51. THE MPAA
What? A little puppet sex couldn’t be tolerated? Is it because they were jealous of the puppets? The MPAA’s asinine decision-making took center stage with the threat of an NC-17 placed on Team America: World Police – all due to a little genital-free puppet sex. Fortunately, Trey Parker and Matt Stone captured their “R” rating, but not before screening many variations of the scene to the board. This has shown how out-of-touch the board is. It slogs under parental control, rather parents who probably don’t watch that many movies otherwise, and it’s surprising that they would rather shield their kids from the joys of watching two anatomically-incorrect puppets, than protect them from movies that have no redeeming qualities.
Anti-Freeze: A completely overhaul of the system. Sure it’s advertised as a way to advise parents on movies they might consider for their children, but it has proven itself to be another form of censorship.
52. MAINSTREAM HOLLYWOOD HORROR MOVIES
With Asian and indie horror flicks kicking the major studios’ asses, it might be time to reevaluate their approach. Almost every Hollywood horror release that was well received this year was either a remake (Dawn of the Dead) or a do-over of a Japanese film (The Grudge). In some ways, this is merely symptomatic of the Dream Factory’s wholesale lack of original ideas, but horror fans are less forgiving, and more inventive in their vengeance.
Anti-Freeze: Give Stuart Gordon or George Romero a real budget.
53. PHONES IN MOVIES – DIAL O FOR OVERKILL
After the Larry Cohen-penned Phone Booth, did we really need the Larry Cohen-penned Cellular? We can see the tagline for his next thriller now: “Vin Diesel Reaches Out and Saves Someone in Beeper!”
Anti-Freeze: Call waiting.
54. BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO
The soulless Wal-Mart of video renters, Blockbuster isn’t simply content with preventing you from renting NC-17 films or uncut DVDs. Their recent bid to acquire Hollywood Video shows they won’t stop until they’ve taken over every high volume rental outlet in the country. Independent stores are becoming more scarce than non-Clear Channel radio stations, and still these greedy bastards want more.
Anti-Freeze: Use Netflix, patronize your local, non-corporate video outlet, but whatever you do, don’t give them your business.
55. MICHAEL POWELL AND THE FCC
Granted, Michael Powell and company are more of an influence on public broadcast airwaves, but their chilling effect on televised rebroadcasts of Hollywood movies earns them a place on the list, thanks to the continuing mass exodus of TV and radio patrons from the major networks to cable and satellite. Good job.
Anti-Freeze: Televised debates between Powell and Howard Stern.
56. THE NEW YORK TIMES
Shame on the Times for promoting the terminally academic A.O. Scott as its lead movie critic while letting the always-vibrant Elvis Mitchell quit in disgust. Scott has a fine vocabulary, but his reviews are as exciting as a high school algebra textbook. There are laundry lists with more passion and insight than a Scott review. Mitchell brought enthusiasm and style to his writing – his reviews kept the reader awake and challenged, whereas Scott’s reviews guarantee a deep sleep before the final paragraph is reached. Mitchell’s replacement, Los Angeles-based Manohla Dargis, is a bland substitute – and not surprisingly, she was Scott’s choice for the job.
Anti-Freeze: For the Times, it’s too late, but we are sure Elvis will go on to bigger and better endeavors.
Brought to you by the Film Threat staff with contributions from Rory L. Aronsky, Doug Brunell, Eric Campos, Michael Ferraro, Phil Hall, Rick Kisonak, Rachel Morgan, Brad Slager, Pete Vonder Haar and sources who prefer to remain anonymous.
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