i need you all to go to your netflix accounts right now and add This Film Is Not Yet Rated to your queues (is that a proper plural? i have no idea). we just watched it last night, and it was fantastic.
i first read about the film in bitch magazine while lounging poolside in vegas. in sum: it is a documentary about the Motion Picture Association of America (the MPAA), which is the group that hands down the ratings of films. turns out the MPAA is really the only oversight organization in the country (with the exception of government groups like the CIA) that operates almost completely in secret. no one knows the identity of the "raters," and filmmakers' only recourse after receiving a rating is an even more shadowy appeals process that involves industry execs and members of the clergy.
so, this movie sets out to both chronicle the hypocrisies and inequities of the MPAA process, and also to reveal the identities of the MPAA raters by hiring a private eye to track them down. it also has great interviews with film critics, first amendment attorneys, and of course filmmakers - kevin smith, kimberly peirce, mary harron, john waters. because you can't make a movie about alleged depravity without john waters!
if you've never really given the difference between "PG-13," "R," and "NC-17" any serious consideration (as honestly, i hadn't), this movie will be a real eye-opener. the misosgyny and homophobia that are unearthed when you do a comparison of differently rated movies and their content is fairly shocking, even for a jaded feminist like me. a movie with a teenaged guy masturbating in a pie gets an R; a movie with a teenaged girl masturbating over her nightgown gets an NC-17. at sundance, an MPAA spokesperson is questioned about the evidently stricter ratings for gay sex and sexuality, and responds "we don't set the standards; we reflect them."
what?? as the director, kirby dick reacts to that assertion, "...if the standards were racist, would [the MPAA] reflect those? If the standards were anti-Semitic, would they reflect those?"
i could babble on about how great this movie is all morning, but then i'd ruin it for you. so you've got to rent it, or buy it, or otherwise procure it somehow. do it. do it now.