Nathan Macintosh

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Swearing in Movies


Swearing in movies has all but dried up. I watched RoboCop the other day, and one thing that I noticed is that it had a ton of swearing in it. Makes sense, right? If you are selling cocaine in 1988, and a RoboCop busts in your door and shoots all of your henchman, some profanity will probably leave your mouth.
"Whoa! A cocksucking RoboCop is shooting everyone I know! What fucking year is this? I'm blown away!"
The other night I saw The Expendables 2, and although I thought it was really fun (other than the Maggie character who was completely useless), I was upset that there was no swearing. A man gets a knife spun-kicked into his heart. Does he swear? Nope. Doesn't even form the words with his mouth.
"Ah, boy. A knife spin-kick. Wow. That was a doozy. Well, I'm sure I only have ten minutes of life left. Cripes, that hurt! No, there are no words I'm holding back. I know that if I stubbed my toe at home I might swear, but a knife jump kicked into my heart by Jean-Claude Van Damme? I think I can leave the language out of this."
I know that everyone is trying to make their movies reach a wider audience so they can make more money, but in some cases it doesn't make sense. Certain movies need swearing.

Why does it need to get taken away completely? Why can't there still be grown ups out there who are allowed to watch grown up things? Why are action movies and horror movies becoming children’s movies, and yet porn, which is almost the easiest accessible thing by anyone in the world, is getting more and more violent as the years go on?
"You HAVE to take all of the 'fucks' out of this movie. I know it's about a wizard who throws grenades at babies, but seriously, ALL of these parents are going to swear when it happens?"
"Man, you guys are tough. Next you'll be telling me that I can't hit a woman with a dick-shaped car in 'Whore Gets Hit By Dick-Shaped Car 2: Test Drive'."
"No, no. Quite the opposite. We, at the studio, were wondering if you could make it a dick-shaped semi-truck? Test audiences agree that the bigger the vehicle that hits the woman, the bigger the erection."

Movies used to just be rated R. Straight R. R meant restricted. I remember being turned away from countless movies for that reason.
"Sorry, kid. You're not old enough to see this movie."
"Man, that sucks. Um, do you have a cigarette?"
"...Fifty cents and it's yours."
A friend and I wanted to see Payback when we were fourteen. You know the movie. Mel Gibson is screwed over by a friend for seventy thousand dollars? That movie is great. They wouldn't let us in, so what did we do? We bought tickets to see Waking Ned Divine and then walked into Payback. We also sat on top of the unfolded chairs when the ushers walked by so that we looked taller. Honestly, I don't know why there wasn't any issue when two fourteen-year-old boys asked to see Waking Ned Divine.
"Two for Waking Ned Divine, please."
"You look a little young to be wanting to see that movie. Are you sure you're not going to buy a ticket for it, then sneak into an R rated movie?"
"What?! Why can't I be interested in a movie about an old man who wins the lottery, dies of shock, and then the people in his town try to collect the money? Because I'm fourteen!? Are you serious? I'm very mature for my ag... ah! A boob!"
We wanted to see Payback more because we couldn't – because it was for adults. Now, all of these movies are for kids that age. Doesn't really matter what it is, there will be kids in your theatre.
"Are these kids in the right theatre? I mean, the 'Swear Truck' series usually has swearing in it. Especially 'Swear Truck 3: Tires, Trunks and Tits."
"Nope. Not this one. 'Swear Truck 4' doesn't have any swearing. They took it out to get that sweet kid money. Look! They even put a slide in the theatre. Remember how fun those were?"
"I'm reminded of a line from 'Swear Truck 2: It Ain't Over 'Til The Fat Lady Trucks' –
"Get these goddamn kids, off of my goddamn swear truck."

Most horror movies and action movies need swearing. NEED them. Doesn't make any sense for an axe-wielding maniac to be chasing a guy through the woods and have him not swear about it. Doesn't seem right that a young man who just joined the army, finds out his entire family was blown away by a notorious crime boss, doesn't throw in a couple of 'f's' when he's on a rampage.
"I use to swear at kids on Xbox LIVE, and then my parents were murdered. Well, it's time to clean up the language and clean up these streets."

