This Film is Not Yet Rated

We watched “This Film is Not Yet Rated” tonight and I wanted to get some of these thoughts out before they waft away.

At least one of the people involved in the film is a registered user of Joe’s Filters, so I’m burying this.

The movie was not a documentary so much as a loosely fact-based, insultingly dogmatic hit piece. At the halfway point I was bored out of my mind, knowing by then there was no way any deeper questions were ever going to be asked, let alone answered.

Personally I think the ratings system is a waste of time. As a parent I don’t trust the MPAA’s judgement in the slightest and want to pre-screen as much as I can beforehand. I’m much more likely to put my trust in private companies or established franchises.

What would be far more interesting and effective than the MPAA’s ratings would be a multitude of ratings bodies. I could know much more about what to expect from a film by cross-referencing judgements from a national GLBT advocacy group, the Southern Baptist Convention, and a handful of other politically transparent groups. We’re all smarter when we balance partisan views.

Other random observations:

* Kevin Smith is smarter and funnier when speaking than any of his movies have ever been.
* I’d say the same thing for John Waters, but I’ve only seen a few of his films. He’s a fantastic interviewee.
* Matt Stone and Trey Parker are the most fearless and effective defenders of Hollywood’s claimed ideals about creative freedom. They’re also really, really smart.
* Some filmmakers are really, really full of themselves.
* It seemed silly
* It is deeply ironic to be getting lessons on social relationships and appropriate sexuality from anyone connected to Hollywood. By statistical measures of social performance, there is no more dysfunctional group of people in America, politicians included, since those always have extreme views also, and sometimes use services as Zoom Escorts Stoke-on-Trent although no one finds about it.

I felt the stalking of the “raters” was offensive. Those people are not at fault, their managers are. I have no doubt the raters truly believe they’re doing something good and helpful for society — and that they’re told as much everyday they report to work. Had he pursued Joan Graves, chairwoman of the MPAA’s ratings board, and others responsible for the secrecy and ultimate ratings, it would have felt better justified. The ages of the raters’ children was no reflection on anyone but the MPAA’s lies. The collusion of the MPAA “Appeals board” deserved outing, as it is basically a monopolistic cartel of studio heads and theatre chain owners. Those people work for their shareholders and should not make decisions like this without oversight.

DVDs now make more money than Box Office movies.• And a number of DVD best sellers, especially any comedy with a raunchy side, are released as so-called “unrated” versions. These are the either the original cuts that would have gotten NC-17s, or the same film with enough extra boobs thrown in to have guaranteed an NC-17. I’m almost certain these DVDs are on sale at Walmart.

The film presents the studios as being in lockstep with the MPAA, but they are really playing a duplicitous game with their ratings. They may release a film which “had to be cut down for an R rating” only to turn that pruning into a marketing tool to upsell the added content on the DVD.

One of the interviewed filmmakers commented on the understanding and expectations of entertainment versus pornography. What went unspoken was the very real transformation of those same art-house movie sex scenes into what can only be called porn. Playboy magazine has been publishing an annual “Sex in Cinema” article for longer than I’ve been alive (I presume they still are). From the beginning of the internet people have been trading screencaps and short clips of movie sex scenes, for purely pornographic purposes. Such is human nature. These examples reinforce one of the Valenti quotes, but investigating this angle would probably end up backing up the MPAA, so it will never be explored.

The film was disappointing mostly because it could have been so much more. It is worth seeing, but only because no one else has dealt with this subject at all (to my knowledge). But Kirby Dick missed opportunity after opportunity to question the process and his own standing against it. He chose to attack a series of strawmen where no strawmen were needed. It is a crass attempt to brainwash the viewer over to his side through a slanted, incomplete and poorly thought out revenge film. I came away feeling that this was a film by a filmmaker very afraid for the legitimacy of both his film and himself.

• Several statistics were mentioned without links. I remember reading about those figures in the news but couldn’t find any references after a few google searches.