In reaction to the series of articles by Mark Oakley on this site recently, I’ve revisited an idea I had a long time ago which seems relevant again. There clearly is a problem in British cinemas caused by, for want of a better term, a massive collective of total idiots. They’re ruining it for the rest of us, but I think I have a solution.
What I’m proposing is this; that people have to take an intelligence test which decides what type of film viewing licence they can be granted. This would allow for a great deal of nonsense to be done away with, such as the BBFC ratings system. Once you’ve done your test, you get your licence. You then go to the cinema, tell them what you’d like to see and they check your licence.
Here’s an example of how it might work; someone approaches the Odeon box office and requests a ticket to see There Will Be Blood. Upon inspecting their licence, the clerk tells them “Sorry, this movie has been rated ‘long and subtle’ and your licence says that you’re an idiot who won’t understand it or be able to sit through it without causing a fuss. I can probably let you in to see Superhero Movie. Either that or you can just fuck off and chase traffic for an hour. Are you sure you wouldn’t be better entertained at the Build-A-Bear Factory?”
Asides from making cinema screenings more reasonable, there are also social benefits to be considered. For example, when those 15 year old little shits turn up en masse to see the next British gangster film, they’d get a simple “No, it says on here that if we let you see this film then you’re all going to pretend to talk like East London gangsters, which you aren’t. You either buy a ticket to Alvin & The Chipmunks or you get the fuck out”
It would also be great for horror fans. No more of this ‘torture porn is damaging to society’ bollocks. It would be a simple “Your licence says you’re not a sheep and that you can handle watching this film without wanting to cut your neighbour’s head off. In you go, have fun”. I appreciate that this may put The Daily Mail out of business, but I never said there wouldn’t be casualties.
It has limitless uses. For popular films you could have idiot only screenings so that we can all see the film, but the people who want to talk over it can all talk together. This might be particularly useful for The Dark Knight, where you may get a box office response along the lines of “Well, the next screening is in twenty minutes, but unfortunately your licence says that you’re a numbskull and we’re not willing to subject non-stupid people to you as you may harm their film viewing experience. We do have a numbskull only screening of the film scheduled to start in an hour, which is when the little hand goes round to the next number on your watch. Oh, it’s digital? Of course it is”
Obviously there would be no need to limit people’s viewing unnecessarily. If someone wants to view a film that’s below their intelligence level then that’s fine. Perhaps a quick warning, along the lines of “Sorry sir, just to let you know, this film is about people dancing their problems away. It says on your licence that you’re quite clever so you might find this film dreadful beyond comprehension. Oh, you’re here on a date with someone stupid? I’ll put you in the back row. Good luck”
Obviously, the licence would need to be checked and renewed every so often. The last thing you want is a whiney liberal self-righteous student seeing the same type of films in twenty years time once they’ve swung to the right. But such catastrophes are easily avoided by regular testing and strict enforcement.
Unfortunately it’s too late to implement this idea in time to give many men the Sex & The City get out jail free card we’ve all been looking for (“Sorry love, my licence says I can’t see it. You go ahead though, I’ll just see Iron Man again and meet you back here after”). However, if we’re quick we might be able to get it in place before they knock out the inevitable sequel.
This is the right way for us to move forward as a society.
More from Matt Edwards? Check out all of his confused reviews here.