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Danny Boyle speaks his mind on losing sight of adult themes and the Pixarification of movies

May. 6, 2013by: Niki Stephens

We can always count on people like Steven Soderbergh and Danny Boyle to give us honest insight on the current state of cinema. Recently, Boyle spoke on how filmmakers are straying away from adult themes and becoming more gentler when it comes to telling a story even with any sort of violence.

The director started off by praising the 70s as a great time for filmmaking and gave props to Nicolas Roeg, "Roeg made a series of films through that era that were just astonishing adult films, with adult themes, adult violence, adult sexuality. We've lost that, or we're in danger of losing it."

He then adds, that it starts with a film like STAR WARS, "they are great movies, especially the first three," but says that it leads to a "Pixarification of movies." "Pixar makes great movies -- don't get me wrong, they are very sophisticated storytellers. But they are family friendly, and that's the danger, if you put 'Star Wars,' Pixar, and these big action movies together. They have violence in them but not violence that hurts it's kind of spinning tops." Boyle states that shows presently television are the ones who dare to be dangerous and it should be the other way around.

I think that foreign films are still holding strong with adult themes, rarely pulling punches for audiences. In the States, are studios and filmmakers afraid to push the limits in favor of making cash? Do any modern filmmakers push the boundaries and stray away from providing family friendly experiences?

Watch the interview below and give us your thoughts in the strikebacks.

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2:44AM on 05/07/2013
Am I still allowed to blame the MPAA, or are people sick of hearing that at this point? Seriously though, this really all falls on the shoulders of the dreaded NC-17 and its toxicity in the industry. The drive for PG-13 might be a problem, but that's at least a decision studios make and sometimes intentionally don't make to great success. But NOBODY can survive an NC-17. This arbitrary upper limit is the REAL problem. I don't give a shit what the MPAA says, it's de-facto censorship and
Am I still allowed to blame the MPAA, or are people sick of hearing that at this point? Seriously though, this really all falls on the shoulders of the dreaded NC-17 and its toxicity in the industry. The drive for PG-13 might be a problem, but that's at least a decision studios make and sometimes intentionally don't make to great success. But NOBODY can survive an NC-17. This arbitrary upper limit is the REAL problem. I don't give a shit what the MPAA says, it's de-facto censorship and they know it.
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2:12PM on 05/07/2013
Agreed, if the MPAA is about given parents the ability to decide for themselves what is appropriate for children why does a rating exist that takes that decision away?
Agreed, if the MPAA is about given parents the ability to decide for themselves what is appropriate for children why does a rating exist that takes that decision away?
+2
2:04AM on 05/07/2013

Totally right.

Picture Taxi Driver being made today. And then be glad it wasn't.

I love the comic book movies as much as anyone, but comic book movies and the like seem to be increasingly all we get. As a great admirer of 70s American cinema I think it is very sad.
Picture Taxi Driver being made today. And then be glad it wasn't.

I love the comic book movies as much as anyone, but comic book movies and the like seem to be increasingly all we get. As a great admirer of 70s American cinema I think it is very sad.
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9:07PM on 05/06/2013
I think of all the should be R rated movies turned down to PG 13 not only to gather more audience but fear of having their movie rated R or in some cases dare I say NC-17. It's as bad as this whole 3D nonsense. When are people going to stop sacrificing a quality movie to appease a broader audience. I mean sure, money talks, but then what's the point of the whole "art" aspect of the film industry.
I think of all the should be R rated movies turned down to PG 13 not only to gather more audience but fear of having their movie rated R or in some cases dare I say NC-17. It's as bad as this whole 3D nonsense. When are people going to stop sacrificing a quality movie to appease a broader audience. I mean sure, money talks, but then what's the point of the whole "art" aspect of the film industry.
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5:49PM on 05/06/2013

Agreed

We have Indie movies and Oscar season. Aside from that there are stuck with four months in the summer of nothing but PG-13 blockbuster playing on twelve screens at the cineplex. I'm not saying make a drama a tentpole but come on. Not every movie is going to 500 million dollars and that what studio want/expect. I also think this is where the theater chain vs. DVD hurts. 'Trance' didn't even play around me, I was waiting to see it and didn't even get the choice because' G.I. Joe' and 'the
We have Indie movies and Oscar season. Aside from that there are stuck with four months in the summer of nothing but PG-13 blockbuster playing on twelve screens at the cineplex. I'm not saying make a drama a tentpole but come on. Not every movie is going to 500 million dollars and that what studio want/expect. I also think this is where the theater chain vs. DVD hurts. 'Trance' didn't even play around me, I was waiting to see it and didn't even get the choice because' G.I. Joe' and 'the Croods' have to be on four screens each.
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3:50PM on 05/06/2013

There are still great offerings, tho... it's just they don't do too well at the box office unless Oscar notices...

