Okay, so who else thinks that the movie rating system is a massive, steaming pile of BS?
In the United States, the Motion Picture Association of America has been dishing out ratings they deem to be appropriate for our virgin eyes since 1922. Unfortunately, they have a history of being hypocritical, inconsistent, sexist, and puritanical with how they rate movies. Haven’t you watched an R-rated movie that left you wondering how the hell nobody under 17 shouldn’t be able to watch it, only to realize that the reason for its rating is totally based on curse words or a brief nude scene? Meanwhile, you can watch somebody get gunned down in a PG-13 movie, easily.
There are so many examples of the MPAA making ridiculous rating decisions and, surprise surprise, most involve the censoring of female sexuality! Great! Anyway, here are eight examples of stupid movie censorship that’ll make you mad.
Diary Of A Teenage GirlThis is the latest movie to cause controversy in the world of censored movies. This movie about a 15-year-old girl who loses her virginity to her mother's 35-year-old boyfriend is definitely edgy, and it's definitely going to appeal to teens. But in the UK, you can't even see it if you're under 18! Despite being lauded as sending a positive message to viewers about teen girl sexuality, it was deemed inappropriate for teen audiences because it depicts an underage person having sex with an adult, among other grievances. But...there have been other movies--like The Reader--with similar content that haven't received such a strict warning. The movie's star, Bel Powley, encouraged girls to use a fake ID to check out the movie. Let us know if you did just that.
Blue ValentineRyan Gosling, one the stars of Blue Valentine, made a huge stink out of the original NC-17 rating that this movie received. And, honestly, he was right to. Why was it rated NC-17? Oh, because Ryan Gosling's character performed oral sex on Michelle William's character. Oral sex scenes are in plenty of R-rated movies...but usually it's a man who is receiving the pleasure. Ryan made the point that while female sexuality is seen as perverse, "The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes." Facts on facts on facts.
But I'm A CheerleaderIf the movie rating honchos can't handle one woman receiving sexual pleasure on screen, can you imagine how much they clutched their pearls at two women experiencing sexual pleasure...at the same time? Apparently lesbian sexuality is inherently more explicit, which is why the movie But I'm A Cheerleader initially received an NC-17 rating. Cuts had to be made to drop it down to an R-rating.
Charlie CountrymanThis movie, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Shia LaBeouf, was going to get an NC-17 rating, unless the filmmakers cut out a scene in which Shia's character performs oral sex on Evan's. So it was cut. Evan was, undersandably, pissed off. She went on a Twitter rant and said, "The scene where the two main characters make 'love' was altered because someone felt that seeing a man give a woman oral sex made people 'uncomfortable' but the scenes in which people are murdered by having their heads blown off remained intact and unaltered." She also pointed out that she doubted that a rape scene or a scene in which a man receives oral pleasure would receive a NC-17 rating. When violence and male sexual pleasure gets an okay from the MPAA but female sexual pleasure is too explicit...that's a problem.
Boys Don't CryThis movie starring Hilary Swank as a transgender man almost recieved an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. It wasn't for a brutal rape scene, or a violent gun scene. Nope, it was because there was a shot of Chloe Sevigny's boobs that was just a smidge too long for the MPAA's comfort. Unreal. A sex scene is more obscene than rape or murder.
Whale RiderThis 2002 movie about a young native New Zealander who wanted to become the chief of her tribe--despite being a girl--made 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes the youngest Academy Award nominee for Best Actress at the time. It was rated PG-13, which isn't the end of the world, but the reasoning was a little ridiculous: There was a short scene in which pot paraphernalia was seen. That seems appropriate for parental guidance. I mean, movies showing alcohol consumption have PG ratings. But a quick shot of a pot pipe is worthy of a PG-13 rating? Uh, okay.
Two Girls And A GuySo, you might think that all these explicit sexual scenes that I've mentioned so far probably deserved an NC-17 rating. Okay, but what about an oral sex scene with absolutely zero nudity? Yeah, the movie Two Girls And A Guy got the NC-17 treatment for that. Given the fact that nude sex scenes often receives an R rating without issue, it's weird that a fully clothed one was deemed to explicit. Could this be because a woman received oral, too, and not just a man? Hmmm.
The Thomas Crown AffairSo, apparently this 1968 movie starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway received an R rating...for a suggestive chess scene. Yes, seriously, a suggestive chess scene. You can watch it here and see if you think it deserves the rating. Spoiler: It doesn't.
If you want to learn more about how effed up the movie ratings system is, check out the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated. Of course, thanks to the MPAA, this movie was almost rated NC-17 until it was given a rating of…no rating.
What other movies were given stupid ratings? Do you think that the movie rating system needs a revamp? What should constitute as an R-rated movie? Tell us in the comments!