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the 50 most controversial films

In no particular order, according to The Times London.
Our critics pick the controversial film 50


AI NO CORRIDA (1976) Nagisa Oshima’s graphic depiction of sexual obsession was not submitted for British classification until 1989. It was given an 18 certificate in 1991 after optical changes to a scene involving naked children.

BAISE-MOI (2000) The mix of real sex and staged violence for this French “hardcore Thelma and Louise”, about a prostitute and her raped friend on a sex and killing spree, provoked shock horror and debate (is it an issue drama or pure exploitation?) wherever it was shown.

CRASH (1996) David Cronenberg’s tale of sex addicts aroused by car crashes and injuries, based on a J. G. Ballard story, was banned by Westminster Council before the British censor had even viewed the film for classification.

DEEP THROAT (1972) Porn briefly went overground and achieved dinner-party chic thanks to Linda Lovelace’s antics and films such as The Devil in Miss Jones.

THE IDIOTS (1998) Lars von Trier’s Dogme satire, about commune members pretending to be physically and mentally handicapped, featured flapping erections and an explicit orgy scene.

I’M NO ANGEL (1933) Religious, civic and industry groups finally coerced Hollywood to expand its self- regulating Hays Code after this ribald Mae West sex comedy. The Code went from prohibiting indecency to mere indelicacy and demanding chaste passion and moral endings. As West remarked of Tinseltown: “Here they tell you what not to do before you do it.”

LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972) Early 1970s cinema began pushing the boundaries of screen sex, led by Marlon Brando’s butter-assisted encounter with Maria Schneider and explicit sex talk. The film was banned in Italy for 11 years.

9 SONGS (2004) Michael Winterbottom’s film charts a young couple’s relationship through their (unsimulated) sexual encounters punctuated by visits to indie-band concerts. Asked Winterbottom at the time: “Why can a writer engage in sexual imagery with no restrictions and yet a film author can’t do the same?”

PANDORA’S BOX (1929) Scenes of prostitution, lesbianism and Louise Brooks’s sensual performance as a high- class call girl made this film fall foul of censors everywhere.

SEBASTIANE (1976) Derek Jarman’s homoerotic movie, shot in Latin, sees St Sebastian going gaily to his martyrdom at a remote Roman outpost. Features the first erect penis approved by the British censor.


CHRISTIANE F. (1981) “At 12 it was angel dust. At 13 it was heroin. Then she took to the streets.” Based on the true story of a teenager in 1970s Berlin, Uli Edel’s film was described by one critic as “revoltingly offputting”.

EASY RIDER (1969) Nicholson, Fonda and Hopper were at it again in the definitive countercultural jamboree, bookending the now-obligatory LSD trip with (real) spliff-smoking sessions and a (fictional) cocaine deal.

HUMAN TRAFFIC (1999) One of the truer films about club culture, evoking the permissive mood of the 1990s, Human Traffic raised eyebrows for its authentic depiction of Ecstasy bonhomie and comedown paranoia.

THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) Billy Wilder claimed that the liquor industry offered Paramount $5 million not to release his searing portrait of an alcoholic, played by Ray Milland. Ironically, temperance groups thought the film would actually encourage drinking.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) Frank Sinatra excelled as a heroin-addict card-sharp in Otto Preminger’s film, which was originally refused a certificate by the MPAA. The following year the production code was changed to allow movies to deal with drugs as well as kidnapping, abortion and prostitution.

PERFORMANCE (1970) On screen, James Fox’s gangster was plied with magic mushrooms by Mick Jagger’s rock Mephistopheles. Off screen, they allegedly smoked psychotropic DMT. Time’s critic called it “the most disgusting, worthless film I have seen since I began reviewing”.

REEFER MADNESS (1936) A brush with wacky baccy consigns a pair of innocents to a downward spiral of murder and mental illness in this propanganda piece turned cult classic. Notable more for being cack-handed than for any subversiveness.

