Home > Film & stuff > Steve McQueen’s ‘Shame’ & the MPAA’s NC-17

Steve McQueen’s ‘Shame’ & the MPAA’s NC-17

Program for LACMA’s screening of ‘Shame’

I recently attended a screening of the latest Steve McQueen/Michael Fassbender collaboration Shame at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Critic and admirer of the film Elvis Mitchell was on hand to present the picture, as The New York Times Film Club was one of the sponsors of the event. I have been extremely excited to see Shame since I heard Fassbender and McQueen were working together again. Their first project together, Hunger, is one of the most impressive movies I’ve seen in five years, and, luckily, Shame followed suit.

Now, Shame was recently slapped with the ‘ol death knell of the MPAA’s NC-17 rating. Anyone who knows anything about the film saw this news coming a mile away, but it is somewhat of a rarity. I won’t get into the history of the NC-17 rating now, but very few films are released in such a way due to a difficulty with distribution. Shame deserves an NC-17 rating– it’s precisely the type of film that gives reason to the rating even existing. It’s a mature, graphic, honest portrayal of painful subject matter that necessarily goes beyond the bounds of what mostly people are willing to accept from an R rated film. I hope people won’t judge this picture as “smut” because of the NC-17 label, as so often happens. If they do, they are grossly misinformed. Remember: NC-17 is not equal or related to XXX. If you’re looking for a dramatic adult (that’s adult, not porn) cinematic experience that doesn’t pander or pull punches, please pay your hard-earned money for Shame. I won’t guarantee that you will like it, but I will guarantee that you rarely see anything like it.

After the showing, my memory was jogged regarding a paper I wrote five years ago (ugh, where did the time go?) about the MPAA’s rampant hypocrisy and underhanded ways. I wrote it literally a few months before I saw the excellent documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Obviously, that film was able to take a much more in depth look at a corrupt system than I was in my piddly little essay. Nevertheless, my goal was to write a sarcastic, satirical, and somewhat scathing indictment of the shortsighted bullies at the Motion Picture Association of America. I dug the old paper out of an ancient folder on my laptop, and I post it below for your reading pleasure. I hope you like it. –Jordan

All right, America, you should know something: you are being raped.  Viciously.  And it is being done on a regular basis.  You don’t even feel it do you?  No, you’ve been numbed by the constant brutality that thrusts itself inside you almost daily.  Do you feel it yet?  Am I talking about our complicated, staggered, and unfair tax system?  No.  Is it oil prices that are plundering you?  No.  Is it the frivolous lawsuits over medical practices, tobacco, or McDonald’s that bog down our legal system?  I wish.  No, I’m talking about something vastly more important than any of these issues. HOLLYWOOD.  Hollywood is raping you and your family, maybe right now.  Maybe tonight you’ll put in a movie to enjoy with your family, while unbeknownst to you, sex will be oozing its way out of those speakers and that screen into your mind; or worse, into the minds of your children.  Yes, movies today are constantly ejaculating their poisonous filth into the womb of the American family, and it is time to cross our legs and do something about it.  Thank the Lord Almighty that a fine group of upstanding, God-fearing (probably), totally biased group of individuals are already fighting back against Hollywood trash: the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA.

            Yes, the MPAA is fighting back, and they have been since the conception of their film rating system in November of 1968.  The ratings system was started after a few so-called “artists” wanted to push the envelope and corrupt America with their frivolous trash.  The first film that led the then President of the MPAA Jack Valenti to think about starting a ratings system was the film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, directed by pornographer Mike Nichols.  That’s right, pornographer.  This smut peddler had the audacity to direct a film with the word “screw” in it.  Almost single-handedly, Mike Nichols can be identified as the sick son of a bitch who introduced foul language to our everyday culture.  No one ever used bad language before this film!  How do I know this?  I’m telling you, that’s how.  Mike Nichols is the tongue of Satan that spews horrid language into our children’s conversations.  Sick fuck.

           America is lucky that fine upstanding people like Jack Valenti were looking out for us then.  Americans were being bombarded with new and interesting ideas in the 1960s, and, therefore, new ways of expressing art.  The ‘60s gave, “the emergence of a ‘new kind’ of American movie – frank and open, and made by filmmakers subject to very few self-imposed restraints,” as stated on the MPAA site.  You see?  These filmmakers have no restraint!  They simply put whatever kind of dreck they want on the screen, and you are forced to swallow it.  These sickening new viewpoints challenge the mores and fabric that our fine society consists of and that is wholly unacceptable. 

Film has always been a part of mainstream culture since it was introduced, and film, therefore, was and is the easiest way for the sickos in Hollywood to dig their propaganda ridden hooks into us.  Valenti saw the need to stop progressive thinking and new ways of expression in their tracks, and thank Christ he did.  However, as much as St.Valenti’s efforts are valued, smut still seeps its way into our daily lives.

