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"Movie Mask Player
November 27, 2001 7:00 PM   Subscribe

"Movie Mask Player is software that gives you the choice to watch any movie at your comfort level. If you don't want to hear profanity, view graphic violence, or see nudity or sexual content in the movies you watch, then mask (remove) those scenes with Movie Mask. You are now in control over the movies you choose to watch." I can't wait to see what it does to the first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan."
posted by KLAX (33 comments total)

 
If they can come up with something to let me add more nudity, sign me up.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:05 PM on November 27, 2001


On one hand, I think this is great, because it allows me the freedom to watch as much gore and sex as I want, while someone else can limit their intake because of their puritan ways.

On the other hand, those with puritan ways will be even more disconnected from reality. Saving Private Ryan was about war. War without violence makes absolutely no sense, because it doesn't happen. (Unless you count this countries current war on words.)
posted by benjh at 7:18 PM on November 27, 2001


A few years ago a British company was trying out a parental chip for TVs. It was supposed to block nudity, the problem was it also blocked Murray Walker (the recently retired F1 commentator.) (Saw it on Beyond 2000 I think)
posted by riffola at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2001


I'm wondering about the possibilties of programming plug-ins for this thing.

Daydreams about getting filthy rich by selling the world's first working "Affleck Filter".
posted by Optamystic at 7:21 PM on November 27, 2001


the dumb thing with movie mask is that you have to download the mask files from their server. thus:

1. you probably have to register personal information for this thing,
2. thus they know what movies you watch when you download the masks and probably sell this information to discriminating buyers,
3. and i bet they don't have masks for all films (let alone most).
posted by moz at 7:26 PM on November 27, 2001


Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses can be only months away. Somewhere up there, Douglas Adams is laughing.
posted by holgate at 8:31 PM on November 27, 2001


well, if they could've added it (in "real time") to the news in England, it'd have saved the govt. a bundle.

Though honestly it's always seemed to me that people are all too capable of blinding themselves to things they don't want to see.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2001


God damn it, you don't get to pick and choose what you want to see in a movie! It's not a buffet line, it is (or should be) a work of art, and a sufficiently well-crafted work of art has an internal integrity that you and I don't get to fuck around with. If you're squeamish about violence, you don't watch a violent movie with the violence removed, you watch something else until you're ready for the other. It bothers me that people think art can come to them the same way a hamburger does, hold the pickles, hold the onions.

Even "bad" movies deserve not to be dissected in order to preserve the delicate sensibilities of Joe or Jane Q. Public. It's not about the sanctity of one movie or another, it's about basic respect for someone else's creation.
posted by Hildago at 9:17 PM on November 27, 2001


Bravo, Hildago!
posted by rushmc at 9:30 PM on November 27, 2001


Yeah, but the Affleck thing's still got potential, right?
posted by Optamystic at 9:34 PM on November 27, 2001


Well, someone's got to stop him before he ruins Daredevil, so yeah.
posted by Hildago at 9:47 PM on November 27, 2001


I love it when greedy people come out with machines designed to help ignorant people stay ignorant. Who can blame them, though: what a huge market! It's like attempting to perpepuate the "safety" of childhood, so that you can live out your entire life without ever being subjected to it. Gated communities, Internet filters, Indecency acts, and now this.

What's really ironic is that these very same people will argue that stem cells shouldn't be cloned because "it's destroying life". Sorry, senator.
posted by Poagao at 10:03 PM on November 27, 2001


This would be more useful if they had more categories of stuff to be blocked. Here are things I don't want to see:

Nose picking; nails scratching chalkboards; people sharing chewed gum; people kissing dogs; people showing chewed food in their mouths; cockroaches.
posted by bobo123 at 10:08 PM on November 27, 2001


I'd be interested in a filter that removed Jake Lloyd, Jar Jar Binks, Ewoks and the rest of Leia's bikini.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:15 PM on November 27, 2001


Whichever way you slice it, Daredevil is going to be about a blind, crime-fighting lawyer with super human hearing. Even Ben Affleck can't break something that's already broken.
posted by Doug at 10:29 PM on November 27, 2001


Hasn't someone tried removing Jar Jar already? Hmmm. I'm half convinced that comic books ought to be animated....
posted by Charmian at 2:01 AM on November 28, 2001


How about a vomit filter? I've always thought "V" should be a separate ratings category. I hate watching other people vomit.
posted by luser at 4:49 AM on November 28, 2001


Thomas Bowdler for television! "Those expressions are omitted which can not with propriety be read aloud in the family."
posted by Carol Anne at 4:51 AM on November 28, 2001


Bowdler also edited (omitting passages of an irreligious or immoral tendency) selections from the Old Testament (1822)...

I think that just about says it all. Accept art as it is or move on, people.
posted by UnReality at 6:40 AM on November 28, 2001


luser: How about a vomit filter? I've always thought "V" should be a separate ratings category. I hate watching other people vomit.

