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The MPAA Being a 'Bully': 10 Films That Appealed Their Ratings

By Aaron Bogert, Peter Knegt, Dana Harris, Bryce J. Renninger and Nigel M. Smith | Indiewire March 29, 2012 at 1:23PM

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.

"Eyes Wide Shut" (1999)

Under contractual obligations to deliver an R-rating on Stanley Kubrick's last film "Eyes Wide Shut," Warner Bros. digitally inserted cloaked figures into the infamous orgy sequence that serves as the centerpiece to Kubrick's sexual odyssey starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This move on Warner Bros.' part angered many a Kubrick fan, including Roger Ebert who slammed their move in his review, stating, "it's symbolic of the moral hypocrisy of the rating system that it would force a great director to compromise his vision, while by the same process making his adult film more accessible to young viewers." This was after all the director who released "A Clockwork Orange" with an X-rating. We're pretty sure Kubrick wouldn't have minded an NC-17. [Nigel M. Smith]

"Killer Joe" (2012)

William Friedkin's "Killer Joe," which Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts adapted from his own 1993 play, premiered at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival; at the closing ceremony, Italian online critics honored it with the "Golden Mouse" award. It was a promising start for the film, Friedkin's first since his little-seen 2006 "Bug" starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon (which Letts also adapted from his own work). However, the MPAA was less impressed: Deeming the film as containing "graphic aberrant content,the organization designated the film NC-17, a rating that it upheld on appeal. What's the problem? [SPOILER ALERT] Well, the story's about a deeply trashy Texas family that gets involved with drugs, a murder plot and Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey), a psychopathic member of the Dallas police force who's not above beating the hell out of one of the family members, Sharla (Gina Gershon), and then forcing her to fellate his Kentucky Fried Chicken drumstick. Now there's a marketing tie-in. [Dana Harris]

This article is related to: The Weinstein Company, Bully, MPAA

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