One of the wonderful things about DVD is that it can be a catalyst for discovery.
I first heard about This Film is Not Yet Rated
at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles nearly 2 years ago. I missed it in its limited theater engagement but recently found a copy at a local DVD store. Documentaries, good documentaries, can be tricky to see in the theater if they are not mainstream or don't have a major studio behind them. Stalk your local Blockbuster or Best Buy is you must, but everyone, especially aspiring filmmakers, should see this film.
This Film is Not Yet Rated takes an analytical look at the MPAA. Kirby Dick gives you the history, the facts, Jack Valenti, and the smart guys in glasses that have written books about the 1st amendment. But what is most important are the interviews with filmmakers that have gone toe to toe with the MPAA. Filmmakers like John Waters
, Matt Stone
, Kimberly Pierce, Kevin Smith
, Wayne Kramer and other greats have been given NC-17 ratings by the MPAA.
Jack Valenti describes the MPAA board of reviewers as ordinary people, mostly consisting of the "typical American parent," that reviews submitted films according to certain guidelines, then votes on a rating to be submitted back to the filmmaker. The names of the board of reviewers have always been kept secret and once no longer a reviewer, they may not disclose any information pertaining to the MPAA.
By looking at different films with similar content in certain scenes (mostly pertaining to sexuality), Kirby Dick has evidence to call shenanigans on the MPAA. Some films are slapped with NC-17 ratings that don't have more or less than an R rated movie. Extremely violent films are given R ratings without much of a fuss, but puppets mimicking sexual acts are given an NC-17? One line or a very short scene about a sexual act can turn an R-rated film into an NC-17? What's the deal?
What is also interesting is that while the filmmakers were indie status (meaning you don't have big studio bucks backing you) the MPAA would not disclose the exact scenes or dialogue that caused a film to receive a particular rating. A filmmaker that is studio status, the MPAA would be more specific in terms of what to edit out or change. Once again, what's the deal?
What we have here, folks, is a broken system. I won't give away too much more. The ending will absolutely floor you. This Film is Not Yet Rated is an eye opener and will raise the following questions: Who is this "American parent" that is here to protect us from vulgarities? In the 21st century, is there such a thing as the stereotypical American parent? Why is violence so easily accepted in US Culture and sexuality is still that topic that no one wants to talk about? How will the MPAA effect the next generation of aspiring filmmakers? And, who's really running the show?
There are some deleted scenes that contain interviews with John Waters, Matt Stone and Kevin Smith. However, this is not a DVD for the special feature fanatic. This is a DVD for the person who wants to see a brilliant movie that may have missed it otherwise.
Next Week: La Vie En Rose
Review by Destiny Lopez
Starpulse.com contributing writer