Shoehorning "R" into"PG13"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Scarpa, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    There's a fascinating Featurette on editting for a PG13 rating, on the Fast & Furiuous DVD, that is also a very Sad commentary of moviemaking today.

    Now I liked the movie, it wasa popcorn movie in the grand tradition of "Eat my Dust" or "Grand Theft Auto" if there's a movie perfect for a drive in , here it is.

    But in the quest for the widest demographic, in order for kids that should not see this film, to see it, the producers must trim and nip at scenes in the holy grail quest of that PG13 rating. Back in the 70's movie knew what they were and reveled in getting an "R" rating, now it's the pariah of the industry.

    Does the DVD of F&F need a PSA? Or do we need to aim a movie like this at an adult audience? One that will understand this is all Make believe. Look at a film like Mad Max. It does'nt contain the "F" word, scenes of woman Kissing, People beingriddled by bullets.It does have equally great car stunts, violence that mostly happens off screen, a naked but running thru a cornfield, a rape of a young woman, but it's an"R" rated movie and wants to be one. It also at least attemptsa love story between two of it's characters, the F&F had to leave it as a deleted scene and even then not show it to you.

    Movies like the F&F have been painstakingly digitally editted removing 5 precious frames here and there to insure the "Family Friendly" rating, the films underlying themes betray it's true "R" rated nature.

    Hollywood, give us back the "R" rating. Pretend you're making films for adults, to be seen by adults. Let those extra 5 frames stay in, and enforce the ratings policy.

    If not at least stop acting like you're the moral victor byshowingus how many "Family Friendly" PG13 titles your producing.
     
  2. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    The most insidious part, of course, is that the movie is still essentially the same except that it meets the MPAA's somewhat arbitrary checklist. Remove a curse word here, a splatter of blood there, and it's magically a PG-13 despite STILL not really being suitable for younger viewers.
    I can't remember who used this example, but the essence of it was basically that if you take away the nudity and profanity from Leaving Las Vegas and it's still a story about a prostitute and a suicidal alcoholic.
     
  3. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I hardly think there are a lack of R-rated films. Sure, some are receiving trims to get the PG-13 rating, and I would bet this is even more related now to the tubthumping that went on about R-rated films that were marketed to teens. I think everyone knows that teenagers could get into those films until it became a political issue and theaters started enforcing it a little more tightly. It comes down to a monetary issue, and studios will be more than happy to make the necessary edits to enhance the financial prospects.

    The R rating doesn't necessarily imply that a film is for adults anyway. Look at the glut of gross-out comedies in 2001, which were certainly appealing to a younger demographic. In the Mood for Love was rated PG but was far more mature than many of the R rated films. (No, it's not a fair comparison, but I think you get my point.)

    I will say that I am often surprised what can make it into a PG-13 film.
     
  4. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    As an adult I'm very glad F&F was edited down to a 'PG-13' rating. Both concerned consumers and the studios win. I hardly think the box office gross would be half as high for F&F if it had an 'R' rating as it allowed a wider demographic of viewers.
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  6. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Derek , you miss the point, if anything Editting the film harms those demographics. It makes them think the action displayed in the film comes with no consequences. The guy on the truck hanging by his arm isn't shown to be injured all that badly. Cops are'nt anywhere around trying to curb these illegal actions, even during the hijack truck scenes, does'nt the trucker have the ability to call 911? In the end even if the cops catch you, they let you go.
     
  7. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    I think the MPAA's rating system checklist is an effort to have a definite standard for what gets rated how. Calling a standard "arbitrary" is redundant. All standards are arbitrary because they are based on presuppositions of the standard makers. But once a value is turned into a standard, it becomes a clear guideline for the subject matter at hand.

    To go by "theme" or "message" of a movie is to venture into a realm of mucky gray, an area with no set standards aside from individual reviewers' opinions. The fact that removing a snippet here and there can bump a movie down from R to PG-13 is an unfortunate side effect of this system, but it is a necessary evil. At least with this system we know what we're getting.
     
  8. Esten

    Esten Supporting Actor

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    I've been hearing that Dimension wants a PG-13 for Halloween 8.The reshoots must not be helping.The question is-is that a possibility?
     
  9. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Yohan,

    By arbitrary, I think they are referring to the completely inconsistent behavior of the MPAA with regard to these ratings.

    I've heard stories where people submit a film for a rating and get it rejected. They then sit on the film for a few days and resubmit it unchanged and secure their rating unchallenged. That and the fact that they can provide no direct feedback about why they feel the film is inappropriate. The filmmaker must guess what to change and try again.

    If they were to rate a film by completely quantifiable elements, such as quantity of profanity and violence, then we would be closer to a rating system that can be provided with a system that could be reasonably consulted.

    Would you rather have a rating be something along the lines of:

    Extreme violence, Extreme profanity, Sexually Explicit

    and

    Moderate profanity

    or a rating of R.

    Both have been used, in the first case to Swordfish and in the second to Billy Elliot. Both received an 'R' rating. Which would be more useful to you to choose what your children see?
     
  10. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

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    I'll go even further and demand a new adult rating that is marketable! In Europe this has always been better than Stateside, I wish the MPAA would pull their head out of their ass and realize that the NC-17 rating is completely useless in its current form.
     
  11. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  12. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    Alex,

    I see what you're saying. In that case I was under the false impression that the standards were clear, quantifiable, and enforced. Apparently that's not the case.

    Not being a parent, and being of age to be able to watch R movies, I've never payed that much attention to the rating system. I'll have to find out more about it now.
     
