Or, for that matter, personally understand it. For all its obsessive tics and irksome myopia, the report is most severely disadvantaged by the utter lack of insight on the part of its editors. Now batting: Spike Lee.
"Let me read the `Relationships/Conduct' section of Jungle Fever," says Winston warily, as if steeling himself. "`Adulterous relationships depicted, neither condoned nor condemned. Negative effects of drugs shown, though wine is depicted as socially acceptable. Stereotyping of Italian-Americans and Christians.' I haven't seen this movie, but it sounds like it's more of an exploratory movie asking how a black man and an Italian woman get along, one of those fringe movies out there that nobody seems to know how it's going to be accepted by the community at large. Is a guy wrong in making that movie? I don't know. But the F-word is used 144 times, and the nudity is pretty graphic. I would find it hard to believe that somebody would expose themselves to that much violence or that much nudity.
"If this movie was made twenty years ago, it probably would have been railroaded," Winston continues, neglecting to mention that people just like his devoted subscribers, pumped full of righteous anger over the needless, savage repetition of the feared F-word, would have been driving the train. "Now, we're numb. What's one more movie with a guy and a girl in bed? Perhaps somewhere in there this director tries to address the issues of race relations, but it seems like it's taken a back seat to the sex and the drugs and the violence. I mean, it's not every day that guys get killed over drugs." Wait a second. Spike Lee dilutes his discussion of race dynamics? Hollywood films overstate America's inner-city drug problem? Let us know when you want to book passage for the real world, Dave.
Whatever its stance toward race and drugs, Jungle Fever is part of a much larger problem, that of rampant bad language. In the nearsighted eyes of the Entertainment Research Group's smut squad, some of the most famous lines in movie history -- Gone with the Wind's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," Network's "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more," and, of course, The Terminator's "Fuck you, asshole" -- are reduced to sanctimonious hash marks. "The repetition can dull the senses," Winston warns. "It has happened to me. I'll get engrossed in the movie to the point where I don't realize what I'm hearing or seeing. I don't think people realize subconsciously what they're being bombarded with, especially with swear words, and after a while you become numb and eventually you want more. We have people who have written in and said, `Thanks, now I can forget the dull movies and go to the dirty ones.' But they're one in a million." More than nine hundred cramped, thwarted prudes per thousand? It's a scary thought.
And it's getting scarier. If its present success continues -- the publication is nearing the break-even point -- the Entertainment Research Group plans to expand beyond the cinema. "We're working on the best way for a video version. We'll provide either a catalogue or some service in a video store. It could even be an 800 number. Eventually we'd like to get into television also." Winston won't give any projected start-up date for the television edition, but remember: a detailed content report for network TV is one of the first signs of Armageddon.
"Relationships/Conduct: Lisa fondles saxophone; Homer bears powerful resemblance to penis. Scrotal five o'clock shadow visible."