UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that the Weinstein Company will challenge the rating with an appeal next month. Harvey Weinstein is throwing his massive girt... influence... around and will hopefully get the MPAA to knock Blue Valentine's rating down to a reasonable R.
Disclosure: I have not seen Blue Valentine. I do not know the context or severity of the scene in question, I only have the resources quoted as my guide.
Having said that, I already know this is a royally stupid mistake by the MPAA, the independent group that assigns ratings to movies, and another slap in the face to the average movie goer. If you have not already, you need to watch the wonderful documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It highlights the various problems within the organization and this is just the latest example.
Apparently the scene in question involves the stars of Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, attempting to salvage their marriage by spending the night in a hotel. They get drunk and Gosling wants to have sex. She doesn’t want to but nevertheless consents. According to Deadline, there is barely any nudity and no violence. And yet the MPAA gave it the death rating that, if left unchanged, basically ruins it from getting a wide release. Considering this is one of the few films from the festival circuit that was getting any Oscar buzz, this is a horrible blow. They can appeal it, and with Harvey Weinstein behind the film, this might not be that big a deal. But the rating has been handed out officially now so there is still trouble ahead.
This whole mess is face palmingly stupid and frustrating. The MPAA has far outlived its usefulness. We have the internet, parents are able to determine whether or not they want their kids to see a particular movie so much easier now than some arbitrary rating that some anonymous board deems appropriate. And let’s just rattle off some examples to show their hypocrisy, shall we? Clerks got an NC-17 for talking about a girl giving 37 guys blow jobs (not at the same time). James Bong gets his testicles smashed in Casino Royale and gets a PG-13. Saving Private Ryan shows war footage about as real as you can get and gets an R. If you say ‘fuck’ more than three times you get an R rating, which apparently means if a 15 year old hears the word ‘fuck’ more than three times in two hours or so he’ll turn into a foul mouthed deviant. If you even show a woman's nipple, you get an R. But yet you can show a woman getting shot (as long as the blood is minimal! Which in and of itself is stupid. How much is minimal?)
What the hell, MPAA? When are you going to get with the times or at least start rating movies fairly and with precedent? Seriously, this is getting old and you’re standing in the way of artistic achievement in the name of "protecting" children.