Sometimes when we talk about 'the good old days' of movies (specifically the 70s), it's a load of nostalgic bullshit predicated on personal aesthetic tastes. Ie, my personal aesthetic tastes run more towards well made, human-based character films like those from the 70s as opposed to the modern, poorly made, special FX-based crapola films. So it's just personal taste.
But sometimes there really is a difference between then and now, and it's usually in the kind of film you could get made. One of the films that got made back then but couldn't happen today is Monty Python's Life of Brian - according to director and Python Terry Jones.
Talking about the controversy that met the film back in 1979, Jones said they wouldn't even have attempted something like Life of Brian today.
At the time religion seemed to be on the back burner and it felt like kicking a dead donkey. It has come back with a vengeance and we'd think twice about making it now," Jones told the Radio Times (via the Guardian). And forget targeting Muslims: "Probably not – looking at Salman Rushdie [whose controversial book The Satanic Verses forced him into hiding for 10 years]... I suppose people would be frightened. I think it's whipped up by the arms industry."
Jones maintains that he doesn't see Life of Brian as blasphemous - ie, it never takes shots at Jesus. "It was heretical because it criticised the structure of the church and the way it interpreted the Gospels."
What do you think - could a movie as massively heretical as Life of Brian be made today? Well, obviously it could, but would the resulting backlash from the growing contingents of anti-science, anti-modern world religious extremists make it far too unattractive a proposition for a movie studio?