403 Forbidden


nginx
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx
Follow us:
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx

Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 29, 2012 at 10:11 AM

“Bully,” Weinstein, and the MPAA

This is yet another of those stories from the MPAA ratings board that make me all irritated and furrowed of brow, and it’s way too early in the morning for such emotion. Nonetheless. Here we have “Bully,” a documentary (directed by Lee Hirsch, and clearly a personal film for him; he writes on the site that he was bullied for much of his childhood) that follows five bullied students and their families in the course of a school year. I have not yet seen the film myself; as it won’t be in theaters until late March. But I hear that it has some swearing in it (are you shocked? Teenagers SWEARING?), and therein lies the problem. The MPAA ratings board gave the film an R rating for “some language” (yes, that’s the precise description given by them as the reason for the rating), which was upheld on an appeal last week.
The MPAA ratings board, whose membership is famously secret (watch the documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” for an entertaining expose), has long been inconsistent in its ratings: permissive with violent films, ridiculously strict on matters of sexuality or language. I often point to “Taken,” the extremely violent 2009 Liam Neeson film about sex trafficking, which was rated PG-13, and “I Capture the Castle,” a charming film aimed at literary teenage girls, rated R. (The latter film received its rating for “brief nudity,” meaning a fleeting moment in which we see a female character roaming through a field naked, seen only from the waist up. Apparently the MPAA felt that teenage girls would be traumatized by the sight of a woman’s breasts.)
For “Bully,” an R rating makes the film difficult to show to high schools and middle schools — surely the very audience that should see this film and talk about it. And now, enter Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is distributing the film, and who is hopping mad — and talking about taking a “leave of absence” from the MPAA. Not that doing so would help matters — the National Association of Theater Owners reminded Weinstein that sending the film out unrated would mean that most theaters would treat it as if it were NC-17 (i.e. no one under 17 admitted, period).
And, while the grownups squabble, Michigan high school student Katy Butler (herself a victim of bullying) has created an online petition, hoping to convince the MPAA to change their minds. It now has more than 130,000 signatures. Read it here, and wonder: Who, exactly, is the MPAA trying to protect, anyway?

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx