Monday, September 20, 2010

Brought to you by the letter R

So last night in a fit of late-night iTunesing, I had to muster up all my willpower to resist buying “Imagine Me & You” to carry around with me in my pocket forever, always. (I already own the DVD. I don’t want to wear out its welcome. I need to be sensible and eat my vegetables, young lady.) So I turned to Twitter for support (y’all are a bunch of enablers, by the way). But, instead, what you really did was draw my attention to something very, very odd and very, very frustrating.

“Imagine Me & You” is rated R. Which means here in the United States no child under the age of 17 could see it in a theater without an accompanying parent or guardian. In essence, that means that the Motion Picture Association of America thought there was something so objectionable about this movie that children must be shielded from its potentially harmful effects. Its official MPPA rating says it earned that R for “for some language and sexual material.” Now, normally R is reserved for movies with explicit sex scenes, sexualized nudity, extreme foul language and/or graphic violence. All the “Saw” movies (including the upcoming third “Saw” in 3-D no less), which feature murder, torture and dismemberment of every imaginable variety, are rated R. “Boogie Nights,” a movie about the porn industry and a man who uses his enormous penis to become a star in it, is rated R. The first two “Scary Movie” films, which were all about supposedly satirizing sexy flasher films by showing excessive sex and slashing, were rated R (the last two only were rated PG-13).

Does “Imagine Me & You” have nudity? No, because I sure as hell know I would have remembered seeing Lena Headey naked, or Piper Perabo or even Giles Anthony Stewart Head. Does “Imagine Me & You” have murder, torture, dismemberment, blood, guts or any of those in any combination in 3-D? No, though the awful stock broker boss does make me feel momentarily stabby for being such an ass. Does “Imagine Me & You” have extreme foul language? Well, No. 9 might argue this but I really don’t think there’s too much past a “fuck” here or there.

But what it does have is two women kissing and falling in love. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HIDE THE CHILDREN!

Now, if you’ve seen “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” this is not news to you. Gay-themed movies are often rated much more harshly than straight movies. “But I’m a Cheerleader” was given an NC-17 (No children under 17, period, even with an adult) at first, then downgraded to an R after cuts. “Boys Don’t Cry” was initially given an NC-17, then trimmed to get an R. “American Psycho” was initially given an NC-17 rating, but then when they cut not the axe murder or the chainsaw dismemberment or the serial killing in general but the one three-way sex scene it was graced with an R. Message: As long as there’s no sex in your violence, you’re A-OK. Also, if there happens to be gay sex in your violence you’re totally screwed – and not in even a remotely kind of fun way.

While the ratings are “voluntary,” they mean everything to both the film’s exposure and eventual bottom line. Many theaters won’t play a NC-17 movie. Many distributors won’t stock a NC-17 DVD. A R rating, in turn, will limit a movie’s potential box office because a whole segment of the population is excluded. But money and audience aside, what this is really still saying is that gay relationships are so different, so frightening, so unacceptable, so deviant that we have to protect the young impressionable minds from seeing them.

The only scary thing about these two women together is that someone would look at them and think, “Shit, they’re scary.” And the only way this movie could ever really be rated R is if the “R” actually stood for “Repeat Viewing.” Which I think I’ll do now. On my iPhone. Just to prove a point. And that point is: “You’re a wanker, MPAA!”

32 comments:

Gill said...

I remember that this one was rated R, because I bought it when it came out (I was only 16) and was so nervous that the Target cashier would know I wasn't "old enough" to watch it. (No one actually gave a fuck)

Alice said...

That sucks, it's rated 12 in the UK for 'moderate sex references and strong language'. Although, the American ratings system seems weird, jumping straight from PG-13 to R.

Vikki said...

My daughter is 5 and loves Mama Mia and my partner and I were SO tired of Mama Mia. So, we let her watch Imagine Me and You. Other than "fuck" used a couple of times, I find Imagine Me and You to be a very mild, sweet movie. That R rating is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hells yeah to the "Repeat Viewing"! Other gay film ratings: "I" for Infinitely Watchable, "U" for Until DVD Dies, "D" for Don't Bother, and "H" for "Horrible".

Anonymous said...

