Published on November 16th, 2011 | by dvdpinson0
The Shame of the NC-17
We need more sex in the cinemas. Nudity too. Violence we have covered but a little more nasty would be very nice.
What I mean is, as an adult (assuming that you are one), wouldn’t you appreciate access to adult entertainment that isn’t limited to certain restrictions? I’m not talking porno; the sex thing in the opening was a ruse to get you to keep reading (and it is working apparently). I’m talking about a film that focuses on adult themes and may have an element or two that is intended for an adult audience only. And, yes, that may include plenty of boobs and even a penis or two. What’s wrong with that? As a male with a urinary issue, I see penis plenty.
This sort of mature material is what the “NC-17” rating was created for but it hasn’t been working out. The MPAA (the people who censor/rate films for us, the blithering masses) began issuing the rating back in 1990 to replace the “X” classification, which had been abducted by the porno industry and came to signify hardcore naked time action i.e. sexual penetration. The “X” was initially a legitimate classification that meant no children allowed. As you probably know, “Midnight Cowboy” (1969) was slapped with the “X” and won the Best Picture statue that year. Legitimate.
But the “NC-17” never worked, instantly carrying with it a stigma. Too many theaters refused to carry any movie with the rating citing it too costly to monitor the screenings and assuring that no kid snuck in. The real reason was that much of this country is pretty conservative and this was a way to hold these movies with “questionable content” hostage. No theaters = no ticket sales. And instantly the “NC-17” branded a film as undesirable and assured economic failure.
Thing is, these are usually small, independent films that focus on fringe topics and probably wouldn’t have made much cash anyway. This is where the folks that are viewing film as art usually operate and this problem hinders them. The MPAA has something to hold over filmmakers heads: If you want your movie to be distributed (or seen) you must do what they say for that coveted “R” rating/stamp of approval. Censorship.
-For wonderful insight on this issue check out “This Film is Not Yet Rated”. Nails it.
So now we have some buzz on the street that the upcoming film “Shame” might be nominated for some awards this season. The film is a gritty tale that involves sex addiction and early word is that it is plenty powerful enough to be among the Best Picture noms. While it features some great performances it also has plenty of man junk on display and will be released with the dreaded “NC-17”.
The hope is that people go and see “Shame”. Simple. If the film is received well, makes some money and picks up some prestigious accolades along the way it just may remove the shame that is associated with the “NC-17”. Coincidence? If studios become willing to finance movies and let the makers tell the story they want without restrictions this would effectively remove the negative hold the MPAA has over the industry. If you have a moralistic issue with these sorts of films, don’t go. I don’t attend the “Twilight” movies for this reason but it’s okay that they exist (I guess).