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View Diary: "Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children?" (51 comments)

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  •  I loved the AVClub's brief but scathing note: (16+ / 0-)
    Unfortunately, Bully has a bunch of cuss words in it, because it was filmed in actual middle and high schools—and actual middle- and high-school students pretty much swear with every other word, because that is how you prove you’re a grown-up.  That means that the MPAA has slapped Bully with an inevitable R rating, ensuring that those same children won’t be allowed to watch themselves on film any more than they could see filthy, dispassionate married people sex in Blue Valentine, or listen to Colin Firth “fuck” history right in the ear.
    I totally get that the ratings system was a compromise to bring us out of what was, at the time, a much worse system of regulation (the Hays Code), but by making it a secret and entirely unaccountable cabal of people with fucked up priorities, it's long past its expiration date.

    I get that we need a system to let parents know that, hey, your kids may be okay with R-rated movies but Happiness is a bit much - but once you throw in its peculiar mishmash of moral priorities (like the infamous "you get a worse rating for gay stuff, even if it's the exact same stuff" that we have to deal with all the time), you're basically signaling that your ratings system is capricious and untrustworthy.

    As annoying as the TV ratings are, there's something to be said about being direct: this show contains strong language, violence, and sex.  Viewer discretion is advised.  Can the coy ratings entirely.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 08:46:10 PM PST

    •  What Makes It Even More Galling..... (10+ / 0-)

      ...Is theater owners will refuse to run films with an NC-17 rating or will limit the number of screens for an R-rated film, but then won't even enforce the ratings & will let kids into the films without adult supervision.

      So filmmakers are getting screwed by a system that limits what they're allowed to do in order to get wide distribution, but the same system is a joke at what it's supposed to actually achieve.  

      •  We ran into a stupider (7+ / 0-)

        situation a year or two ago.  For elder son's birthday we were taking a bunch of kids to see a movie -- I can't even remember which one -- that was rated R.  Not little kids -- teenagers, 15 and 16 years olds.

        We were refused admission because, although we had two adults, all the kids weren't ours.  I should have thought faster on my feet and sworn that they were our foster children.  It really was a ridiculous situation (and we ended up going to a Miyazaki film instead).

        Then there was Rango -- a movie which was definitely not appropriate for little ones, not because of swearing or sex, but because of the themes and style.  When we went to see it there were several crying preschoolers in the theater, because the parents hadn't bothered to read the reviews or investigate the movie at all.  They saw Johnny Depp, cartoon, and brought the 3 y/o.

        A little tender courage at that rare right instant, and things might well have turned out differently -- Ken Kesey

        by Frankenoid on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 07:25:39 AM PST

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    •  what to do about this: (6+ / 0-)

      Just go into the audio track and put a "bleep" wherever anyone says anything stronger than "damn" or "hell."  If you want to make the point even more strongly, put a black rectangle over their mouths with the word CENSORED on it, during each bleep.

      If anything, that'll make the film go instantly viral so a lot more kids will want to see it and thereby be exposed to the message.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:10:26 PM PST

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      •  Heh, that's similar to what Solondz did (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rimjob, KenBee, Larsstephens, hazey, commonmass

        when then MPAA came down on the film he made after Happiness: the red box in Storytelling.

        I find it galling that the MPAA refused to allow him to write "Censored" on the shot, which moves beyond regulating morality (their ostensible charter) and into regulating content (which isn't even close).

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:13:20 PM PST

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        •  that's when the lawsuits should fly. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, Larsstephens, commonmass, alguien

          When MPAA or whoever-it-is attempts to prevent someone writing "CENSORED" on a red box or a black block across someone's mouth, sue the fuckwads for all they're worth.  

          Strictly speaking it's not a 1st A issue because they're not government.  It could be a restraint of trade issue or a fraud case or something else, IANAL but I'm sure some smart lawyers around here could find something.  

          MPAA has no redeeming value.  Copyright fascists, self-important censorious pricks, etc. etc.  

          It would be simple enough to have an objective "ingredients" list for films, e.g. "language," "violence," "sex," "racism," "nudity," etc. etc. and whatever.  That would give viewers some ability to make reasonable choices about what they see.  But the present system has more than outlived its usefulness.

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:19:32 PM PST

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          •  Unfortunately the system is totally voluntary, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Larsstephens, commonmass

            so I'm not sure how successful a legal challenge would be.

            You have the option of just submitting your film as "unrated", which means that most theatres will refuse to carry it, because that's considered even worse than NC-17.

            See?  Voluntary!

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:34:25 PM PST

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            •  thus my point about restraint of trade. (6+ / 0-)

              Now as it turns out, they have trademarked all the ratings except X.  

              So what I'm thinking is, it would be interesting to set up an independent ratings board with objective standards and with its own set of trademarked rating codes.   Then a film maker could send a film to that rating board as an alternative.

              The best way to break a monopoly is to set up something to compete with it, and then use various commerce laws to pry open the market and get it out of the monopoly's clutches.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:57:09 PM PST

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              •  Still, the theatres are sorta compelled to go alon (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                commonmass

                with the MPAA-style ratings, and many of the theatres are financially (by ownership) interlocked with the Big Movie folks who are "voluntarily" controlling the entire medium via MPAA.

                •  ooh, vertical monopoly! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass, aerie star

                  Compelled by who?  And compelled to go along with that rating system as opposed to some other rating system such as a competing one that could be set up?

                  Smells like monopolistic business practices to me.

                  Though frankly this doesn't affect me because I haven't been out to the movies in well over a decade, due to:

                  a) Copyright fascism; just say "boycott."

                  b) Too much violence; if I want nightmares I can read the news and it's free.

                  c) The quality of film making in general has really declined in recent decades.  

                  When I visit friends & family who have cable TV and we watch stuff on the classic movie channel (usually black & white) it never fails to amaze me how well done those earlier films were compared to anything that's around now.  The degree of subtlety in older films is one aspect; the absence of graphic violence is another; the appeal to what may as well be called more wholesome emotions or idealism or a sense of "life in normal times" and "future as hopeful" as compared to today's twisted cynical stuff is another.  And today the over-reliance on computer animation & special effects, quick cuts as a substitute for interesting camera work, and an odd kind of emotional manipulation of audiences, is also a turn-off.  

                  There are no doubt plenty of independent films and foreign films that are better in most or all of these aspects, but that's hit-or-miss and I don't have the time to devote to the search.  

                  So it goes.  But if the major flaws could be reformed, I might get interested again.  

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:32:32 AM PST

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      •  "How Are You Doing That With Your Mouth?" (0+ / 0-)

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 08:35:20 PM PST

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