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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MPAA upholds NC-17 rating on Lynch's 'Chained'

THE ENVELOPE


Another movie has been branded with an NC-17 by the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

The filmmaker and distributor behind “Chained,” a thriller about a serial killer starring Vincent D’Onofrio, saw their appeal rejected by the group on Tuesday. The movie, which was directed by Jennifer Lynch (“Boxing Helena,” and daughter of David Lynch) and distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, was given an NC-17 for “some explicit violence.”

It marks a rare instance of an NC-17 rating being given because of violence alone; the MPAA’s harshest tag is usually applied at least in part because of sexual content. The movie centers on a man (D'Onofrio) who kills a young boy's mother and then raises the boy as his murderous protege.

The rejected appeal marks the second time in the last six weeks that an appeals board for the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration has decided to stick with an NC-17 on an independent movie. In March, the group upheld raters’ decision to give the Matthew McConaughey hit-man picture ”Killer Joe” an NC-17 for “graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality."

The NC-17 has been a little-used tool by the MPAA since replacing the notorious X rating several decades ago. But either because filmmakers are pushing the envelope or because the MPAA has become more serious about using it, the NC-17 has surfaced more of late. In the last 18 months, the romantic drama “Blue Valentine” and sex-addict tale “Shame” were also each given an NC-17, with the former overturned on appeal.

Producers did not immediately reply to a request for comment or to say whether they will cut some of the violent scenes in response to the ruling.


NC-17 — No One 17 and Under Admitted.

An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not mean "obscene" or "pornographic" in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience. An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children

21 comments:

TJara said...

Well, it's in good company.

Rose said...

That's not good, but with a movie that deals with the subject matter, I suppose you could take out scenes to give it an R rating, but don't like that idea either. To violent for you, then just don't go, the way I look at it, but it will also stop people from seeing it. I understand they have to have ratings with movies and music, but a lot of times you have to wonder how exactly they come to their determination.

TJara said...

I virtually makes a wide release impossible because many places do not support NC-17 movies

Rose said...

That's true, and when it comes out on video, the kids you didn't want to see it will see it. If the parent doesn't buy it, surely a friend will. Either way, when you tell your kid, I don't think you should see this or that, they always find a way. And not only that it is easy enough to buy a ticket for another movie and sneak into see this if a kid wanted to, they really don't watch that very closely at least where we go to the movies. We knew that the movie was going to be violent, but it sure must be more violent than I was thinking it was going to be.

JoJo said...

Don't forget that Midnight Cowboy had an X rating back in the day, and won the Oscar for Best picture.

vikeau said...

I must say that I don't pay attention to ratings.
Just hoping that there are enough theaters out there that show independent/avant garde films to get a nation wide release. Besides after seeing the trailer, NC-17 may not be such a bad idea.

Debra said...

Because an independently produced film usually gets a smaller release than a major studio project, it would be a shame to further hamstring "Chained" with an NC-17 rating. I know there is one theater in my area that won't show NC-17 films, but there are at least 3 others that would. Walmart won't sell NC-17 DVDs, but Amazon does. Ahhhh, freedom of choice!

Rose said...

Walmart also likes to mess around with cd's that aren't appropriate to them, at least they use to, which is why I would never buy music from Walmart. Midnight Cowboy is one of my favorite movies, and Last Tango in Paris also received and X rating initially.

Rose said...

This film in not yet Rated, the documentary about the powers that are behind the ratings system, really shows the BS behind how ratings are given for movies. There were a couple movies during the years that I told my daughters I really didn't want them to see it, only to find out later they saw everything I told them not to see, and couldn't figure out why I objected to them. And music I never censored that at all, because I'm still angry at Tipper Gore for her big mouth and her fuss about what music was inappropriate. Bottom line a parent should decide, what is good for one kid might not be for another kid, I think as a parent you can figure that one out.

Nantz said...

I think the system is archaic and not in keeping with the times. The kids nowadays see more and experience more than we were kids. I agree with Rose, let the parents decide but I think in a lot of these cases that there are parents that put pressure on the board so in essence they have decided for you. The advertisers decide. Hollywood decides. Most of the people on the board are from big Hollywood studios who don't necessarily welcome the independent film industry and their products. It's a dirty shame. Cutting scenes to appease the board will result in losing integrity of the film, the vision of the director and all the hard work and surely mental strain it put on its central actor, Vincent D'Onofrio, who may have given an Academy Award winning performance that could end up on the cutting room floor.

Nantz said...

These are parents that hand their kids the keys to the car and give them a phone which is essentially a deadly weapon when the two are combined. A phone that is used for sexting and going on porn sites and viewing YouTube videos that are far worse than any movie they could go and see at the theatre. With all the access that is available today, there is little that can be done to keep the kids shielded from the reality of what's going and it's as close as the TV in the family room, the computer in the child's room and like I said, the phone.

Rose said...

I couldn't agree more, since a teen if someone said no, I would go to the extreme to do or see what my parents didn't want me to do. It would have been so much easier, but not as challenging if there had been the internet. Now kids have everything right there for them, and boredom and being curious, will lead to things that they probably should not be viewing at their age. I don't want to see the movie cut to give it an R rating, but I'm going to guess in the end it will be. The movie is about a serial killer, so obviously it would be very violent, don't people know about serial killers and deviant behavior, if you can't face reality then the movie is probably not for you. I have a hard time tolerating this kind of censorship, what really gets me is the group of people that want to protect, if you will, everyone's morality and viewing habits. I don't need protection from that, keep it to yourselves and if you don't want to watch, read or listen to something, it is simple, don't. If I want happy, and rainbows and skittles falling from the sky I will go watch a kid's movie. Sorry, I'm full of rants this morning LOL

TJara said...

