Since its inception in 1990, the MPAA has slapped the NC-17 on several undeserving movies. It has also withheld said application on more deserving films, either due to public fear or corporate pressure. Both cases yield ridiculous results. For example, Martin Lawrence's comedy concert film, You So Crazy, is rated NC-17, yet Mel Gibson's The Passion is rated R. One film spends 90 minutes talking about crap, Prince and getting a piece, the other spends over two hours beating the crap out of the Prince of Peace. Actions speak louder than words, and should be rated as such. If I go on a date, and we spend the evening talking, that's R (for profanity and sex-related begging). If I'm invited upstairs "for coffee" at the end of the date, that's NC-17 (for graphic sexu--oh, who am I kidding--for brief sexuality and extreme charity). Kevin Smith probably used a similar example when the MPAA rated his actionless film Clerks NC-17. He had more 'splainin' to do than Lucy Ricardo, however, when they slapped the dreaded rating on his latest, Zach and Mimi Make A Porno.
Earlier this month, Das Gamer posted an interview in which director John Moore bemoaned the fact that the Motion Picture Association of America gave his Max Payne an R rating. Normally, this wouldn't be surprising, as the video games on which the movie is based earned "Mature" ratings from the ESRB, the gaming world's equivalent of an R movie. But the news did surprise Moore, who not only aimed for a tamer rating while filming, but saw The Dark Knight's PG-13 and expected to earn the same for his own movie. The association's reasoning, according to Moore, was that it "felt dark." Well, what a difference a few weeks makes. Game Daily is now reporting that Moore has won his battle with the MPAA and gotten Payne its PG-13.
One way that people rob something they fear of its power is by making fun of it. It's the basic tenet of propaganda and political campaigns, and I've always thought it also applied to the MPAA's treatment of nudity in the movies of late. For example, if a man shows his butt, the MPAA rates it PG-13; hell, Rob Schneider has made a career out of showing the place he pulls his movie ideas out of. But show a woman's ass and BAM!! Rated R! My explanation is that you can mine comedic potential from a guy's ass. I mean, it's where farts come from, and farts are funny!
Not one day after our own Odie Henderson demanded that the movie-going world stop laughing at on-screen penises, Kevin Smith has promised full-frontal male nudity in his newest comedy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. In an interview with MTV, Smith admitted that Jason Mewes would let it all hang out in what he called "a comedically drawn caricature of not just sex, but porno sex." Not 24 hours have passed, and he's already setting the movement back. Sorry, Odie.