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The MPAA and "Bully"
Published on March 29, 2012 by Sara Foss

Most cinephiles hate the MPAA, the secretive, studio-controlled board that provides movie ratings; I know I do.

Anyway, the MPAA's decision to slap the new documentary "Bully" with an R rating is prompting protests, mainly from critics who believe the documentary should be viewed by teens and older children, and that the content considered problematic - bad language, mainly - isn't exactly going to shock the nation's youth, who have heard it all before.

One of the more interesting discussion of the issue is between Salon critic Andrew O'Hehir and film critic Tim Grierson. As much as I think "Bully" probably doesn't deserve an R rating, I kind of agree with Grierson's take on the matter: In making its decision, the ratings board followed its own stupid guidelines, which hopefully will be gotten rid of, because they're stupid, but in the meantime, do we really want the MPAA making exceptions based on some vague concept of which films are important, and which are not?

Visit Criticwire to read the whole discussion.

Also good is this interview with Kirby Dick, who made the terrific documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated," which looks at how the MPAA makes its decisions and the secretive nature of the board. Key findings: The board doesn't mind violence, but is leery of sexuality, particularly of anything that could be viewed as unconventional, such as homosexuality and even women's sexuality.

The Week also provides some links here.

"Bully" comes to Albany in April. I will most likely see it, because it interests me and because I hate the ratings board. Take that, MPAA!

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