Vanityfair.com‘s Julian Sancton noted yesterday that a brief scene of violence in The Men Who Stare at Goats recalls the recent Fort Hood tragedy. The scene (actually a self-contained clip in a montage) shows a disturbed soldier running amok in Fort Bragg, firing at troops during their morning exercises. Sancton is wondering if Overture Films should omit the scene from future prints.
HE verdict: It happened, move on, let it ride. No one is going to blame Goats for goading the grief. All chickenshit Monday-morning-quarterback censorship calls need to be ignored. It was lame for filmmakers to talk about digitally removing the twin towers in cityscape shots used for films shot in 2000 and early ’01. I was watching the Three Days of the Condor Bluray the other day, and it has shots of the towers and the World Trade Center lobby that are truly wonderful for their time-capsule quality. Don’t erase — watch films in their proper context.
“The associations are inevitable, and they’re not only distracting but detractive to the movie,” Sancton writes. ” When Michael Jackson died, Universal cut a scene from Bruno in which Sacha Baron Cohen rifles through Latoya Jackson’s Blackberry to find Michael’s number. It was the right move to cut it, not because it would have been tasteless — that’s never stopped Cohen — but because the joke would have fallen flat.
“But then Michael died two weeks before Bruno‘s release, so there was time to swap the prints before distributing them. Logistically, it would be much more difficult to alter The Men Who Stare at Goats, now that the film is already in theaters.