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Archive for Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Smoking foes take aim at films

February 23, 2005

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Will Farrell and Hellboy are "smokin'!"

That's the word from the American Lung Assn.'s 10th-annual Hackademy Awards, which has named "Anchorman" and "Hellboy" the celluloid equivalents of three-pack-a-day chain smokers. The awards, given to those films that appeared to promote or condemn smoking, were bestowed in a red-carpet spoof of the Academy Awards.

The Farrell comedy "Anchorman" was the thumbs-down choice of the Hackademy's 50 teen reviewers, while the pyromaniacal "Hellboy" was named the thumbs-down winner (loser?) of the American Lung Assn. branch's first online poll at www.scenesmoking.org.

The teen comedy "Mean Girls," meanwhile, collected both Hackademy and People's Choice awards for not lighting up and, therefore, sending a positive message to young people.

Bernie Mac was named best non-smoking role model for his baseball player in "Mr. 3000," and Cate Blanchett was lauded for her Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator." Both actors could easily have used tobacco as a crutch or a prop, the Hackademy pointed out, because "baseball is notorious for chewing tobacco" and Hepburn was known to "smoke on and off screen."

Jude Law was slammed for his "smoky performances" in a trio of movies -- "Closer," "Alfie" and "The Aviator." And Eva Amurri received a thumbs-down for her "Saved!" Goth queen, who "persuades a teenage boy to begin smoking."

"We want to do two things with these awards: Raise the level of awareness in young people and remind the entertainment industry that tobacco use in movies is one of the most powerful influences there is in terms of young people making the decision to start smoking," said Curtis Mekemson, who created the lung association's Thumbs Up, Thumps Down project.

Though they won't be named until later this year, the Sacramento branch's teen researchers have -- by tabulating individual acts of tobacco use on screen -- come up with the 10 "smokiest" movies of last year: "Ray" (more than 200 instances of tobacco use), "Alfie" (150-200 instances); "Monster" and "Aviator" (more than 100 each); "Closer," "The Ladykillers," "Anchorman" (between 100 and 120 each); "Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason," "Kill Bill 2," "Hellboy" (between 50 and 100 each).

Usually a movie makes this list with 50 or more instances of tobacco use, said Mekemson. The Ray Charles biopic, in the running for best picture and actor (Jamie Foxx) Oscars, set a record.

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