MPAA Gives 'It's Complicated' An R Rating Because It Shows Pot Might Make You Giggle

from the what-are-they-smoking? dept

Via That Kevin Smith (who has had his own share of run ins with the MPAA over bizarre ratings) comes the story of how the MPAA decided the romantic comedy It's Complicated deserved an "R" rating, because it has one scene that involves two characters (played by Steve Martin and Meryl Streep) who smoke marijuana... and then giggle. Specifically, the MPAA appears to be upset that there are "no negative consequences" to the two characters smoking pot.

Now, I've never smoked marijuana (or ingested it in other forms either), but I'm at a loss to see how this makes something deserving of an R rating. The NY Times article quotes someone from the Parents Television Council -- the group famous for bombarding the FCC with bogus indecency complaints -- who says "The last I checked, smoking pot was still illegal, illicit behavior." Indeed. But, then again, so is blowing up Los Angeles, and "last I checked," the movie 2012 got a PG-13 rating.

The larger point, of course, is just how incredibly out of touch the MPAA is beyond just its laughable ratings system. This is a group that's still trying to break your TV because it can't figure out how to release movies on TV in a reasonable amount of time without doing so (even though its own studios have figured it out). This is the same group that argues that blames tech companies for its own inability to recognize and embrace what technology allows. This is the same group that insists that piracy is "killing" the movie industry as the industry scores yet another box office record. This is the same group that insists that ACTA is necessary, but won't share what its own lobbyists helped write.

The NY Times article admits that the decision to rate this particular movie "R" is more of a political move from an organization that doesn't want to be attacked during the next elections -- and even that should be troubling. This is an organization that will do amazingly dumb things just to stay in the good graces of our politicians, so that it can continue to push through protectionist laws. One simple rating may not seem like a huge deal (and, by itself, it is not), but it's yet another sign in how out of touch the MPAA really is, and how its actions are entirely about protecting its political power and helping its members get favors from the government, rather than anything else.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: it's complicated, movies, ratings
Companies: mpaa

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    The Anti-Mike, 29 Dec 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: You don't get out much, do you?

    Caught you lookin' for the same thing
    It's a new thing check out this I bring
    Uh Oh the roll below the level
    'Cause I'm livin' low next to the bass C'mon
    Turn up the radio
    They claim that I'm a criminal
    By now I wonder how
    Some people never know
    The enemy could be their friend guardian
    I'm not a hooligan
    I rock the party and
    Clear all the madness, I'm not a racist
    Preach to teach to all
    'Cause some they never had this
    Number one, not born to run
    About the gun...
    I wasn't licensed to have one
    The minute they see me, fear me
    I'm the epitome - a public enemy
    Used, abused without clues
    I refused to blow a fuse
    They even had it on the news
    Don't believe the hype...

    Was the start of my last jam
    So here it is again, another def jam
    But since I gave you all a little something
    That we knew you lacked
    They still consider me a new jack
    All the critics you can hang'em
    I'll hold the rope
    But they hope to the pope
    And pray it ain't dope
    The follower of Farrakhan
    Don't tell me that you understand
    Until you hear the man
    The book of the new school rap game
    Writers treat me like Coltrane, insane
    Yes to them, but to me I'm a different kind
    We're brothers of the same mind, unblind
    Caught in the middle and
    Not surrenderin'
    I don't rhyme for the sake of of riddlin'
    Some claim that I'm a smuggler
    Some say I never heard of 'ya
    A rap burgler, false media
    We don't need it do we?
    It's fake that's what it be to 'ya, dig me?
    Don't believe the hype...

    Don't believe the hype - its a sequel
    As an equal, can I get this through to you
    My 98's boomin' with a trunk of funk
    All the jealous punks can't stop the dunk
    Comin' from the school of hard knocks
    Some perpetrate, they drink Clorox
    Attack the black, cause I know they lack exact
    The cold facts, and still they try to Xerox
    Leader of the new school, uncool
    Never played the fool, just made the rules
    Remember there's a need to get alarmed
    Again I said I was a timebomb
    In the daytime the radio's scared of me
    'Cause I'm mad, plus I'm the enemy
    They can't c'mon and play with me in primetime
    'Cause I know the time, plus I'm gettin' mine
    I get on the mix late in the night
    They know I'm livin' right, so here go the mike, sike
    Before I let it go, don't rush my show
    You try to reach and grab and get elbowed
    Word to herb, yo if you can't swing this
    Just a little bit of the taste of the bass for you
    As you get up and dance at the LQ
    When some deny it, defy if I swing bolos
    Then they clear the lane I go solo
    The meaning of all of that
    Some media is the whack
    You believe it's true, it blows me through the roof
    Suckers, liars get me a shovel
    Some writers I know are damn devils
    For them I say don't believe the hype
    Yo Chuck, they must be on a pipe, right?
    Their pens and pads I'll snatch
    'Cause I've had it
    I'm not an addict fiendin' for static
    I'll see their tape recoreder and grab it
    No, you can't have it back silly rabbit
    I'm going' to my media assassin
    Harry Allen, I gotta ask him
    Yo Harry, you're a writer, are we that type?
    Don't believe the hype
    I got flavor and all those things you know
    Yeah boy, part two bum rush and show
    Yo Griff, get the green black red and
    Gold down countdown to Armageddon
    -88 you wait the S1Ws will
    Rock the hard jams - treat it like a seminar
    Teach the bourgeoise, and rock the boulevard
    Some sau I'm negative
    But they're not positive
    But what I got to give...
    The media says this

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.