Hollywood and the MPAA Aren't Always to Blame


by: Jeremey Gingrich

The only time we really hear about the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is when they have a seemingly juvenile dispute with Kevin Smith over the title of a movie (COP OUT was originally A COUPLE OF DICKS, and they hated ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and its posters) or when a director really wants to keep a nude scene or sex scene in a flick and the MPAA wants to give the film a rating of NC-17. In both of those cases it’s easy to view them as a No-Fun type of organization, made up of old timers with no libido and no sense of humor, but I saw something the other night that made me change my way of thinking.

Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Cop Out

While watching the recent release BROOKLYN’S FINEST, a scene occurred in which Richard Gere (no stranger to prostitution after AMERICAN GIGOLO and PRETTY WOMAN) has graphic – and yet still sensual – sex with a prostitute played by Shannon Kane. Immediately after this scene, Gere tells her about his day while she performs a “service” for him. As this scene progressed, a mother of two kids got up in the audience and informed her kids, and the theater, that they were leaving. The kids were vocal in their objections and confusion as to why they were leaving as they worked their way through the aisles on their way out. The audience got a laugh out of it, and though it was a distraction from the movie, which I’m not really a fan of, it brought up an interesting issue regarding the MPAA and their ratings. They were actually looking out for this mother of two. BROOKLYN’S FINEST was rated R, specifically listed “Rated R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language.” This is what they’re here for.

Richard Gere in Brooklyn's Finest

One of the actual stated purposes of the MPAA, as listed on their website, is “to help parents make informed decisions about what their kids watch.” Not having kids, I cannot say with exact certainty that when/if I do, and I take them out to the movies, I will only see G rated films in their earlier years. But when I do decide to take the kids to something of a stronger rating, you better believe I’ll be paying attention to that little blurb of information provided by the MPAA. I suggest other parents do the same. Maybe if my parents did that, I wouldn’t have seen THE ACCUSED at age 10. I’ve never looked at pinball machines the same way since.

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