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Violence? Sex? Nudity? Nope, Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' Rated R For "Some Language" After Losing Appeal

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by Cain Rodriguez
July 19, 2013 10:17 AM
5 Comments
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This summer we’ve seen entire cities decimated (“Man of Steel” and “Pacific Rim”), we’ve seen massacres (“The Lone Ranger”) and countless other scenes of violence and destruction. The common thread of all these scenes is that they’ve mostly appeared in films rated PG-13 and aimed at the whole family for maximum profit. Which makes this latest ratings news somewhat troubling.

THR is reporting that Alexander Payne’s black & white drama “Nebraska” has lost its appeal to the MPAA and its R rating— for “some language”— has been upheld. Though we weren’t as taken with the film as others were— read our review from Cannes— it’s still a shame that this Bruce Dern and Will Forte-starring small-scale drama has had its audience effectively shrunk. And surely a black-and-white film has its work cut out in that department already.

This is the latest example of strange ratings decisions from the MPAA— the similarly sweet David Gordon Green indie “Prince Avalanche” also received an R. We’ll see how much the rating will affect “Nebraska” when it opens this November. In the meantime, check out Kirby Dick’s documentary delving into the ratings system, “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and learn why the whole system is kinda fucked.

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5 Comments

  • Frank | April 6, 2014 5:59 PMReply

    As if we needed any further proof that the U.S. is a schizophrenically puritan-sleazy country. I saw this movie. It's pretty debatable whether it should even have a PG-13 rating. There was zero nudity, no violence aside from one punch to Stacy Keech's face, one sort-of-slap-fight-whatever-it-was between the main character's brother and his fatass cousin, some language and... that's about it. I have seriously seen FAR worse on television. I realize the MPAA only rates movies not television but if this movie got an R then they should rate that show "Bones" as X-rated for as much gore and sex is on it. And I love Bones. Just saying. The MPAA has gone off the deep end. And why do we even need ratings on movies in the first place? How about just a listing saying "This movie has some language/this movie has a brief shot of a woman's nipple/this movie has people getting their heads blown off" etc. ? And maybe let people make up their own minds?

  • Trifle | July 19, 2013 2:55 PMReply

    The MPAA gets a percentage of a film's budget. Clearly they'll have a softer spot for hundred million dollar plus “blockbusters“.

  • Henry | July 19, 2013 1:23 PMReply

    Nebraska is very much a family film. The R rating will certainly shrink the audience. It's not just teenagers. This sends a message to parents not to take their kids and that's a shame. Although the film is in black and white, it has wide appeal. But the R rating creates a huge obstacle.

  • Chris | July 19, 2013 11:34 AMReply

    Cain, I really don't think the R rating will shrink Nebraska's audience much, if at all. It was always clearly going to be aimed at adults. It's not like teenagers were ever going to flock to a black-and-white father/son road movie. The movie won't take much of a financial hit from the rating.

  • den | July 19, 2013 10:25 AMReply

    Another recent example I can think of is "What Maisie Knew" being rated R solely because they say "fuck" a few times.

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