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000) Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr’s novel cut a disturbing line in trans- generational addiction, with Jared Leto’s descent into heroin Hades being mirrored by his mum’s slimming pills habit.

TRAINSPOTTING (1996) The scenes of heroin use — for which the cast prepared with Generation Game style “cooking up” workshops — drew the loudest snorts from Middle England. But Renton and his cohorts also consumed Ecstasy, Valium and, erm, opium suppositories.

THE TRIP (1967) In preparation for this psychedelic wig-out, the LSD virgin Roger Corman took his writer Jack Nicholson and stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper to drop acid in Big Sur. The film was branded a “user’s manual” for LSD and was banned in Britain until 2003.


BATTLE ROYALE (2000) Kinji Fukasaku’s death-sport take on Lord of the Flies also aspired to be a parable on violence and the State — enough to prompt questions in Japan’s parliament.

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)/ THE WILD BUNCH (1969) Two films that pioneered the art of slow-motion carnage. The final scene in Bonnie and Clyde saw Clyde’s head blown apart and was intended to remind audiences of JFK’s murder. The Wild Bunch, meanwhile, helped to establish Sam Peckinpah as the “Picasso of violence”.

IRRÉVERSIBLE (2002) By dressing up sick shock values as arthouse innovation, the French auteur Gaspar Noé subjected audiences to such treats as a man’s head being smashed 22 times by a fire extinguisher, as well as the anal rape of the heroine filmed in a single take lasting nearly ten minutes. Each one feels like an hour.

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) Wes Craven’s grainy debut stands as the daddy of slasher movies, as two teenage girls are abducted, raped and murdered by psychopaths; then their parents take revenge with chainsaws. Tagline: “To avoid fainting, keep repeating ‘It’s only a movie . . . ’ ”

NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) Oliver Stone saw his media satire both (initially) banned and take the record for the largest number of cuts and reshots needed to attain an R rating (150). The film’s anti-heroes murder approximately 50 people.

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (1948) You’d be forgiven for never having heard of this Brit- thriller about the New York underworld. But it had UK critics spluttering hyperbole: “The most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen,” was one journal’s considered verdict.

STRAW DOGS (1971) It ends with local Cornish thugs being scalded by boiling whisky and having their feet blown off by a shotgun; earlier a cat is hanged in a closet. But it was the rape sequence that saw it banned since, at one point, Susan George’s victim appears to become compliant.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) It later transpired that the pain on the faces of the actresses was often real amid the lacerating terror wielded by Leatherface and co. It was allowed an uncut release in the UK only in 2000.

VIDEO NASTIES The rise of the video-rental market in the early-1980s also ushered in the age of the video-nasty: cheapo splatter- movies that had Britain’s moral crusaders on the rampage faster than Leatherface in a sorority house. The likes of I Spit on Your Grave, The Driller Killer and The Evil Dead led to the Video Recordings Act of 1984, ending the media frenzy.


DARK HABITS (1983) Made before Pedro Almodóvar achieved global fame, this typically lurid tale in which the Mother Superior is a heroin addict was refused a screening at Cannes. Also see Valerian Borowczyk’s Behind Convent Walls, in which a nun gets closer to the Saviour by means of a conveniently shaped object imprinted with Jesus’s face.

THE DA VINCI CODE (2006) The biggest controversy centred, in the end, not on the offence to Christians for traducing the faith with specious semi-historical bunkum, but on how Ron Howard could have turned the talents of Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno and a budget of $125m into such pedestrian tosh.

THE DEVILS (1971) Was it Vanessa Redgrave’s hunchbacked, sexually frustrated Mother Superior, the torture scenes or the indictment of Church corruption in 1634 that caused The Devils to be banned in several countries and released heavily cut under an X certificate in the UK? Whichever, it remains one of the most successful films of Ken Russell’s envelope-pushing career.