            Yet another example of the aforementioned smut is Michelangelo Antonioni’s bastardized “film,” Blow-Up, also made in the sinful year of 1966.  Blow-Up was the first time that a major distributor (in this case, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) tried releasing a film that contained nudity.  That’s right, naked bodies on screen.  Can you fathom anything more appalling or offensive?  No, the answer is you cannot. With the 1960s, filmmakers seemed to think that “realism” was the way films should be made.  What’s realistic about nudity?  People don’t take off their clothes in front of each other.  It’s unheard of.  No one actually has sex either–the stork delivers the babies to waiting parents.  Everybody knows that.  Philanderers like Antonioni try to tell us that the human body is natural and nothing to be afraid of.  Sex is normal and everyone does it.  Some even take pleasure in it!  How cocky.  It’s simply not true!  Our children should never be abreast of such ideas.  If we ignore ridickulous claims such as these, the better off we’ll be.

            These types of absurd, sick, and twisted messages can’t be ignored, though, can they?  We don’t have choices.  We have to go see and rent films that contain the kinds of horrific subject matter that I have been speaking of.  Luckily, the institution of the MPAA ratings system (consisting of G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17) is able to dictate to us what we and our children should not see.  Obviously, R-rated and NC-17 movies are all nothing but blood-filled, profanity-laced pornography.  They have nothing valuable to offer society.  That goes without saying.  These films are a direct link to society’s downfall.  Have you ever seen Schindler’s List?  It is rated-R and it is sick enough to show naked Jewish people in the concentration camps!  Are we supposed to believe that an “accurate” portrayal of historic events is beneficial?  Not when it involves naked bodies.  Spielberg is nothing but a common pornographer.

            Now, in regards to our children– our poor, poor defenseless, impressionable, children.  They can’t be trusted to make their own decisions about what movies to see.  There is a movie out there entitled Kids and it was made in 1995.  Directed by Larry Clark, Kids tells the story about an AIDS infected teenage boy who sets out to deflower as many virgins as he can in his New York City neighborhood.  A young girl whom he infected then tries to save any other girls from the same fate she is stricken with.  AIDS in a movie called Kids?  Obviously, Clark is trying to infect our toddlers with the HIV virus.  Why isn’t he in prison? Clark is a pedophile, raping our children’s minds with his tainted films. Why doesn’t he understand what we already know?  American kids can’t be trusted to handle any kind of mature, pertinent subject matter.

            Thank God the fine people of the MPAA had the good sense to give this film a rating of NC-17.  Our teenagers need to enjoy the latest Hannah Montana movies that come out, movies about saving your body until marriage and loving your parents and eating your vegetables.  That is where true entertainment value lies for the impressionable youth of America.

            We are so lucky the MPAA rates films for us.  That way, parents don’t have to put any effort into raising their children.  Instead of researching and making an informed judgment about films their children see, parents can instead look at a couple of letters on the back of a DVD case or at the beginning of a trailer in the theater.  R-rated films don’t have anything to offer anyone, least of all the innocent children of America.  Sure, there are websites on the Internet like www.kids-in-mind.com that breakdown the level of violence, sex, profanity, and drug use in every film that is released, but who has the time to spend actually learning about films?  We already know all about the filth R-rated movies contain, why give them a chance? 

            Yes indeed, the MPAA is the perfect babysitter and it categorizes complicated films into the simplest of terms, that way we don’t have to worry.  Personal responsibility went out the window during the Clinton years, let’s not bring it back.  We need organizations like the MPAA to simplify complicated matters into terms we can understand.  For instance, a film was made starring Robert Downey Jr. (scumbag) entitled Two Girls and a Guy in 1997.  Now, in this movie, there is a scene where a man is performing oral sex on a woman.  I know!  A man pleasuring a woman sexually?  Could anything be more preposterous?  We all know that women are supposed to please their men and not enjoy sex.  So this film, rightfully, was tagged with a NC-17 rating.  Women commonly, even frivolously, perform fellatio on men in all sorts of R-rated even PG-13 movies and they don’t get slapped with an NC-17, and for good reason.  Women are supposed to get down on their knees and service their men.  What kind of man would put his mouth on a woman’s vagina and/or anus?  A homosexual, that’s who.  Hence, Robert Downey Jr. is gay and Two Girls and a Guy is a terrible film.  Avoid it at all costs.

            So, now you’re informed. Hollywood is trying to pervert you and your children, the MPAA is looking out for you, and Robert Downey Jr. is a gay man.  It’s all true, just look at the facts.  So God bless the MPAA for looking out for what’s important. They pay attention to how many times the f-word is used and in what context; whether or not a nipple can be seen in a sex scene; or when someone is smoking weed, whether or not that person is over 18.  Yes, the MPAA takes into account the most important topics in film today.  Lucky us.






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