Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Film is Not Yet Rated

A film by Kirby Dick.

I'm sorry, but Kieby Dick just sounds like the screen name of a porn star.

It's a documentary about the MPAA, that secret organization that attaches ratings to movies.

That the group that says that the term "fuck you" is acceptable once in a movie to be given a PG13, but not the term "May I please fuck you?". Politeness is too offensive.

MPAA is a studio trade organization. Ratings are basically a tool used to make independent movies difficult to distributed. Walmart and Blockbuster will not distribute NC17 movies. TV and newspapers won't run ads for NC17 movies.

When the producers of South Park did an independent movie and got an NC17 rating the MPAA told them that they really couldn't help them with suggestions about what to do to re-edit the movie and get an R rating, a rating that would help them get distribution. But when the same producers made a movie funded by a major studie that got an NC17 rating the MPAA gave them a detailed, scence-by-scence list of how they could re-edit and get an R rating.

No, that's not a system that's rigged in favor of major studios.

The documentary tells us about the experiences of that nature that a few film-makers have had, then shows us some attempts they made to actually get inside the building that houses the MPAA to try and interview some employees. It's a walled compound. This Film is Not Yet Rated even went so far as to hire a PI to try to get a low level job for the MPAA so he could get inside.

The people who actually see the movies and assign the ratings have secret identities. Like some kind of parent super hero or something. They did manage to out a few of them with the undercover information they were able to find.

They did interview two former raters that were willing to talk to them. Only two.

Jack Valenti, the guy who ran the MPAA when it came up with the ratings, was a PR Hack, a political lobbyist who's previous job had been to keep LBJ out of trouble with the press.

Valenti just makes stuff up when asked about the raters and ratings. He says most NC17 ratings are becuase of violence. Not true at all, most are becuase of sex. He says all the raters are parents. Not true. At least one is a divorced man in his 40's who doesn't have and never has had any kids.

This is a good film. It held my interest and showed the MPAA for the evil trade and industry groups that it is.

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