Random Factoid #437

8 10 2010

I’m entering my last week of being 17, and I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing R-rated movies hassle-free.  Surprisingly, it hasn’t even entered my mind that I could go see and an NC-17 movie if I so desired.  In fact, I probably would have gone through my entire seventeenth year without thinking about it had it not been for Time reminding me that NC-17 turned 20 this week.  Happy birthday!

The rating is now a kiss of death for business, and a step forward in censorship became a step backwards in effectiveness.  Here’s an excerpt from the article on the meaning of NC-17:

On a teenager’s life timeline, the 17th birthday is pointlessly wedged between sweet 16th and legalizing 18th celebrations. While it affords no adolescent soirees or lottery tickets, the middle milestone does impact Friday nights at the movies. Twenty years ago on Oct. 5, “Henry & June” hit theaters as the first film to hold an NC-17 rating. Unlike an R-rated flick that would force a parent to be your date, there is no wiggle room with these titles — moviegoers under age 17 are not permitted in the audience. But how come this particular Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating is so young? And why is it not commonplace to hear that baritone “rated NC-17” voice bookend movie trailers at the theater or on television?

What better way to celebrate an anniversary than giving a totally unnecessary NC-17 rating?  “Blue Valentine” got slapped with a harsh NC-17 rating today, which is completely ludicrous according to The Los Angeles Times.

Derek Cianfrance’s movie shows plenty of harrowing moments of a couple arguing and brutalizing each each other psychologically. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s hardly graphic or hardcore in any conventional sense of the term; it’s emotional brutality and explictness, nothing more. There was no scene we could find in the film’s extended version that would merit something stronger than an R.

And certainly if the movie was cut down from its earlier versions it wouldn’t include more offending material. (There’s also an irony in that the company was shortening the movie to make it more commercial, but then got slapped with an NC-17 anyway.)

I don’t really even see the need for the rating anymore with the ease of piracy and the ease of sneaking into a movie.  I am NOT advocating these measures by any means, but it is a harsh reality that the people rating movies need to acknowledge.  If a robber wants to break into a house, an alarm system really won’t deter him; the same goes for moviegoers.  If someone wants to see a movie, they will find a way to see it.

The R rating carries with it the assumption that moviegoers under 17 can’t buy their own ticket; someone has to buy it for them.  By barring people from certain movies, the MPAA either takes over the role of the parent and claims they know best OR they acknowledge that the R rating is too weak.  Why not strengthen the protection around R-rated movies as an alternative?  Crack down on lazy theaters that don’t enforce R ratings tough enough, and that should keep the people who don’t have permission to see R-rated movies out of them.

Sigh.  Things won’t change, though.  You can read my dissertation … em, eighth grade research paper … on how flawed the MPAA is if you so desire.


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3 responses

10 10 2010
CMrok93

I want to see this film so bad, but a NC-17 rating? This is total bull crap, mainly because I can give you plenty, and I do mean, plenty of films that deserve a higher rating then what they got. But I guess this is the future of film.

11 10 2010
rtm

There seems to be a gross double standard with MPAA in regards to sex on film. It’s as if violence does less harm to young kids as I think there should be more slasher/horror flicks that need to be slapped with NC-17.

Btw, your writing is so tremendous that I forget you’re such a young’un! 🙂 Keep up the great work, Marshall!

12 10 2010
Marshall

Aww thanks!

And I do agree that the standards are MESSED UP. Sex happens all the time in real life; killing people, not so much.

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