Why the NC-17 Rating Isn’t Just Unnecessary, It’s Offensive

Boiling PointMuch of the on-line film community has a fairly strong anti-MPAA lean to it. Hell, we here at FSR even pushed to have the “governing” body disbanded seeing as how they serve no real purpose. Unfortunately they still exist, and while they’re not in the news today every so often they make a splash by screwing over a film with an unnecessarily restrictive rating. It may be a film like Bully, initially Rated-R for language when its intended audience were those under the age of 17, and that should be a PG-13 flick (it eventually was after toning down the language). Or it can be something very assuredly more adult getting really boned. Blue Valentine was initially smacked with the kiss of death, an NC-17 rating, because of an act of cunnilingus. Sex is a killer at the ratings. Violence can bring you an NC-17 rating as well with films like Killer Joe and A Serbian Film getting the dreaded rating.

In 2010, at least four films were initially rated NC-17 and forced to be re-cut, with two more crippled in 2011. Thus far in 2012 no film has been effectively banned from theaters due to the rating, but I’m still pissed about it anyways. The rating itself is unnecessary and actually redundant, but beyond that, the rating is offensive.

Addressing the first point logically first – the rating is redundant. The NC-17 rating means “No Children 17 and Under Admitted.” The R Rating means “Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.” So, basically, both ratings are accomplishing the same goal – stopping people under 18 from seeing a violent or sexual flick. The X rating, which was turned into “XXX” to make it seem even naughtier by the porn industry, is reserved for pornographic films. Somehow there are things that a 17 year old can handle in an R-Rated movie, but they can’t handle the nastiness that goes on in an NC-17 film. Pretty crazy how much mental and emotional growth happens between 17 and 18, right?

The obvious difference between NC-17 and R is the removal of the parental clause – with an NC-17 film, no one under 18 may be admitted under any circumstances – and this is where things get offensive. Why?

Because some bullshit governing body is telling you what you can and can’t do with your basically adult child. I’m not saying you should take your kid to a movie that is very violent and super sexual. You’re quite possibly a bad parent if you do that, but who am I to tell you how to raise your kid? I don’t know what kind of relationship you have. Maybe you and your 16 or 17 year old really love bloody horror movies and want to watch big breasted naked women get cut in half. That’s your decision, or at least it should be.

I’m just some guy on the internet, so of course I shouldn’t be telling you and your kid what to do. That’s what the MPAA is for! Right? They’re someone you should obey. Wait. But why? Who the fuck are they?

It’s pretty solidly established that the MPAA are a bunch of old, stuffy people who enjoy telling you what you can and can not watch like they’re some sort of legal group, when in fact they hold no legally recognized power. It’s just that all the studios agree to be rated and all the movie theaters, more or less, agree to enforce the ratings. Which is fucking bullshit as well, but really, the reason why it’s offensive is because they’re trying to tell you how to be a parent.

As a parent or legal guardian, it is in fact you decision and your responsibility to control what your children watch. If you want to let them see R-Rated movies, cool. I saw Eraser when I was 12 and it didn’t fuck me up. There is very little difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old. The NC-17 rating is ridiculous. Someone telling you how to raise your child is ridiculous. Someone arbitrarily judging the content of a movie is ridiculous.

I personally find it offensive that the MPAA sets some bullshit regulations that you have to follow when it comes to letting your kids see movies. Most kids between 13 and 16 can handle an R-Rated movie. You know who knows best about those kids? Their parents. They’re the ones who should execute the control over what their kids watch. If they think their kid can handle a movie, great.

I’m not attacking the whole rating system right now, even though it is rather stupid, I’m just attacking the NC-17. There shouldn’t be any middle-ground between “R” and “Porn.” If a movie is not porn, then the R-Rating is more than sufficient. A parent may take their child to the film if they chose to. Any agency telling me how to raise my imaginary child pushes me past my boiling point. Any agency with a bullshit rating system that can effectively kill a film and force it to be re-edited pushes me past my boiling point. That’s all an NC-17 rating really does. Tells you how to raise your kid and kills a directors original vision. Bullshit.

Check out the List of NC-17 Rated Films Here and Go Watch Them!

The MPAA strongly suggests you read more Boiling Point, so you should probably do it.

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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