As a companion to our earlier post about the sanitization of film through the PG-13 rating, here are a few examples of when things swung the other way. (It is namely dicks that are swinging.) Though the penis's on-screen presence virtually guarantees an R-rating today, we found a few examples of fully naked guys on PG-rated film. All of these instances date back before the introduction of the PG-13 rating in 1984, though that rating turned out to be even less permissive regarding penis (Cider House Rules contains the rare PG-13 dong flash).
It's a great time for PG-13. Seven out of the nine films nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars were rated PG-13. Eight of the Top 10 grossing films of last year in the U.S. sported that rating. It's become something of a badge of honor: This Means War was edited to qualify (not that it made a difference in its paltry box office take), The Expendables sequel is being tailored to be a PG-13 "barbeque of grand scale ass bashing [that] will not leave anyone hungry" (according to Sly Stallone) and high-profile outrage met the MPAA's decision to slap Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully with an R instead.
What the world has been missing lately is a big, all-stars-on-deck charity single to benefit a needy cause (casual racism optional). So we're really glad that Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Diddy, Chris Brown, Floyd Mayweather (Floyd Mayweather?) and others have joined together to release the "Megaupload Mega Song," to benefit the, uh, charitable cause of, well, a file-sharing site.
The MPAA ratings system tomorrow celebrates its 40th birthday — four full decades of tormenting filmmakers, distributors and, ultimately, audiences with an inconsistent moral code symbolized by those infamous G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 ratings. In an interview published Thursday in Time, MPAA chief Dan Glickman and ratings board chair Joan Graves reflected warmly on the system's evolution over the years; and while we agree that Hollywood's self-governance is preferable to the zealotry of the Hays Code and other puritanical watchdogs who preceded it, Graves and Co. remain the city's worst censors by any other name. So join us after the jump to commemorate the MPAA's milestone with a look back at 40 decisions affirming its less-than-inspiring legacy. Unhappy 40th, everyone![In no particular order] · The Thomas Crown Affair: The 1968 original was rated R simply for its suggestive chess match between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. · The Panic in Needle Park: An early, ugly example of the MPAA's screenplay-vetting process talked up by Graves last summer. The 1971 Al Pacino starrer had its script rated X before going into production; the filmmakers revised drug-addiction and sexuality plot points to earn an R for the finished film. Pure censorship, and a process that continues to this day.
It seems fitting that on a day when pigs and their lipstick are a subject of national discourse, MPAA boss Dan Glickman would add a bit of Hollywood color with a gushing, glimmering tribute to his institution's widely reviled ratings system. The infamous G, PG, R and the disused X celebrate their 40th anniversary Nov. 1, trailed by the PG-13 (est. 1984) and NC-17 (est. 1990) denotations; as Glickman reportedly told a gathering today in Washington, the ratings are "synonymous with the First Amendment ... with political, artistic and creative expression in this country":
You might have caught a movie this summer by the name of The Dark Knight—a little film that featured [SPOILER ALERT] pencils through skulls, long-winded monologues about surgical disfigurement, and one incinerated Maggie Gyllenhaal—and at times thought to yourselves, "Perhaps this wasn't the best choice for my daughter's Girl Scouts troop monthly Fun Night outing." But it was precisely its PG-13 rating that helped catapult the Chris Nolan film to its current record-breaking box office take of over five hundred gazillion dollars. Other directors are now wondering who at the MPAA they have to fuck to get a similar hall pass on their own darkly violent visions (and please, please God let it not be the notoriously scissor-happy Joan "The Snipper" Graves). But according to Max Payne director John Moore, it was the reverse scenario of the MPAA handing out the sexual favors to the filmmakers:
The MPAA, the cabal charged with protecting American decency through movie regulation, has banned a promo poster for the upcoming Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen flick Zack And Miri Make A Porno, just before its debut in Toronto. Too blowjob-y. Considering the film's title, the only surprise is that the poster was so bland. But not bland enough! Now the forbidden ad will be seen only in Canada, as well as on dozens and dozens of websites, including this one:
Believe it or not, half-ass blogging neophyte Patrick Goldstein has kind of a genuine scoop today at The Big Picture: A heads-up to an interview with CARA (Classifcation And Ratings Administration) board head Joan Graves, arguably the most notorious (and notoriously private) movie censor of the last 50 years. Of course, it's not Goldstein's interview, but rather his wife's, banished to the relatively innocuous comfort of Graves's alumni magazine at Stanford. But that doesn't make it an any-less-terrifying glimpse behind the scenes of the ratings board's "parent-friendly" tyranny:
Steven Spielberg and David Geffen are offering Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA a large stake in their production company Dreamworks in exchange for $600 million. What none of the press has mentioned? That Reliance was accused by Universal of selling pirated DVDs. Universal, though, is a rival of Dreamworks parent company Paramount, which in turn is a division of Viacom — who are busy suing Google for $1 billion in copyright infringement damages. Your move, MPAA. [Current] (Photo by AP/Kevork Djansezian)
Green skin, black lungs: That's what smoking-in-film watchdog group the American Medical Association Alliance is accusing Universal of showcasing in The Incredible Hulk, and thereby encouraging its teen audiences of picking up the deadly habit in order to emulate the cool on-screen persona of William Hurt's stogie-loving army general. From their press release: