Keepers of the Moral Compass

Dear Decency Police:

Sideways was on again last night. And seeing as how it’s one of my favorite movies, I had to watch. To my great relief, it was being shown by FXM or UHD or another of those self-appointed “guardians of morality” networks that take it upon themselves to protect my fragile sensibilities by cleaning up any “adult” content. Otherwise I probably would have bailed at the first obscenity. Don’t get me wrong, Sideways is pretty tame by today’s standards – there’s no Quentin Tarantino-type violence or graphic sexual scenes. But even so, it can get a little racy for my tastes.

For instance, that scene where Paul Giamatti walks in on Thomas Haden Church and Sandra Oh copulating in the motel room? Sweet Chocolate Moses! Do people really do that? I have to cover my eyes every time it’s shown on one of the premium channels. Thank you for slyly inserting a completely incongruous exterior shot of the restaurant where “Maya” works, thereby helping me avoid a case of whiplash as I would have no doubt been forced to turn away violently in order to avoid such a licentious jump-scare. As for the grunts and moans I heard in the background, I simply pretended that Stephanie and Jack were exercising together – that seems like a reasonable plot development while also preserving my peace of mind.

It’s obvious you share the same aversion to viewing naked men as I do, so props for shading out Jack from the waist down when he bursts into the room after his early-morning dash across town, and for adding some sort of digital underpants to the guy who runs up to the car door after Miles has retrieved Jack’s wallet. No one wants to see all that.

I can tell by the amount of “dang it’s” and “fiddlesticks” being tossed around (phrases I, sadly, no longer hear in my everyday life, by the way) that you have done a marvelous job of keeping me safe from every conceivable curse word, as they are, undeniably, the harbingers of a society in decline. Hear no evil, right?

And when there was that closeup of Virginia Madsen as she uttered the dreaded f-bomb, thank you for even going so far as to blur out her mouth because, even though her poorly-synced over-dub changed her line to “screw,” I might have been able to actually read her lips and possibly experience the true depth of her emotions. Emotions are terrible things.

So, again, thank you for improving my viewing experience. I know some would say why show the movie at all, if you feel so much censoring is necessary to preserve our sacred family values. But how else would I be able to enjoy this lovely, if flawed, piece of cinema? Let the heathens and perverts rent it on Blu-Ray if they insist on wallowing in the gutter.

Yours, sincerely…

Oh, look, The Big Lebowski is coming on…

Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures


8 thoughts on “Keepers of the Moral Compass

  1. I just am ever so thankful that the studio execs were able to spare your virginal eyes and ears from those filthy assaults on common decency. Otherwise, undoubtedly, severe emotional damage would have occurred, forcing you into years of therapy. I urge you to go get the B filter, which hooks to most TV’s. At the first sign of any X, R, or PG rated material, it blocks out the offending signal and instead plays the Barney song while flashing a pic of our purple friend on the screen.

  2. Are you kidding me? They actually changed the F-word to Screw you?!? Because I’m pretty sure back in the day that would have been censored. In fact I’m pretty sure I first heard ‘Screw you’ when the Jets and Sharks rumbled in West Side Story and it was a racy phrase, indeed! Plus I’m pretty sure Fiddlesticks was just as racy when Mom was a rebellious teen. Let’s face it. hollywood is just too vulgar for our sensitivities and thank goodness for the Clean Speech police.

    Sideways – the uncensored version – is a fabulous flick. I even like a glass of that awful merlot when I’m watching.

    • Normally I won’t sit through a hacked version of a movie once I realize what’s going on, but this was one of those cases of being unable to look away. It just seemed so ridiculous because Sideways (in my opinion) is pretty tame to begin with and all the foolish edits and over-dubs just eviscerated it. Perverted heathen that I am, I had to find it “on demand” afterward to flush that abomination from my memory.

  3. George Carlin must be rolling in his grave! 😛
    I loved your satirical piece about the ridiculous censorship that some TV networks foist upon us. This annoys the hell out of me too and completely disrupts the flow of dialogue, not to mention the art of a good sex scene. Surely, a warning for the puritanical types should suffice? They are free to change the channel, after all.

  4. FXM Buyer: “Let’s talk about licensing Sideways, whatchya asking?”
    Fox Searchlight Rep: [tosses out a number].
    FXM Buyer: “Hey, we both work for FOX! You’re killing me here…”
    Fox Searchlight Rep: [thinks for a minute] “Okay, I’ll discount the ‘clean’ edition.”

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