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10 Movies That Were Banned for Crazy Reasons

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Folks have pretty strong opinions on censorship, and rightfully so. The decision of whether to deny access to an artistic work isn’t one to be taken lightly. But depending on the reasons behind the ban requests, many of these judgments could be avoided altogether — like, for example, a fabric fundamentalist wishing to ban Sesame Street because they don’t believe felt should be sentient. They, of course, would be laughed out of the room before a review board even considered the motion. However, there are more than a few cases where a film was banned in entire countries for reasons as ludicrous as that.

Fans of author Eric Jonrosh know that his acclaimed novel The Spoils Before Dying, the subject of IFC’s new series, was banned in over 73 countries for being a “forbidden story of sex, drugs, murder…and jazz.” Turns out Jonrosh is in good company. Here are 10 movies that were banned in various parts of the world for a variety of odd reasons.

10. 2012 (North Korea)

We all know by now that “North Korea” and “wanton censorship” go hand-in-hand, but the country’s reasons for banning the goofy disaster flick 2012 go beyond an unflattering depiction of a police state. The year 2012 coincides with the 100th birthday of former North Korean leader and Kim Jong-un’s grandpappy, Kim Il-sung. Not only that, 2012 supposedly marked “the year for opening the Grand Gates to becoming a rising superpower,” so any negative depiction of North Korea’s banner year would have been blasphemous.


9. Laurel and Hardy’s Scram! (The Netherlands)

Why would a swingin’ and free-wheelin’ European country like The Netherlands want to keep something as wholesome as a Laurel and Hardy movie from innocent eyes? Well, it turns out the scene in which the leads get inadvertently blotto with a married woman and flop onto a bed together fully clothed was deemed too scandalous for 1932 audiences. Thankfully, the Dutch have relaxed a bit since then.


8. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Scandinavia)

After seeing our gurgling, unearthly pal get chased and prodded by federal agents, no one comes out of a screening of E.T. feeling all warm and fuzzy about the adults in the movie. And in 1982, Norway, Finland, and Sweden were worried that the distrust and animosity that Elliot and his cohorts have toward grown-ups would’ve triggered a full-scale revolt by the nations’ legion of Nordic ankle-biters. Fearing that generational relations would tense, the Swedish Board of Film Censorship banned kids under the age of 12 from seeing the international blockbuster when it was released.


7. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (China)

Seamlessly blending animated characters with live-action actors and sets, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a technological triumph and financial smash when it hit theaters in 1988. Unfortunately, kids in China didn’t get a chance to enjoy Bob Hoskins as a bitter gumshoe haunted by the death of his brother: The country has a standing ban on mixing cel-animated and computer-generated characters with on-screen live action. It’s apparently due to their anti-competitive stance on foreign-sourced animation, which doesn’t make it sound any less crazy.

6. Monkey Business (Ireland)

Although you’d probably find more chaos in a modern-day Bounty commercial, the most riotous, anarchic behavior you could possibly imagine in 1931 was found in none other than a Marx Brothers movie. And even with the downtime of Harpo playing his harp or another lifeless Zeppo subplot, the country of Ireland was worried about the potential for societal upheaval that Groucho and the gang would cause and had officially banned the film all the way up until the 21st Century.


5. Sex and the City 2 (United Arab Emirates)

In defense of the Middle East, most folks in and around Mesopotamia aren’t aware that the Sex and the City gals would sooner influence an Appletini-fueled brunch blackout than widespread revolution. But as the film depicts the sex-crazed afternoon-drunks gallivanting across the Abu Dhabi desert, the United Arab Emirates felt compelled to ban what they considered to be dangerously liberated women — likely based on the country’s tenuous grasp of what feminism actually entails.


4. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Thailand, Utah)

Only in a Kevin Smith movie could Seth Rogen be in danger of influencing sexual behavior, and yet the National Film Board of Thailand had to ask “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!?!” before releasing Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Despite being a punchline for international sexcapades, Thailand feared the movie would motivate cash-strapped young people into making pornography to make financial ends meet and banned the film. Ironically, about as many people saw it in theaters over there as they did here. One place that few people saw it was Utah, where the Megaplex Theaters chain refused to show it.


3. The Simpsons Movie (Burma)

As the debate continues over whether to call it Burma or Myanmar, the country famous for its fermented seafood apparently has a problem not with stomach cramping, but with red and yellow color combinations in its movie releases. So much so that The Simpsons Movie, rife with those very colors, was banned from release in Burma. Some theorize it has to do with a similar color scheme used by rebels, but whatever the reason, that’s a huge hassle over something as insignificant as Roy G. Biv OCD.


2. Back to the Future (China)

While screenwriters around the world are forever grateful to have the time travel plot device as a convenient crutch, movies released in China aren’t permitted to play with the space-time continuum. Along with reincarnation and feudal superstitions in movies, rewriting history is a big no-no according to the Chinese government, which has banned any film featuring the trope. So while citizens are deprived of the Michael J. Fox classic, they are at least exonerated from having to explain the plot of Back to the Future II to their mothers.


1. Barney’s Great Adventure (Malaysia)

Pity the poor parents who raised a toddler in the ’90s. Elmo’s tickle demands were overindulged, Pikachu was constantly chosen, and a certain purple dinosaur was showering kids with annoying love and affection. But parents in Malaysia were spared sing-songy pronouncements of mutual love in theaters as the country banned Barney’s Great Adventure. The reason? Apparently, officials found it to be unacceptable, even harmful, for children. Finally, some censorship we could get behind.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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