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X rating

X rating

Posted Dec 17, 2011 17:51 UTC (Sat) by Baylink (guest, #755)
In reply to: X rating by giraffedata
Parent article: Xxxterm: Surfing like a Vim pro

There were, in fact a few movies that released with an official, MPAA-applied X rating; Henry and June and Midnight Cowboy are the two that come instantly to mind, though I think there were one or two others.

Oh: and Coming Soon was going to get an X, because the teenagers having orgasms in that movie were female, even though the PG-13 rated American Pie was substantially raunchier: it's teenagers were boys.


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X rating

Posted Dec 17, 2011 19:26 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

OK, my interest has been piqued and I did some research and found out I was wrong.

I found an explanation of MPAA ratings by the father of the rating system himself, Jack Valenti. Valenti says I was right that MPAA invited producers to label a movie X without involving MPAA -- it would be a waste of MPAA's time to review the movie. But he also says that NC-17 is just a renaming of X and makes it clear that MPAA would gladly award an NC-17 rating to hardcore pornography. And confirms that no one can apply the NC-17 label without MPAA explicitly rating the movie that way.

That confuses me greatly because I can't see any reason not to let producers self-apply NC-17. Is it the risk that someone would say his movie isn't suitable for children when in fact it is?

Henry And June wasn't X. It was the first NC-17 movie. Likewise, Coming Soon must have been on track to be NC-17 rather than X because it was made after X was renamed. Midnight Cowboy was rated X by MPAA, but came out when the rating system was about a year old, before the X stigma had developed. Within a few years, it would be far less likely for anyone to apply the X label to a non-porn film. (And I'm curious as to how many did).

X rating

Posted Dec 20, 2011 13:40 UTC (Tue) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

That confuses me greatly because I can't see any reason not to let producers self-apply NC-17.

Simple: If only the MPAA can lawfully apply the NC-17 imprimatur to a film or video recording, then the MPAA has absolute control over what it means. The MPAA likes control.

X rating

Posted Dec 22, 2011 0:00 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

That actually begs the question. I'm asking why the MPAA wants to control the application of NC-17. It suits the MPAA's purposes just fine or better if it doesn't control NC-17. (In Valenti's essay, he emphasizes that the purpose the rating system is limited to giving parents information about the suitability of movies for children).

I appreciate MPAA wanting to control in general, but there are millions of irrelevant things the MPAA could control but doesn't; there needs to be a reason.


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