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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 Deadline.com:

“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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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