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This film is review-proof. This film is virtually unavailable.
But "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" is 98 well-spent minutes and then some. Indeed, be sure to check out the Q&A with the film's director, Kirby Dick, and the deleted scenes on the DVD, which I had to purchase online.
Though it's as heavy-handed as anything from that dirty liberal, Michael Moore, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" holds a mirror to the moral spotlight cast by the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board.
And, upon reflection, the film illuminates some rather nasty, un-American habits of that body, which slapped an NC-17 rating on this movie for depicting too many bodies in, shall we say, compromising positions.
Dick splices his documentary in a disjointed way. Quick scenes of sex and violence from other films, including commentary from critics, industry insiders, attorneys and filmmakers, are coupled with a bizarre whodunit in this 2006 effort.
"This Film Is Not Yet Rated" swings from visually to verbally vulgar. Yet the movie's point is one any real American must embrace: there is no room for censorship of any kind in a democracy.
But a room does indeed exist where anonymous persons make decisions about what you can see. Those decisions, the director and those he interviews conclude, are based on unbalanced views of sex and violence.
In these United States, Dick says, violence is acceptable in films, but sex is not. He uses the MPAA's own Web site to affirm his statement. And he doesn't stop there.
As questions of same-sex marriage arouse passions of another kind, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" puts forth the idea that heterosexuality is rated differently than homosexuality.
Around the time that the identities of the film raters and the MPAA's appeals board are revealed, it becomes clear the film is about freedom and the other side of that precious coin responsibility.
Censors, those who sentence films good, bad and ugly to an NC-17 rating and box office death, try to pair freedom with security, which, not coincidentally, the voting public will see ad nauseam into November 2008.
But filmmakers of questionable value and values forget the true price of freedom. They, too, are at fault.
"This Film Is Not Yet Rated" raises many questions and answers few.
If nothing else, it continues the slow, steady chipping away of the hypocritically political right's crumbling moral pedestal. Of course, each blow causes a piece of stone-cold truth to hit the collective head of the chisel-holding, mallet-swinging left, leaving everyone dazed and confused.
I am gay and, after viewing this documentary twice, I allege that there
is bias. The comments and observations, in the film, seem to be
subjective rather than objective. Most of the participants appear to be
gay, pro-gay or, at the very least, heavily invested in sex. Do I think
that obscene language and violence is given more credence than sex?
Yes, but a film's content, including sex, is supposed to maintain the
integrity of a script. Since the 1960's, the use of obscene language,
sex, and violence has been on the increase. I do agree, however, that
sex--and, particularly gay sex--is being censored. The use of animation
and special effects, rather than an emphasis on acting, is also on the
increase. Sadly, these things are being used to distract from the theme
of a film, or to compensate for poor writing or poor direction.
Additionally, no film should carry a message that its conveyance of
ideas or concepts are right or wrong. The viewer should be allowed to
decide for himself or herself. Up until a person is of legal age, the
parent(s) has(have) the right to choose how little or how much content
is acceptable or unacceptable. In order to determine what is acceptable
or unacceptable, one has to differentiate between freedom and license.
An individual should be allowed to decide, for himself or herself, what
is freedom and what is license. But again, until a person is of legal
age, the parent(s) has(have) the right to choose. As individuals, we
can change ourself, but we cannot change someone else. Yet, John Waters
is absolutely correct. A child will learn from life experiences. As a
child, I was taught by my parents, but I learned (negative, positive,
and in-between) from people out in the world. Even a protected child
becomes an adult, and cannot be sheltered forever. Not if the child is
to grow. And, in order to grow, a person must be vulnerable to risk.
Hopefully, a person will choose wisely, but there is a consequence
(negative, positive, or in-between) to every decision we make.
Allegations should be proved--in court, if necessary--and in the changing of the law. If the allegations in this documentary can be proved--I, for one, would be more than willing to participate in a class-action suit. In order to effectively pursue an argument, one must be persuasive, and one must choose the proper forum. A media circus only causes chaos and confusion. One must choose right from wrong, and two wrongs never make a right.
This is a 'must-see' documentary because it makes one think--and, for this reason, I rate the film a 10 out of 10. Think, use critical analysis, and decide for yourself.
MPAA REFORM... www.ifc.com/video/Film/Festivals/Sundance/Sundance-2007/443670580
As entertainment "This Film is Not Yet Rated" is good. It's fun, it's
fast-paced, it's humorous, and the interviews conducted with the
filmmakers often provide insight into the thought-process behind some
of these NC-17 rated films and the scenes that caused them to be rated
that way. As a documentary I'm inclined to say that "This Film is Not
Yet Rated" is unbalanced, biased, and not entirely fair. Still, the
film shies away from overt lies, 'evidence' that has already been
proved to be false, or other similar methods of documentary film-making
that have been popularized by Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock, and other
worthless, talentless directors like them.
