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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

"Blue Valentine" (2010)

Before losing to the MPAA with "Bully," Weinstein won in getting an R for "Blue Valentine," after appealing their NC-17 slap for an oral sex scene between the two leads, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The best part? No changes had to be made to the film to secure the R. Of course, despite Weinstein's victory, he chose to highlight what the MPAA found so racy by releasing a provocative poster that shows Gosling and Williams locked in a steamy outdoors embrace. Hey, sex sells. [Nigel M. Smith]

"Boys Don't Cry" (1999)

Kimberly Peirce's Academy Award-winning depiction of the inspiring life and brutal death of transgendered boy Brandon Teena was indeed initially dealt an NC-17. In the MPAA-critical doc "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," Peirce recalls that she was initially rather amused by the rating as she's a big fan of many other films dealt the rating. But then when distributor Fox Searchlight said they wouldn't release it with that rating, Peirce was forced to make some cuts. The NC-17 classification was in part due to the brutal rape scene in the film, but also due to a tender love scene between Brandon and his girlfriend, Lana. The MPAA deemed it was problematic in that Brandon wiped his mouth after performing oral sex on Lana and that Lana's orgasm was "too long." In "Not Yet Rated," Peirce said that when she asked the MPAA what the issue was within this particular scene, they said, “well, we don’t really know but that’s offensive." Peirce went on to explain that she felt the problem for the MPAA was the idea of sexual pleasure without a male experience. “I think female pleasure is scary, in the narrative setting," she said.  "I think unfamiliarity is what breeds these NC-17s.”  In the end, Peirce's "Boys" was rated 'R' for "an intense brutal rape scene, sexuality, language and drug use." It also continues to stand as an example of the sexism and homophobia that is clearly present in MPAA decisions. [Peter Knegt]


  • 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.