Gah. I was going to say exactly that. When did it get trendy to show stomach contents actually coming from people's mouths? I'm still haunted by the end of Requiem for a Dream.

*shudder*
posted by jennyb at 7:30 AM on November 28, 2001


Sensitive moviegoers need full disclosure of disturbing material. While recovering from nasal and sinus surgery, I made the mistake of going to see "A Fish Called Wanda." The scene in which Kevin Kline stuffed French fries up Michael Palin's nose had me moaning and writhing in sympathetic agony.
posted by Carol Anne at 8:05 AM on November 28, 2001


Actually I think the Jar-Jar idea is a pretty good one. If I could get a "Phantom Edit" filter for sw:ep1 I would.

You all sound like all movies are works of art. Sure, it *can* be an art form, but it's typically just entertainment and commerce. Are you saying that Burger King shouldn't offer any choice because that flame-broiled whopper is perfect as it stands on the menu?

Have you ever seen Pretty Woman in the edited-for-TV version? It's been years for me, but it's interesting that the standard release has lines like "What do I look like, Cinder-f***ing-rella?" whereas the TV release had the same scene without the profanity. Obviously, it was shot twice, for different venues. The director must have realized that there's some value in removing the language, since it was actually shot twice, not just dubbed like most TV films.

Which is the "artistically correct" version? Does only the director (or producer or screenwriter) have a right to decide?
posted by terceiro at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2001


Does only the director (or producer or screenwriter) have a right to decide?

In short-- yes.
Are you for banning books? Is it accaeptable to just take a black magic marker to parts that are deemed "offensive"? There are a great many books that are tripe, and should never see print.
As for your 'Pretty Woman' scenario, I've never seen the TV version, and regret seeing the regular one, but can you be sure that it wasn't just an alternate take that was DDR'd ?
posted by tj at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2001


Hildago: God damn it, you don't get to pick and choose what you want to see in a movie! It's not a buffet line, it is (or should be) a work of art, and a sufficiently well-crafted work of art has an internal integrity that you and I don't get to fuck around with.

TJ: Are you for banning books? Is it accaeptable to just take a black magic marker to parts that are deemed "offensive"?

Am I allowed to skip bits when I'm reading and I'm bored? May I get up and use the restroom without pausing the movie? If my wife just wants me to read one chapter of a book because the character reminds her of someone we know, is that OK, or am I required to read the whole thing?

Hate to break this to you artists, but once art gets created, people are free to use it, enjoy it, make fun of it any darn way they want. If I want to close my eyes during that gruesome but oh-so-artistically-necessary shot of Mel Gibson's butt in Lethal Weapon IX, there's nothing Joe Michael Bay can do about it.

In other words, if people are watching a movie for their own entertainment, and would rather see it without blood, tits, swear words, and/or Ben Affleck, who the hell are you to say they can't? Or shouldn't?

To take an extreme case, let's say I wanted to watch a version of Hamlet with no violence. It would make no sense, it would totally distort the ending. But how would that hurt anyone but me? The original Hamlet would still be there, unharmed, ready for anyone who wants to read, see, or perform it.
posted by straight at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2001


Even "bad" movies deserve not to be dissected in order to preserve the delicate sensibilities of Joe or Jane Q. Public. It's not about the sanctity of one movie or another, it's about basic respect for someone else's creation.

And yet, the keepers of this art gladly alter their creations to get it played on airplanes or on television; or the director decides that a word was a poor choice and edits it out of the 20th Anniversary edition; or the director decides he was screwed by his production company and gets a director's cut released; or a DVD is produced in which one of the special features is the ability to add deleted scenes to the movie while playing.

And we all shout out in support when someone alters Episode I to make a better movie.

It is art, and when being evaluated as art only the creators product should be considered. Movies are also a commodity and if a buyer wants it altered to their preferences, I don't see why anybody should care.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:57 AM on November 28, 2001


To take an extreme case, let's say I wanted to watch a version of Hamlet with no violence. It would make no sense, it would totally distort the ending.

In a sense, you're backing my point here. Why bother? Go watch something else. I do think that this is better than the crappy editing that they do for TV versions, but I still fail to see the point of this. (and Affleck was da bomb in Phantoms, yo)
posted by tj at 12:50 PM on November 28, 2001


Obfusciatrist, Straight, Terceiro -- Nobody is saying that the director can't change his movie whenever he wants to. What I personally object to is outside sources changing a picture in order to make it marketable to a wider audience. It's the commoditization of art, which is certainly a battle that's already been lost, but will never stop being worthy of scorn. Furthermore, let's not confuse getting up to go to the bathroom without pressing pause with a program specifically designed to remove content from a movie. In the first example, you are indeed hurting only yourself. In the second example, you are taking creative control away from the creators of the movie.