"This Film is Not Yet Rated" is really far from captivating for someone familiar with the MPAA's rating system and how it works. I don't doubt that a lot of people like this movie simply because it is public reinforcement for their opinions. Essentially, what this film does is it takes the usual arguments against and for the MPAA and emphasizes one viewpoint over the other, treating the other as simply ridiculous. Is the position of the MPAA ridiculous? Perhaps. I certainly think it is, but if I was making a film about their rating system I would interview filmmakers who support the ratings system (some must exist), and maybe give members of the public a quick lecture on the system then ask them what they thought of it.
Kirby Dick clearly hates the system so much he doesn't just want to make an exposé of the system itself, but also of the people behind it. I found this humiliating and unnecessary, and frankly a little immature; couldn't he have given the same stats on their ethnicity, marital status, and what age their children were without going to ludicrous lengths to capture these people on camera and interrupt their lives.
A documentary about the MPAA has been due for a long time. 2006 was the year that one was finally delivered, alas it is a film that can only loosely be called a documentary. Succeeding as entertainment, thoroughly failing as a documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated" is ultimately neither here nor there and completely forgettable.
This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Documentary that discusses the MPAA rating board and the infamous NC-17 rating, which any movie lover will know is just a bullshit thing. I have always been against the MPAA and their ratings but after seeing this film pure hatred has entered my heart against them. I always knew how evil they were but to see the people behind this board come as rather shocking. The appeals board crew was even more shocking. It was also great seeing side by side comparisons of films that receive an R rating and those who got an NC-17. The fact that the big studio systems run this thing makes me want to tell everyone to never buy another movie ticket, never buy another DVD and just support pirates.
A suggestion for documentary filmmakers: when you say you're not
recording a conversation, perhaps you actually shouldn't be recording
the conversation. At the very least, you may want to consider not
presenting it in your film along with a split-screen view that features
your subject speaking her half of the dialog in animated form. This
approach does indeed make Joan Graves, head of the MPAA's
Classification and Rating Administration, come off as officious at best
and corrupted by power at worst. Is the fact that it's, let's face it,
a bit of a nasty trick more or less significant than the fact that
director Kirby Dick is pointing out things that we might want to know?
I'd also argue that "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" would have been a stronger effort if it director had reined in some of its tangents. For instance, there's a scene in which the private investigator whom he's hired to identify the mysterious figures who comprise the ratings board discusses her lesbianism. Mr. Dick ties this into the question of whether the board is more lenient with films depicting heterosexual as opposed to homosexual sex -- which is certainly a question worth asking, but bringing a contractor's private life into it made the words "stay on target" spring inevitably to my mind. (Especially given that the directors of "Boys Don't Cry" and "But I'm a Cheerleader," among others, are already on hand to offer their perspectives.)
I'd have to say that this one works better as agitprop-lite than as responsible documentary journalism. Kirby Dick is clearly having a lot of fun here -- and why make a film if you're not, after all -- but I suspect that he could have served his legitimately relevant cause somewhat better with a bit more focus and a bit more fairness.
Its an artifact of the artistic pipeline that movies have to be
packaged a certain way. They have to be so and so long, and have such
and such narrative content, whether fiction or various kinds or
documentary. We accept this as if somehow it is natural, just as we
accept flat walls and square corners as natural to rooms instead of the
This restricts filmmakers profoundly, because instead of discovering something and finding the right container for it, you start with the container and fill it. If you don't have enough stuff, you invent more.
What we have here is film a documentary that has all sorts of extra, irrelevant stuff in it. It is restricted thus. Ironically, it is about how the industry and its manufacturing process restricts films.
First the damage in the thing, then the damage it speaks of.
There's an interesting case here. Its about how a small number of large powerful studios control the ratings system to make it difficult for independent and artistic filmmakers to market their films. It happens to be a secret process that is apparently biased and highly subjective. That's the story, how corporations stifle art. Its less about the arbitrariness of the process than that this dynamic exists.
But that's not enough to fill a movie, or at least the way this filmmaker sees it. So he makes the fact that the reviewers are secret the centerpiece. Does it matter that its these controlled yaboos rather than another set? No, not really, but the mystery associated with the secret hijacks the picture.
But even that isn't enough to fill the movie in this fellow's mind. So we get some kerfluffle about the chase, some business about detectives and stakeouts. But even that isn't enough, so we discover something of the life of our detectives, who happen to be lesbian housewives.
All this is poured into the film because the form constrains. And this guy didn't see it coming. Michael Moore.
