How the MPAA really works. (Read this article!)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott Weinberg, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I was directed to this article by the fine folks at Dark Horizons.
    It starts out describing the troubles that Roger Avary has had with the MPAA regarding his latest flick The Rules of Attraction, and covers a whole LOT of fascinating MPAA stuff.
    It's one of the best articles I've read in a while. Have a look:
    http://www.calendarlive.com/printedi...=cl%2Dcalendar
    Good stuff!
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Great article, if not really eye-opening. The MPAA is a sad dinosaur with far too much power. I live in a country where:

    Goldmember gets a PG-13 with limitless dirty jokes...
    Violence without blood is worth a PG-13...
    and Almost Famous gets an R...

    It's nice to hear someone besides Ebert pound these folks for their hypocrisy and greed.

    Thanks for the link, Scott!

    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  3. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    RIDICULOUS!!!!!

    Chuck, Your absolutely correct,I'll never understand why Almost Famous (the perfect teen date movie) got a R rating but its ok for kids to go see a Austin powers movie without a adult.

    Theres been lots of discussion on this so I wont rant, but this aggravates me as this was on film I was looking foward to in the Fall.
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    The MPAA needs to die. It essentially allows the major studios to act as an oligopoly - not to set prices, but to control entry into the market.
    They should be sued, they should be investigated by the federal government, and they should be shut down.
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I'm still totally flummoxed by Orgazmo's NC17
    I would have given it a PG, low-end PG-13 tops
     
  6. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    I thought I was going to fall on the floor when I read Valenti's quote about studio heads having no more power than a lowly Lion's Gate intern. What a riot! This man has supplied no dearth of insane quotes, but I think this tops them for all time. It's nothing new, but pretty much solidifies how stupid he must think everyone else is. I've never been fond of the MPAA, but I guess no matter how jacked-up it is, it's still better than a bunch of religious groups hacking away at films. In that scenario, there would be no market for those stupid, prude-marketed devices that digitally "purify" films.

    Regardless, I don't care what Valenti says. The MPAA is biased against independents and actively goes after certain films based on whatever is a thorn to them at the time(example: slasher films during the 80's). They're much a litter box that hasn't been changed in months: they've tried covering up their shit, but it always surfaces. Furthermore, it stinks.

    In addition to Almost Famous, they slapped an R on Billy Elliott, another terrific film that's surely a more rewarding experience for the younger set than Goldmember. Geez.
     
  7. Thomas_Moolasat

    Thomas_Moolasat Auditioning

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    Why should adults who do not have dependent children care about the movie ratings? The ratings do not affect or prevent them from watching any film they want.
     
  8. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Eh, s**t never changes.
     
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  10. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  11. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    The base of the problem is the NC-17 rating itself. There shouldn't be any such rating. It's censorship in a free country. There should be no body (especially one that isn't elected freely by the citizens) that can tell me what I can and cannot take my child to. If I have a very mature 16 year old that I think would like "Rules of Attraction" and it could spark some good talk between them and I, that's my right as a parent. The highest rating should be "R" and anything above a certain content level should just be put there, a good rating that warns me as a parent to do my homework -- but the final decision is left to me.

    This should especially be considered when the advent of video is taken into account and no such restrictions can be placed on me, so why do it at a theater and cut the theater owners off from that potential business?
     
  12. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    What bothers me most is that we don't have a workable adult rating in the U.S. NC-17 is as much of a kiss of death as X once was.

    I remember in the mid-eighties when the NC-17 rating was released. Initially there were some films released with that rating that were giving a fairly wide release. (THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER being the first that I can remember followed shortly by HENRY AND JUNE.)

    Both played in Houston, Texas in major chain theaters (TCTHHWAHR at Cineplex/Odeon and H&J at General Cinemas). I remember how it seemed that we finally had a workable rating. But then things quickly changed. Groups of "concerned citizens" placed pressure on the newspapers (an easy target). Suddenly theaters couldn't place ads.

    The rating was as good as dead.

    Note - other "concerned citizen" groups convinced property lease holders that their contractual ban on a theater showing X rated movies also applied to NC-17. If it wasn't dead before, NC-17 was really dead now.

    Why can't America have an adult rating that doesn't mean porn? Are we really Puritans at heart? Why must it be possible to bring kids into every movie?

    I'm reminded of a showing of WILD THINGS in Los Angeles. Shortly before the lights went down a mother and father sat down with their four kids. They looked to be between 12 and 4. No question the movie was inappropriate for them! Just because some parents are idiots and don't want to pay for a babysitter the rest of us must suffer through censored adult-oriented films?

    -greg
     
  13. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    One more thing: if you want to read the MPAA's spin on the whole ratings system and how it came to be, follow this link:
    How it all began
    -greg
     
  14. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I've always wondered what it costs to have a movie get a rating from the MPAA. Anyone know? It certainly doesn't say on the website.
     
  15. Thomas_Moolasat

    Thomas_Moolasat Auditioning

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    Greg, the NC-17 rating was created by the MPAA in 1990. It is now twelve years old.
     
  16. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    What makes the whole thing about ratings more ridiculous is that theater enforcement of ratings is completely voluntary. No theater management is required to enforce anything about the ratings.

    I remember when "Lord of the Flies" came out, which got an "R" rating. Teachers were telling students to see the movie, since it is obviously based on the book which is required reading in many high schools. We knew that teachers were doing this, so we simply did not enforce the "R" rating. It's the theater's choice.

    Now, when it comes to actually getting movies, the individual theaters that are part of national/international chains usually have no say and get what they're told they're getting. Unfortunately, I wouldn't doubt that NC-17 is a curse in that way because it might lead some chains to not try to acquire the movie.

    But when it comes to enforcement, there's nothing to enforce. Probably the only reasons that theaters enforce them is to defend themselves from getting shit from the Puritanical folks out there who would then complain to the theater chain thereby bringing even more shit down on the theater manager. (And, yes, we in the U.S. are far more Puritanical than our European counterparts in matters such as this.)
     
  17. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    Wow great article. I'm not A parent yet but when I am I will be deciding what is appropriate or not for my child to watch/listen to/read. Untill I decide my child is mature enough to decide for themselves my parents never put any restrictions on me (within reason) And I would like to think I turned out ok. I also agree that these rankings invariably end up deciding the content of films that we as adults want to see. Unfortunatly hollywood can't seem to find a middle ground between small amounts of sexual content in movies and flat out porn. There must be A middle road that deals with sex and sexuality in A more serious manner than most hollywood films but doesn't go so far that it's downright pornographic. Hollywood could actually take a few hints from the TV show "Sex in The city" it deals with sex for the most part in a sensible tastefull way for the most part.
     
  18. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  19. Thomas_Moolasat

    Thomas_Moolasat Auditioning

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    The beauty of effective pressure groups, is it not? [​IMG] I wonder where the opposition is doing?
     
  20. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Which they wouldn't if the "R" rating is enforced properly. They wouldn't let my child in without me. The choice is mine, and the censorship they are invoking is against me as an adult and my decisions for my child. I don't want the "R" rating abolished as its healthy to prevent children from seeing adult material without parental consent. I just don't want that parental consent robbed from me.
     

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