This Film Is Not Yet Rated

A Film

(DVD - 2006)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
A raucous and riveting expose of the inner workings of the most influential censorship group in the country - the notoriously secretive MPAA film ratings board.
Published: Santa Monica, Calif. : Genius Entertainment, c2006.
ISBN: 9781594445231
Branch Call Number: DVD 791.43 FIL
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 98 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in.


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"Raters are kept secret to protect them from influence." --Joan Graves, Head of the MPAA

"You can't rate reality." --Micheal Tucker

"Because of the internet, most teenagers have seen more hardcore porn than their parents. What, you think they're doing their homework up there?" --John Waters

"The MPAA uses fear of government censorship to stay in control." --Dotty Hamilton, Phd.

"If you make a movie that people want to see, a rating will not hurt you. If you make a movie that people do not want to see, a rating will not help you." --Jack Valenti, founder of the MPAA


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Jan 14, 2015
  • love_my_library_card rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An eye-opening investigation of the MPAA and its stranglehold on the film industry. Fascinating and chilling.

Sep 02, 2014
  • pugterranian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

While Heath Ledger’s portrayal of a terrifying psychopath in The Dark Knight was brilliant, I left the theater reeling with what The New Yorker critic David Denby cheekingly called “post-movie stress disorder.” How did a film with such relentless, hi-definition violence and psychological terror ever get a PG-13 rating?

This Film is Not Yet Rated answers that question and more. This provocative, often hilarious documentary exposes the hypocrisy of the MPAA film ratings board, an organization so clandestine that it has been able to keep its members’ identities hidden for decades. Kirby Dick chronicles his and other independent filmmakers’ experiences before the board. While their low-budget work is scrutinized for minor sexual content—gay & lesbian themes especially—violent Hollywood blockbusters get a free pass (apparently exposure to frank portrayals of sexuality, straight or otherwise, are much more dangerous to Americans and their children than graphic scenes of extreme human suffering). Central to the film are the funny scenes of detective work Dick and his team use to uncover the identities of the board's members. This Film enlightens, enrages and entertains.

It is surprising that after this film was released, that the MPAA continues to be in power at all. The unaccountable process with which movies are robbed of free expression is laid bare and cast in an absurd light by anecdotal evidence and inconsistency of judgment. Often hilarious and at times downright frightening, this picture exposes the inner workings of the appraisement of media by people who are supposed to represent the average American, but fall short of even being slightly diverse. Treatment of films like Boys Don't Cry, Gunner's Palace, South Park, The Cooler, and But I'm a Cheerleader invite the audience to ponder what the heck they are trying to protect us from. Director Kirby Dick finds humor at many levels to treat us with insights into the nature of artistic prejudice, a byzantine bureaucracy, and the amusing character of the private investigators that he hires to uncover the identity of ratings board members. The extra features include a Q&A with the director from the 2006 South by Southwest film festival.


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This film explores the history and details of the highly secretive and obscenely powerful Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA. Director Kirby Dick kicks the movie off with an explanation of the individual ratings (G, Pg, R, NC-17) and a lively montage of some censored scenes from other controversial movies. Then a history of the ratings board is given, which was initiated from the infamous Fatty Arbuckle scandals which tainted Hollywood with stories of under age sex and drug use. There are numerous interviews with directors of films that have been subject to the whims of this covert group, as well as film critics, authors, actresses, a box office analyst, a First Amendment Attorney, and even some former ratings board members. Frustrated with the lack of transparency in a system that affects the artistic vision of any film released in America, Dick hires a private investigator to find out just who these people are. The exploration of the ultimate censorship that these rating impose continues with case by case accounts from the likes of Kevin Smith, John Waters, Matt Stone and many more. Parallel to the interviews is the ongoing investigation by the P.I. using hidden cameras, clever subterfuge, and even raiding a ratings board member's garbage can with thrilling results. A cogent analysis of rating tendencies puts light on the discernment that the board makes between sex and violence, homosexual versus heterosexual content, and treatment of the United States military. As an audacious climax the director submits this very film to be rated and engages in the Orwellian appeals process.

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