THE EXORCIST (1973) Its release occasioned fainting in the aisles, one viewer breaking his jaw on the next seat when he fell, and some British councils banned it altogether — a ban made ridiculous by Exorcist bus trips to neighbouring areas. The director, William Friedkin, also caused consternation within the industry for the lengths he went to to scare his actors in order to get realistic performances.

THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988) Used to coming under fire for violence, swearing and the negative portrayal of Italian-Americans, Scorsese hit his rawest nerve with this film, in which Christ has sex with Mary Magdalene. Attracted then record complaints (more than 1,500) when shown on Channel 4.

THE LIFE OF BRIAN (1979) It seems extraordinary now, but this finest of all Python films was banned in several countries and ran foul of several local councils in England. So many Christian groups complained that John Cleese used to joke: “We’ve brought them all together for the first time in 2,000 years!”

THE MAGDALENE SISTERS (2002) Unremittingly bleak tale of three young Irish women committed to work in a laundry run by a sadistic order of nuns, for the crimes of, respectively, flirting, being raped, and having a child out of wedlock. Condemned by the Catholic Church, it was based on a true story.

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) The controversy at the time — was the film by Mel Gibson, whose father is a Holocaust- denier, anti-Jewish? — has been eclipsed by Gibson’s recent drunken anti-Semitic rantings. The extreme violence also raised eyebrows, though Gibson himself has been obsessed with torture and sacrifice in his films from Mad Max through Braveheart and Lethal Weapon to Payback.

SUBMISSION (2004) After making this ten-minute documentary about the abuse of women under Islam, the director Theo Van Gogh (a direct relative of the artist) was murdered by an irate Muslim. His 2004 film Submission is currently being remade by Steve Buscemi, and he and the leading actress, Sienna Miller, have reportedly been granted high-security protection for fear of reprisals.

VISIONS OF ECSTASY (1989) With most of its 18 minutes taken up with erotic lesbian nun scenes (supposedly of St Teresa and her “psyche”) and of passion with Christ, this is the only film to have been successfully banned in Britain on grounds of blasphemy. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in 1996 was unsuccessful.


BAD LIEUTENANT (1992) Some films court controversy for glamorising the dark side of modern society. Bad Lieutenant does the opposite. It dives right in to the sleaze and filth, offering, through its nameless central character (Harvey Keitel), a worldview so filth-encrusted that you need a shower after watching it.

BAMBI (1942) Death comes to Disney when Bambi’s mother is killed by a hunter, a scene that has traumatised generations of children. The hunter was to have appeared in the film, but Walt Disney, worried about the hunting lobby, cut the role. For the same reason, the film’s premiere was moved from Maine to New York.

BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) Depicting the Ku Klux Klan as the saviours of the American south, the film was boycotted by the National Association for the Advancement of Black People, and inspired the re-emergence of the Klan, dormant at the time.

FREAKS (1932) Given free rein after the success of Dracula (1931), Tod Browning produced this twisted tale of love, betrayal and revenge in a circus sideshow, starring real-life “freaks”. The film was banned in the UK for 30 years.

JFK (1991) Oliver Stone caused outrage in the press by suggesting that elements within the US government were responsible for the assassination of the 20th century’s best loved president.

KIDS (1995) The film follows 24 hours in the lives of a group of hard- drinking, drug-taking inner-city kids, as an HIV-positive teenager sets out to deflower as many virgins as possible.

PEEPING TOM (1960) The film that graces our cover also finished off Michael Powell’s career. It is now recognised as a masterpiece. The question it asks of the viewer — if you enjoy a murder-thriller, what makes you so different from the killer? — remains unsettling.

ROMPER STOMPER (1992) This brutal Australian portrayal of skinheads and racial violence features a remarkable performance by the pre-Gladiator Russell Crowe, and was barred from cinemas in Glasgow.

SOUTH PARK THE MOVIE (1999) The proud holder of the record for profanity in an animated film, and with one song containing 24 “f***s” in a minute, South Park is a hilarious satire on censorship, but not recommended for the easily offended. Or Canadians.