I'm not saying every movie needs swearing. Toy Story doesn't gain anything by having swearing in it.
"Hey, Woody – Andy is going to college and is going to leave us forever!"
"Yeah, Buzz? Where the fuck were you an hour ago when the dog grabbed me and dragged me outside to bury me in the yard? Was Andy leaving a big deal when I was up to my goddamn eyes in mud! Shove it, Lightyear! SHOVE IT!"
But there are certain movies where it seems dumb to me not to have swearing. Ever watch a movie like Casino or Goodfellas on TV? How awful is it when they change the swearing?
"I just told Andy Stone that maybe you should disappear for awhile until the heat blows over. That's all."
"Listen here, you dumb mochafudger, you! You only exist out here because of me! Not your frog splash country clubs or your funnel cake TV shows! And what the film sundae are you doing on TV anyhow! You know I get calls from back home, they think you went bat style?!"
Just don't play the movie if you can't give it the justice it deserves! You can't play Titanic and Photoshop out the boat.
"Man, this movie Titanic about an invisible ship that hits an iceberg is a real tearjerker. I would also love to make love in a car that appears to be floating in the middle of the Atlantic. This movie rocks."
Who are they playing these cut-up movies for? Children? Were people upset that their kid couldn't watch Terminator 2?
"Come on! I wanted to take my three-year-old to this and you fill it with swearing? Isn't there a way we can have our cake and eat it too? Just make the movie without swearing so that children can see it, and adults can be made to feel stupid while watching it. Everyone wins!"

If you have kids, I get it. You want them to see things or take them to things that don't make you look like a horrible monster. But why should people who don't have kids be punished because there are kids in the world? Why! That doesn't seem right.
"Excuse me, everyone. I am a parent, albeit not a very good one, so instead of trying to watch what my child views, I would like to ask that all swearing be removed from movies that you enjoy. It takes a village, guys."
"Well, move to a damn village then! This is a city with adults! Sit down and shut up!"

Movies in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s had swearing in them. In a lot of cases it made the movies seem more real. It showed how many people would react in these situations. How did we go backwards? How was it that in the 70s people swore when getting stabbed in the chest, but forty years later we deemed that inappropriate?
"Ah, fuck! I was shot! Help!"
"Help you find some more words for your vocabulary? No problem. What about 'geez', 'gosh', even a 'gosh darn'. That should help you out."
"What? No. I'm bleeding!"
"My ears were bleeding listening to that vile speak of yours. We are both in pain. I won't die of course, and for you, that's yet to be determined."

Why does everything have to be PG? Can't some things still be adult? Maybe once a year there are movies that are made for actual adults. No more than that. Movies about possession, for God's sake, don't have swearing. Does that make any sense to anyone? A movie where a demon takes over somebody's child and that movie no longer has swearing in it?
"Honey! Our daughter is possessed by a demon! What should we fucking do?!"
"Watch our language for one. What is wrong with you? Just because she's possessed doesn't give you license to break the promise we made at the marriage retreat. No swearing in the house. Remember that? We made a pact!"
"...What?! Out daughter, dammit! Out daughter is..."
"Again with the swearing! Mercy sakes alive! I just don't believe it. I can deal with our daughter's head spinning, and her walking on the ceiling creepily in the middle of the night, but the language coming out of your mouth is driving me to drink."
"I'm the demon in your daughter. You'll never see this slu..."
"Don't you even finish that word, demon! Or I'll be washing your mouth out with soap."
"...Demon sorry."

If you don't like it, don't watch the movie! That's how things work. I can't watch gay BDSM porn and complain that it's too crass.
"Does that guy HAVE to put a lamp in that guy's ass? It's just ridiculous. Why can't they tone it down just a little so that a casual fan, such as myself, can watch in peace without worrying that a child may walk in and be exposed to something harsh? I mean, do they even CARE about children?"

Certain words are gone forever. No one will call a guy a faggot in a movie again. Never. Never again. No matter how many predators Jesse Ventura fights, will he be able to use it.
"You bunch of slack-jawed faggots!"
That is a fantastic line from the first Predator. It's coming from a roided-up Vietnam vet who, not knowing it yet, is about to fight a beast from space that rips your spine completely out of your body. No one will call someone a fairy again. Nobody gets called a cocksucker, motherfucker, none of it. When bullets are flying past your head, what would you say?
"Fudge! These woodland creatures with magic dust are shooting at me! Momma-intercourser!"
Nope. You'd say some of the words that are becoming extinct in such films.

I read an article that was referring to comedians cleaning up their sets.
"Nobody ever leaves a show and complains that there wasn't swearing in it."
Well, actually, I do. If something feels fake, ingenuine or faulty, I complain about it. When Stallone rips a guy's throat out and doesn't utter a curse, I find that to be all of the above.


Twitter @Nathanmacintosh
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