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This Wag Is Not Yet Rated

Posted by Lunostophiles on Apr 07, 2014

It’s no secret that I’m a documentary fanatic.  If you looked at my Netflix queue right now, it’s about one fourth bad horror movies, one fourth brilliant-but-cancelled television shows, and one half documentaries.  They’re impulsive watches, almost a security blanket.  I know what I’m getting from a documentary, I know what to expect at the very least.

There’s a small subset of documentaries, though, that make me lay in bed, stare at the ceiling, and just think.  Something in the is so provoking to my own way of life that I can’t not really think about them.

So, let’s talk about my favourite one of these thinking docs: This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

I remember first seeing this right after it came out.  I was in the last year of high school, and this may have even been one of the first films I ever had to “acquire”, ifyouknowwhatImean.  This was not, mind you, my first documentary that I had gone out of my way to watch (since drool-covered apathy-watching Discovery Channel doesn’t entirely count), but there was something actively different about this one, to me.

The thing about This Film Is Not Yet Rated is that, unlike some other docs, it does it’s damnedest to be fair to the group it’s investigating–in this case, the MPAA and the Secret Ratings Board (Cult).  It lays on example after example of how their rating systems are disparate between similar cinematic situations.  Being America, this mostly has to do with sex, and one particularly sharp thorn is gay vs. straight sex scenes, where the former is slapped with a dreaded NC-17 rating, while the latter usually get the restrictive, but money-making R.  Like this one:

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Or this one:

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Or, hey, this one:

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Sigh.

But this is what gets me so, dare I say, excited about this documentary.  It’s not a barrel of hearsay thrown over the waterfall that is mass media.  Kirby Dick takes his time to interview directors and writers about their vastly different, and yet eerily alike confrontations with the MPAA Secret Rating Board (Cult Alliance).  He is so passionate about finding answers, as are the people that go along with him for the length of the movie.

It’s an adventure film about film, except it’s real.  It’s California, sun-soaked noir, complete with hidden cameras in ties, tracking people in a van, and trying to infiltrate the unbreakable compound.  It’s Indiana Jones for muckrakers.

If you care about movies, if you care about how insane ratings can be, if you care even most basically about social awareness and visibility in a popular medium, then take an hour and a half and watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated.  If not for me, then all these directors who have been slapped with the need to edit their film to get a rating that will allow them publicity funds:

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Oh yeah.  This wag?  Not yet rated.