Wednesday, October 25, 2006



CORY DOCTOROW, BOING BOING - Just saw "This Film is Not Yet Rated" and
boy, is it a fantastic piece of work. . . TFINYR is a documentary about
the MPAA's censorious ratings system, whereby a secret group of
"parents" meet to determine whether a given film is safe for kids to
see. If they give a movie an NC-17 (no children under 17 admitted), it's
a death-sentence: studios won't promote these movies (sometimes they
don't even release them), most cinemas won't exhibit them, and Wal-Mart
and Blockbuster won't carry them. The MPAA's excuse for this is that
it's an alternative to government censorship of films, but as director
Kirby Dick shows, it's wildly implausible that such censorship would be
found constitutional. The MPAA system treats independents as
second-class citizens, issuing gnomic pronouncements about a film's
suitability, while treating the big studios that own the MPAA with more
solicitude, lavishing editorial suggestions on directors who've come
under the thumb of the big six.

This Film is Not Yet Rated makes a compelling case for MPAA ratings
system as a form of institutionalized, homophobic puritanism. The
ratings board is quite relaxed about violence, especially extreme, gory
violence, but takes a dim view of sex, and won't tolerate sex out of the
missionary position, nor gay sex of any kind, nor any suggestion of
women getting real pleasure out of sex. It's an eye-opening look at
America's hidden values, where you can take your kids to see bad guys
gunned down by James Bond, but not a lightweight teen-comedy about
lesbian girls sent away to anti-gay brainwashing camp. . .


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