But the point is a good one, the ten minutes he spends on it. We do get amazingly homogenous product. It is profoundly "safe" if you don't worry about fostering the most violent major society on the planet; if you are obsessed with sex and nudity; if you lose sleep about otherness.
On the other hand, you need a large, restrictive inside in order to have an outside. Not all art has to come from the apparently deviant, I suppose, and its hardly enough. But it does seem to help.
Here's a greater unintended feedback effect. Hollywood films thrive on a notion of romance that's puritanically pure. Its essential to the industry. That excludes depictions of relationships that are more like real life, that include hair, smell, sweat, amazing fluids and little deaths. Defining that away strengthens the channel, which constrains the form, which this fellow follows blindly.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm glad, this movie expose a lot of how the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) honestly works. I was always curious, on how they rate the suitability of films' themes and content for certain audiences through their G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17 ratings. For the most part, I never really had too much of a problem with the MPAA system, because in my opinion, people will go see, their type of a movie, no matter what. Plus, it help the viewer choice what type of a movie, they want to see or not. Nevertheless, I do see, where the film rating can destroy a film's profitable. A good example of this, is when they rated a film, NC-17. I get that, theaters have the right to show, what films, they want to show. However, I don't get is why the MPAA is funded and controlled by the big film studios, when it shouldn't. It's allow more leeway, for them, to get the rated, they want, than what should be deserved. No wonder, why so many risky interdependent films are on this NC-17 list and how few studios films are. Another thing, I don't get about the NC-17 rating is how it was supposed to replace, the X rating; which by the 1970s and 1980s, became more known for films filmed by pornographers. At this point, its hold the same stigma, as the X rating. In my opinion, I see, no reason for them to even have that type of a rating any longer; since Rated R & NC-17 is nearly the same thing. Yes, I get that the NC-17, is the rating that says no children will be admitted at all, even with Parental Guidance, but it's not their job to play the parents. After all, like I said before, if they really didn't want the film to be shown in their theater. They have the right, not to show it. As a thinking American, I do find the MPAA to be a little more strict, to sexuality-charge movies than films of mindless violence to be true. It's kinda weird, how normal, explicit violence is to Americans, compare to other countries, are more against violence, that, then explicit sexuality. It definitely speaks to a cultural difference between countries. There is a huge problem in America rating system, if they consider sex to be more graphic than violence. Then, the double standard, in how sex scenes that contain male nudity is more likely to be censored compared to female nudity. Also, how homosexual love scenes can cause higher content ratings compared to heterosexual love scenes, among others. It's pretty clear, that was the film is showing here, is indeed somewhat true. Directed by Kirby Dick, this documentary explores, how the MPAA acts in a very notorious corrupt way, by pointing out the examples, I mention here, through the use of talking head interviews and film clips. Because of the film's criticize of the entertainment industry, a lot of the filmmakers interview for this film, couldn't be, too honest, about the industry, nor would the films clips had the approvable of the studios that hold it. So, this prompted the filmmakers to invoke the fair use doctrine. Because of this concept, the film clips and interviews, had to limit to a few frames. It's also kinda funny that despite all their bitching about illegal copying of their own films, the MPAA admitted making digital copies of this documentary after it had been submitted for review, against their own. It's also funny, how this film originally got NC-17 rating by the MPAA for "some graphic sexual content.", but the film had changed dramatically from the time of the NC-17 rating, the film cannot be released with an MPAA rating without the film being resubmitted for review. Talk about outsmarting the MPAA. However, it's not the MPAA is totally evil like this movie, makes it out to be. In truth, its rating system is way better than the Hayes Code of the early 20th century which really limited artistic freedoms. We, as the modern audience are expose to a lot more, different types of movies with mature content; than our forefathers, were. Like, I said before, people will see a movie, no matter, what they say. Anyways, the film really fail to mention, some of the goods that MPAA does; such as allowing films to gain access to global markets, creating jobs, helping build technology & innovation within the film industry, allowing a large research and report database to access to the public, as well, as protecting the audience from child pornography, animal abuse, and epilepsy actions, that potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. The way, they act like the MPAA is an over controlling censor board, is a bit overreaction. It's not like the MPAA is spying on the filmmakers. If anything, the way, Dick crew's use of private investigator Becky Altringer to unmask the identities of the ratings and appeals board members is a bit too disturbing and somewhat illegal. Also, the use of voice reenactment scenes like the one for Joan Graves, head of the Classification and Rating Administration for the Motion Picture Association of America seem, somewhat misleading. The movie fails to mention that MPAA also rates film trailers, print advertising, posters, and other media used to promote a film. Green, yellow, or red title cards displayed before the start of a trailer indicate the trailer's rating. Nor the film mention the controversial "R-Cards", which parents could obtain for their teenage children, under the age of 17, to see R-rated films without adult accompaniment. You would think that would be mention that. Overall: This movie was indeed very fun to watch. Very good insight in American censorship and media manipulation. A must-watch for anybody curious about how films are made.
