Movies have for a long time been one of the greatest sources of entertainment throughout the world, representing a reflection of ourselves that can either be autobiographical, fantastical at times or even challenge our biggest cultural taboos. However, times have drastically changed since the dawn of the film era.
Many films throughout cinematic history have succeeded greatly when it comes to the latter, whether it be scenes depicting sexually offensive situations, cultural appropriation under the guise of satire or complete plots that some might even deem as racist.
Today’s cultural climate has ushered in an era of moviegoers that are in complete control of what makes it in front of their screens. For example, the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog film infamously received flack for the lead character’s CGI design in the initial 2019 trailer, so much so that the whole film was pushed back to 2020 in order for proper edits to be made that fans would approve of. On a more serious level, director Ridley Scott went back and reshot multiple scenes for his 2017 crime thriller All the Money in the World just one month before its premiere after lead star Kevin Spacey was infamously wrapped into the #MeToo movement following sexual misconduct allegations still being fought today. Veteran actor Christopher Plummer would go on to reshoot Spacey’s scenes in just eight days, garnering himself an Oscar nomination in the process.
The conversation on whether or not many well-known-yet-controversial films would have even gotten made today came to a head recently surrounding the 2004 film White Chicks. Starring dynamic brother duo Shawn & Marlon Wayans, the satirical comedy sees the two as cops who use whiteface to go undercover as the titular characters. The film was a box office smash and has gained cult status over the past two decades.
However, Marlon himself had an interesting thing to add when recently asked by Buzzfeed if White Chicks could be made in 2022. Read an excerpt from his response below:
“It’s sad that society is in this place where we can’t laugh anymore. I ain’t listening to this damn generation. I ain’t listening to these folks: These scared-ass people, these scared executives. Y’all do what you want to do? Great. I’m still gonna tell my jokes the way I tell them. And if you want to make some money, jump on board. And if not, then I’ll find a way to do it myself. I know my audience. My audience comes to my shows every weekend and they leave feeling great and laughing. One thing about the Wayans, we’ve always told the worst joke the best way.”
While the argument can be made that whiteface should be treated with as much intolerance as blackface, is there still room for dark humor? Better yet, is there still such thing as laughing at our own pain anymore?
Revisit Hollywood history and take a look at 11 films that were hits during their time but would find it hard to get off the cutting room floor in today’s era of cancel culture:
11 Popular-Yet-Racy Films That Would Never Have Been Made In 2022 was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Gone With The Wind (1939)
Even with making Hattie McDaniel the first Black Oscar winner, Gone With The Wind unfortunately gave us a romanticized version of the Civil War era that still feels like a slap in the face to Black America.
2. Silver Streak (1976)
One word: Blackface!
3. Porky’s (1981)
Hyper-masculinity and misogyny wrapped up in a nutshell, made especially for WASPs.
4. Soul Man (1986)
We can’t even…..like, how was this even made?!
5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Driving Miss Daisy is sweet in theory and overall theme, but the idea of Morgan Freeman chauffeuring around a white woman, and the movie is told from her perspective, seems very tone deaf even for the late 80s/early 90s.
6. True Lies (1994)
One of the best action flicks of all time, yet we doubt the Middle Eastern terrorist plot paired with fighter planes would fly in a post-9/11 world.
7. Pocahontas (1995)
Disney did their best to show children the downfalls of racial tension and how that can affect the pursuit of true love. Unfortunately, the classic animated film glossed over tragedies that the real-life Pocahontas faced and revisioned the truth behind her relationship to John Smith.
8. American Beauty (1999)
From the actual canceling of Kevin Spacey to the unsettling plot centered around an illegal affair with a teenage girl, nothing about American Beauty would appeal to audiences today.
9. Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
The scene above is mild compared to some of the crude jokes made at every turn of this parody flick. A guilty pleasure, indeed!
10. I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (2007)
Sexual identity has gone though strides within the past 15 years alone, so we’re willing to bet that Chuck And Larry would face huge flack by the LGBTQIA+ community if they attempted a remake this playing-gay buddy flick.
11. Tropic Thunder (2008)
Robert Downey Jr. is seen as a Marvel legend today, but we are still giving him a collective side-eye for how dedicated he was to this role of portraying an afro-rocking, jive-talking Black man.