Those dirty little minxes at the MPAA are at it again. They’ve ruled Blue Valentine is an NC-17 film, no one under the age of 17 admitted. Having seen the film at Sundance I can tell you their complaint has something to do with an odd moment between a married couple. Is the moment sexual in nature? It is. Is it worse than say, any of the head shot kills that litter films like The Expendables or the ball gag a gentleman sports in Pulp Fiction? I would argue that it’s not.
This aggression will not stand. Blue Valentine is just a wee bit sexual, no big deal. Why do the Europeans get to have all the sexy times while we remain staunchly pro-violence? C’mon, MPAA, what are you guys doing over there?
Oh, who am I kidding? Clearly this is trumped-up nonsense, and the film is going to end up with a good old fashioned R rating. For all I know the Brothers Weinstein paid someone off to give the film an NC-17 so they could get an indignant press release and some free outrage for a film that desperately needs some buzz after screenings at Sundance and Cannes didn’t make an impact.
Still, the MPAA is the worst. If you see it on the street make sure you scoff in its general direction.
Take a look at item #1. How jaded is that whole section? Pretty cynical, right? But hearken back to a simpler time, the year was 1986. Tom Cruise wasn’t jumping on couches, and Val Kilmer was skinny and completely yoked. The phrase “Yeeha, Jester’s dead!” was just entering the national lexicon. No one realized how good we had it. The Russians were the enemy, but they were a sensible sort and occasionally played by Sean Connery.
And now look at us. Our action films, and films in general, have gone to a much darker place. Everything is ironic, and nothing can be taken at face value. We’ve been Internetted, and expressions of pure joy are rare in American cinema.
Fast forward to the news that Top Gun 2 could happen, provided they find the correct cameo part for Tom Cruise. The natural reaction would be to say “What? No way! Ugh, whatever!” But we’ve got to fight against this instinct. Because Top Gun 2 will either be awful or awesome, but either way it would be big fun. And we’d have to take it at as authentic, just pilots and their million dollar hardware, each trying to live their lives on the edge with important music playing behind them.
Also, and for the record, Tom Skerritt is available and looks the exact same as he did 24 years ago. That can’t be a coincidence.
3. Dream Big, Attack Bigger
The current political climate got me to thinking. Pondering, really. I’ve been witnessing attack ad after attack ad here in Seattle because our Senatorial race is anybody’s ballgame, completely up for grabs. I’m enjoying vocally imitating both sides of the lunacy so much that I kind of don’t want it to end after the November election. Any why should it have to? Do you see what I’m getting at? It’s a “Eureka” moment, and I’m about to head off and copyright it, or patent it, or whatever one does with intellectual property so that the Harvard tech guys don’t thieve it.
What am I on about? Attack ads for movies!
Genius, right? Completely can’t miss, and it would make everyone’s life more fun. You’d even rewind DVRd programs for particularly vicious ones.
Here’s an example as for Life as We Know It, said with that ominous political attack ad voice:
Creepy Voice: Don’t let Katherine Heigl FOOL you again.
Onscreen: Black and white picture of Heigl staring into camera, looking confused.
CV: Because if you’ve seen one Heigl movie, haven’t you seen them all?
Onscreen: photo from 27 Dresses.
CV: I mean look at the POSTER for cryin’ out loud! (show poster)
Why is the man NEARLY NAKED? Why is Kat Heigl chasing a BABY? Is this really what AMERICA NEEDS?
And … scene.
The first studio to launch an attack ad using mean quotes from critics will earn my eternal affection. The best part about it? The movie doesn’t even have to be bad! Tell me you wouldn’t want to see how 20th Century Fox attacked Inception after it won the weekend?
“We don’t need another film MAKING US THINK, DO WE? Don’t let Inception jumble your head-thoughts all up!”
So this could work. Top Gun 2 greenlit, attack ads for every major film release (excluding non-sequel Pixar films), and an R rating for Blue Valentine. I’m not asking for much. Actually, I’m not asking at all. I’ve got creepy political attack ad guy with me and we’re not taking no for an answer. Seriously, he’ll keep you up all night. Just give him whatever he wants.
On that note, I hope you have a weekend without any attacks at all.
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He’s also available on Twitter.