movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Monday, January 30, 2006

SUNDANCE 2006: this film is not yet rated

This is an important issue for anyone involved in filmmaking. I don’t know if it will hold any appeal for people outside the industry, but I think this film will.

THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED is a very well made documentary from director Kirby Dick. It is entertaining and will hold your interest; no matter what field you happen to work in. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is responsible for rating films that are released in theaters. The system behind the rating is… a group of people are assembled in a room and shown the films. The number of people and their identities are kept secret. They are all supposed to be “normal” parents with children between the ages of 6 and 16. They have no training and no guidelines for rating these movies and they cannot be approached by the filmmaker to discuss the ratings.

Why is a movie’s rating so important?
There are many reasons, but the primary one is who can see it and how much money it can make. If a movie receives an NC-17 rating, there are papers and stations that won’t run advertisement, theaters that won’t show it and stores that won’t sell it. Since there are no guidelines to the ratings process, a film can be stopped from release due to an unknown objection to the content or certain scenes. In my mind this is a form of censorship, but at the least it is judgment without accountability. There is a limited forum for a filmmaker to appeal the rating decision, but what is there is unfair and biased (as the movie shows).

THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED is broken into three inter-weaving story lines. Showing questionable scenes compared to permissible scenes from films, illustrating the irregularity of the ratings system. Interviews with filmmakers that have been greatly affected by the ratings board. These filmmakers include Kevin Smith, Darrin Arronofski, and Matt Stone. (It was very difficult to convince filmmakers to go on camera attacking the ratings process for fear that their next films would be treated more harshly. This is a perfect illustration of the possibilities of censorship due to unaccountability)

The last of the story lines is that Kirby Dick hires two private investigators to track down and identify the members of the ratings board. This is a clever device, but the movie suffers as a whole because of it. I liked the idea of finding out who is rating movies, but I think that too much time was devoted to the gimmick of it. I wanted more focus on the impact of the ratings and the price that filmmakers pay because of it (both artistically and financially).

I hope that many people see this movie and that something is done to change the way that films are rated. I know that they are “just movies” and it is only a rating, but this is censorship and should be addressed. If you love movies or want to make them, this is a great movie to check out.

On a side note…


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