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Why the MPAA Should Die

When I was a kid, I asked my dad how they decided the ratings for various movies. His response went something like: “Well, they screen it for a bunch of old ladies. And if one of them cries, ‘Oh my Goodness!’ and clutches her purse, it’s rated R.” If you’ve seen Kirby Dick’s This Film is Not Yet Rated, you know that this description is not far off.

It seems like they are not interested in shaking off this mold. Their most recent triumph is giving an R rating to the documentary Bully, apparently because of strong language. Because, God knows that our innocent children never use strong language. Why, I myself was 25 before I first heard the word “fuck” and fainted dead away when it was first uttered in my innocent presence.

I wouldn’t believe they could surpasses the PG-13 they gave Whale Rider because some pot paraphernalia was in the background of a scene, but they just did. Bully may suck ass for all I know. But it’s targeted at potential victims of bullying. And those victims are not over 18.

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  1. hist_ed says:

    The ratings standards change a lot over time. A Bridge too Far was rated PG despite James Caan saying “fucking” in it.

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  2. Seattle Outcast says:

    The MPAA is a relic, just like the Comic Code Authority and the FCC – they are capricious, intrusive, and their decisions are generally held in contempt by most people.

    Frequently these types of censoring organizations are little more than the mouthpiece for an extremely small group of self-motivated jerks. In the case of the CCA, it was a single individual who pretty much ran the whole thing for decades.

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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    hist_Ed, that’s one of the points Kirby Dick made: that ratings can depend a LOT on which studio and what producers are behind it. I have a feeling there’s a “screw the Weinsteins” aspect to this.

    Back in the 80′s, there was a movie called Student Bodies, a sort of failed attempt at a “Scream”-like mockery of horror movies. It wasn’t good, but there was one scene with a studio exec breaking the fourth wall where .. well, I’ll just quote:

    Ladies and gentlemen, in order to achieve an “R” rating today, a motion picture must contain full frontal nudity, graphic violence, or an explicit reference to the sex act. Since this film has none of those, and since research has proven that R-rated films are by far the most popular with the moviegoing public, the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say “Fuck you.”

    Followed by an R-rating.

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  4. hist_ed says:

    Remember the boobs on Airplane? The producers wanted to get an R rating and were actualyl pissed that it only copped a PG.

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