Wednesday, July 30, 2008

C'mon Hollywood #171

... fix the MPAA already!
by Sturdy

I hate the Motion Picture Association of America. Not just with that annoying, loud refrigerator hatred, but with an insane passion. Typically, my hatred for the MPAA is buried deep inside because I’m not intimately involved with their day to day dealings. But every now and again you read a story like what happened with ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and that rage boils back up like a bad case of oral herpes.

Does anyone else find Elizabeth Banks incredibly sexy?

Kirby Dick made a documentary a while back called THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED that really exposed the MPAA for what they are; a sham of an organization. There are no standards, no rules, no guidelines. It’s whatever the random people feel like on any given day. So if one of the guys on the ratings board found out his wife was blowing his best friend, your adult comedy movie will get an NC-17. If the bored housewife with too much time on her hands had a fight with her kid; your family film just got an “R” rating. I have more of these, but basically, when you don’t have any rules or standards to go by, you’re leaving the fate of someone’s films up to chance. In an organization as big and influential as Hollywood, that’s unacceptable.

Yes, he organized a stakeout on the MPAA

Imagine if the Food and Drug Administration had a similar policy regarding which drugs made it to store shelves. Would you feel safe buying that cough medicine? No, you’d buy a book on herbal remedies and hope for the best. Granted, people’s lives aren’t at stake when it comes to movies, but movies are a form of art and the ratings associated with movies dictate who is allowed to see a movie and who isn’t, even if 98% of the theaters in America don’t actually card people or enforce the rules. The point is that an NC-17 rating is the kiss of death for what should be an R rated film and a PG-13 rating can mean big bucks to a family film that should have been rated PG.

Why are there so many shades of green in these preview ratings?

The biggest issue I have is with the varying standards for violence and nudity. Why is it ok to watch 20 people get mowed down with a machine gun, but one penis on screen and everyone flips out? I can serve three life sentences for killing someone, but if I expose myself in public, I just have to spend the night in the drunk tank at the local sheriff’s office. Why is violence so easily accepted in Hollywood, but nudity is not? I’m sure this has some much larger meaning on our society, but I’m trying to stay focused. The biggest kicker is this quote from the MPAA website: “78% of parents with children under 13 found the ratings to be "very useful" to "fairly useful" in helping them make decisions about what movies their children see.” Is that even a real statistic? On a recent poll, I found that 80% of the people polled find that eating is useful in relieving hunger pains. And that’s the best statistic they can come up with to brag about their effectiveness. How have they managed to stay around since 1945?

Because I can’t get enough Banks.

There needs to be a set of guidelines that can be posted or sent out to every director and movie studio. I don’t know what a 13 year old should be allowed to see or shouldn’t, but if we had some guidelines, at least we’d have standards and a level playing field. Of course, not everyone is going to agree on whatever standards are set, but I think most filmmakers will appreciate the effort to set some guidelines. At that point they don’t have to worry about editing and ruining their film to achieve a particular rating. The major studio heads can collectively do just about anything, and it’s time they step in and fix the MPAA. The joke has gone on long enough.

Original here

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