Friday, September 01, 2006

This Film Is Not Yet Rated -- The Popsurfing Review ** 1/2

There are two movies fighting for control in this documentary about the MPAA rating system. One is a solid, entertaining and funny look at the MPAA and how crazily inconsistent the ratings are for Hollywood movies. This section combines interviews with everyone from Kevin Smith (very funny and cogent) and John Waters to Kimberly Pierce and almost anyone else you can think of with an "adult" film from the past 15 years. They contrast clips from mainstream (often heterosexual) films that got an R with very similar or even tamer clips from indie (and often gay films) that got an NC-17. Even more galling is the horrific level of violence that gets an R while sex (even loving and intimate and sweet) is invariably considered much less appropriate for kids. You'll want to demand changes from the MPAA immediately.

The other movie is a creepy stalker film. The MPAA board is composed of anonymous LA parents and that anonymity -- coupled with the fact that the MPAA misleads or lies about the board's makeup -- compelled the filmmakers to hire private eyes to stake out the MPAA, follow these people home and video tape them. They show license plate numbers, show their actual homes, give out details about the ages of their children and on and on. You know, giving a movie a rating isn't exactly like a star chamber where people are sentenced to death. The movie could have made the same points with humor, rather than getting all Mark David Chapman.

Finally, the movie is fascinating for one reason: NONE of the clips in the film were paid for or requested through official channels because all of them are brief, clearly serve a Fair Use function and don't in any way, shape or form damage the commercial viability of any of the films they excerpt from. This movie is intended and likely will serve as a test case if someone sues them and it heads to court. Ultimately, it will end up at the Supreme Court which hopefully will rule in favor of artistic freedom and reinforce the Fair Use laws already on the books, rather than the stifling copyright pretensions of Hollywood.

1 comment:

Ed Sikov said...

Call me sick, but I'm looking forward to the stalking part. They brought it on themselves by treating the whole thing as identity-hidden cloak-and-dagger crap to begin with.