Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Maya Rudolph Mocks Rachel Dolezal on 'Late Night' Maya Rudolph Mocks Rachel Dolezal on 'Late Night' Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in July Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in July Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Petition Launched to Push UK Theater Chains to Screen 'Dear White People' Petition Launched to Push UK Theater Chains to Screen 'Dear White People' Miles Morales Is Indeed Your New Spider-Man Miles Morales Is Indeed Your New Spider-Man Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

"Shame," "Torture Porn" & The MPAA's System Of Rating Movies

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 26, 2011 at 5:32AM

Some further thoughts on the heels of yesterday's expected announcement that Steve McQueen's sex addiction drama Shame would be released with an NC-17 rating; a move by the MPAA that, as I argued in my review of the film, reeks of hypocrisy for a number of reasons...
20

Some further thoughts on the heels of yesterday's expected announcement that Steve McQueen's sex addiction drama Shame would be released with an NC-17 rating; a move by the MPAA that, as I argued in my review of the film, reeks of hypocrisy for a number of reasons...

Riddle me this folks... consider films like Hostel I and Hostel II (image above), their MPAA ratings (both were rated R), and the pleasure to be derived from watching these so-called "torture porn" flicks, as they've collectively come to be labeled.

Yes, I've seen both - though more because I wanted to be able to say that I'd at least watched what I would eventually critique. I found both unappealing, and was sufficiently turned off; the second installment being the more vile and disgusting of the 2.

I believe there was a part 3 that went straight to DVD.

I don't understand how the near equivalent of what I'd consider *snuff films* actually navigated their way through the ranks of the studio system, ending up on thousands of theatre screens nationwide, for audiences, young and old to, um, "enjoy."

These are 2 rather depraved, cruel and barbaric excuses for films; unconscionably misogynistic and downright sadistic, and I'm genuinely concerned for what impact each has/will have on the impressionable minds of those who have/will see them, and who lack the psychological faculties necessary to process this garbage.

Yet both were rated R? And Shame is being "punished" for its so-called "graphic" depictions of sexuality with an NC-17? Depictions that I dismissed in my review of the film as unfounded.

Having seen both Shame and the Hostel movies, it's all very perplexing to me. I'd argue that the latter films are far more disturbing (and gratuitously so) and deserving of an NC-17 than the former.

With all the talk about Shame's release limitations as an NC-17-rated drama, Hostel 2 was actually banned in come countries - in parts of Europe for example, even though they are supposedly much more liberal about these things than we are here in the USA; some calling it "extreme pornography," others saying it's "obscene," "an hour and a half of brutality," and other countries making it illegal for anyone to peddle the original cut of the film (it was released in a few territories with its most vile scenes gutted).

But it and its predecessor received R ratings here in the US.

Of course, my argument here certainly isn't breaking any new ground; the MPAA's system of rating movies has elicited similar questions since the voluntary MPAA film rating system took effect in 1968.

I'm certainly no prude, and I've been entertained by many "violent" flicks in the past, so it's not a question of me being averse to violence on screen; far from it! But some of these "torture porn" movies seem to go out of their way to be beyond perverse... for entertainment. Yet the MPAA obviously thinks a film like Shame should instead be handled with gloves.

I can only wonder what a Hostel movie is going to look like in another 15 years, compared to what a similarly branded movie looked like 15 years ago...

Now, I'm not saying that "torture porn" movies shouldn't exist. That's not the argument here. Clearly there's an audience for them. Rather, I'm questioning the MPAA's *quadruple* standards and motivations when it comes to assigning ratings to films.

Your thoughts?

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter