking in general, but for me, the worst thing is seeing beautiful women smoke on screen. Seeing Kirsten Dunst lighting up on the trailer for Wimbledon was enough to keep me from going to see this movie. I've put up with it sometimes (Lost in Translation), but it's usually a huge turn off.
     
  13. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I seem to recall that for a number of years, beginning in I guess the middle 80s, there was a push to minimise the amount of smoking [particularly of cigarettes] in pictures. In the past 5 years or so, this seems to have been put in abeyance. I don't know if it's something to do with the change in tobacco advertisment rules [perhaps as simple as that filmmakers now feel that they can put in smoking without being accused of promoting the habit -- not necessarily anything sinister although I don't discount the idea], or perhaps the increased effect of Japanese popular culture in filmmaking -- remembering that smoking is not considered an antisocial activity over there yet. In fact I have an older Japanese animated television show, made for the youth market, in which juvenile smoking is a plot element -- one of the characters disapproves, and you can tell that the two female leads care about him because they stop smoking, and in fact one of them makes a point of refusing a cigarette in one episode!
     
  14. doug zdanivsky

    doug zdanivsky Supporting Actor

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    But to do a close-up of a cigarette?? C'mon! [​IMG]

    It seems there's been a huge upsurge of occurances of smoking in the last few years, that was my point..

    And it also occured to me that this is nothing more than product placement by the cigarette companies..
     
  15. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams Supporting Actor

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    Really doesnt bother me. Unless the actors break out, in the actual movie, smoking a cigarette, looking in the camera and saying, "Mmmm...the smooth menthal taste of Newport. Cant be beat!"
     
  16. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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    I honestly never think about it.
     
  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And I'm troubled by some of the intolerance. Like it or not, people still smoke (though in this country they have been pushed into a minority of around 30 percent). Therefore, if people in real life smoke why should there be a problem with its portrayal in film? To not see a film simply because a hot new actress has a scene in it where she is smoking seems a little extreme.
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Well, I can kinda understand it from the standpoint that a woman who smokes really turns me off. (Just as a note, I don't like smoking in general, but seeing an attractive woman smoking nowadays just throws me. It is like someone with poor taste in clothing, or makeup to me.)

    At the same time, I still think there are damn good reasons to have people smoking in films, considering our world is still full of people who smoke. As much as I don't like it, I accept it as the reality of our world here.

    Jason
     
  19. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Good point. The one film that comes to mind is Sean Penn's THE CROSSING GUARD, which runs 2 hours but if you took out the time it took the actors to light up, the movie would probably run 65 minutes.
     
  20. doug zdanivsky

    doug zdanivsky Supporting Actor

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    I don't dispute this.. I merely point out that the occurances of people smoking has gone up 10 fold in the last little bit, and that I don't think it's a coincidence.
     

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