It's the American Way! How else are we going to maintain our teapartyin', gun-toting, take-all-you-can-get-you-deserve-more-of-everything status?! I'm getting a little broad but we started as puritans after all and while they managed to procreate they didn't enjoy it.

But you know all this and
that having been said, I think I might go see if it's available on amazon (so I can buy it with the coupons I got from buying too much music over the weekend).
Hope you've got your copy in your back pocket by now.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Snarker, you really captured the most beautiful scences.

Ami said...

FYI: If a movie uses the word "Fuck" more than once, it's automatically given a "R" rating. Stupid, I know, particularly in this case, but that's the way the rules are written. A friend of mine is in the movie business and he's bitched about this rule for years!

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but I'm fairly sure that my UK DVD is rated a mere 12 which, in practice, means that anyone under that age can watch it.
And why not? There's no sex, no violence, no drug use, and no extreme bad langauge that I can remember. Seems about right to me. It's just a love story/romcom after all.

IanW said...

Quick follow up to my UK DVD comment. I didn't intend to be anonymous. My Google tag is IanW.

;) babs said...

this is really ridiculous! there's a far too quick kiss and no boobs or anything at all! it's like a teenager movie but with grown ups, and I've already seen it on german tv in the afternoon...

Anonymous said...

Double standard, anyone? Yup, them geigh cooties is scary stuff. It's catching you know.
Even though the British have the 'stiff upper lip' (must make for lousy kissing and stuff) rep, they actually are more liberal as a whole than the sexually constipated 'heartland' (oh, the irony or that word) portion of America. Britain did the wise thing centuries ago and exported their religious prudes here. And now we're stuck with them and their tiny, malfunctioning minds.

FASTTCR said...

Thanks for the LOVELY pictures of them in the park. Makes fabulous wallpaper for my iPhone.

I love that others/you love this movie as much as I do. Years ago a very straight friend of mine told me that I was her Luce. I had seen the movie but barely remembered more than the last 5 minutes (which I have grown to love but initially thought was hokey). Anyway, I bought the DVD and watched it several times right away. It became one of my favorites. I love the wedding scenes the most. The first glimpse, the punch bowl, the ring. Makes me smile

Damn (rather Fuck) I'm on vacation without it and having a burning desire to watch it immediately. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Exactly Ami, I was just about to make that point. It has been a sore spot for film critics and other industry people for years! It is an automatic R rating if the word "Fuck" is uttered even once period! It's the most asinine grounds for an R rating.

Unfortunately, for the movies you mentioned it could be argued that they were given the ratings for language.

The problem is that the system needs to be revamped but we could end up more stringent regulations which is why I think studios would rather take their chances on movies like "Iron Man" than smartly written comedies/dramas.

In this society we accept all kinds of violence in our entertainment not just movies but TV as well but the minute there is mention of sex/love/relationships we become all discombobulated and want to hide.

Sigh!

//mel. said...

I love everything about this movie. It's cute, funny, touching and the cast is just perfect.

Funny (or not much) thing is : I know this on DVD and as I checked what my French iTunes would say about the movie, I realized it's not even available here. I guess I'd rather have it be rated R (or the equivalent) than non existent on the store.

Great job with the screenshots, you chose the best scenes.
Now, I'll go watch the movie for the 50th time.

Anonymous said...

Saw 3-D is the seventh in the series, not the third.

MeL said...

I just checked for Germany, and there's no age limit set for the movie here. They even showed it on TV on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, that's how harmless they think it is. (Which it actually is, except, of course, for the side effects you mentioned, Dorothy.;))

Anonymous said...

I have the DVD AND a copy on my iPad so I can carry it around - have watched it every day for a month - doesn't get old - shocks me that it was written and directed by a straight guy but it is a truly lovely story.

The R rating is bizarre-I would compare it to Notting Hill and that got a PG-13 rating.

Noetic_Hatter said...

I love this movie. It's on my ipod as we speak, and I just watched it last week.

You make an interesting point. Here's another one: Would the story have seemed sweet and romantic if she had left him for another guy? I am always vaguely bothered by that feeling when I watch it. Perhaps if Hec had been more of a loser? He's a bit of a milquetoast, but he's definitely a good guy.

