totalfilm.com came into the office this morning to find about half the world had given up tabs over the holiday period.
Some of us gave up for the New Year. Others stopped after falling ill before Christmas and never went back. A few just decided to jump on the bandwagon today and chucked their packs out of the window in a gesture of union.
Naturally, the office is hardly a relaxed environment at the moment. We’re all very irritable, and there’s a fair bet at least one of us won’t get through today alive.
We’re also very aware that movie watching is going to be a selective process for a while. Most of our favourite films feature cigarettes, and quite a few actively promote them as the epitome of iconic. Hell, that’s why we started in the first place.
So if you’ve given up for the New Year, or fancy joining totalfilm.com in quitting, here’s seven movies we recommend you avoid.
Wild at Heart
David Lynch is renowned for being a smoker (among many things) and has even reconvened interviews just so he can get through a pack of cigarettes in a twenty minute window. Unsurprisingly most of his films feature are pro-smoking, but none more so than Wild at Heart. It’s essentially a Marlboro ad through the eyes of the creator of Eraserhead.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Because there’s something very attractive at Sailor’s nonchalant attitude towards cancer. “When did you start smoking, Sail'?”, “I started when I was about four… My mom was already dead then from lung cancer.” “What brand did she smoke?” “Marlboros, same as me.”
In the post-Nixon, post-Watergate era, it’s not surprising that everyone seemed to be smoking. Marry that up with the gritty story of a girl being possessed by the devil and it’s no wonder that all the characters in the flick needs a shot of nicotine every other scene.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Because after about an hour of watching every character poison their lungs with smoke, Ellen Burstyn takes Regan to the hospital and chats to a doctor about her problems, who promptly lights up. Let’s just make this clear. Even the doctor smokes. If things are that bleak, we might as well join him.[page-break]
There’s no one we’d rather be in our later years than Rick Blaine (With the possible exception of Obi-Wan Kenobi). Not only does the man own a bar, but he’s as hard as a rock, unmovable and unchanging. “I stick my neck out for nobody,” he quips. And he does it all with a trademark cigarette too.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Arthur Edeson’s incredible cinematography does the impossible on two accounts: it makes World War II look fun and smoking look alluring, even with the knowledge that Bogart died aged 57 from cancer.
“Can you roll me one of those, cowboy?” If Tarantino had any morals, Travolta’s response to Uma Thurman in Jack Rabbit Slim’s would have been, “Sorry Miss. Wallace, but if I do that you might curl up and die. Which wouldn’t make your husband – and my boss – happy. In fact, he’d probably chop my balls off.”
Instead Vincent Vega willingly rolls her one, the pair bond over it and consequentially share one of the most sexually charged scenes in cinema.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Here’s an excerpt from the script: “The Young Man has a slight working-class English accent and, like his fellow countryman, smokes cigarettes like they're going out of style.” So in effect, if we didn’t smoke, we’d be calling the man who made Reservoir Dogs a liar.
“Light 'em if you got 'em,” advises Sergeant Al Powell to John McClane in McTiernan’s genuine masterpiece, and by god he takes the advice to heart. Despite chaining his way through a pack of cigs, Willis still has the energy to pull off several death-defying stunts. And instead of wheezing afterward, he comes out with some of the best quips in cinema.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Because it gives us hope that despite a twenty a day habit, we too can fend off terrorists, protect our families and abseil down buildings with just a fire hose.[page-break]
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Back in the days when Sam Jackson was so awesome he could turn even the most mediocre movies to gold, he starred in this Geena Davis vehicle and confirmed he was a bad mother effer. Seriously - he even sung a little song about it.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Because Jackson’s character is so cool that when Geena Davis chucks him out of her car into the middle of a busy road, his only response is to lie in the centre of the fast-moving traffic and light up.
Michael Bay’s epic might have been a tribute to the thousands of people who died at Pearl Harbour, but it was one stinky movie. Even worse, Bay put political correctness over authenticity by imposing a smoking ban. Thank you for not smoking in the 1940s? Come off it...
Why it makes us want to smoke? Not because it's bland, wooden and dishonest. But because it's just so long. It's the only movie we've ever walked out of halfway through for a cigarette. True story.