Everyone knows the MPAA is total bullshit. In fact, for many of us growing up – constantly being denied entrance to “R” rated movies – their judgments probably resulted in our first real anger and incredulity towards a faceless governing body. (Not me though…I popped out of the womb like “What do you mean the US dollar isn’t based on the gold standard?! It has only the imaginary value that we as a society place on it?! YOUR PRECIOUS HOUSE OF CARDS WILL SOON FALL, DOCTOR. Now cut this cord. I’m late for work.”) However, very few of us ever considered that the MPAA may be more than just an inane, antiquated organization doling out arbitrary decrees of what is and what isn’t acceptable for “children” to view. That it may actually be an indestructible unchecked strong-arming church-funded pro-war anti-gay juggernaut shrouded in secrecy. Wait…for real? Well, according to many, yeah…pretty much.
Kirby Dick is more than just an awesome name. Kirby Dick is a man. Not just any man, but an industry veteran that, in the last 28 years, has directed over 11 films (that’s code for 12 films). And guess what? He’s pissed. So he set out to make a documentary exposing the secret agenda and dubious authority of the MPAA knowing full well that before his film could be released, it would have to be reviewed by the very people he spent the entire film tearing apart. That’s like making a movie called “Castro Eats A Turd” and sending it to Castro for approval. Not exactly a smart move, but the result would probably make a better movie than the one sent in. Which is what Kirby did.
The first half of the documentary features the likes of Kimberly Peirce, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, and everyone’s hero John Waters talking about their bizarre experiences with the MPAA, calling into question the unknown standards by which their movies were judged. After a solid hour of a Michael Moore-esque defaming and actually hiring a private investigator to discover the secret identities of the anonymous film raters, Kirby Dick takes a cut of the film we’ve seen so far and submits it for rating. The last half hour is then Kirby arguing with the MPAA over the movie that you’re watching while you’re watching it (which sounds more mind-blowing than it plays out).
Overall, Kirby Dick does a pretty great job of getting your blood boiling, which is my main problem with This Film Is Not Yet Rated. In most documentaries dealing with some form of social injustice, there is a greater purpose – to get you to take action. Whether you end up considering going vegetarian, voting democrat, signing petitions, or putting a hold on your patronage of black market baby-selling syndicates, you do so because a film has made you aware of a problem and what you can do to help fix it. Not so with This Film Is Not Yet Rated. The movie basically says to you “Hey dude, check this out. Isn’t this completely fucked up? Yeah, it totally shouldn’t be like this, huh? Okay, well, see ya later.”
So, not only do we learn that we’re powerless to change the system, but to release this film as intended, it couldn’t be rated by the MPAA and therefore couldn’t be shown in the majority of theaters and therefore couldn’t reach its maximum audience and make its point which is the entire purpose of a documentary. So in the end, the MPAA won. That’s a fucking bummer. I guess the only thing to do now is watch this movie because it’s pretty awesome, tell a friend, and soon we can all be pointlessly angry together. Huzzah.
I give This Film Is Not Yet Rated 9 salty dicks in Jack Valenti’s dead-ass mouth out of a possible 10 salty dicks in Jack Valenti’s dead-ass mouth.