Day 18: This Film is Not Yet Rated

My rating: A very important film

… particularly if you live in America.  This Film is Not Yet Rated has two sides to it: one is an exploration of the prejudiced and nonsensical way that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rates movies, and the other is a direct investigation into the inner and almost unconstitutionally secret workings of the MPAA itself.

The MPAA use five basic ratings.  (Direct quotes from the film here)

G (General Audiences — no nudity, sex, or drugs.  Violence must be cartoonish and minimal, and there may be language that goes beyond polite conversation (i.e. fart, darn, heck))

PG (Parental Guidance — There may be strong language, like “shit” or “ass,” and brief nudity, like showing off an ass, or light violence, like getting kicked in the ass)

PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned — as in, look out mom, here come more “shits”: bullshit, dumbshit, littleshit, shitfaced, and shithead.  ”Fuck” is also allowed, but usually just once, so filmmakers are urged to choose their “fuck” carefully.  A simple “fuck you” is okay, but referring to the sexual act, as in “may I please fuck you” or “I enjoy getting fucked” is totally unacceptable.  If a character says that, especially while using an illegal narcotic, the film is rated R.  (Note that more explicit nudity is also allowed in PG-13, like in Titanic))

R (Restricted — no children under 17 without a parent or guardian is allowed in the theater.  There may be sexual themes, frank sex talk, sexualized nudity, tough language, and tough violence; like a thousand handicapped orphans decimated by a hail of gunfire.)

NC-17 (If a film depicts realistic babymaking in a position other than missionary, acts involving oral sex with females, anal sex, fetishes, more than two humans, or what the MPAA deems “aberrational behavior,” that film could get slapped with an NC-17.  NC-17 means no children under 17 allowed in the theater, period.  An NC-17 may range from a senior citizen gangbang to a foreign Pedro Almodovar film.  But art films make people feel funny.  Especially the ones with “aberrational behavior.”)

So what does this all have to do with the film?  Well, parents across America are putting their trust in the MPAA, a group of so-called “average American parents” with children supposedly in their teenage years, to protect their children from inappropriate content.  But what if the ratings don’t make sense?  Let me tell you, they don’t.  Here are a few generalizations taken from the film.

A shot of a teenage girl (lesbian) masturbating lightly with all her clothes on gets a more restricted rating than a nude sex scene between a straight couple.
A woman enjoying herself or having an orgasm during sex (i.e. the scene NOT being from the man’s point of view) gets a more restricted rating than a woman being brutally raped.
Violence towards women is generally acceptable in movies (abuse, beating, threats, etc.)
Violence of any kind gets a much less restricted rating than sex, even though sex is a perfectly normal human function and violence is something society needs to discourage.
Does this sound right to you?

Featuring well known directors of movies such as American Psycho and Boys Don’t Cry, This Film is Not Yet Rated shows just how important it is for the MPAA to change its ways immediately.  I’m surprised that more protests haven’t cropped up since the release of the film, but hey, if you wanted to start one, you just let me know and I’m in.

I think this movie should be ‘required watching’ of sorts for all parents, anyone involved in the film business, and frankly any enthusiastic moviegoer.  It is immensely informative, and possibly enlightening about the way we think of the content in films.  There’s much more I haven’t mentioned, and the film does it much better, so why don’t you go rent it, or just sign in to an 18+ Google account and watch it right here.

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