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Running Time:
1 hour, 38 minutes

Rating: NC-17. No One Under 17 and Under Admitted

Rating Explanation:
for some graphic sexual content.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This Film is Rated fascinating and entertaining.

This Film is Not Yet Rated
Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick explores the hypocrisy of the way the MPAA treats sex, nudity, violence, and profanity in movies. He's even included examples of some of the films that received the NC-17 rating even showing the questionable scenes that gave them their NC-17 ratings. He examines the films "Boys Don't Cry," "The Cooler," "American Psycho," and" A Dirty Shame" (among others) all of which were rated poorly by MPAA board. They all had scenes of sex and nudity. Things - like a female orgasm, simulated gay sex, or pubic hair - has been enough to result in NC-17 ratings while graphic violence and blood usually gets an R. Killings without blood often may get nothing more than a PG-13. If that seems hypocritical and bizarre, imagine how filmmakers like Kimberly Peirce, Wayne Kramer, Mary Harron, Kevin Smith, John Waters and Atom Egoyan felt about the preferential treatment given to studio productions over independent films, and to straight over gay sex.

One of Dick's goals was to discover the secret identities of the ratings board members. To research his film, he hired a real detective: Becky Altringer. What she learned was that the board is mainly made up of older, conservative white Americans with children in their 20s who have nothing special in their backgrounds that would qualify them for their poisitions. They all live in Southern California, which can hardly be considered a reasonable cross-section of the country. Nevertheless, this group of eight to twelve anonymous individuals are the ones whose value judgments are ones who decide how films are made, marketed, and distributed. There is a certain perverse thrill in watching these folks get outed, but it is also both disturbing and frightening. The final portion of the film follows Kirby Dick submitting his movie to the MPAA for a rating then, once it receives the expected NC-17, his appeal. Since the MPAA officials do not give him permission to record their voices on phone calls (except in one instance) and do not allow cameras in the appeals room, Dick relies on sketches and re-creations during this section of the film, but it makes its point. The ratings system is a sham and the appeals process stacks the deck against the independent filmmaker. The number of ratings overturned on appeal is only about 15%.

Despite its flaws," This Film Is Not Yet Rated" serves as an invaluable rallying cry against the MPAA's methods, their secrecy, and their unmitigated gall at presuming to dictate how filmmakers should express themselves. It becomes obvious what a shambles the rating process has become, and how fundamental changes are needed if the system is to serve anyone beyond this tiny bunch of self-important censors.

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