So begins an accurate, if wrong-headed, release from watchdog group the Parents Television Council, talking about the ratings change for Blue Valentine, which went from an NC-17 to an R without any cuts.
The Parents Television Council is a bunch of fucktarded ‘think about the children’ hacks who should be locked up in isolation chambers so that they don’t see something that offends their precious, Judeo-Christian, right wing values… but they’re also right. The MPAA process is a joke, and Blue Valentine sort of proves it.
The MPAA answers to no one - except the major studios, who essentially run the thing. It’s interesting to note how you never see a movie getting slapped with an NC-17 coming out of the majors, but always see indies getting hit with them. There was a controversy this week when Black Swan, which has an oral sex scene, got an R while Blue Valentine, also with an oral sex scene, got an NC-17. Black Swan comes from Fox Searchlight, an arm of one of MPAA’s member studios.
And if Blue Valentine is an R movie, why did it get an NC-17 in the first place? What has changed between the original rating and now, if the movie hasn’t changed? Like film criticism, film rating can’t be a science, but it should have some sort of accountability behind it, or at the very least some sort of reliability.
The process of the MPAA is completely opaque to the outside world, and through the strength of the major studios they have created a system where going out without a rating is tantamount to suicide. The NC-17 rating, which was intended to replace the X rating (which the MPAA never copyrighted and so got coopted by pornographers, ruining the meaning of the X), has become just another stigma. It’s a mess.
Of course the PTC is dead wrong about everything else. They’re the ones who make the world a difficult place for adult films; the endless focus on ‘think about the children’ means they’re not thinking about the adults. Take care of your own kids and do the research into a film before letting them see it. Also, wonder why the fuck your kids want to see a dark divorce drama like Blue Valentine; NC-17 or R this doesn’t sound like a tween night out at the movies either way.
So yeah, the MPAA needs to be fixed. Has long needed to be fixed. And it makes me uncomfortable when I find myself agreeing about such a thing with a bunch of censors and art haters.