Monday, March 12, 2012

'Bully' R-Rating War with MPAA

Harvey Weinstein may get his way. The MPAA is getting it from all sides. There's Katy Butler's petition which, to date, has 284,000 signatures. If you haven't read it, here's a clip:

I just heard that the Motion Picture Association of America has given an “R” rating to “Bully” -- a new film coming out soon that documents the epidemic of bullying in American schools. Because of the R rating, most kids won’t get to see this film. No one under 17 will be allowed to see the movie, and the film won’t be allowed to be screened in American middle schools or high schools. 

I can’t believe the MPAA is blocking millions of teenagers from seeing a movie that could change -- and, in some cases, save -- their lives. According to the film’s website, over 13 million kids will be bullied this year alone. Think of how many of these kids could benefit from seeing this film, especially if it is shown in schools?

Yesterday, representative Mike Honda (D-CA) posted an open letter to the association. Here's a bit:

We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the Motion Picture Association of America’s decision to issue an R-rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary Bully. This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers. This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important. 

In regard to the numerous f-bombs cited by the MPAA as basis for the R-rating:

The language in the film is a reflection of reality in our schools, on our buses, and online – something these kids experience every single day. It’s not sensationalized “adult content” as your rating suggests and is oftentimes an active part of bullying itself. This depiction is honest, and although striking at times, we should not censor reality. The educational benefit of this documentary, possibly life-saving, appears to clearly outweigh the utterances of profanity.

Can't argue with that. It's not like f-bombs were included for dramatic impact by a screenwriter.

Here's coverage from MSNBC featuring an interview with director Lee Hirsch.


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