THE WILD ONE (1953) This tale of rampaging bikers was banned in the UK until 1968. “What are you rebelling against, Johnny?” asks Mildred (Peggy Maley). “Whaddya got?” replies Johnny (Marlon Brando).

Reader's choice: A Clockwork Orange (1971)


next set of survivors to be divided by race

The show/game will start with four tribes - Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, and Caucasian.
Segregated 'Survivor'


tom cruise + paramount = no more

Fourteen year, 10 mill/year partnership over.
Cruise No Longer Top Gun at Paramount

4 snl cast members to be fired?

UPDATED ARTICLE: 'SNL' Shaking Up Its Cast

All Eyes on 'SNL' - Again

cast members not mentioned in the article as returning (I wonder which four might be fired?):

Fred Armisen
Will Forte
Bill Hader
Finesse Mitchell
Chris Parnell
Maya Rudolph
Horatio Sanz
Jason Suediis
Kenan Thompson
Kristin Wiig


music fest northwest

Can U Dig It? MFNW Confirmed Bands

scrubs to have a musical episode this season

Following in the footsteps of Buffy.
'Scrub' in with a Song

grey is the new thursday!

Has anyone seen this new ad for Grey's Anatomy's move to Thursday night? Very cool.


benji schwimmer's interview with ew

Will he take the job with Celine Dion? Will he play Fred Astaire in a movie? And where was he when the finale aired? If you love So You Think You Can Dance as much as I do, check Entertainment Weekly's interview with the winner.
Champion Schwimmer


oscar ceremony hops on the irs bandwagon

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will now also be reporting swag gifts to the IRS and made a deal to retroactively pay taxes on all swag gifts prior to 2006 so that celebritises wouldn't have to pay. Ahhh......
Uncle Sam Bags Oscar Swag

gnarls barkley's rider

This is similar to my rider when I stay at Sara A's house. Anybody want to bet Brian's "Dressing Room #2"?
Backstage With Gnarls Barkley

my wedding anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Me! Actually, it was a week and a half ago--August 6 to be exact. Ricky took a day off from work and we went to Cannon Beach for a few days. I wish it were warmer, but it is the Oregon coast, and it was still sunny and beautiful. Here are a couple shots from the trip, including the spectacular view from our hotel room.


school changes abstinence only program after realizing 13% of female students were pregnant

Sex Ed Changes At School With 65 Pregnant Teens

one-quarter of AIDS victims in low and middle income countries receive AIDS drugs

There is still a lot of work to do, but drugs and access to drugs has improved significantly in poor countries in the past 3 years.
More than 1 million in Africa get HIV drugs: report

omg...are kate hudson and owen wilson together?

Inside Owen and Kate’s Romance


does kevin get more pre-nup money for each kid he has with britney?

This would explain so much.
Fatherhood a financial incentive for K-Fed?


kate hudson and chris robinson split!

It was about two weeks ago she told The View that she doesn't think she got married too soon, maybe one day she would feel that way, but right now, as long as things were good, she has no regrets. (I'm paraphrasing)

Now there's new hope for Velena.

Kate Hudson, Chris Robinson Separate

21-year-old crashes car and delivers her own baby

She named the baby 'Myracle'.
Woman Gives Birth in Crashed Car

houston crime rate up after welcoming 150,000 new orleans evacuees

Starting over, getting a fresh start, and wiping the slate clean. For a New Orleans criminal, there's no place like a new city where the police don't know your name.
Katrina victims blamed for Houston crime

new dancing with the stars stars

Guess who wants to revive their career?

Harry Hamlin
Jerry Springer
Tucker Carlson
Vivica A. Fox
Joe Lawrence
Emmitt Smith
Shanna Moakler ("Meet the Barkers")
Mario Lopez
Willa Ford (pop singer)
Monique Coleman ("High School Musical")
Sara Evans (country music singer)

celebrities don't pay taxes on swag?

