If you are looking for somewhere to shoot your movie about a chain-smoking homosexual nudist who stabs people for using foul language, I don’t recommend heading to Florida.
It seems that Florida state representative Stephen Precourt doesn’t want films shooting in his state that feature what he calls “nontraditional family values.” In fact, Precourt is so committed to this goal that he is proposing a $75 million incentive package for filmmakers who come to Florida to make “traditional” family films.
According to the bill, to be eligible for the incentive package, films would have to meet the following criteria: “A certified production determined by the Commissioner of Film and Entertainment, with the advice of the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, to be family-friendly … Family-friendly productions are those that have cross-generational appeal; would be considered suitable for viewing by children age five or older … and do not exhibit or imply any act of smoking, sex, nudity, nontraditional family values, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.”
Precourt further explained his position to The Palm Beach Post. “Think of it as like Mayberry,” Precourt said. “That’s when I grew up – the ’60s. That’s what life was like. I want Florida to be known for making those kinds of movies: Disney movies for kids and all that stuff. Like it used to be, you know?”
Yes, life was exactly like Mayberry back in the 60s. Locking alcoholics up in jail was a laugh riot, there were no black people in the United States and at the end of the day, we all learned valuable life lessons.
When will people learn that the good old days never existed? Life was not any better in the 60s. There were race riots. Women could either stay at home raising the kids or they could take a low paying job where they battled against rampant sexism and an impenetrable glass ceiling. Not to mention the fact that soldiers were dying left and right in Vietnam and the ones who did make it home were spit at and called baby killers.
So fuck your good old days, Stephen Precourt. I think I prefer living in a world with a black President, an Academy Award winning female director and people who don’t approve of the war, but still respect and honor the soldiers involved. Not to mention a world with Chipotle, HD TVs with 500 channels and an Internet full of porn.
I have no problem with making movies specifically for kids, but it pisses me off knowing that you only want to see movies that feature some mythical nuclear family that never really existed. It’s pretty narrow-minded to exclude any movies that might feature divorced or (gasp) even gay parents raising children in a loving environment, which is exactly what your bill seems to be suggesting. But those types of families didn’t exist in good ol’ Mayberry, and historians all agree that society went downhill the moment The Andy Griffith Show was canceled, so by all means, let’s go back to making traditional family films.
And don’t think I’m reading too much into this by focusing on gay couples. Precourt made sure to clarify that he didn’t consider them to be the types of families he wants to see in movie theaters. He said that the term “nontraditional family values” doesn’t specifically refer to homosexuality, but made sure to add, “That would not be the kind of thing I’d say that we want to invest public dollars in.”
I really don’t trust guys like Stephen Precourt. I mean, I don’t trust politicians in general, but I really don’t trust the ones who focus on family values. Inevitably, they are the ones who get caught screwing an intern, hiring high dollar call girls or giving secret signals to the guy one stall over in the men’s room.
Besides, if Precourt is really so concerned with protecting the youth, maybe he should focus less on what’s happening in Hollywood and more on what’s happening in his own state. Sure, we tend to think of Florida as a state where old people go to die, but it’s also the setting for countless Girls Gone Wild Spring Break moments. Maybe those are the movies Precourt should try to stop from being filmed in his state. Also, have you ever noticed that every bizarre story about a meth lab exploding or some moron getting eaten by their pet alligator always takes place in Florida?
If you think I’m exaggerating, there was a story just this week about a 37-year-old woman named Megan Mariah Barnes who crashed her 1995 Ford Thunderbird into a pickup truck full of people. The day before, Barnes had been convicted of driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license, but she was back out on the road again nonetheless. She was on her way to meet her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit, so while her ex-husband steered the car from the passenger seat, Barnes attempted to shave her pubes at 45 miles per hour. Surprisingly, that didn’t work out so well.
The officer on the scene summed it up best.
“If I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Trooper Gary Dunick said. “About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot … who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, ‘Nothing will ever beat this.’ Well, this takes it.”
Andy may have never had to deal with this kind of bullshit in Mayberry, but I can’t help but think Barnes’ accident would make for one hell of a scene in a movie. It’s just too bad they can’t film it in Florida.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.