Thursday, July 28, 2011

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

This Film is Not Yet Rated -- 3/5

My totally favorite podcast (Mugglecast) suggested this movie to me, so I finally got around to watching it! I give this documentary credit for being interesting, but there were some parts that made me a little irritated.
The director of the documentary hired a private investigator to stalk down all the members of the MPAA. Although I found it interesting that they were all super secretive about who puts those giant letters on posters that prevent kids from going to certain movies, I thought the persistent chase to catch the people on camera was overkill. It was a little creepy, especially when they showed one of the houses the people lived in. Maybe I respect people's privacy too much, but I feel like if they wanted to stay unknown to the public, the director shouldn't try to defy their wishes. Also when the private investigator told her best friend's daughter "I get a kick out of watching people who don't know I'm watching them," I felt really uncomfortable.
Creepiness aside, I agreed with some of the points the film made, and I disagreed with others. Though I declare myself a "gore-hound," I do think that the USA film rating system lets a lot more violence get by, while laying the smack down on sex. Recalling last year's ratings battle declared by the Weistein Company, I can agree with this statement the documentary made. How was it possible that a movie like Blue Valentine originally get an NC-17 rating, but Piranha 3D easily get an R? That movie had more cheap sex ploys and sexually violent acts than Blue Valentine had it in. What gave Blue Valentine the dreaded NC-17 rating was realistic sex scenes of the oral kind. However, the film did win its battle and finally got the R rating it deserved. The Weinstein Company had another ratings battle with a film that had gotten smacked with an R. This same movie in Britain got a 12A, the equivalent of our PG-13. This film was The King's Speech. Because it dropped the f-bomb more than once, it was thereby given the dreaded rated R. Now, any 13 year old knows this word, and this film didn't even use it in a super inappropriate way. There is a drastic difference in inappropriateness between The King's Speech and Piranha 3D, so why do they both share a rating? I believe the Weinstein Company's two news worthy fights will mark the revolution between film makers and the ratings their movies are given.
Now, that being said, there are some movies I feel no sympathy for getting an NC-17 rating. One they mentioned was called The Dreamers, which is a film where 3 housemates explore their sexuality during the entire film with each other. Though I have nothing against movies like this, I also don't think they should be available to people under the age of 17. These movies have very niche audiences, which mostly include very artsy students. If shown outside the art house theater, it would be very difficult to keep little 13 year old kids from sneaking into them. A film like The Dreamers would not resonate the same to an art student as to a middle schooler, and if given R status it wouldn't necessarily help its chances at the box office. But oversexed films are not the only ones I feel should be totally unavailable to those annoying little kids who get dropped off at the movie theater. Extremely violent and gory horror films like Saw 3D should not be available to these kids either. If the parent wants to take their child to this movie, that's their choice, but I don't feel movies like this should be so easily available to younger kiddies. I admit, I also have judged these parents in the past as a theater employee. That being said, when movies like American Pie get easy R ratings for exploiting teen sex, but films like The Cooler get NC-17-ed for an interesting choice of nudity, I feel there's something terribly wrong with the system. Something does need to be changed, and hopefully the Weinstein Company's quest for the right rating will spark other studios to do the same.

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