Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Brains Attached: King George VI versus Ashton Kutcher…

"R — Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously…"

So says the Motion Picture Association of America, and who are we to argue about what constitutes an R-rated movie, as opposed to a G (“General Audiences”), PG (“Parental Guidance Suggested”), PG-13 (“Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13”), and every male teenager’s white whale: NC-17 (“No one under 17 admitted”)?

But argue we will, based on an entirely unscientific viewing of one excellent, R-rated movie (“The King’s Speech”) and a host of violent or raunchy, or violent and raunchy, previews, all from other movies also rated “R,” which preceded it.

The most offensive preview—and we realize this is like calling out the least-productive member of Congress, but here goes—happened to belong to a movie called “No Strings Attached,” starring, well, who really cares, in a plot that revolves around uncommitted sex between the leading male and a bevy of idiotic young women. Through a series of very brief snippets of awkward encounters, the preview alone reinforces the generally held universal notion that young men should be encouraged to pry random sex out of naïve-and-willing young women without consequence.

In “The King’s Speech,” however—the movie that followed this and other previews, one of which included a violent car crash, a blood-gushing fight, and random torture—the only “adult material” in 2 hours’ worth of a well-written, well-acted and well-told story, happened to be the use of various words that anyone in the theater under the age of 17 was already using in the car on the way to the theater.

More to the point, the supposedly inappropriate words in this case came forth in entirely appropriate, laugh-out-loud circumstances, very much like the repeated use of the F-word in the first ten minutes of “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

And that’s it: there is not an eye-gouge, a from-the-point-of-view-of-the-horrified-victim stabbing, or even a mild sex scene in the thing.

So how on earth does a “King’s Speech” deserve the same rating as a “No Strings Attached”? We have no clue. According to the Motion Picture Association,

Ratings are assigned by an independent board of parents with no past affiliation to the movie business. Their job is to rate each film as they believe a majority of American parents would rate it, considering relevant themes and content.

It is hard to believe that actual human beings with children could prefer their under-17s watch a randy moron cavorting with various randy moronettes, as opposed to the painful efforts of a decent man to overcome physical and emotional handicaps when he is thrust into the national spotlight on the eve of a world war. But that’s what they’re telling us:

Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures. —the Motion Picture Association of America

On the contrary, we could think of nothing more appropriate for a young child to see than “The King’s Speech.”

And leave “No Strings Attached” for the remainder bin at Wal-Mart.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2011 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. Also, this blog is not a solicitation of business by Mr. Matthews: all inquiries will be ignored. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


But What do I Know? said...

See This Film is Not Yet Rated for additional ratings follies. . .

Danny M said...

You're right but "wadda ya gonna do"... a constructive use of the f-word is seen as more threatening than subtle pernicious messages of sexual selfishness that break down society's integrity and moral fabric... if we'd go by deeper standards I'm sure you'd find some children's cartoons to be just as offensive as "no strings attached" in the underlying philosophy they're espousing...

Anonymous said...

Movie studios aim for a particular rating. Somehow a more mature rating connotes a better film. I've heard of studios which initially got a 'G' rating on a film go back to the editing room and add some raunch so as to get a GP-17 rating. What self respecting guy would take a date to a 'G' rated movie no matter how good it is?

lineside said...

TV ratings are even more ridiculous. What idiot would pass on 14 year-olds watching some of the stuff rated TV-14?

And even if you manage to carefully screen what your kids watch, limiting the viewing to family-appropriate content (say a baseball game), out of the blue comes a Viagra commercial or the commercial trailer to something like "No Strings Attached".

Frozen in the North said...

On the bright side, no children under 17 would be interested in the King's speech, since there is no violence or sex scenes!

The only shortfall of the King's speech was (well outlined by Chirstopher Hitchen) the misrepresenting of Churchill's; who was in fact a very strong supporter of Edward VIII even when his "Nazi" support was well established.

Frozen in the North said...

Amusing side note, in Canada the King's Speech is rated G (for all audiences).


Jeff Matthews said...

It fits perfectly.

After all, Canada did not have to rescue a single bank during the panic, and the Loonie--which a pulp/paper friend used to call "The Canadian Peso"--has been a store of value, while the Dollar has been more like an "American Peso."


Frozen in the North said...

On the CAD peso: Yeah Jeff all our models tell us that the CAD is about 8c overvalued (against the USD it should be 1.06/08). But then again, as others have said, Canada is not using quantitative easing, the BoC is trying to talk down the economy with more restrictive lending measures, and our federal government has a realistic chance to eliminate its structural deficit...

With that in mind, most Canadian economist are resigned to seeing a strong (even stronger) CAD -- we are talking all the way down to .90, from parity.

Love your blog