I've also got a problem with moviegoers who don't care whether what they're watching is good, so long as it keeps them occupied for a while. I don't consider this an elitist attitude, but I recognize that others probably do. To my way of thinking, movies ought to exist in their intended form, and chopping them to bits for television or for censorship is an unnatural act. This seems intuitive to most people when it comes to something like Schindler's List, but seems ridiculous when applied to, I dunno, Dude, Where's My Car?. Who cares about maintaining the integrity of something so light-weight and meaningless anyway? Well, I would argue that logical consistency requires the defense of what is commonly called 'art' as well as what is commonly called 'trash'. This means that yes, even Mel Gibson butt-shots are inviolate.

And as for why we are supposed to care, I think it's because we ought to always resist the commercial sphere's encroachment on the ability of artists to express themselves, just as a matter of principle. When you give people the power to simply ignore what they find disagreable, you really knock the teeth out of art itself. Having the opportunity and the technology to alter something to your preference doesn't necessarily make it right to do so. It's a very old argument.
posted by Hildago at 12:59 PM on November 28, 2001


In a sense, you're backing my point here. Why bother? Go watch something else.

One of my points is, why do you care so much about what I watch? Maybe I love Shakespeare's dialogue but hate his plots. I can just as easily criticize your taste in movies and ask "Why do you bother?" and tell you to go do something else. Why are you so hot to take away people's ability to enjoy a movie or book or anything however the heck they want to?
posted by straight at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2001


Furthermore, let's not confuse getting up to go to the bathroom without pressing pause with a program specifically designed to remove content from a movie. In the first example, you are indeed hurting only yourself. In the second example, you are taking creative control away from the creators of the movie.

Did you even read the webpage being discussed? What we're talking about is exactly the same as getting up and leaving or closing your eyes during the gross part.

For me the issue is viewer choice. Unless you think there are certain works of art that should be mandatory (in which case I've got a counter-list for you that I almost guarantee you won't like), then people have a choice whether to watch all, some, or none of any movie they want.

If an artist makes something and I don't want to see it, then too bad for him (and maybe too bad for me). But that's my choice. If he's going to put it out there in the public square, then he's giving me the opportunity to pay exactly as much or little attention to it as I please.

The only problem I have is if you have a government or big corporation saying "you're not allowed to see or hear what this artist has to say." That I would be opposed to, but that's very different from what this technology is offering.
posted by straight at 1:11 PM on November 28, 2001


If an artist makes something and I don't want to see it, then too bad for him (and maybe too bad for me). But that's my choice. If he's going to put it out there in the public square, then he's giving me the opportunity to pay exactly as much or little attention to it as I please.

OK, but what this thing does, if I'm getting the point here, is that before you've even seen any of the filth, muck, porn, whatever.. it gets edited out.

I just don't see the point of this thing for adults, and if you have kids you should pay more attention to what you're watching when they're around. All I can think is V-Chip 2 Electric Bugaloo.
posted by tj at 9:07 AM on November 29, 2001


OK, but what this thing does, if I'm getting the point here, is that before you've even seen any of the filth, muck, porn, whatever.. it gets edited out.

Yeah, it's like a TiVo, instead of manually fast-forwarding through commercials, the TiVo can blip past them automatically. Instead of me having to close my eyes during that awful scene of Mel Gibson's butt, the machine blips past it for me.

I just don't see the point of this thing for adults

Believe it or not, there are adults who like movies, but don't like listening to profanity or watching nudity or violence. Not that they can't handle it, or will somehow be emotionally scarred if they are exposed to it, it's just that they don't *like* it.

And the fact is, 95% of the time, taking it out makes very little difference to the movie. They've been doing it on TV for years, without giving you any choice. This product gives the viewer the choice to watch what he or she wants. How can you be against that?
posted by straight at 9:14 AM on November 30, 2001


Do you agree, that there are movies that the violence and/or profanity is very well done, and appropriate. I'm thinking of Goodfellas in particular here.
posted by tj at 12:40 PM on November 30, 2001


Do you agree, that there are movies that the violence and/or profanity is very well done, and appropriate. I'm thinking of Goodfellas in particular here.

There's all sorts of rap music that is well done, but that I don't enjoy listening to. Just because it's well done/appropriate doesn't mean people should be forced to see or hear it if they don't like it.

There are certainly movies where violence and profanity are so much a part of the movie that it doesn't work without them and if you don't enjoy that sort of thing it's highly unlikely you'd enjoy the movie at all.

But if someone wanted to try watching an edited version of Goodfellas (maybe just for the humor value of seeing what a mess it was with the violence and profanity bleeped out, or maybe even to try to demonstrate how necessary they are in that movie), why shouldn't they have the ability to do that? You might think it's stupid, but then I might think all sorts of things you like are stupid.
posted by straight at 2:15 PM on November 30, 2001


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