Today in MPAA Hypocrisy: Good vs. Bad Oral Sex, Kids With Weapons
I get just as tired of writing this crap up as you probably do reading about it, but for some reason it feels like the beginning of the end of Hollywood in a way: The MPAA ratings board is under assault again for determining the oral-sex sequence featured in Blue Valentine is worthy of at least some of the film's NC-17, while letting the same act -- by two women -- slide in the R-rated Black Swan. Oh, and then there's the kid with the knife.
Manufactured controversies aside, I just seem to have a better day when the ratings board doesn't behave as though every moviegoer in America is stupid -- as though we wouldn't notice the cunnilingal (?) similarities between Black Swan and Blue Valentine, or that the Weinsteins or the creatives behind the latter film wouldn't invoke them ahead of this week's ratings-board appeal, which seems to be going pretty much nowhere:
In Black Swan, Mila Kunis' character performs oral sex on Natalie Portman's character after a night of partying. In Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling's character does the same to Michelle Williams' character after a date. There's not much difference between the scenes, save maybe for the fact that Black Swan is put together with action and reaction shots and Blue Valentine is filmed in one take. [...]
"I've heard the Blue Valentine scene is more emotionally authentic," said Darren Aronofsky, who directed Black Swan (but still has harsh words for the MPAA on its double standard between sex and violence).
"Maybe it's a case of selfish love?" Gosling quipped to us, jokingly (?) wondering if a male-dominated group might go easier on a movie with girl-on-girl activity than it would if a man performed the oral sex, thereby reminding them that it's something they could be called upon to do.
"I don't have an answer for why that movie would be OK and ours wouldn't," Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance told us in what may be the most lucid description of all. (He wonders if it indeed is a matter of the authenticity, but in that case wonders if his film is being punished because its actors are too persuasive?)
There is that heightened-vs.-naturalistic difference to be made (not to mention the spoilery truth about what exactly happens in Portman's character's bedroom the night she and Kunis tryst), but... yeah. It's just par for the MPAA's arbitrary censorship course -- not so unlike what we're now seeing with this poster for the horror film Bereavement, which the MPAA banned for "depicting a child holding a weapon." Which didn't seem to bother anyone when Lionsgate foisted Hit-Girl on the world (click for bigger):
Like, I get the difference between these two genres and tones (FWIW, the kid on the left is a kidnapping victim who grows into a serial killer; the one on the right is brainwashed by her father into being much the same, but, you know, like, heroic and funny and stuff), but did the MPAA really think no one would be paying attention to its double standards? Or that no one would care to cite them when push came to shove? To the extent the Weinsteins and Bereavement filmmakers can't buy this kind of notoriety, why do they even have it in the first place? What is the MPAA doing over there? It's just depressing.
· The MPAA Bans Bereavement Poster [ONTD]