This Film is Not Yet Rated
November 28, 2006 10:04 AM   Subscribe

This Film is Not Yet Rated (SFW trailer) and a hilarious (audio NSFW) version. (2:05) "How does one follow-up an Oscar-nominated documentary (2004's Twist of Faith) about sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church? If you're Kirby Dick, you deliver another exposé of institutionalized misconduct by taking direct aim at the ratings system of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)." Interviews with the director, Kirby Dick: 1,2,3. Not available on DVD until January '07, but the Amazon Reader Reviews are worth a look see.
posted by spock (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I saw this at the Full Frame Film Festival before it was picked up, so it may have been re-cut since then. I remember enjoying Kirby's righteous fury, as well as that of his interviewees. It's a bit rambling and scatter shot, though. At one point he inexplicably goes off on Hollywood's close relationship with the military (approval, advisers, etc.), which threw me for a loop.

It's entirely worth it though when he submits the film to the MPAA for rating. That was hilarious.
posted by brundlefly at 10:45 AM on November 28, 2006

though i haven't seen the film, I did discuss it with a family friend who works rather high up at the MPAA, who's greatest complaint with it was the techniques that the filmmakers used to hunt down the individuals who screen the films and come up with ratings. The identities of these individuals are protected primarily to prevent the film industry from bribing them to rate the films the way the studios want them rated, and my friend's opinion was that the filmmakers, by employing PIs to track these folks down had engaged in a rather dangerous invasion of privacy.
posted by jrb223 at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2006

See also: Naturist Guide to the Movies, a guide to non-sexual nudity in the movies and advocate of G ratings for movies with "harmless" nude scenes.
posted by spock at 11:15 AM on November 28, 2006

Link in my post above is prolly NSFW.
posted by spock at 11:16 AM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Interesting jrb223, but I would imagine that the MPAA's interest is more one of controlling the access to the board so they can set the price on such bribes. Thinking the process is free of such corruption seems to be the height of innocence/ignorance. One comment from one of the articles that I found interesting was that Studio films get back "notes" on how to edit the movie to get the desired lower rating — while independent filmmakers don't get such notes. One explanation for that, is that the studios are paying for the service (and ithe price is beyond the reach of most independents).

Perhaps the day will come when Congress will decide to look into the matter, as it did in the payola days of radio DJs (if for no other reason than to extort some more money out of the MPAA/hollywood to drop the matter). </cynicism>
posted by spock at 11:24 AM on November 28, 2006

Anyone with enough money to bribe people also probably had enough money to hire a PI.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2006

I think most of us are familiar by now, through the results of the MPAA's ratings of various films, WHAT is going on (gore = good, boobies = dirty). I look forward to seeing if this film addresses the insanity of HOW the MPAA reviewers arrive at their insane conclusions.
posted by basicchannel at 11:50 AM on November 28, 2006

I like how they got Don LaFontaine (the movie trailer guy) to VO the trailer for the film.

I also want to hire that PI. She totally doesn't look the part.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:20 PM on November 28, 2006

jrb223, that's a legitimate concern, but I'd argue that the best protection against corruption is more transparency, not less. If everybody knows who's on the ratings board and what they're up to, that ought to make it harder for them to get involved in anything shady. If it turns out that someone's taking bribes, you give them the boot and replace them with someone else.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2006

gore = good, boobies = dirty

It's the 2000 Presidential election all over again.
posted by Grangousier at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2006

yeah, no, just to be clear, I agree with you all spock, astro zombie and faint of butt, I just thought it might be interesting to hear what folks on the inside thought. I do think though, we'd be hard pressed to ever develop a perfect rating system.
posted by jrb223 at 12:46 PM on November 28, 2006

I liked the film a whole lot--gore good/boobies dirty is only part of the story. The ratings board also favors studio over indie, straight over gay, and male pleasure over female, to name a few other apparent biases. It's a very powerful position for an unelected, unaccountable group to be in--and the movie's a lot of fun, too.
posted by muckster at 2:03 PM on November 28, 2006

The MPAA is just a constant reminder that's sitting on the horizon, reminding the populace that they begged for government censorship, and will have it ladled upon them in excessive degrees at the drop of a hat. (drop of a war?)
posted by tehloki at 2:19 PM on November 28, 2006

straight over gay

You're not kidding. The only R-rated preview I've ever seen was apparently R because the word "gay" was spoken in it several times (it was a preview for an AIDS documentary). And that's just the preview -- I suppose the movie itself must have been rated NC-103 or something. The master reel was probably encased in a can full of salt, buried three feet deep, and then the earth above it set on fire, all in order to protect humanity from its pernicious influence.

Meanwhile, Star Wars 3 has a scene where somebody is slowly immolated on-screen. Ah, a splendid example of family-friendly PG-13 fare!
posted by vorfeed at 2:23 PM on November 28, 2006

Have there ever been attempts to open-source the movie rating process? I was thinking about that this weekend, and wondering if anybody ever tried that. I mean, besides the CAP Alert guy.
posted by Alt F4 at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2006

I would guess that theatres would not pick up films that were not directly mpaa rated. Too much of a commercial risk.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:50 PM on November 28, 2006

Additionally, many newspapers won't carry advertisements for NC-17 or unrated films.
posted by phearlez at 5:42 PM on November 28, 2006

i wasn't too aware of any of this and i find it redciulously interesting...thanks spock and everybody...
posted by es_de_bah at 7:01 PM on November 28, 2006

Chris tells me that this link should be working again within 24 hours (DNS change). It is a 13 minute audio interview with Kirby Dick about the movie:

I repeat, it may not be working right this minute.
posted by spock at 9:06 PM on November 28, 2006

I do think though, we'd be hard pressed to ever develop a perfect rating system.

I think it would be fairly easy to make a much better one. Stop giving them one rating. Instead, through the magic of computers and the internets, give each film many ratings.

You get a filmgoer ID card -- OK, now you're nervous, but wait -- you get an ID card that records which rating systems you are interested in. If you're a kid, your card is set by your parents. An adult wouldn't need the card, but it would be useful and convenient.

So a film gets, for example, a "minimum age = 19, 'takes the Lord's name in vain'" from a restrictive church group but "minimum age = 8, no sex or violence, only 'bum' and 'Jesus Christ!' used" from a more liberal group. (And it gets maybe five hundred other ratings, but 2 will do for this example.)

When you go to buy a ticket (or you look it up online), you find out (if you're a kid) whether you are allowed into the film or (if you're an adult) whether it's the sort of film you and your family/friends want to see that night. If you're a kid whose parents follow the restrictive church group's system, you aren't getting in. If they're following the more liberal group's ratings, you are getting in, though maybe your friends aren't. Better to check before you go out.

The ratings system could combine reviews, so you would get a review from the same people whose ratings you trust - "minimum age = 14, don't bother, it's a moronic film, go see [some other current film] instead".

For advertising, they could list a small set (5?) of common ratings just to give you an idea of what the film is like, but not just one rating.
posted by pracowity at 2:56 AM on November 29, 2006

My wife was recently proposed to be no the Chilean film ratings board.
She didn't get selected, which just goes to prove how corrupt the whole process is.
posted by signal at 6:05 AM on November 29, 2006

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