@Rose
I've seen that documentary, it's great. It really irks me that often films will be NC-17 because of "sex" only. "Chained" is really a bit of an exception here, because mostly the MPAA is very tolerant towards violence. (Not here on this contintent). The newest DVD Release of Criminal Minds S6 is FSK-18 which is pretty tough!)

Did you realize that the documentary was made by the same Guy who wrote Vincent's movie "Guy"? Kinda interesting :)

Rose said...

I didn't know that the same guy who wrote Guy is the same as who did the documentary, very interesting, thanks, TJara. I also never heard of that FSK-18 rating, so went and looked it up, found it fascinating what other countries ratings are. Criminal Minds, which I love, people that I know have complained about it getting more violent, guess it has, but again, deviant behavior as they show are not shiny, happy people. I'm surprised about the rating for Chained just for violence, I would assume since you kidnap and kill women there also would be scenes of sex, that wouldn't be tolerated, but guess not. There are so many violent movies, it stuns me that this movie so far has that rating, I've been asking myself what violence could there possibly be that hasn't been in a movie? Or is it the rage filled, violent and very convincing acting that Vincent does in the film? I even wonder if Jennifer Lynch is the reason, maybe she isn't well liked or whatever reason perhaps Hollywood thinks about her? Would really love to know.

TJara said...

@Rose
CM has always had a tough standing here (it's always been FSK-16) and they have left out certain eps and only aired them later in the evening. It certainly can be gruesome at times - but the their tech advisor (for Profiler) said that THEY TONE IT DOWN FOR TV.

I just think it's sad for Jane Lynch because the rating and the fact that it's independant may make it difficult for the film to be released more widely.

Rose said...

My daughter studied criminology in school, so needless to say we have had many books in this house dealing with crime, serial killers, etc. I think CM's does a great job with their show, and it is toned down, but certainly shows you somewhat the mindset of individuals that commit horrible crimes. And it looks like the movie Chained is going to give you a realistic look into the mind of Bob.

Nantz said...

This is just the type of obstacle amongst many that the independent film industry doesn't need. I think it's a slap in the face to Jennifer Lynch and the fact that it was determined too violent means Vincent brought his game. I would like to see the game in its entirety.

vikeau said...

Interesting discussion ladies. I'm definately going to check out the documentry.

Rose said...

That is what I'm thinking, a slap in the face to Jennifer Lynch, and I'm also wondering how her dad David is accepted in Hollywood, maybe both are not well liked, but would have no idea, just a thought.

maculae said...

@Rose - David Lynch is very well respected in the industry. He's seen as eccentric but they do like him. At least, people are willing to take risks wit him. His daughter Jennifer isn't as well received (in terms of work not personally). People see her in the industry as mostly the result of nepotism. They wanted her to succeed initially, but Boxing Helena (initially rated NC17 edited to be rated R) basically put the nail into that coffin. In was indeed a terrible movie that she put out way too early in her career. Surveillance, as intriguing as it was, didn't help either. Unless she puts out something really unique AND outstanding, she'll never get the respect from the industry that her father has.

That being said, even the Weinstein Co. had to cut swear words from Bully to give it the PG13 rating. Even if, in a movie about bullying aimed to teach kids that bullying is a shitty way of life, you'd expect a ton of vulgarity. It really has less to do with connections or a slap at Jennifer Lynch than the MPAA deciding to bear teeth once in awhile to send a message. They've done it to Tarantino, the Weinstein Co and some other big names. Like I said, it's kind of weird to say it's a personal thing. Given the subject matter and also Lynch's style based on her other 2 movies, I'm not surprised by the rating.

You'd be surprised what an R-rated movie can get away with violence/gore/bloodshed wise (as that was the reason this film was rated NC-17). If you want to see a NC-17 violent/gore/bloody film, go watch Battle Royale and the sequel (2 Japanese movies). You'll have a very good understanding on R vs NC17. And you'll see just how much over the line you have to go in order to get a NC17 on violence.

I do honestly doubt that an R edit would change much integrity of the film; especially because the reason they want the edit is due to violence not lines of dialogue (like what they did to King's Speech). Heck, the R rated version of Saw is only 8 seconds less than the NC17 version. The NC 17 version of Scream is just 20 seconds longer. You're not going to miss much if you miss the scene where Bob is happily hacking off a woman's head. Or trying to sleep in the skin of whomever he just butchered cuddling with her entrails. (I made those scenarios up as I know nothing of the movie.) Because in the end, what we call violence porn or gore porn does nothing to drive the storyline. Nor would an excessive amount of it do anything to help characterize Bob or Rabbit. They said this movie was almost a psychological study. Using Saw as an example again (because the original was also a bloody violent psychological study), I'm pretty sure the 8 seconds they removed to change the rating did nothing to change what was the essence of the film. A movie shouldn't have to rely on sight gags or over the top antics to succeed. If removing a few seconds of excessive violence/gore/blood etc... destroys the integrity of the film, then the film wasn't going to be that good in the first place.

Pulp Fiction didn't end up being a crappy movie because it had to be edited down. Nor did it take away from the message of Saw. The South Park movie wasn't less funny. I could go on to list a ton of examples of classic movies that had to be edited down. And they are still terrific movies.

Rose said...

Maculae, thanks, I love David Lynch's eccentric ways, Blue Velvet with the great Dennis Hopper, and of course Twin Peaks. I can see nepotism as a factor, was reading info the other day on Boxing Helena, somehow I missed this movie, and people weren't very kind about it. I will have to check out Battle Royale. I'm just going to assume that there will be some editing, so the movie can be seen by more people and make more money, bottom line is money.