This Film Is Not Yet Rated

I just watched This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which I'd been waiting for since I first saw the preview about a year ago. It's great, and infuriating. I don't think it ever actually opened in theatres in San Francisco. The official web site is hosted by IFC, but their channel is not actually showing it any more. They're selling the DVD online, but I find it more than a little ironic, given the subject matter, that the easiest way to see this movie is via Bittorrent.

Anyway, it's a documentary about how the MPAA ratings board works, and who makes the decisions about what movies you get to see (since an NC-17 rating is the kiss of death to distribution and to advertising budgets). The MPAA is very secretive about this: they're the gatekeepers of a huge part of our culture, and we don't get to know who they are or how they make their decisions. So the filmmakers hired a private detective to figure out who these people are. That part is very entertaining. The best part, though, is the side-by-side comparisons of what gets an R and what gets an NC-17. Hint: they don't like women who enjoy sex, or gays.

The MPAA, of course, gave it an NC-17. How could they resist?

Trailers:

Director Kirby Dick's blog. And his response to some "changes" the MPAA said they would make after they started having to answer uncomfortable questions as a result of this documentary.

Watch the DVD bonus material too, it's also good.

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20 Responses:

  1. drkscrtlv says:

    I don't think it ever actually opened in theatres in San Francisco.

    I'm pretty sure I saw it in a theater, but it could have been the Red Vic or something.

    If watching these films corrupt morals as much as the MPAA says they do, then the senior members' opinions should be more suspect than most, I'd think.

  2. eqe says:

    We saw it in the theater, I think at the Lumiere on California. Sorry you missed it -- but we didn't get the DVD extras, so sad.

  3. belgand says:

    Since women not enjoying sex is a no-no, I presume they give a lot of PGs out to Japanese porn.

  4. dazeddaisy says:

    It opened in one cinema in all of the UK. I found that interesting since the MPAA ratings are generally what we will give here.

    Anyhow, how could they not give it a NC-17 considering the content in it was content from movies that was cut because it was too "adult".

    • chemphyssoc says:

      What goes on in the US is no different to what goes on in the UK. I guess that's not surprising, really, but what really gets me over here is the way films are distributed, which is in one of two ways:

      a) Either it is not, usually because no distributor is willing to distribute it; or

      b) It is distributed about nine months after it has been relaesed in any other country. I've been to see films I'd forgotten I had seen in another country.

    • sherbooke says:

      In the UK, there is the BBFC which is not quite the same as the MPAA. However, local authorities can over-ride the BBFC's classifications, even re-instating cuts or asking for new cuts. Back in the day, the BBFC was a pretty nasty instrument; in the 80s, reform took it's toll.

      The MPAA thing sounds like the modern equivalent of the Hays Code, except it's double double secret. How very bushian.

      • wfaulk says:

        Well, the difference between the MPAA ratings and the Hays Code is that you can still release films with an NC-17. In fact, the MPAA ratings came about when studios started ignoring the Hays Code.

        Of course, the NC-17 rating is box office poison so much so that most movies that get one, assuming they don't recut, end up releasing it unrated rather than having the NC-17 logo on it. Of course, those are only movies that go to art houses anyway, where no one cares about the rating to begin with.

        Actually, that makes me wonder. Most municipalities have laws restricting children from seeing R-rated movies unaccompanied and NC-17-rated movies at all. I wonder what those laws have to say about unrated movies.

        • wikkit42 says:

          "Most municipalities have laws restricting children from seeing R-rated movies unaccompanied and NC-17-rated movies at all. I wonder what those laws have to say about unrated movies."

          Typically, they don't, as it may be constitutionally difficult. They do a clever end run in that they require the theaters to agree to play along with the MPAA system before they grant them the permits they need to operate.

        • rodgerd says:

          The funny thing is that our government-driven, a priori censorship board ends up being more open, accountable, and effectively liberal than the industry system over in the US seems to be.

          See also: comics code.

  5. grahams says:

    I don't think it ever actually opened in theatres in San Francisco.

    That's interesting, it was open here in Boston for a few weeks at a pretty decent theatre... I had just assumed that it would be show in all the big cities...

  6. grahams says:

    BTW, even though the url ends in '/kirbydick/', the page itself says it's the blog of the producer, Eddie Schmidt...

  7. Yeah, I saw this a little while ago. I enjoyed the subject matter, and you'll have to forgive the ad hominem, but I found the "investigators" a little shrill and strident, which made it hard to take them seriously. It is pretty amazing how much you can still find by dumpster diving (compare the recent black box voting documentaries).

  8. telecart says:

    Thanks for this.

  9. try your local video store. up here in canada, at least, it came out yesterday.