Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

This is the kind of movie that gets me all riled up and ready to fight The System. Never before in my life had I had any desire to work for the Motion Picture Association of America, but I do now. I want to take the place down from the inside.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated is about how the MPAA and film ratings in general are a rather fucked form of censorship that other countries don't really have, at least not on the level that this country does. The MPAA goes to great lengths to keep its members a big flippin' secret and that gives me the creeps.
A big chunk of this movie is actually about a private investigator the director hired to find out who works for the MPAA ratings board, which was pretty interesting but it turns out real private investigators don't lead lives nearly as exciting as the lives of, for instance, the Leverage Consulting & Associates team. Which makes sense; Leverage is a TV show and if it were anything like what real P.I.s do (mostly she sat in a van and looked at people through binoculars) nobody would watch the show.
But I digress.
I think if I had any problem with This Film Is Not Yet Rated, it was that most of what was talked about was sex. Yes, a lot of movies have a lot of sex in them and yes, America is way more uptight about sex in movies than other countries are and yes, I think that's bullshit. But about half of this documentary reiterated that point over and over, then just sort of brushed on the fact that "oh, and they censor violence, too." I think both subjects should have gotten equal screentime because both subjects are very different. I'm sure the reasons for censoring sex versus censoring violence are quite different, and I would have liked to hear more on the (barely mentioned) subject that the MPAA seems way more lenient on violence than on sex (which is a backward way to do things).
I also would have liked the plight of the horror film to have been covered. Nobody mentioned horror movies at all, unless you count Maria Bello briefly criticizing Scary Movie (which she referred to as a "funny horror movie;" I wouldn't call it a horror movie at all, but I don't think I'd call it funny, either).
Actually, horror films versus the MPAA could probably be the subject of its own full length documentary. Somebody get on that!
Near the end of This Film Is Not Yet Rated it stopped talking about censorship and the ratings process and started talking about the director's submission of his own movie to the ratings board and his appeal to get the inevitable NC-17 he was issued overturned. That part simultaneously bored me and made me mad.
Based on what this movie uncovered (and I am well aware that it's a biased film; it just happens to be a bias whose opposition is about as secretive as the CIA, so of course my opinion is going to be skewed in the movie's favor; if the MPAA wants me to consider their side they're going to have to make a documentary of their own) I don't think the Motion Picture Association of America has anybody's best interests at heart. I'm not sure why they do what they do or think what they think or enforce what they enforce, but I'm pretty sure I don't like anybody in charge over there. They seem obsessed with The Rules, but they're ridiculously conservative rules that they just made up.
For instance, everybody on the appeals board was scared to death of director Kirby Dick and all of them refused to tell him their names. When he said he had a right to know who was considering his appeal they called him a troublemaker, said that he wasn't aware of the rules and that he was wasting their time. Oh, and they were all wearing badges with numbers on them. And, I reiterate, none of them would say their real names.
I totally would've told Kirby Dick my real name. But first I would've stood up and yelled "I AM NOT A NUMBER!"
Okay, I want to be a member of the MPAA appeals board so I can get paid to make Prisoner jokes every day.
And also so I can always vote in favor of the appeal.
And hopefully someday my private war will be rewarded, I'll get my own clothes back, everyone will call me Sir and I'll get to meet Number One at last!

End of line.

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