Friday, May 8, 2009
This blog has NOT been rated---by the motion picture association of Ameria!
The business of film and television is just that: BUSINESS!
As an aspiring film maker/producer, I've learned an awful lot about the business and have had to digest certain realities that often elude people who are not fully aware of ins and outs of the industry. Take for example MPAA ratings- MPAA stands for MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION of AMERICA. This is the organization that among other services provides the ratings for films, i.e.: G, PG, PG 13, NC 17, R, X, XXX.
Filmmakers are often held captive to the considerations of these ratings when they’re in various stages of production including pre-production and right through the cutting (editing) stage. Most of the concerns revolve around the amount of violence or depiction of violence and of course…sex and nudity! As far as violence, it comes down to numerous factors: how many people are being hurt, maimed or killed? In what manner are they being hurt, maimed or killed? How much blood? How is the bleeding depicted? Blood spurting out or just leaking? Decapitation? Dismemberment? Psychological violence? How many “disturbing” images and graphic shots are being displayed? And, how are these images and depictions being used in relation to the actual story line and context of the film? As for sex, things are broken down pretty much the same: How much nudity? How much of a breast or both breasts are being shown? How much nipple, if any at all? How much ass? Full frontal woman? Full frontal man? Both? Consensual, adult sex? Rape? Violence and sex? Oral sex? Felatio? Cunnilingus? Sex between married couples? Between singles? Group scenarios?
Small considerations like what angle a blow job is being shot from and how many times we can see the woman’s head bobbing up and down between a mans lap are all delicate considerations and ultimately the basis for determining whether a film garners an R rating or X rating. Obviously, for a filmmaker looking to have a film distributed though a major studio and shown to a large audience, these rating can make a difference. In addition, the creative process and artistic vision of a film can be hampered by having to pander to or limit footage in efforts to appease the MPAA and secure the desired rating.
Now that I’ve given this brief bit of information on the MPAA and it’s rating practices, I’d like to get into what truly bothers me about this whole system.
It is disturbing that VIOLENCE is much more tolerated than SEX!
I can name dozens of movies with ratings from PG to R which all show major amounts of violence and death: People being shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, beaten, sliced, hacked and more! It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to watch a movie and see people being killed in one manner or the other. In fact, you can put on the television and winess scenarios of death and violence in prime time and it’s no big deal! I gather we’re all pretty desensitized to it all.
Now sex on the other hand gets treated completely different.
We can watch people being hacked up, blown up, skinned alive and tortured, but watching a blow job (to completion or not) is waaaaaaaaaaay wicked and a bit too much! Not to mention seeing some cunnilingus action! Oh God forbid!! Now, I’m not talking about hard-core, camera between the legs, high definition close up shots of anatomy and all, I’m simply talking about seeing a couple, married or not, getting it on a bit maybe in a nice sixty nine! Or how about just a woman on her back, writhing in ecstasy while a man pleases her down below! And, I’m not talking about just random, gratuitous, casual sex either. Even sex between a loving, monogamous couple has to be scaled back or edited to be “appropriate!” Yes, there have been plenty of films that have had some graphic sex scenes: Fatal Attraction, 9 & 1/2 weeks, Basic Instinct and of course Monster’s Ball just to name a few. But still, for the most part, sex is treated as this terribly taboo subject to have to deal with in film and television and it’s often over scrutinized and subject to much more censorship than violence.
To me, this is just…odd. I mean, we can show the END OF LIFE! DESTRUCTION OF LIFE! Yet cringe and get all bent out of shape when it comes to the depiction of NATURAL DESIRE! HUMAN SEXUALITY! THE DISPLAYS OF LOVE AND PASSION! THE EXCHANGE OF PLEASURE AND BEAUTY OF LOVE IN IT’S PHYSICAL EXPRESSION!!
What’s wrong with this country!!??
A study out today by a Boston Children’s Hospital concluded that teens who watched adult themed movies and television shows as children become sexually active at a younger age than their peers. Dr. David Bickham, author of the study explained that “Children learn from media, and when they watch media with sexual references and innuendos, our research suggests that they are more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier in life.”
Well now…we wouldn’t want that! But hey, how about the studies that show children are more prone to violence when exposed to it through media at an early age?
Guess every kid playing GRAND THEFT AUTO is destined to be a gangster and every kid watching a bit of love making in a film or television show is destined to run out as soon as possible and get laid!