Saturday, March 31, 2007

Crapalicious Ministry of Misinfo

After catching up with old friends over a lovely lunch last week, my friend and I darted over to see Eddie Murphy’s new movie, “Norbit,” in the theatre. Although I am not overly excited to watch a movie in Kuwait – mostly due to the censorship – I was willing to go because I really missed the whole movie experience which includes the ice cold soda, popcorn, little floppy seats, and other little petty yet memorable details in between.

“Norbit” was classified as a comedy, and I was sure that the Kuwaiti movie mafia would cut a few kissy scenes here and there, but I never thought that they would remove an innocent kiss between the eight year old Eddie Murphy and Thandie Newton as they wed under a large tree with their lollipop rings that sealed their pre-teen and obviously pretend marriage. “All right,” I thought, “I’ll let their pervertedness fly this time.”

But the movie was chopped up beyond belief. They even cut out the part that was featured in the trailer, specifically the 10-15 minute scene at the water park. What I find interesting is that the conversations themselves are sometimes more foul than the actual censored scenes. Such comedies are nothing new to Eddie Murphy, and knowing him and his movies, I would appropriately agree with this movie’s rating of PG-13, “for crude and sexual humor, some nudity and language” (IMDb).

My point is that I got ripped off. Imagine eyeing a pair of pants that have yet to arrive at your favorite store. You wait anxiously and finally, they are flown into Kuwait. After buying the sought after pair in full, you pull them out of the shopping bag only to discover that your oh-so-desired pants have one leg and no, you cannot demand a refund.

That is how I compare movies in Kuwait. You pay more for what you get in the end. I did not know that this country’s injustice wiggled its way into movie theatres as well. It is actually ironic, because the “Bad Guys” i.e. the booming black market of crispy clear DVDs are actually doing good because they are not selling half-assed movies for more than their worth.

All hail the movie black market.

To the Ministry of Misinformation, boo you.

So what can be done? I do not have any practical business background or experience, but I thought about two up-in-the-air options. One solution is to run uncut movies in all theatres; however, every single person would be required to hand over their identification card to confirm that they are of age. Also, all children going to these uncut movies would have to be accompanied by a guardian – parents and/or older siblings/relatives - and not a nanny or five who are usually indifferent and/or prone to be coaxed into ushering the little ones into any movie regardless of the content.

Another answer would be the establishment of privately owned movie theatres. I thought about this and wondered, “Gas stations are now owned by people so why not include movie theatres as well?” The owners would be the ones responsible for censoring the films coming in and not the ministry itself.

PS One of the upsides of the movie was Jackie Wilson’s hit, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher & Higher) mp3.”

PPS I just told my dad about my two anti-censorship solutions. The conversation went like this:

Me: ليش لأ يوبة؟

Baba: على بالج إنتيّ إبّاريس؟ عايشة إبديرة متخلفة و يايتني إبهل منطق؟

Me: بس لازم في حل!

Baba: طقيلج تذكرة باريس...هذا الحل


Oh well!


My kinda MP3's...
Gladys Knight & the Pips - I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Tears of a Clown
The Commodores - Brick House
Stevie Wonder - Signed, sealed, delivered I'm yours

at 4:19 PM

16 Comments

  1. Blogger Dalal posted at 5:54 PM  
    !طقيلج تذكرة باريس...هذا الحل

    I suppose it is .. hehe

    nice blog ;)
  2. Blogger Purgatory posted at 7:51 PM  
    download torrents
  3. Blogger noony posted at 10:07 PM  
    ilba7rain agrab lich..!!
    cool blog..
  4. Blogger EniGma posted at 11:45 PM  
    THAT is why I don't go to the movies in Kuwait!
  5. Blogger 3abeer posted at 1:16 PM  
    I download movies or series I like to see.. but then again I miss going to the movies, it used to be a lovely experience.. I miss the states.

    I love your ideas but alot of officials wouldn't!

    :(

    oh.. and...I second you..

    Boo ministry of "as u called it" misinformation
  6. Blogger skunk posted at 9:14 PM  
    actually watching movies here is like ordering a pair of pants, be you male or female, and customs cuts out the crotch cos crotches make one think evil deviant thoughts :P
  7. Blogger Swair. posted at 10:47 PM  
    after watching 300, i checked it out on IMDb, and saw some goregous scenes, one with the Oracle and another of the Tree of the Dead... both scenes were cut from the movie.. and in the end, the last war scene, they cut off parts of Delious's speech... laish? madri.

    and i seriously want to know what the story is behind the tree of the dead..

    bs hathi el kuwait 9al 3ala el nabi.. ihya deratna oo cinemat'ha ma feeha ili nabi..
  8. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:55 AM  
    dalal: Well, I hope it's a temporary solution! And thanks :)

    purg: I did but somewhere along the way I got lost and the thing didn't start. Hmm...I'll try again.

    noony: Actually that doesn't sound bad. The last time I was in Bahrain was when I was three.

    enigma: It's depressing really...I wish I had that caramel popcorn at home though, it's yummy!

