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The MPAA
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.05.2004 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Danny Baldwin wrote:
Is French sex worse than American sex? Laughing


No, just less guilty.


LOL!
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.10.2004 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ebert said in no uncertain terms in his [url=http://suntimes.com/output/answ-man/sho-sunday-ebert07.html]

March 7, 2004 Movie Answer Man[/url] column -- ironically in response to a letter concerning The Passion of the Christ's R rating -- that his proposed A would fall between R and NC-17. Quoth the Ebster:

[...]"The Passion of the Christ," the most violent film I have ever seen, received an R rating from the MPAA because the group, which exists in part to quell the fears of churchgoing America, lacked the nerve to give it the NC-17 rating it clearly deserves.

This becomes an unanswerable argument for my recommendation of an A (for adults only) rating between the R (which allows parents to take in children of any age) and the NC-17, which is irretrievably associated with pornography.

Because many theaters refuse to book NC-17 films, and many media outlets will not advertise them, imagine the irony if their own policies had forced them to boycott "The Passion of the Christ"!

Let the MPAA bring back the X, which everyone understands, for porno and establish a useful adults-only rating for films that are not pornography but are simply unsuitable for children.

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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 03.11.2004 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem runs deeper than just the MPAA (though their system is clearly broken, so they're not off the hook). As a society, I don't believe we're able to accept the notion that some material isn't for children under any circumstances... and that there's nothing wrong with that. NC-17 is anathema because many major theater chains refuse to run NC-17 films, Blockbuster won't carry them, and so on. This makes them commercially untenable, at least in the mainstream, so the studios bend over backwards to avoid it. Which results in the wonkiness and inequities that have rendered the entire system a joke. Saving Private Ryan is an NC-17 movie. Kill Bill is an NC-17 movie. The Passion is an NC-17 movie. And yet they're given R ratings because of immense studio pressure... prompted by a paying audience (and the companies which cater to them) who clearly think that a film forbidden to children is therefore amoral and bad. We as a culture need to get over that foolish presumption. Until we do, I don't think there will ever be a tenable rating system.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.11.2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I totally agree with your assessment, Rob. But do you think Ebert's proposed A rating, to fall between R and NC-17, could work to get the system back on track, to make it more sensible? It seems to me that it might.
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 03.11.2004 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I totally agree with your assessment, Rob. But do you think Ebert's proposed A rating, to fall between R and NC-17, could work to get the system back on track, to make it more sensible? It seems to me that it might.


The question then becomes how the general public responds to an A rating. Will A-rated films be welcome in Midwest multiplexes? Or will the chains refuse to carry them? Can you buy an A-rated video at Wal-Mart? Or will they refuse to carry it because they're a "family" store? You can create all the labels you want; the issue is how those labels will be perceived by the public... and if they view an A as "inappropriate" or "not for me and my family", then it will likely just get lumped into the same X/NC-17 taboo. An A rating COULD work, but it has to be approached carefully and with consideration for how various interests will respond to it.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.11.2004 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The public's response is a crucial factor, of course. But I think an alternate rating code may give leeway to those that insist on finding "non-family" material objectionable. As movies like Kill Bill and allegedly The Passion of the Christ demonstrate, 'R' isn't necessarily any more family-friendly than 'X' or 'NC-17.' An 'A' may give support to arguments against the supposed immorality of movies intended specifically for adults, and hobble the efforts of studios who wish to market R-rated films to children and teenagers, an endeavor which may be the central concern of the moral watchdogs.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read that the new Dawn of the Dead ran into trouble with the MPAA over its violence/gore. They had to re-edit and re-submit four or five times before the MPAA granted them an R, so the director says there will probably be an unrated version on DVD with the cut gore intact.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Vaux wrote:
The question then becomes how the general public responds to an A rating. Will A-rated films be welcome in Midwest multiplexes? Or will the chains refuse to carry them? Can you buy an A-rated video at Wal-Mart? Or will they refuse to carry it because they're a "family" store? You can create all the labels you want; the issue is how those labels will be perceived by the public... and if they view an A as "inappropriate" or "not for me and my family", then it will likely just get lumped into the same X/NC-17 taboo.


I agree. While I think a middle rating would be useful, I don't see how its purpose is substantially different from the NC-17's original intention. Like the "A," that rating was initially designed for adult, mature, non-pornographic fare--but, as Rob said, the public was unwilling to make that distinction and therefore the rating became associated with taboo material. Why should we expect a different result with the "A" rating?

Hey Rob, watch the Midwest bashing. Very Happy

Eric
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Dr Giggles
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Evil Dead did have a rape scene in it,

so Im guessing that would have been the reason it got rated that way,

as opposed to the graphic violence.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
While I think a middle rating would be useful, I don't see how its purpose is substantially different from the NC-17's original intention. Like the "A," that rating was initially designed for adult, mature, non-pornographic fare--but, as Rob said, the public was unwilling to make that distinction and therefore the rating became associated with taboo material. Why should we expect a different result with the "A" rating?


Americans tend to be swayed by emotion more than reason. As an American, I've seen my countrymen more impressed by rhetoric and connotation than useful ideas. Therefore, I think a positive "buzz" surrounding an A rating -- one that removes the pornographic stigma of the "harder-than-R" rating -- might allow it to serve a useful purpose. There's a saying that goes that the best way to teach a cat a trick is by convincing the cat it wants to do the trick. I think the same notion can be applied to the general American public regarding a practical rating system for film.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, although how can we ensure a positive buzz? Buzz is created by monolithic groups--the media, politicians, religious organizations, etc.--that typically gravitate towards sensationalism and controversy. As soon as a journalist asks, "Is the A for porn?" (and that question will be asked), the negative connotation has been established. In theory, I agree that the public can be swayed by proper use of "buzz"--I firmly believe that if distributors wanted to invest in a real market for independent cinema they could create one--but, like the monoliths that have something invested in maintaining the distribution status quo, the powers-that-be may have something invested in equating "A" with taboos. Although I'm skeptical an "A" rating would fly, it might be worth trying. The rating is probably a good idea.

Eric
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Hey Rob, watch the Midwest bashing. Very Happy

Eric


Sure thing, hayseed. :D

Rob Vaux

Californian, Which No One Can Possibly Make Fun Of
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The studios often talk about "hard R" and "soft R." That may be a helpful distinction if they ever tried to insert an A rating.

On the other hand, PG-13 was supposed to be the soft R, and that's had mixed success at best.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Vaux wrote:


Californian, Which No One Can Possibly Make Fun Of


Our governor will kick their ass if they do.
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


Our governor will kick their ass if they do.


"I cannot take credit for this victory. The people of California are the REAL cyborg killers from the future!"
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