Although few people are unwilling to admit it, the history of Hollywood is a history of the film industry experimenting, venturing forth, taking risks, overcoming prejudice and attempting to break down social barriers. It ain't all about money, and it ain't all about staying within a comfort zone. There is some genuine "art" going on here, along with a strong sense of social responsibility.
Of course, people will continue to find fault. They will continue to grouse about Hollywood not doing enough, or doing it too late, or doing it wrong, or doing it in too sanitized or "commercial" a fashion, but when it comes to treating taboos such as homosexuality and interracial romance, mainstream Hollywood (and not just the "indies") has done a fairly decent job.
And yet there is one taboo that remains firmly in place. Consider the following movie sequence.
The scene is a well known lover's lane, the place where teenagers park their cars in order to "make out" or even engage in impromptu sex. Of course, the local police know what's going on. After all, they were once young themselves. Still, they regularly patrol the area just to make sure nothing gets out of hand or, as the police are wont to do, just to exert their authority.
A black-and-white slowly drives through the area, occasionally shining its spotlight on an unsuspecting couple, startling and embarrassing them. All part of the job, folks. The police officer comes upon a car whose windows are fogged. On an impulse, he decides to take a peek inside to make sure nothing gets out of hand and, as police are wont to do, to scare the piss out of them.
He approaches the driver's side and flashes his light on the occupants. Inside are an elderly couple -- a man and woman easily in their eighties. The woman's shirt is open and her bra has been removed. Her breasts are frightfully shriveled and sagging.
Of course, the glare of the flashlight has startled and confused the couple. The woman hastily tries to cover herself and the elderly gentleman, flustered and disoriented and believing he's being robbed by an African American, attempts to hand over his wallet. A sad commentary on our times.
But because "old people sex" is still a taboo subject, you will never see this in a movie. You will never see elderly people, no matter how "tastefully" presented, engaging in any form of sex because it is simply too gross. Which is to say you will never see Maggie Smith with her shirt open and Anthony Hopkins attentively sucking on her nerve. As daring as Hollywood can be, it still has a ways to go.