    3abeer: The key word here is "used to be," as was everything else in this lovely country. I miss the states too :/
    And about the officials, well, I really doubt that they would do anything about it because it's a really minor issue as opposed to sniffing around for more green.

    skunk: Lol, well said :P

    swair: I heard about 300's controversy. I heard about the glorious scenes. "Gladiator" is my favorite recent medieval-esque fighting movie. I think I'll settle for its memory rather than see another sliced up footage of gore and violence.

    PS I tried to listen to my songs on another computer and all I hear is the first 1-2 seconds. Is this happening to anyone else or am I actually not able to listen to stuff that I uploaded myself? *harumph*
  9. Blogger xxx Candy xxx posted at 10:28 PM  
    I hate watchin movies in the cinema too...I dunno if they cut less scenes here in the emirates...cest la vie!

    I either get the chinese clear pirated DVDs and watch it with friends ou ensawy jaw cinema at home, or we js watch it fel cinema for the sake of havin a good laugh...
  10. Blogger Traveleer posted at 8:54 AM  
    Well, I disagree with everybody here. If you don't go and watch the movie a second time on DVD, you will never known that it was cut (sometimes it is obvious that they cut some scenes though).

    Also, you may be for changing the rules and the mentality but there are others who like it this way, who think differently and have the right to enjoy a movie not full of half naked men or women and kissing scenes that don't really help the plot or story.

    Cheers
  11. Blogger Erzulie posted at 7:13 PM  
    Candy: Some movies are made to be seen in the theater like "The Ring" or that 300 thing that just came out.

    Traveler: Well, I am particuarly talking about the movies that have pretty obvious - and annoying - cuts.
    And you're right, there are some who would rather watch an uncut movie and not have to deal with any kissing or nude scenes. But instead of fully denying me the right of watching a complete and uncut movie after I have paid the full price, why not have two shows, one cut and one uncut.
    And this is not about changing the mentality. The mentality HAS changed, and to the worse. Ten to fifteen years ago, the Ministry did not censor, for instance, a peck on the cheek between a husband and wife or two five years old sharing an innocent kiss. What we have now is a perversion of films.
  12. Blogger Hazolat posted at 10:49 PM  
    I love reading your posts, as for cencorship, it only reflects our own public opinion and mentality. Unfortunately it leaves much to be desired. Cencorship wasn't as perverted back in the 70s. Whatever will happen to Kuwait in the near black future.

    I'm at the States at the moment, and would gladly ship u any movie u want, no extra charge :-P

    Keep posting :-)
  13. Blogger The Aggressor posted at 11:05 AM  
    I've been resisting the urge to watch 300 at the KNCC theatres because i hate to watch deleted movies. I like to have my sandwich whole, without the sides chopped off!

    Long Live eMule!!!
  14. Blogger Erzulie posted at 9:42 PM  
    Hazolat: I don't know what will happen to Kuwait in, as you said, the near black future. Maybe we'll end up watching the trailers only...And how it was in the 70's is incomparable to the appalling state of Kuwait today, in all aspects. And I would request a few movies from you but thankfully, a man with pirated DVDs took shelter in my office's kitchen; I grabbed a few movies from him before heading out :P~

    aggressor: Well, depends on the sides. If it's that crappy Wonderbread-ish fake stuff, I'd rather have my sides cut off. But if the sandwich has a scrumptiously fresh frame sprinkled with nuts, then I'd have my sides left alone.
    Back to the movie dilemma...yeah, I bought "Freedom Writers" and "Osama." I hope they're crispy clear otherwise I'm demanding my 1.500 KD back :P~ And I'm going to watch 300 tonight!
  15. Blogger jumping translocation posted at 9:01 PM  
    On Kuwait censors' board - why must they be so stuck up and silly?
    For the life of me I have a hard time imagining how they must make love to their partner in bed. Or are they plain celibate? We thought as much.

    Ah, so now we all know unless they manage to censor this too.
  16. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:29 AM  
    jumping: Well, I don't think that the board itself is stuck up or silly. They're just doing their job and if one or two does stands up and says, "I am NOT going to cut this part out!" he/she will be fired and another puppet will fill his/her place. Also, I don't think that whoever chops up such films truly appreciates the beauty of butchered movies like "The English Patient" (I think it was a little bit more than an hour when it arrived in Kuwait's movie theater). I don't think that one's job affects their lovemaking nature. In fact, I personally think that if someone is set in their publicly black/white character, they are probably animals in bed i.e. they vent out their frustration between the four posted platform.

    One solution may be to privately invest in a psuedo-movie theater, half-store and half-cinema. But I'll still miss the whole big popcorn and coke fiasco of actually going to the movies :>

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