Utah’s Cleanest Home Videos

We Utah County residents love movies. We like them on our own terms, though. We’ll only watch them if they’re cheap and clean. Well, unless they’re really popular. Then we’ll watch them no matter what. But we’ll walk out halfway through!

For evidence of the “cheap” thing, let us examine Movies 8, from a distance and with protective eyewear. To watch a film there, you must pay $1.50. This is not a lot of money; many local residents save that much simply by undertipping the server every time they eat out. But you get what you pay for at Movies 8. The projection technology is not state-of-the-art — sometimes employees just stand at the front and act out the movie — and there are always a lot of teen-agers there, being loud and teen-agey.

But despite the conditions, Movies 8 is always packed. Why? Because it is cheap. On Tuesdays, when all showings are only 50 cents, Movies 8 is even more packed. Even terrible movies that no one wants to see are sold out, which must send the wrong message to the filmmakers. For example, Freddie Prinze Jr. thinks he’s popular, and it’s Provo’s fault!

What I don’t get is that there are people — actual people whom YOU MIGHT KNOW — who will wait until Tuesday to see a movie because they save $1 that way. I have to assume they’re looking at it in terms of percentages. Fifty cents instead of $1.50 is a savings of 66 percent. If movies cost $1,000 and you found a way to get in for only $333, then yeah, you’d probably do it.

But we’re talking about figures of less than $2 here. I honestly believe that if movies were a nickel six days a week and a penny on Tuesdays, a lot of people in Utah County would wait until Tuesday to go to the movies. And then they would walk out anyway, because they were offended by the content, because they didn’t bother to do any homework before paying their hard-earned penny to see a film.

Which brings us to the other way we prefer movies on our own terms, which is that we like to edit the #*@& out of them.

Since 1998, there has been controversy surrounding Utah County businesses such as Clean Flicks that will charge you a small fee for cleaning up your videotapes. Is this legal? Is it ethical? Does a movie that was dumb anyway become less dumb when you’ve cut the swearing out of it? So far, everyone who has spoken on the subject has been wrong.

First, the filmmakers. They say cutting the naughty bits out of their movies violates their artistic integrity. Poppycock, I say, twice; poppycock! These people have no problem with their movies being edited for TV or airlines. What’s the difference? They make money from that. The only problem they REALLY have with us editing videos is that they’re not getting any money out of it.

Second, the consumers. They say they won’t stand for filth and obscenity, and they have the right to edit their own personal copies of movies however they see fit. This is true. However, buying a movie and then having someone edit it only sends one message to the filmmaker: Someone bought my movie! Buy a movie and then edit it, burn it, stomp on it or eat it — you’ve still bought the movie and put a few more dollars in the pocket of the monster we call “Hollywood,” which will use the money to kill puppies and provide schoolchildren with crack and all those other things “Hollywood” does.

We’re not very consistent with the editing, anyway. When local companies edit “Titanic,” they remove the nude scene and the sex scene, but they leave in the frozen corpses bobbing in the water. They also leave in Billy Zane’s laughable performance as Kate Winslet’s fiance. But I guess we all have different ideas of what constitutes “obscenity,” don’t we?

At this point, movies were being edited as described here: You would bring in your VHS copy, and they would physically cut out the part of the tape with the boobies. It began specifically for "Titanic," then expanded to cover other films. Later, the technology moved to DVDs, with software created that would make your copy of the movie automatically skip the naughty parts. Eventually, pretty much all the incarnations of movie editing were declared illegal and shut down by the copyright holders.