« on: June 04, 2015, 12:29:02 am »
I'd like to add that a lot of people skipped over some very highly rated shows of the mid 80s that were clearly steeped in sex and violence.
I'll draw your attention especially to that last one. A show that portrayed suicide, protagonist murdering various people, domestic violence, all wrapped around a male sex symbol and quite a few shower scenes.
From an objective viewpoint, it's very, very hard to say that American TV hasn't gotten progressively better over the years. Outside of a few rough spots, the evolution from Variety shows, and simplistic formulaic fair of the 50s and 60s, into shows like M.A.S.H. in the 70's into those aforementioned shows of the 80s, into the 90s (with some tame and safe: Full House, Fresh Prince etc. and some less so).
It's pretty widely accepted that the U.S. is sitting pretty in a Golden Era of TV, with shows like The Wire being allowed to be made, and aired, which yes, isn't family friendly by any means, but its cultural impact or quality shouldn't be denied.
As for movies. Odds are, you're watching the wrong films. There are so many movies made, all over the world, don't like Hollywood? Then turn into places like England/GB, Germany, or Scandinavia, and look at their output, France, Italy, Asia, etc. There's something out there for everyone, and we have access to it nowadays. In addition, it's much easier to make, and edit films nowadays, meaning if you're looking for spectacle, even from non-U.S. sources, you can get it, just as easily as you can get access to art-house comedies or drama, with no oversight, just as the director and cast intended them to be portrayed.
All that said, there's standouts from the 30s and 40s. But there's standouts from every era. There was only one John Ford, and one Orson Welles, but there's also only one Christopher Nolan, and Terrence Malick (and yes, I chose those names on purpose).
Edit: Also, no the MPAA doesn't use X anymore. They switched to NC-17 in 1990. There's only a handful of notable X films in the 60s, and 70s before the rating got picked up by the porn industry. After that, most movies that were ultra-violent, or extremely sexually charged (or both) didn't get ratings, and therefor got limited release. It should be noted, the two biggest films of that type, were both released during those "wholesome" years we're discussing here.
We could also get into a discussion on the Hays Code, and how films made prior (late 20s to mid 30s) were way more violent and racy than they were for the next decade afterwards. Also, we could note how some films (Biblical deceptions on-screen) were able to undermine the code. If one wants to discuss movies, then a little bit of history is usually required, because sex and violence in movies isn't a straight line. It shifts with the societal norms of a country. What was Rated X in the 60s (Midnight Cowboy) wouldn't be now (and isn't, it's now officially R). Whereas Baby Face, from the early 30s wouldn't have seen a release for 20 years if it wasn't made when it was (it's about a prostitute who sleeps her way to the top, by the way).