From the "Almost too ridiculous to be true" file -- Dr. Stanton Glantz spent the last five years of his life watching 775 American films and noting which ones contain some form of tobacco use. (Dig the nifty pie charts!) Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco would like to see these films slapped with an R rating. "What we're simply asking for is that smoking be treated by Hollywood as seriously as it treats offensive language." Glantz has an ulterior motive -- he knows that R rated films don't rake in as much cash as their PG-13 brothers, so his ultimate goal is to convince studios to stop making films with smokers. A 13 year old can watch the hero blow away the villain at point blank range with an uzi, just as long as he doesn't light one up afterwards.
This is insanity. It's almost as ridiculous as the over-reaction to the Janet Jackson costume reveal. Yet another example of the crass christianization of America, where we become good citizens that don't smoke, drink, fuck, or vote Democrat. Just as seeing a breast is not going to encourage kids to perform in a half-time show, seeing Ingrid Bergman smoking in Notorious or Casablanca is not going to have them racing to the corner store for a pack of Lucky Strikes.
One of the finest moments in American cinema is centered around smoking. In the final scene of Now, Voyager, Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes, hands one to Bette Davis who says "Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon when we have the stars." Quick pan up to the heavens -- sheer beauty.
Surely Dr. Glantz could find better use of his time than campaigning against 102 Dalmatians. At the moment, studios don't seem to be buying into his suggestions. Steve Elzer of Sony Pictures said "We are aware of the health hazards posed by smoking and while we do not advocate our filmmakers to use smoking in our films, we can not endorse guidelines that promote censorship or restrict creative freedom." That's somewhat of a relief.