Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Today's film unfortunately had Little to no theater distribution. This is simply because like the name suggests, it was not rated. This has an added bit of irony, because the premise of this movie is about the MPAA and ratings system. For his second film, Kirby Dick dabbles in the documentary genre with mixed results. The movie was very interesting, and it opened up a world that has previously remained very secret, but as a movie- it was mediocre at best.

The movie is split into two unique sections. One was interviews with various film-makers who have over the course of their careers received an NC-17 rating. This means that no person under the age of 17 is admitted- and also means very few theaters will show it, and very few studios will actually release it. In most cases, an NC-17 rating means the death of a movie- unless it is re-cut to meet the standards.

In the other section Dick hired two private investigators to track down who the members of the MPAA are. This provided a lot of fun and humor for the movie- as well as most of the discernible plot- but during all of this I couldn't help but think that it was like a couple of little kids spying on their parents. I remember this very well from my elementary school days.

Despite the amateur film-making, some important things were actually revealed. The members of the ratings board were uncovered, and two former members came forward to speak against the system. A direct tie between the major movie studios and the board was also discovered. This results in a massive influence from the studios on the ratings system, while smaller independent films (the ones that more often than not receive the NC-17 ratings) are left out in the cold.

Towards the end of the movie there is a very memorable section in which Dick himself submits this very movie to the MPAA and of course- receives an NC-17. He then proceeds to fight it, and at the end does a brief bit on the appeals board. Obviously he did not win that appeal- as it's still unrated.
This is not a great film, but it is an important one- and one that should be seen. It blows the lid off this secret yet voluntary organization known as the MPAA. It reveals the absurdity of how much more taboo sex and language is than violence, and it shows just how much power major movie studios have. I was fortunate enough that our local theater ran it for a weekend, but for most people you only have a month or so to wait- it comes out on DVD next month.



Marcia said...

Harry I think this is a wonderful idea. Can you put some spacing between your paragraphs? Your reviews come across as "dense" because it's difficult to read single spaced text. Good commentary, though. I'll check in periodically to see if I've missed one. Just saw WORDPLAY and enjoyed it thoroughly. You'd like it for the odd assortment of characters (Jon Stewart was a hoot!). Love you bunches. MR

Shawn said...

oh shit, i just clicked this to read the comments, and it already knows my name, despite having nevver signed up to blogger, i'm freeking out