Our Skewed Values

Today’s LA Times contained an excellent article on our skewed values: To the MPAA ratings board, ‘The King’s Speech’ is just as bad as ‘Saw 3D’. In this article, the MPAA is taken to task for giving an R rating to a movie about how a cheeky Australian speech therapist helped King George VI conquer a terrible stammer… because he utters a few curse words, while giving the same R rating to the latest Saw installment, “Saw 3D”. The author feels this equates gratuitous violence to swearing:

To call the decision crazy and unhinged would be to let the MPAA off too lightly. Its ratings decisions, which frown on almost any sort of sex, frontal nudity or bad language but have allowed increasing amounts of violence over the years, are horribly out of touch with mainstream America, where families everywhere are disturbed by the amount of violence freely portrayed in movies, video games and hip-hop music.

Here’s what the director had to say:

“What I take away from that decision is that violence and torture is OK, but bad language isn’t. I can’t think of a single film I’ve ever seen where the swear words had haunted me forever, the way a scene of violence or torture has, yet the ratings board only worries about the bad language.”

Now, consider this. There is a movie at the Telluride Film Festival called “127 Hours”. This is a movie that is making some audiences sick. The problem is not horror, but real-life, amplified. “127 Hours” stars James Franco as Aron Ralston, who in 2003 was trapped by a falling chockstone in an isolated gully in Utah’s wilderness. Having told no one where he was headed and hiking with scant supplies, Ralston knew that if he didn’t free himself he would perish from starvation, dehydration or exposure. Five days into his ordeal, Ralston figured out that if he broke the two bones in his right forearm, he would be able to use a dull multi-tool to saw through the flesh, muscles and tendons that bound him to a certain death. The amputation is filmed in a realistic, documentary style, with the camera sometimes mere inches from Franco’s body. The director employs a variety of sound effects during the amputation, amplifying the bone breaks with a gun shot and the nerve-cutting with an electronic vibration. I’m sure we know what this will be rated.

Me? Cut me out of the violence. This is why I prefer the stage. Give me the quarts of fake blood from the Lt. on Inishmore.