Posted on Monday, November 1st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
The MPAA has made a lot of boneheaded decisions over the years, and the latest was slapping the film Blue Valentine with an NC-17 rating. That effectively dooms the movie when it comes to advertising and awareness, as a great many print and television outlets won’t run ads for an ‘adults only’ movie, which is how the NC-17 rating brands a film.
And all this for what? Only a scene in which the two main characters, played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, try to keep their marriage together. As the film’s producer, Jamie Patricof said, his film gets slapped with an NC-17, while The Lovely Bones was PG-13? While the film’s distributor The Weinstein Company has promised to appeal the ruling, Mr. Patricof is expressing his own confusion, and vows not to cut the film.
Speaking to E Online, the producer said, “We have no intention of changing the film,” additionally commenting,
I’ve seen a lot of movies. I just saw Jackass and I was dumbfounded—you see a lot of fully frontal male nudity. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Do I want my 15-year-old daughter seeing this?’ Probably not. Do I want her to see [Blue Valentine]? It’s probably not my first choice, but I don’t think it would harm her.
There is nudity in the Blue Valentine scene, but the crux seems to be the dramatic aspect of the exchange between the characters played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Which seems utterly absurd. The violence in a Saw film is somehow less offensive to a thinking adult audience than any possible dramatic exchange between two adults trying to work out their problems?
But that’s the MPAA, which seems to be wildly accommodating when it comes to violence — especially when a star director or producer, or a big studio is behind a picture — but seems less tolerant of bad language and sex than ever before. (The King’s Speech, which is objectionable only in that it has one scene with a lot of swearing, just earned an R, much to the consternation of its director.)
Even worse, E! Online says that, when appealing a ruling, there is no allowance for the introduction of precedent or other other cases of successful appeal. If that is correct, the appeal has to be done in a vacuum, with only a one-sided conversation with the board that has already proven to be aligned against the film’s content.