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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Bush: Gonna crack the whip? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Bush: Gonna crack the whip?
Heyward Garner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 101
From: Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-01-2001 12:26 AM      Profile for Heyward Garner   Email Heyward Garner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Clinton tried, and failed semi-miserably. Will Bush crack his whip and break the back of the film industry by encoding stricter ratings rules and regulations, maybe even passing legislature? He spoke briefly of it while on the way to the White House (ahem... BULLS**T) but will anything actually come about? Will we end up having to card every single person for an R rated film? Will we be demoralized and blamed for stupid teenagers doing even more stupid things that "they saw in a movie"? What do you think?

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6632
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 02-01-2001 01:17 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are extremists out there who find it easier to blame a movie than what really caused whatever the issue is they're talking about.

In 1992 there was a massively publicised trail of two 11 year-olds, who were eventually convicted of murdering a baby. It was alleged that they had seen a video of 'Child's Play 2', and that this was what inspired them to carry out the murder.

As a result of this, one member of parliament proposed that all 15 and 18-rated titles should be totally banned from rental or retail video, i.e. they could only be shown in cinemas. He actually got quite a lot of support, until someone pointed out that (i) this would involve banning highly-regarded films like'Schindler's List', and that (ii) a lot of other people also saw 'Child's Play 3' without then going out and murdering a baby.

As for Mr. Bush, I get the impression he will probably follow the example of Tony Blair's government over here and go with whoever gives him more money (the film industry, or the 'ban it' moralisers).

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-01-2001 03:43 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Right now we have a voluntary rating system. It was put in place by the industry in order to reduce the censorship boards across the country and to prevent the Government from being involved and legislating taste.

If violating rating rules is criminalized, then I am going to become a criminal. Every now and then I feel it is correct for a young person to see an R rated film if it has relevance in their lives. Also I have been reading murder mysteries since I was a lad of 8 or 9 years old. (OK I was a late bloomer.) I see very little difference between film and literature.

I tend to get indignant when a right is taken away from me. I have had friends in the projection union tell me about when Managers would get arrested for showing porn. I can't wait to be arrested for showing an un-rated French film.

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-01-2001 07:31 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As far as I am concerned, I can tolerate most anything, but some of the crap I see on the big screen and television IS JUST PLAIN WRONG! Too many off-centered individuals who are playing with a 51 card deck mimic too much of this garbage. You read about it in the paper all the time. However, I think the government should stay out of it, and we should self regulate ourselves, but I don't think that will effectively happen. Sorry, folks. This is just my opinion. I have to stick by that.


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Manuel Francisco Valencia
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 151
From: Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 02-02-2001 09:54 PM      Profile for Manuel Francisco Valencia   Email Manuel Francisco Valencia   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Censorship and ratings will help a little but it doesn't stop the wrong people from seeing movies. Age does not play a major role either. Just because we are young doesn't mean that we are not intelligent. Just because you turn 21 doesn't mean you are responsible enough to consume alchohal. It all boils down to the responsibility of the individual.

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-02-2001 10:13 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Manuel, I agree.

Ian:

There is a huge difference between a French unrated movie and a dirty filty XXX porn movie. Would you allow your children of 8 or 10 years old to watch a XXX rated movie with a bunch of perverts in a theater on Sleeze Row ? Of course not.

We must, as an industry, regulate ourselves, or the government will do it for us. It is that simple. In order to keep a right, you have to protect it. Nothing is free.

I say it ONCE MORE: Let's protect out movie rating system by enforcing it - ourselves. We don't need the government to take away what was our responsibility in the first place.


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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7867
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-03-2001 06:21 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The problem with the current rating system, though, is that it doesn't work. I say this for two reasons: first, it simply judges the suitability of films based on the presence (or absence) of language, violence, sex, drugs, "adult" themes, etc. without taking into account the context in which these elements occur; thus, a film with a single nude scene or a large amount of "bad" language might well get an "R" rating even though the topics may be treated in a sensitive manner and the film itself may well be appropriate for many children under 17. Second, and a related issue, is the limited granularity of the current ratings system for "R" and "NC-17" ratings. The NC-17 rating has been marginalized to the point where (like "X") it is basically the kiss of death at the boxoffice. As a result, there is increased pressure on the MPAA ratings board to give out "R" ratings to films which really should be NC-17, simply because of the difficulty in making money in distributing a non-porn film with that rating.

