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by Aaron Bogert, Peter Knegt, Dana Harris, Bryce J. Renninger and Nigel M. Smith
March 29, 2012 1:23 PM
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The MPAA Being a 'Bully': 10 Films That Appealed Their Ratings

"Bully" TWC

Anti-bullying documentary "Bully" has drummed up the type of controversy most indies only dream of, thanks to Harvey Weinstein's much-publicized efforts to fight the film's R-rating in favor of a more teen-friendly PG-13. Despite Weinstein's best efforts and the rallying cries of his celeb pals, the MPAA didn't change their tune, leaving Weinstein to release the film unrated this Friday.

Now, this doesn't mark Weinstein's first battle with the MPAA (in 2010 he snagged an R rating for "Blue Valentine," after appealing the film's initial NC-17 slap). In fact, many distributors have stood up to the MPAA over the years, in the hope of earning their film a rating that could give it a chance at the box-office.

In honor of Weinstein's efforts on behalf of "Bully," we've weeded through the best MPAA vs. distributor battles to bring you our list of 10 films that made an effort to change the board's minds (in alphabetical order).

"American Psycho" (2000)

Anyone who has read the novel “American Psycho” can you tell you that Bret Easton Ellis’ extremely graphic and controversial satire of 1980s Wall Street culture makes director Mary Harron’s 2000 film adaptation look positively quaint in comparison. A faithful adaptation of the novel would have made the film completely unwatchable, so Harron toned down the novel’s violent and sexual content. Nonetheless, the MPAA ratings board still gave the film an NC-17 upon their initial viewing. Harron initially assumed that the reason for the rating was the violence in the film (axes in the face, chainsaws, etc.). However, the reason for the rating was actually a three-way sex scene between Christian Bale’s character and two prostitutes. The ratings board’s decision in this case highlights their frequent tendency to let violence in films slide, while cracking down on sexual content. Harron acquiesced to the ratings board’s request and cut out several seconds from the sex scene in order to secure an R rating. For the film’s home video release, the full three-way scene was restored to its original length. [Aaron Bogert]


  • katy | March 30, 2012 11:33 AMReply

    I met the man of my dreasms on the place mentioned in my pic ==--TallLoving.c'0m---it gives you a chance to make your life better and open opportunities for you to meet the attractive young man and treat you AS a queen!

  • Barry | March 29, 2012 3:28 PMReply

    There needs to be some rating system I feel. There are challenges with its arbitrary nature, but the biggest problem is with the theaters who are said to preclude the playing of films with NC-17 ratings. This is ridiculous. They are the ones who should be feeling the heat. Film viewers can decide for themselves if they want to see a certain film and to have it excluded by these corporate bohemoths is maddening.

  • IRONY | March 29, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    The MPAA's rating criteria is RIDICULOUS! Why is violence more acceptable than sex? However, did Weinstein see his own documentary? It is ironic that the film is being distributed by the biggest BULLY in the industry - Harvey Weinstein. Not surprised his bullying tactics towards the MPAA didn't work. That said - would like to see the MPAA go away altogether.