Edited for Content

Few things in life are as consistently enjoyable as a badly edited-for-content movie on television. This evening, for instance, while re-reading Daniel Goldhagen’s ubercontroversial history of the Holocaust, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, and beginning to write a historiographical essay for my 20th Century Europe class, I kept one eye on an edited-for-television screening of Good Will Hunting. Good Will Hunting is without a doubt a top five favourite movie of mine–in part for its quiet truths on life and love, in part for its skewing of academics, in part for the brilliant acting…it’s just an all-around masterpiece. Yet I digress: the version I saw tonight on A&E was a shadow of the movie’s original self. And it’s not like Good Will Hunting needs Minnie Driver telling dirty jokes to be good…but after watching it tonight, it seems as though the movie’s “inappropriate” elements (which also include a barrage of f-bombs) were responsible for pushing it to a higher realm of moviegoing excellence. But what shocked me was the Driver joke: instead of presenting an edited version (which, granted, would have been pointless), the moviemakers filmed an entire new scene with a punchline more lame than Paul Hatcher’s toy collection. Has this ever happened before? I’ve heard of movies adding bonus material to their television versions (case in point: Dead Poet’s Society…and no, I don’t know why I know this either), but I can’t think of any movie in which an entire scene was redone in order to get it past the censors. Anybody??

And while we’re on the topic, I keep hearing rumours of an edited version of Pulp Fiction kicking around somewhere. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t believe it…I mean, how can you take a movie that uses the f-word 183 times and make it appropriate for television? On a similar note, my two favourite edited-for-t.v. moments both feature movies from 1994:

  • From Speed: there’s a scene in which Keanu Reeves screams “You fuck!” is a way that only He is capable of doing. Edited version: “You fool!” Makes Reeves’ Patented Overacting seem even more ridiculous.
  • From Dumb and Dumber: at the end, while Harry and Lloyd are handcuffed and having it out over Mary Swanson there’s the “Where can I sign?” “Right on my ass–after you kiss it!” exchange. Edited version, and I swear I’m not making this up: “Where can I sign?” “Right on my sandwich–after you kiss it!” Right on my sandwich. Can someone explain this to me??

I also hear that one of the Die Hard movies has a priceless edited moment, but I cannot confirm or deny this rumour since, well, I haven’t actually seen any of the Die Hard movies. But I now have a new goal in life: to find this edited version of Pulp Fiction. And, if it doesn’t exist, to create it…along with an edited version of Casino, a movie in which the f-word is used exactly twice as many times as it is in Pulp Fiction. And again, I don’t know why I know this.

Oh! And one more thing: if the NHL uncancels its season, it’s either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever. I have to be equivocal about this one: nothing makes sense to me anymore.

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One thought on “Edited for Content

  1. I’d like to offer another example of TV masochism for your worthy consideration. HBO’s “Sex and the City” was sent to prime-time last season, for the eager Canadian HBO-less audience (and their unsupervised children) to gather ’round the television set and enlighten themselves on the art of the female orgasm, how to tickle a testicle and the recreational use of viagra.

    Not possible, you say. Breasts aren’t allowed on CTV. But the producers of SATC were ready: the entire show was BUTCHERED to the point where it wasn’t even recognizable. Once all of the sex was ‘dealt with’, most episodes consisted of 4 middle-aged women sitting around a table starting blankly at each other. Like, there was nothing. Instead of saying “god, I want to fuck him”, Carrie would say, “is it hot in here?” The premise was gone.

    The moral of the story? Rent the DVD.
    Talk to you tomorrow, love

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