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MPAA Overturns “Blue Valentine”‘s NC-17 Rating

MPAA Overturns “Blue Valentine”‘s NC-17 Rating (photo)

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Things got significantly less blue around The Weinstein Company yesterday, when the Motion Picture Association of America’s Appeals Board overturned the NC-17 rating the MPAA had previously bestowed upon TWC’s “Blue Valentine.” From the release reprinted on

“The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today overturned the NC-17 rating given to the movie “Blue Valentine.” The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for “a scene of explicit sexual content.” The film is now rated R, on appeal, for “strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating.

“In the appeal brought by the Weinstein Company, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of “Blue Valentine” from Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company, and Alan Friedman, Counsel to the Weinstein Company. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.”

In her blog post about the appeal, indieWIRE‘s Anne Thompson says that Weinstein’s defense of the film included “a Twitter petition with 3000 signatures… [and] journalists who weighed in on the issue, including The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone.” She says Weinstein “also talked of a recruited screening he staged Wednesday night after which he polled the crowd of 260: ‘What should this film be rated?’ 80% said R, he told the board.”

I can’t believe the percentage was that low; maybe the screening was in Amish country or something. I saw “Blue Valentine” yesterday and could feel more strongly that the movie deserves its new R-rating. If I had children, would I bring them to it? Probably not. But that’s not because the film is pornographic; in fact, “Blue Valentine”‘s depictions of sex are so sad at times that I could see them having an abstinent effect on younger viewers. Plain and simple, “Blue Valentine” is a movie for adults, but the NC-17 rating only indicates a film is for adults in theory. In reality, it attaches a stigma to a movie that it’s “dirty,” and it automatically disqualifies it from playing in many theater chains and advertising in many media outlets. It’s a scarlet two-letters-and-a-number.

“Blue Valentine” deserves better. The film was a labor of love for its director, Derek Cianfrance, who struggled for more than a decade to tell this story, and for its actors, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who do so much more in this movie than get naked and roll around in bed together. Thompson says in her blog that the sequence that earned “Blue Valentine” the NC-17 was “an intimate sex scene with implied oral sex” ( which definitely isn’t implied, by the way). Was the scene, which is more explicit in terms of length than bare skin, necessary to the movie? Actually, yes. “Blue Valentine” is about the rise and fall of a marriage, and the way the couple interacts with each other physically at the various stages of their lives is absolutely essential to revealing the state of their relationship.

But let me say this: even if the scene was just a bunch of mindless T and A thrown in for sexual effect, I don’t think it was graphic enough to warrant an NC-17 in the first place. The 2006 IFC original documentary “This Film is Not Yet Rated” about the MPAA and their fakakta ratings noted how bizarrely biased the organization has historically been against female pleasure. The scene in question features no graphic nudity, but it does show a woman enjoying sexual intercourse with her lover. Apparently that’s a lot worse than a woman being rocket-propelled by a geyser of semen.

At least “Blue Valentine” got the R-rating it deserves. Now when I encourage people go seek out one of the best films of 2010, there’s a much better chance they’ll be able to find it.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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