Monday, January 26, 2009

I've just come back from seeing Frost/Nixon at the Little Theatre here in Rochester. I thought it was terrific, but there are plenty of online reviews available and I won't try to write one here.

And my opinion of the MPAA rating system has gone from the toilet into the sewer. They gave this film an R rating. I'm trying to understand the possible justifications.

* Language: Yup, there's some cursing. Nixon was famous for it, of course. It would have been considered mild among my none-too-wild high school crowd in the early 1970s. Just about any 12-year-old would be able to understand all of the words and use each one correctly in a sentence.

* Violence: A minute or two of footage of casualties from the Cambodia bombings -- pretty much at the level that used to be televised routinely during the Vietnam War.

* Sex: A telephone call awakens a character while he is in bed with his girl friend. Emphasis on "awakens" -- they were sleeping.

* Nudity: A minor character jumps nude into the California ocean. For a second or so, you can see his butt.

Now, I doubt very much that groups of giggling middle-school students are going to be interested in getting dropped off at the mall by Mom so that they can see Frost/Nixon. But it might interest, say, a high school junior who likes American history or media studies. In fact, it's the kind of film you would hope your 16-year-old is aware enough to want to see, whether or not you had time to tag along.

(Expletive deleted) the MPAA. Do they give a special Oscar for "stupidest film rating of the year?"


At 9:12 PM, Blogger Brian Carnell said...

It is the triumph of Tipper Gore. I have to laugh whenever I trip the "restricted item" on the self-scan at Meijer and its because I'm trying to buy a videogame and need to prove my age to kill virtual zombies.

In fact it's a little weird that books are pretty much the only media product you can buy these days without at least, in theory, having to show ID (and Apple seems intent on eliminating even that barrier with their "no f word in online books" policy).

BTW, I had almost the exact opposite reaction while watching "Dark Knight" -- how did that manage to avoid an R rating (not that I think the ratings are a good idea, but seriously to be consistent that film's violence alone should have gotten an R)?

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% - and this thing goes to books as well. Not that books are rated (as noted in the previous comment), but parents are always objecting to some stupid little reference (on page 35, 4th paragraph, 6th word - did they read the whole book? NO).
Nice to see you after 35 years!


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