Have Movies And TV Gone Too Far? (Part 3)

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Movies And TV 3This week, I’ve been asking you to think about whether movies and TV have gone way too far in promoting violence, unhealthy behaviors, and other visual images that could be damaging to us.

I started this discussion by criticizing the writers and producers of a new Fox TV series called “The Following” which stars Kevin Bacon.

Then, in my second post, I highlighted a disturbing opening to an episode of the TV show “Jake And The Fat Man” in September 1990. 

Flying High

Today, I want to focus on a recent popular movie that has some very graphic scenes of questionable social value.

The movie I’m referring to is “Flight” starring Denzel Washington, with a supporting role by John Goodman.  I recently saw this film, which is about an alcoholic airline pilot who pulls off an amazing rescue of an airplane fatally damaged in flight that is carrying 102 passengers and 6 additional crew.

Denzel Washington’s character manages to pull off this miraculous feat while simultaneously drunk and high on cocaine.  Four passengers and two crew members die once the crippled plane lands, and Denzel’s character is eventually investigated for possible culpability in their deaths.

Graphic Cocaine Scene

The reason I bring this movie to your attention is one particular scene that I found particularly objectionable.  Denzel’s character is sequestered in a hotel room the night before he is scheduled to testify under oath.  He’s placed there by a pilots’ union rep and his attorney to keep him away from alcohol.  He manages, however, to break into the room next door, where he gets totally plastered by consuming all of the alcohol in the room’s refrigerator.

When he’s discovered to be drunk by the union rep and his attorney the following morning, they summon John Goodman’s character to supply him with a quick-fix antidote—cocaine.  In very graphic detail, the movie show’s Denzel snorting several hits of cocaine and then suddenly becoming clear-minded and mentally competent.

Whether this actually works in real life or not, I have no idea.  In fact, I’ve never even seen or heard about this strategy until I saw this movie, and that’s what I’m most concerned about.

Do we really need to display such self-destructive behaviors on our movie screens for everyone to see?  Is this what we call entertainment value?  Sure, it fits the story line, but at what cost?

Do we really want to send the message that you can drink yourself into a stupor and then just do a few lines of cocaine and you’re ready to do some heroic things, like testify under oath or rescue a doomed airliner? 

Is that what we want our young people to learn from watching this type of movie?

If not, then why did the writers and director put it in the film?  What were they thinking?  Or better yet, were they really thinking at all?

Scenes like this are much too common today. And I for one think they’ve gone much too far.

What do you think?  Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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