Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Find out why This Film Is Not Yet Rated

One of the most talked about film documentaries of 2006 was hardly seen in theaters due not only to it's NC-17 rating but,in my opinion,to it's subject matter that hit very close to home for Hollywood. This Film Is Not Yet Rated takes a good long look at the MPAA's rating system and the people behind it whose interest in monopolizing
approval of film content is more about money and power plays rather than the usual"we must protect the children" company line spooned out sanctimously by the likes of Jack Valenti.

Director Kirby Dick hired a private detective to find out the names of the folks who actually rate the films;their identities are given more guardian ship than a person in the FBI Witness Protection Program. The reason cited for that is to keep the raters free from "pressure" by outside forces,yet many of them deal directly with studio personnal all the time. Can you say contradiction? I knew that you could!

Kirby also speaks with many film makers frustrated by the MPAA's vague guidelines and biased ideas of what content needs to be cut to make a movie an R or a PG-13,such as Kevin Smith,John Waters,Trey Parker,Kimberly Pierce and Mary Harron. While a big studio release may get tons of notes on what needs to be removed to get a rating that will allow the movie to be shown in the major film chains,an indie flick usually gets some pretty noncommittal feedback on what needs to go. Most of the editing asked for to get a rating that will let a movie get wide release and some decent advertisng money is all about sex,baby. Especially if it's gay sex. Violence,in most respects,is A-ok but too much body hair in the wrong places,eeek!

Here's a good description of what the MPAA ratings truly mean:

The movie goes into some of the history of film ratings,starting with the Hays office and gets into the major league lobbying done in Washington by the film industry to make sure that they get paid for their product,come hell or highwater. The portrait painted of former MPAA president and spokesman Jack Valenti is as flattering as the famous one of Dorian Gray:

Kirby submitted his movie to be rated by the MPAA and his dealings with them are darkly humorous,particularly when he goes to the appeals board to challenge the NC-17 given. The shroud of secrecy insisted upon here is amazingly draconian-the way that these people carry on,you'd think they were deciding the fate of the free world instead of should this movie be R rated or not:

This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a thought provoking take on film censorship and the manipulation of power given to a group whose motives are suspect,to say the least. I rented the DVD from Netflix(one of the movie's distributors,along with IFC)and if you click the title link above,it'll take you to the official website where you can purchase TFINYR(it's also available at Target). Do watch the deleted scenes as well,the insights given are just as juicy and clever as what made it into the full length feature. Too bad this movie isn't up for Best Documentary at the Oscars this year;guess some people don't want to truly question their section of the status quo.


Anonymous said...

Great review! I'm glad you reminded me of this film--I've been meaning to rent it. I loved Kirby Dick's last documentary, Twist of Faith--some truly evil stuff out there, and I appreciate the filmmakers who are exposing it.

lady t said...

Thanks,Robin-I didn't know about Twist of Faith. To the Netflix,I go!