Politically, I tend to be fairly conservative, which, to me, means "keep the government out." I don't want the government to censor books, movies, speech, etc. The nice thing about movies and many other forms of communication is that people can choose whether or not to watch them. Sure, I agree that many films feature gratuitous use of sex, violence, language, etc. Fortunately, there is enough information available to the prospective filmgoer to be able to evaluate films on these and other issues, and then decide whether or not to see it based on these facts. There are plenty of films which I do not want to see because I know that I will not enjoy them for these reasons. I don't watch them. It's as simple as that.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't think that it's the government's position to tell me what I can and can't watch. I do think that the MPAA rating system is broken (but not irrecoverably so), although I don't really have any major issues with the MPAA system as long as it remains voluntary. Ideally, the government would mind its own business and let the MPAA and film producers mind theirs. Hopefully, the MPAA will improve its ratings system or perhaps another entity will come into being with a better system. And hopefully the rest of the industry (newspapers, etc.) will no longer refuse to advertise "unrated" or "NC-17" films, realizing that by doing this they help to legitimize the existence of genuinely good films which may not be rated or may have received an NC-17 rating, and thus help to relieve the pressure for borderline R/NC-17 films to get the R rating.

A couple of examples are probably in order here: "32 Short Films about Glenn Gould" is a personal favorite. It's a beautifully done Canadian film about the famous pianist. It was released in the US as "unrated" and some theatres refused to admit anyone under 17 to it without being accompanied by an adult. This is absolutely ludicrious--the film is entirely inoffensive and would be fully appropriate for the entire family. There is some discussion about drug use, but it is handled tastefully and would in no way encourage any child to take up a drug habit. Unfortuantely, had this film been rated by the MPAA, it would most likely have been given an "R" rating because of the failure of the MPAA system to take into account the context in which the "offensive" material is presented (which, in this case, is very tasteful and appropriate). This is also a primary example of why someone at the theatre should actually _watch_ "unrated" films before deciding on the admission policy.

Another example would be something like "Gone with the Wind," which received a "G" rating from the MPAA, but which is clearly not appropriate for "all audiences." There is a huge amount of violence and gore and even some "adult" themes. This is not your typical Disney matinee. Yet it _is_ rated "G" and people do bring their five-year-olds to see it.

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-03-2001 12:32 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We are in our 13th week of showing Billy Elliot, a charming film about a 13-year-old boy who chooses to take ballet lessons over boxing lessons. The film is rated R for language. They say the work "Fuck" 27 times. It is used as an expletive and not as a description or invitation to sex. Example "Your not takin' fuckin' ballet!" We have let in all manner of 13 year olds to see this film. We have let in Dance schools. Now most if not all have been brought by their parents. But I am not policing this film. It was wrong for the MPAA to assign this film an R rating. PG-13 might have been appropriate. All they did was count the words; they apparently didn't watch the film. We didn't get one complaint from anybody.

We also showed Requiem for a Dream which was released un-rated to avoid an NC-17 rating. We were advised to not let anyone in under the age of 17. So we didn't let anyone in under the age of 17. When teenagers would come to the box and ask for that film, we asked for ID and sent them away if they’d didn't have any, or were under age. I did have a judge call up and ask if he could bring his drug prevention class to see the film and I heartily agreed. He had seen the film and felt it would have relevance in their lives.

Then we have Best In Show. It was rated PG-13. It has some crude humor, gay themes and dogs engaged in sexual simulation with a human leg. But it is rated PG-13. We had several parents come out and complain that this film wasn't appropriate for their children. One lady said, "this film is totally unsuitable for my 9 year old." I told her that was what PG-13 meant, that some material was unsuitable for pre-teenagers. She left in a snit.

So I am not impressed with the rating system. But I am not inviting the government in to control it either. It is up to parents to decide what is and what isn't appropriate for their children. And as for the children who see whatever they want, well, I believe in the resilience of human nature and that healthy children will shake off whatever they see on the screen. After all, it's only the movies.


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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-03-2001 04:27 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ian, I have to agree with what you said. I don't mind crude language that much, but some films sure get carried away with it. Rememember the movie Full Metal Jacket? Now, that one got carried away with crude language, to the point where I thought was totally disgusting. There was one worse than that, but I forgot the title.