  13. Tom Rhea

    Tom Rhea Second Unit

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    If theaters won't carry NC-17 movies because of the stigma associated with it, then the MPAA should KEEP the NC-17 and add another rating (maybe I for "intelligent"?). That way the new rating won't be seen as a replacement for the porno rating and will cause great confusion in the philistine community, rendering them impotent.
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  15. Christina_V

    Christina_V Guest

    As i always said....they should just get rid of the NC-17 rating, R is high enough....and they should leave it at that. It's meant for adult & rational people...so stop telling us what is & isn't "acceptable" becasue frankly i don't care what the MPAA thinks & can choose what i want to watch.
    Not to mention every NC-17/Unrated version of a film i've seen could all be R rated & rightfully so without any cuts.......having an even higher adult rating & not even using it is pointless. How old is old enough?
    R is high enough + depending on the content....certain people under 17 can see them & it should be up to the parent to decide or the person themselves.
    For example.....i've been able to rent what i want since i was 11 & there where a few films i could'nt handle at that age because they were very adult(Videodrome)......while most R rated films i could handle at the time & still do & nothing bad happened to me( no going on shooting spree's ect)......i became very open minded & saw plenty of great films i may never have gotten to til years later or at all,if i followed the ratings.
    Sometimes the ratings are very unfair when you look at how they single out certain films......
    1987....
    Evil Dead 2....X..released unrated
    Predator.....R,very gory,not aware of any censorship cuts,though there may be some,you never know.
    Both films deserve R ratings in uncut form!
    1988
    Hellbound:Hellraiser 2....just saw the R rated version and despite a few heavily cut scenes,it's stil a 'hard' R rating...suprised they didn't cut more out. Of course should only be veiwed in uncut form,though i'd give that version an R!
    Friday the 13th part 7:The New Blood....X...butchured beyond recognition into a so called 'R', rating,when it could get by with a strong PG-13 now!......i think it could/should get by with a proper R rating in uncut form if ever released.
    Recent films of the past few years.......
    Two Girls & A Guy.....all talk movie,nothing we have'nt seen before.....blow job(again nothing we have'nt seen before) scene which is'nt really explicit gets it an NC-17,is toned down or cut all together(have'nt seen the R version) and gets a R...when it could easily get an R rating with the scene intact!
    American Pie.....could easily get an R rating in uncut form...this movies so tame in my opinion.
    Eyes Wide Shut.....again deserves an R,but was censored slightly in order to avoid an NC-17
    Cherry Falls....again F13th 7 all over again b.b.r., To give you a better idea of how badly the cuts hurt the film....it had to skip theatrical release altogether & premire on tv!!!
    Theres so many more out there,but this is just to give you a little idea of whats going on.
     
  16. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    The really fascinating part of the NC-17 rating is that it completely removes parental consent for a minor to see it. Even if a parent accompanies his child, the child still can't see it. I personally believe that a parent should be able to choose what their children are exposed to. In this case, the early rating for Clerks would have prevented a 15 year old from getting to see it.
    The MPAA is really so bad because they are both ineffective, uninformative, and damaging to art. If they gave ratings that parents could reliably depend on, then I wouldn't be so mad. But currently they reward people for cutting clearly R rated films to get PG-13 movies. They assign R ratings to foreign films that don't have the luxury of reediting their films(not that they should in the first place), even ones that aren't nearly objectionable (Amelie comes to mind). They force people to modify what is at worst is entertainment and is at best art to meet their own personal beliefs. They have the power to dictate the financial success of a film, so filmmakers and studios have to capitulate. They hide the true nature of their censorship by the line that "they don't have to accept our rating or they could release their NC-17 film as NC-17 or unrated". This is commercial and financial death, as has been proven time and again.
    When I'm a parent, I would rather cruise by the ScreenIt.com page for a better idea of what my child wants to see that the worthless rating for the film the MPAA randomly assigned. At least with that, the results are quantifiable and clear. Their brief overview at the top of their ratings is clearly substantiated by their accounting below. Also, they seperate their personal opinion into a section about what "they think".
    [​IMG] MPAA [​IMG]
     
  17. Jacob_St

    Jacob_St Second Unit

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    Since we are talking about the MPAA ratings can someone tell me what "thematic material" means? The MPAA uses that one alot in their little five word descriptions of why this movie got that rating.
     
  18. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    "Thematic Material" is akin to Adult Content. What it means is that even with the lack of the big three (Violence, Nudity, Language), the film still isn't appropriate for children alone.

    I think it could be used to justify an R for a movie that was otherwise goreless but was a scary movie.
     
  19. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    Whatever happened to the good ol' days from the 70's/80's when an otherwise benign family film would have a few gratuitous curse words and a brief nude scene thrown in just so the movie wouldn't get stuck with the "dreaded" PG rating. [​IMG]
    This was probably the main reason (not what marketing says) why the PG-13 rating was introduced.
    Nowadays, PG-13 is akin to what a light 'R' used to be, while 'R' is almost being used as the original intended purpose of NC-17.
    Perhaps the biggest problem is that you can't refer to a movie as for "adults" without thinking it's pornographic. The usage of the term "adult movie" for pornos has kind of hurt the movie industry somewhat.
     
  20. Derrick_Ellis

    Derrick_Ellis Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree Bill. I look at some of the gross out comedy films like Scary Movie 2 and wonder how they ever got that out with just an 'R' rating. I do remember Matt and Trey (Our South Park creators) saying that the MPAA would reject their edits, so they would make the film even raunchier and the MPAA would accept it. The rating system to me is a joke.
     

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