The Morning Read: Why is ‘Blue Valentine’ rated NC-17?

10.08.10 7 years ago 13 Comments

The Weinstein Company

Welcome to The Morning Read.

What a morning.  Although I haven’t seen it yet, “My Soul To Take” is getting some blisteringly bad reviews from even the most forgiving horror fans, and one of the things I keep reading is that the 3D conversion was a particularly wretched example of the process.  I have to give real credit to Warner Bros. for issuing the following statements about “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I” just a little while ago:

“Warner Bros. Pictures has made the decision to release ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ in 2D, in both conventional and IMAX theaters, as we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window.  Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality.  We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date on November 19, 2010 as planned.  WE, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate ‘Harry Potter’ experience.”

They say they’re still releasing the final film in 3D in July of 2011, which now just feels strange, but the idea of a studio saying that they are intentionally backing off a 3D conversion for technical reasons is impressive.  I wish more studios would take a hard look at what they’re releasing and ask if it really works and if it offers anything to the audience.

I talked my way around it in my initial “Social Network” review, but one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in a film this year is the Armie Hammer performances as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twin brothers who sued Mark Zuckerberg over the founding of Facebook.  I am a fan of movies where one actor plays twins, and I’m fascinated by the way different filmmakers have tried to make the illusion work.  In “The Social Network,” David Fincher took it to a new level, and now that the film’s been out for a few weeks, the people behind the trick are starting to talk about how they pulled it off.

I have to say… I never in a million years would have predicted a ratings controversy for “Blue Valentine.”  I’ve been trying to imagine what could have gotten it an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, and I’m at a loss.  It’s a beautiful film, and it’s painfully frank and honest, but an NC-17?  It makes no sense at all.  Check out the trailer for the film, which I think does a great job of selling tone and mood and feel but doesn’t ruin the film in the least:

Does that look like an NC-17 to you?  I mean, I get it when the MPAA screws around with a “Hatchet 2.”  I don’t like it, but I get it.  They look at a movie with crazy over the top gore and fountains of blood and they aren’t able to discuss nuance or intent.  But a sober drama about the end of a marriage?  That somehow needs to be locked away so no one is accidentally exposed to it?  Stunning.

Speaking of Michelle Williams, the face ain’t too far from accurate, but she looks like she weighs as much as one of Monroe’s legs.  That’s gonna throw me.

Wow.  That’s a lot of Andy Kaufman.

RT: @james_gunn:  If WB lets me direct the new Mike Myers/Pepe LePew movie, a lot of it is going to center around Pepe going on trial for rape. 

I’m not honestly sure what the worst movie I’ve ever seen is, but I’ve got a new contender for worst movie review I’ve ever read.  Almost every single word of this piece made me intensely dislike the writer and his worldview.  I’m almost impressed at how much I dislike the review.

What’s that?  There’s a new Peter Weir film and would I like to see a trailer?  SHOW ME! I COMMAND IT!

The Way Back – Trailer
Uploaded by ThePlaylist. – Full seasons and entire episodes online.

Dude, don’t screw around when it’s Peter Weir.  I’m a huge fan, and that guy does not work often enough.  I can’t believe I’m jealous of someone for having seen a gulag movie, but I am actively jealous that our own Greg Ellwood got to see this at Telluride.  Glad it’ll be out this year, and I can’t wait to see it.

This is so weird.  And, boy, it makes me laugh.

And speaking of weird, is anyone else fascinated by these Japanese news animations?  Well, get ready, because this one about Prop. 19 in California is the gift that keeps on giving.  Want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger gunning down protestors?  Want to see schoolkids buying pot ice cream from a truck?  I love the impact on the local economy using hungry stoners at a Denny’s.  Forget “Toy Story 3″… this may be the year’s greatest animated movie.


The whole cyberbullying issue the last few weeks would have you believe that people just now invented bullying, or that the internet has made it “worse,” or that gay slurs were just created.  It’s terribly sad what happened to those kids, and living in a closet for any reason must be terrible, but even so, this sorta concerns me a bit:

Look, I hate the use of the word “gay” to mean “lame”, or to mean that something’s awful.  “Oh, man, that is so gay.”  It’s no different than the way the word “retarded” is used for the most part, and by the same people.  I think it’s somewhat generational, sort of the way “if it’s on the internet, it’s free” is generational, and the more you yell at someone about it, the less inclined they’re going to be to listen to what you have to say.  I think there are more important ways to help young people deal with issues of sexuality and identity and acceptance and bullying than worrying about what Vince Vaughn says in the trailer to a Ron Howard movie when he’s playing a character who obviously offends the rest of the people at the table.  I think this particular fire is out, Super Anderson Cooper.  You can move along now.  Let it go.

Fatboy Roberts knows nerd mix tapes, so when he recommends one, it’s worth it.

Finally, I remember when this was the whole point of Universal buying “House Of 1,000 Corpses” for distribution.  And then Universal actually saw the movie.  And then it took the better part of a decade before the Halloween Horror Nights tie-ins finally kicked in.  This is the first year I didn’t go visit the park’s Halloween attractions in a while, but they do great work.  I would bet Zombie’s a very happy Monster Kid this month.

Have a great weekend.  I’ll have a big Jason Schwartzman interview for you tomorrow, as well as the return of “Saturday Night At The Movies,” and you can expect a few more reviews here this afternoon for movies that are on your local screens right now, including “Tamara Drewe,” “Nowhere Boy,” and “Freakonomics.” And, yes, if I make it out to “My Soul To Take,” I’ll report back on that one, too.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.

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