I am with you 100% when you said, "It is up to the parents to decide what is and what isn't appropiate for their children." And when that lady left in a snit when you tried to explain what PG-13 meant, it makes you wonder what kind of parents they are, doesn't it? I also agree with you 100% when you indicated "....healthy children will shake off whatever they see on the screen, After all, it's only a movie."

Unfortunately, there are tons of unhealthy children out there. I just read an article last week that cited 10% of our children have a mental illness of some sort and are in need of desperate help. Only a small fraction of those are getting help. Those people, young and old alike, might not be able to shake off what they see on the big screen. That's why I wish Hollywood would tone it down a notch or two. I think it would help a little.

As Manuel said, "Censorship and ratings will help a little but it doesn't stop the wrong people from seeing the movies."

Unfortunately, nothing will stop the wrong people from seeing the movies.

The rating system leaves much to be desired, but what we have is better than nothing. Some parents are responsible enough to use it as a guide, and that is what the rating system was intended to be.


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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9390
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-03-2001 05:27 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In Ontario we have the Film Review Board that is a government agency that screens all films (trailor adverts etc) that are publically shown and rates them and if necassary censors parts or in some cases outright bans them. They also censor video tapes as well
It is as such a criminal offense punishable by fines and or imprissonment to show unaproved films or admit people under age.
They can also close theatres and repeat offender can loose there theatre license and be declared inelligable to work in any licensed theatre. The system seems to work fairly well most of the time

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15887
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-03-2001 05:52 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It sure would be nice if he cracked the whip! While he's cracking it he should aim it at Technicolor too.
Mark

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-03-2001 07:52 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And, Gordon, that is exactly what could happen in the USA if we continue to do as we are doing. The handwriting is on the wall. Unless we police our own industry, we are going to get nailed. It is just a matter of time. Nobody wants this to happen.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9390
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-03-2001 08:40 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A positive side note of government approval board here is if the film is approved and the theatre is admiting only the agegroup it is approved for it can't be prosicuted or sued by special interest groups

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 02-03-2001 11:26 PM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I tend to believe Mr. Bush will involve himself in serious issues so much that he won't bother us with concerns about movies.

The hypocricy we've witnessed in recent months is quite amazing. Last summer there were people who were outraged that something like Scary Movie was playing at neighborhood movie theatres. But nobody seemed to bat an eye when the same movie with added, outrageous scenes became available on DVD and VHS at "all-American, family" stores like Wal-Mart. Where was the outrage for that? Well, by then the election was over, I guess.

I recently read a quote where Keanu Reeves was upset about his upcoming movie's sex scene being edited down to a PG-13 rating. He said, "It's OK if you just see our heads above the water. But the breasts that we suckle as infants are R-rated, and showing a nice intimacy between two people is R-rated."

Give me a break, "dude!" You can't convince me that the scene was about celebrating motherhood and the breasts infants suckle. It was about sexual intimacy among adults and YES, it's appropriate to restrict who's going to watch that in a movie theatre!

The source of the quote was http://mrshowbiz.go.com/news/Todays_Stories/11501/keanucharlize011501.html


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Heyward Garner
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 101
From: Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-03-2001 11:26 PM      Profile for Heyward Garner   Email Heyward Garner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I do agree with most everything that has been said thus far. I believe that the government should keep their hands off of the film industry. However, I also agree that if Bush is offered enough money, he might just rally to make changes... I also believe that in addition to the maturity of any particular person (judging for themselves whether or not a movie is suitable) that some kind of intervention should be made by parents. Yes, there is plenty of literature available on any given movie, but how many parents actually pay attention to that? If not that, I would at least get some sort of word-of-mouth opinion before letting my child see a movie I think is sketchy. ( I'm not saying I have kids... That in and of itself would be scary...) However, I saw the movie "Last of the Mohicans" when I was 8 years old, with my scout troop. R rated, but completely appropriate, especially since we were all fairly responsible children. Nothing wrong with that movie.

Should Bush or anyone else in the government try to invade the MPAA and declare martial law, I will be one of the first to shout in protest. I think the bottom line is it's up to us to know what is showing in our theatre, and respond accordingly.

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