In a different approach that I’ve never done in my blog, I’m going to debate the documentary created by Kirby Dick, This Film is Not Yet Rated. While watching this, a lot of questions and refutes came to mind that I wanted to deal with rather than just reviewing the movie. I gave this film my full attention and open mind, so I’m going to talk back.
This Film is Not Yet Rated deals with the issue of the warped way in which independent and Hollywood films are treated and rated according to the MPAA (Motion Picture Assoc. of America). With the issues of homosexual vs heterosexual relations, male vs female sexuality, and violence, vs sexual content, Kirby Dick handles this and the board behind which these issues are debated and rated on. It is quite controversial and sexual in nature, with interviews from people all across the movie making business and their thoughts behind why this secretive establishment was ever put into place. And a lot of attacking of Jack Valenti, the man that started it all.
I have to concede a lot of points to Kirby Dick and the creators of this documentary. It is rather disturbing that an organization is given this much power and allowed to be kept secret and confidential on its workings. To not be allowed to know the peers who judge you (as you are in the court of law), is downright un-Democratic. The board that represents “average American parents” is warped and not accurate in the slightest. And any sort of appeals board that is put into place is just ludicrous.
But I think where a lot of the confrontation comes from is the business world. Hollywood and the movie making machine is a business. A lot of business (especially big businesses that make billions of dollars) are run by the elite “conservatives” that wouldn’t look kindly on the liberal views of sexuality and experimentation. With the movie makers butting heads with the owners who rate the films and distribute them, documentaries like this are going to arise that fight the backwards system they’re involved in.
What I didn’t understand is why there’s such a conflict. If the MPAA rates movies as R or NC-17, that restricts the amount of people who can see the film. And by restricting a demographic from seeing a film that may not be so restricted content heavy, that loses money to a particular age group. Why would the big businesses who run the showing of films do such a thing? It seems backward, and could only be because they feel it is necessary to keep the status quo morals. I applauded this film for fighting “the man” and the “big machine”, but there were things I had problems with.
Coming from someone who loves a lot of different films, I have to be honest. I don’t think that, in 90 out of 100 cases, that sex scenes are necessary in film. What do sex scenes do? They reaffirm a “loving” relationship between two people, be it straight, gay, or whatever. It’s for lust, for some form of artistic representation. But how often does it actually move a plot along? Not often. Sexual scenes of any sense that actually further plot are usually scenes of rape or procreation. If someone’s having a baby or having their lives changed by a terrible experience, those are depicted harshly or beautifully. Sex scenes to “seal the deal” come across as eating up screen time to me.
Let me give an example so I just don’t seem prude. I tried to watch a film recently titled, A Room in Rome. I thought, hmmm, I’ll expand my knowledge in films with this liberating and artistic foreign film about lesbians. It started off okay. They had some thought provoking conversations. Then they hit the showers and I was exposed to sex scene after sex scene. At that point, I realized what sex scenes are to me. They are invasions of privacy, voyeuristic looks into someone else’s private time, be it onscreen or not. They, for the most part, bore me and make me feel uncomfortable. And for a film to claim it’s an arthouse film and just show 90 minutes of nonstop sex scenes? That’s a total load of bullshit. Don’t tell me that. That’s not some form of art that I would never understand. “It’s symbolic.” Are you f$%^&ing kidding me? Hell no.
I’m not ashamed to exasperatedly voice my opinion, and it’s about to get worse. Call me a typical dumb male, but I would rather have a scene of violence in a film than a sex scene. It’s more entertaining and adrenaline pumping than two people doin’ it in front of my eyes. And it furthers plot. Steve Carrell as Michael Scott on The Office said it best when he said that what’s more exciting than a gun? What is more exciting and threatening to a character than a gun onscreen? There’s a point to be had there. Martial arts films that depict the grace, discipline, and brutality of fighting really inspire me to be better than myself and protect and defend others. It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess.
There was one point in the film that made me pretty mad in particular. It was quite a leap and a wrong one. To say that violent films and video games inspire more kids to shoot up schools than anything else is not the truth. It is an access to firearms at a young age. It’s those kids who are mentally unstable, picked on, not listened to, those kids who feel the pressures of the world before they even get out of college. The outcasts, the rejects, those kids nobody would ever dream of talking to or hanging out with. In some particular cases, I’m sure violent acts have been done because of what someone saw on T.V. or in movies. But not a majority or a large portion of the time at all. Marilyn Manson said it best in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine documentary. When asked what he would have said to the two young male shooters to try to dissuade them, he said, “I wouldn’t say a single word to them, I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.”
This film makes valid points about a world I am not a part of, but would one day like to be a part of. The movie world scares me now after seeing this documentary. How much freedom is taken away when you want people to see what you’ve made and how a movie can be banned or censored is against our rights. But the way that sex is seen as something that should be above anything else (drugs weren’t talked about in this film), I falter in my support. I find that to be assuming too much of an “open-minded” America. For parents to have to talk to children about sex, who wants that conversation? (Daniel Tosh paraphrase from a telling joke about Mormons and gay rights.) As a whole, America is a prude machine that doesn’t want to move from where its standing. I stand among those in the action film/horror movie/all around whatever the hell genre it is community and say, “I don’t need sex in my films.” I know it is backwards to say violence above sex, but aren’t movies fake? Don’t they depict things that, for the most part, are an interpretation/exaggeration of the real world? Sex scenes hit too close to home and come from a person to person basis on what is acceptable sex.
So coming away from this with one thing, you should remember I said this. I don’t find sex to be entertaining or necessary in movies. That’s just me, my opinion. You could think I am absolutely stupid and ignorant for thinking that. That’s your choice to think that. But if my voice has any say in the matter, this is what I think. Plain and simple. Let me know what you think, and, as always, I’ll be writing from The Abyss.
So let’s have a poll, shall we?