I saw this amusing little documentary after listening to a podcast that
explained something about the shady dealings of the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA), and how almost the entire income of the
American movie industry depends on their cooperation. I already learned
that the MPAA is a very mighty organization, despite the fact that it
is a completely voluntary system that movie studios and cinema
franchises have universally adopted, and was only designed for
classifying movies into categories as a guide to parents.
The most entertaining parts of the documentary are the personal experiences of directors who tell about how their movies (initially) received the heaviest rating, the ubiquitously feared NC-17. In practice, this means that no major cinema will show it, no studio will advertise it, and hardly anyone will pay to see it. I am still puzzled by how a protracted sex scene, frontal nudity, homosexual love as well as a female orgasm in film will instantly restrict the movie to audiences of 17 and higher, whereas a violent death or a man being pleasured can be seen by any minor accompanied by an adult. However, if one thing becomes clear, it is that the MPAA is never in a hurry to explain their reasoning and motives.
It is gradually revealed that the MPAA was founded by the six biggest movie studios, and as such, they go much easier on their movies than on independently produced films. As the movie went on, I felt myself swinging between amusement and indignation as the double standards of the MPAA are revealed, as well as their untouchable status, since all their dealings occur in strict anonymity. The official stance of the organization itself is to just staunchly defend this system without any logical reasoning or accountability, much the same way in which they rate movies.
I am less convinced by the makers' attempts to track down and identify these anonymous MPAA members. All it amounts to is that we learn that most of them don't fit the job description given by the MPAA; by that time, we are already convinced that the MPAA is a non-transparent, corrupted organization with limited capacity for self-regulation. It would have been much more informative if the makers had interviewed these people, or at least documented (failed) attempts at that. I also missed the Michael Moore-style 'search for the root of the problem', where we could get some insight into where this inconsistent morale about sex and violence comes from.
In the conclusion, which is a nice example of 'life imitating art', director Kirby Dick submits this movie to the MPAA, and immediately gets an NC-17 for 'sexual content', despite the fact that those scenes are very brief and merely illustrate his point. He is allowed to fight the decision for a board of appeal, but cannot use any scenes of other movies to defend himself, so he looses the appeal. Apparently the MPAA cannot handle a bit of criticism.
Filmmaker John Waters aptly describes the conundrum by saying that the MPAA prides itself on not being a censorship organization. But since it has no official 'rulebook' on what movie content is acceptable for a given rating, there really is no other way for directors than to look at examples of others for guidance. Which is not allowed by the members, who always remain anonymous and only answer to the MPAA itself. Weird.
Filmmaker Kirby Dick takes on the Motion Picture Association of America
(MPAA). It interviews filmmakers and film critics. Kirby hires private
investigators to find the secretive film raters. He also has a couple
of former raters who are willing to talk.
This documentary definitely has a point of view. It has some insightful stuff about the MPAA. It's interesting to see how secretive the organization is. The movie is one-side. I can't blame it on Kirby because I doubt MPAA would be any more forthcoming in any case. Kirby takes a bit too much glee in a couple of scenes. There is a Canadian movie from inside a ratings agency called "My Tango with Porn". There are some interesting insights like the clergy and film corporate insiders in the appeals board. Some very interesting filmmakers are sticking their necks out. This is by no means complete. There are some assertions that are a little more precarious.
Terrific documentary on film censorship, This Film is Not Yet Rated takes a look at the MPAA the organization who give films its ratings. Director Kirby Dick interviews some prominent filmmakers who have had their films certified with unwanted ratings due to the amount of explicit content in their films. The film shares the points of view of the filmmakers and gives us insight into how unfair the rating system really is. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it does a great job at telling the story from the point of view of the people that make the films. For me, I think it's preposterous for someone to tell me what I can, and cannot watch. As you get older, you realize that film is an art form, and how wonderful films can be. By censoring them and telling the filmmakers they have to cut their work, the MPAA waters down, and in many ways destroy the intention and goal for the filmmaker to entertain its audience. Films should be uncompromising and many movies out there are tasteless, extreme and offensive, but the best judge of what to watch is you. This Film is Not Yet Rated is an eye opening film and it should be seen by every film lover. This is a near perfect documentary that finally tells the side of the filmmakers and how the MPAA butchers their art. Brilliant, funny and at times unfair in the sense that one organization has practically given themselves the right to judge what is best for us to watch, This Film is Not Yet Rated is a well crafted must see documentary.
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