Still, Piper and Lena are a much hotter couple! And I thank this film and 300 for introducing me to that sexy goddess. (I already loved Piper -- who does seem to play a lot of lez roles, doesn't she?)

Lisa said...

Hide ya kids! Hide ya wife! Hide ya huzbandz!

For the love of God, it's just two women. -_-

Michelle said...

What about the lives it would SAVE??? Two women struggling with it a bit but finding and accepting true love could save the lives of tormented gay kids in the middle of nowhere. But that surely is not important to the republican fat-cats at the MPAA.

Erika said...

In Australia its rated M (for Moderate Sexual Refrences) which is basically what any Romanitic Com gets and doesnt restrict any ages from watching it.

I even flipped the channel a while back and found it playing on 'free to air TV as the midday movie'. Totally made my day!

Making Space said...

Huh. If it weren't for having an actual adult plot (as in for and about grown-ups), I'd be hard-pressed to even rate it beyond G.

That said, I do not share your passion for the movie. I saw it just after coming out to husband, parents, and in-laws. I was totally aghast at how lightly the movie treated the subject, after the extreme heaviness of my own experience.

Anyway, my unwillingness to watch or purchase the movie again leaves more of it for you and its many fans, so enjoy!

Fong said...

I do have a copy of the movie on DVD but after reading this post of yours, it made me want a copy of the movie on my ipod touch. Guess what, Australia's iTunes store do not have this movie at all. WTF!!!!

lily-pearl said...

Like several others, I immediately rushed to check the rating on my copy and was pleased to find that in the UK the film got a 12 rating. Much more appropriate!

Thanks for the pretty screen caps and the reminder of how great this film is. Think I'll be watching it this evening.

Norma Desmond said...

A.) That last picture is pure gold. B.) Dammit, now I'm going to watch that movie instead of doing all the things I'm *supposed* to be doing at home today.

jenn levo said...

I really have nothing of importance to add here other than this past Saturday night, while the rain was pouring down outside and a slight chill was in the air, my adorably cute girlfriend and I got take out pad thai and came back home to watch a movie (something we hardly ever have time to do). Anyways, this was the movie we decided on watching and it was the first movie we've been able to watch together since moving into our new house last month. It's just nice to know that it's such a great movie, regardless of the lame rating, that others had similar ideas this weekend. Don't know if it's the fall weather or we just like watching cute girls on TV or IPhones.

Regardless, kudos on your good taste Ms. Snarker.

Anonymous said...

I knew it was rated R only because we wanted to watch this film one day at the Gay Straight Alliance meeting at my high school, but we couldn't because of the rating. We had to wait until everyone had parental permission, which of course many pople could not/would not get because they were not out to their parents yet.

We did end up watching it, and I immediately fell in love and bought the dvd. I am a little afraid to put it on my ipod though. I'd never pay attention in class..

Anonymous said...

I knew it was rated R only because we wanted to watch this film at one of the Gay Straight Alliance meetings at my high school, and we couldn't because of the rating. Everyone had to get "parental permission" to watch it, which many couldn't or wouldn't because they were not out to their parents yet.

We did end up watching it, those that were old enough or got permission at least. I immediately feel in love and bought the DVD. I'm not sure I should download it on my ipod though. I don't pay attention in class enough...

chrisbr100 said...

I discovered this wonderful film about two years ago. It is THE BEST love story ever bar none. I bought it in the UK and watched it and have re watched it many times. The US rating just makes no sense at all. Although married for the past 22 years I so totally relate to the story cos I had a similar experience of falling in love with another woman so the empathy with rachels character is huge. Is about time it was broadcast on British TV!!!

-AnnaW- said...

The US rating is ridiculous! I can't believe it. In Sweden 7 year olds are allowed to watch this movie... I just checked my dvd.

Jennifer said...

I just ordered this on netflix, got it today and saw the "r" rating. thought to myself, "hmm, maybe there'll be a hot sex scene or something."

THERE WAS BARELY EVEN ANY KISSING. WHAT IS THIS I CANT EVEN.

also, where did cooper find that baby? I find it hard to believe he created it on purpose. also there was no evidence of a mother. so I think he stole it.

Solo said...

Very belated comment just to note- IM&Y does not appear in your list of favourite films on your profile...