-We Need to Talk About Kevin
-The Wackness
-Lord of War
-Silver Linings Playbook
-Black Swan
-Shame
-Winter's Bone
-Goon
-Recent Cronenberg flicks
-Martha Marcy May Marlene
-Observe and Report
-Obviously, tarantino's stuff

idk I guess i hear what he's saying (about writers fleeing for cable) but I think that may be more of a function of a renaissance in serialized storytelling (no more patience for that stuff on broadcast networks, just schlock comedies, procedurals, karaoke
-We Need to Talk About Kevin
-The Wackness
-Lord of War
-Silver Linings Playbook
-Black Swan
-Shame
-Winter's Bone
-Goon
-Recent Cronenberg flicks
-Martha Marcy May Marlene
-Observe and Report
-Obviously, tarantino's stuff

idk I guess i hear what he's saying (about writers fleeing for cable) but I think that may be more of a function of a renaissance in serialized storytelling (no more patience for that stuff on broadcast networks, just schlock comedies, procedurals, karaoke competitions and reality shows) than hollywood being neutered. There are definitely more channels to get dark, fringe movies made today than there were in the 70's...
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+11
3:31PM on 05/06/2013

100% agree

There have been some great movies over the past few years but the balls have been taken out of Hollywood. Some of those films from the 70's and 80's were ballsy and made cinema so great.
There have been some great movies over the past few years but the balls have been taken out of Hollywood. Some of those films from the 70's and 80's were ballsy and made cinema so great.
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3:18PM on 05/06/2013
I think Boyle is mistaking the over-marketing of flashy inconsequential blockbusters with the lack of actual mature, adult-oriented dramas (which exist, they just don't have Slurpee cup tie-ins)
I think Boyle is mistaking the over-marketing of flashy inconsequential blockbusters with the lack of actual mature, adult-oriented dramas (which exist, they just don't have Slurpee cup tie-ins)
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3:06PM on 05/06/2013
I think Boyle is right about the usage of violence and how it's being used for the sake of creating shock as opposed to producing substance and a sense of consequence for those who inflict it. I also love Boyle's films and their usage of violence.
I think Boyle is right about the usage of violence and how it's being used for the sake of creating shock as opposed to producing substance and a sense of consequence for those who inflict it. I also love Boyle's films and their usage of violence.
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2:09PM on 05/06/2013
I'd definitely say that Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn are keeping that dream alive.
I'd definitely say that Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn are keeping that dream alive.
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2:05PM on 05/06/2013
So is he saying that violence in movies aren't violent enough or that the violence isn't demonstrated enough with consequences? Or that movies aren't pushing the boundaries enough? I guess I can sort of agree with that somewhat. Some directors like Tarantino and Winding Refn still push that boundary in their films (ie Django Unchained, Drive, Only God Forgives), but they also make the violence seen articulate in a way. Tarantino and Refn make the violence in their films have a purpose.
So is he saying that violence in movies aren't violent enough or that the violence isn't demonstrated enough with consequences? Or that movies aren't pushing the boundaries enough? I guess I can sort of agree with that somewhat. Some directors like Tarantino and Winding Refn still push that boundary in their films (ie Django Unchained, Drive, Only God Forgives), but they also make the violence seen articulate in a way. Tarantino and Refn make the violence in their films have a purpose.
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2:43PM on 05/06/2013
I think he is saying that the violence is meaningless because there is no real repercussion to the protagonists from the violence, so the audience does not have any impact from the violence. very rarely do you see the protagonist actually hurt or affected by the violence in a real way. if a character is killed, it is done so as a plot point to propel the main character, and thus the character wasn't "real" just a transparent plot device so the audience has no emotional attachment to them. if
I think he is saying that the violence is meaningless because there is no real repercussion to the protagonists from the violence, so the audience does not have any impact from the violence. very rarely do you see the protagonist actually hurt or affected by the violence in a real way. if a character is killed, it is done so as a plot point to propel the main character, and thus the character wasn't "real" just a transparent plot device so the audience has no emotional attachment to them. if this is the case, I don't see Tarantino as an exception to this at all. his violence is in your face, but at the end of the day his characters are more caricatures, or at least his most recent films. Django was violent, but his character was never in any real danger despite all the violence.
7:02PM on 05/06/2013
Well put!!!
Well put!!!
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