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?"