One of the many inconsistencies of the MPAA movie rating system is which questionable acts get counted and which don’t. Kirby Dick’s documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated reveals they do count the F*cks, and even the thrusts in a sex scene, but not violent acts.
Kirby Dick Talks This Film is Not Yet Rated
“I still heard that,” said Dick. “Afterwards I’ve talked to filmmakers, yep, they were counting the thrusts. They have certain rules. As far as we know, the number of thrusts is a rule. Whether the word f*ck is used in a sexual context will put it into an R category. Generally more than one f*ck in a nonsexual context puts it into an R category although a few films have got through on that one. But they count the f*cks and they count thrusts. There’s a lot more to analyzing a film and getting information about it than just that.”
If that’s all they’re going to count, Dick says why bother counting anything at all. “To me it seems like it’s the most rudimentary system and why do anything else if nobody’s bothering them. Maybe it’s fun to count those. I don’t know.”
In the last 10 years, movie ratings have come with descriptor blurbs stating a film may be rated R for “graphic sex and drug use” or some such vagaries. “They were dragged kicking and screaming into that. That was something Jack [Valenti] did not want and they were just sort of compelled to do it. He wants the less information coming out of this the better. It’s easier for them to work with it. And by the way, these too, it’s not like they look at a film and they go, ‘Okay, let’s do an analysis and develop a descriptor that’s appropriate.’ They just look at the film, in a room, as far as I know, they just all kind of come up with it together. It’s sort of committee.”
For more dirt on the MPAA, This Film Is Not Yet Rated opens Friday, September 1st.