But the IRS won't let them get away with it anymore...is this the end of free stuff as we know it! (okay, not as WE know it)
Swag Hags Beware!


america under the "child custody protection act"

A great NY Times Op/Ed ripping on the Senate's latest attempt to limit our rights.
Criminals, Like Me

the future of cynthia mckinney

Sundance hit American Blackout showed how Cynthia McKinney was robbed of her congressional seat in 2002. Was she robbed again this year, what future does she have in American politics, and I'm wondering as the plot grows thicker, will we see more film uncovering the truth behind the cop-slapping incident and 2006 primary? Will we ever even see the first film - American Blackout - in theatrical release?

Facing Voters, Georgia Congresswoman Gets an Assist From Documentary

McKinney's Future Unsure after Loss

why america's next top model writers are striking

I heard about this strike, but LA Weekly does a good job of explaining the whole situation. Will reality TV writers ever receive WGA membership and benefits?
Reality Strikes

china manages to evacuate 1.3 million people before typhoon

What our government could learn from China.
1.3 million evacuated as typhoon slams China


ellen burstyn's bullshit emmy nom

I think the NY Post might be the only ones who saw Mrs. Harris.

from IMDb

Outrage Over Burstyn's 15-Second Emmy Nomination

Ellen Burstyn's nomination for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy Award is being ridiculed by the US media, because the Oscar winner appears in Mrs. Harris for a mere 15 seconds. THe HBO drama stars Sir Ben Kingsley as Dr. Herman Tarnower - the man who invented the Scarsdale diet - and Annette Bening as Jean Harris, the woman who murdered him. Burstyn appears in a flashback sequence, and her character is listed on the Internet Movie Database as "Ex-Lover Number Three." The New York Post writes the 73-year-old's performance "required her to do nothing more than sit in a chair and speak three sentences of dialogue in a vaguely foreign accent." The newspaper claims Burstyn's nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie category is indicative of the "deeply flawed process" leading to the nominations. Winners will be announced in Los Angeles on August 27.


signs trailer

You knew this was coming...
Mel Gibson's Signs of Anti-Semitism


myspace can be used for good

Because America's youth is not that bright.
Teens Post Violent Videos Online — But Police Have Internet Too

top 50 grossing movies to never go into wide release

It's hard to believe that some of these movies were never considered wide release, but it's an intersting list nonetheless.
Top 50 Movies Never to Go Into Wide Release

tom cruise may have to pay his production staff himself

Cruise's Pay Cut at Paramount

she really crazy.

From EW.com

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, The Terror of The View (ABC) Last week, the inarticulate mouse of The View suddenly became the primary reason to watch the show. First, on Aug. 2, she went off on a gibbering tirade about the evil of the morning-after birth-control pill, to the point where Barbara Walters had to tell her to calm down. Two days later, she revealed the harsh mistress beneath her genial thoughtlessness by telling an anecdote about encountering a babysitter whom Hasselbeck felt was neglecting her young charges on a New York City street. She freely admitted to yelling at the young woman and read a description of her (she'd taken notes!) so that the girl would be identified and fired... and so, presumably, would scores of other babysitters who may have fit that description. Woe unto you should you be the luckless waitress, taxi driver, or other service employee who does not behave as Ms. Hasselbeck thinks you should. She seems like one of those people whose TV prominence has made them just arrogant enough to think they wield the power to get someone terminated. Dubious human; great TV.

melanie griffith encourages teen smoking

Melanie Griffith makes the entertainment news.
Griffith Caught in Smoking Scandal


rob schneider takes a stand

Rob Schneider becomes the first actor to refuse to work with the star.
Schneider Slams Gibson

elisabeth hasselbeck feels passionately about the morning after pill

She crazy.


amy sherman-palladino gets a pilot on fox

About 2 sisters, of all things...
Sherman-Palladino sets up next project