I Read Stuff!!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I recently watched This Film Is Not Yet Rated which is a documentary of how movies are rated by the MPAA. When I watch these flicks I expect to be outraged. I expect there to be dirty nasty secrets, but in whole I wasn't shocked. It really didn't convince me to stand up and shout about the horrors of the MPAA.

The main complaint of the film is how secret the organization keeps its inner workings. Film makers are not allowed to know the identities of the raters nor the appeals board. There also isn't any kind of written guidelines that determine what an 'R' contains versus what a 'PG-13' entails.

The secrecy, while ridiculous, doesn't bother me. It's a private organization with private rules. Who rates a film is mostly unimportant if the process is clear. However, the problem is that the rating is arbitrary. There are no guidelines for film makers to examine, and previously rated films cannot be used as a precedent. A director is swinging in the dark.

One of the many directors in the film places movies into three categories:
Films made for entertainment, porn, and art. The current system seems to work very well for differentiating entertainment and porn. The people who get stepped on are the artists.

While it's sad that artists get a raw deal, the truth of the matter is that people who want to watch those films seek them out. Art house theaters exist because of this demand, and remember that unrated DVDs sell better than rated DVDs.

Ultimately, while the system has its warts, I can't really condemn it. It's not 100% fair, but it's closer than I would have expected.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you're Steven Speilberg. Rumor has it he was able to convince the MPAA to give Transformers a PG-13 rating instead of the original R without it being recut.

9/14/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger mattjustmull said...

I don't doubt it. It makes sense that the group of parent reviewers would give it an R, while the appeals board of theater owners would give it a PG-13.

9/17/2007 7:26 AM  

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