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Awesome: 11.43%
Worth A Look85.71%
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4 reviews, 11 user ratings

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This Film Is Not Yet Rated
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The MPAA Is A Hypocritical Sham--I'm Stunned!"
4 stars

There are any number of approaches that a filmmaker could take in making a documentary on the inequities of the MPAA rating system and in “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” Kirby Dick seems hell-bent on deploying as many of them as he can possibly cram into 93 minutes.

In laying out his case that the organization, an industry lobbying group whose rating duties were introduced in 1968 following the disintegration of the once-feared Production Code (the reason why on-screen married couples always slept in twin beds, is more lenient towards violence over sexuality (the former plays well with more conservative audiences, especially those in political power), straight sex over gay sex (ditto) and big-budget studio vehicles over independent films (because the studios are the people who pay the bills for the group), Dick interviews an array of filmmakers (including John Waters, Atom Egoyan, Matt Stone, Kevin Smith and Jamie Babbit) who have seen their work suffer under the group’s often-contradictory and unwritten guidelines, submits his own film to the board to get a first-hand look at the process and, in his most audacious move, hires a private investigator to learn the identities of the allegedly average American parents whose job is essentially to decide what you can or can’t see at your local cinema.

This is an impossibly broad subject for a mere feature film to adequately cover and if I feel any disappointment in “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” it is because there are so many other aspects of the story that Dick doesn’t get around to covering (such as the MPAA’s willingness to sanction bloodless mayhem in mindless action films but get upset when a filmmaker dares to show in graphic detail exactly what happens when a bullet meets flesh). That said, the material that he has collected, though somewhat haphazardly put together early one, more than makes his point. The interview subjects relate their through-the-looking-glass stories with equal parts humor and horror (and are allowed to compare their offending material with similar scenes found in “R”-rated studio offerings–a seemingly obvious tactic that they are nevertheless forbidden to use when appealing their rulings), the stuff with the detectives tracking their prey has the same rabble-rousing hilarity that Michael Moore displayed in “Roger & Me” and the final scenes, in which Dick chronicles his dealings with the board over the film that we are watching is the kind of head-spinning move one might ordinarily find in a Charlie Kaufman screenplay.

“This Film Is Not Yet Rated” isn’t perfect–one hopes that the eventual DVD contains a lot of supplementary material–but for anyone who has wondered why contemporary films have become increasingly bland exercises in corporate synergy that shy away from serious adult material, this documentary should answer a lot of your questions while hopefully raising many more.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13583&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/15/06 00:11:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2006 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/04/11 DK Full of interesting material, but doesn't provide many answers 3 stars
1/24/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Interesting documentary about how Hollywood Hostess twinkies are made. 5 stars
7/04/07 damalc pretty good 4 stars
3/16/07 Donna A. It was flawed. But it hit on some major points. People need to see this movie. 4 stars
3/10/07 Ryan_A Not QUITE the indictment intended, but still proves its point. Consistently interesting. 4 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Impressively insightful doc tackling the flawed and frustrating MPAA. A must for film fans. 4 stars
1/25/07 Charles Tatum Interesting and infuriating 4 stars
9/22/06 David Pollastrini I liked the poster! 4 stars
9/16/06 Mase Bravo, A must see for any American filmgoer!! Highly entertaining as well. 5 stars
9/02/06 Zack The Greatest ownage of censorship inthe American motion picture history ever! 5 stars
5/28/06 Blackbrain Hilarious and informative. Must see for anyone who cares about American movies. 5 stars
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  DVD: 23-Jan-2007



Directed by
  Kirby Dick

Written by

  Kirby Dick
  Kevin Smith
  Allison Anders
  Kimberly Pierce
  Mary Harron
  Matt Stone

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