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Sex Rating Watch: Blue Valentine vs. Black Swan vs. Love & Other Drugs

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 6, 2010 at 5:26AM

- Directors of two potential Oscar nominees are attacking the MPAA's rating system. Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) state their cases in the LAT against the questionable standards that land a film with a NC-17 rating (whichBlue Valentine and the Weinstein Co. are currently fighting.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- Directors of two potential Oscar nominees are attacking the MPAA's rating system. Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) state their cases in the LAT against the questionable standards that land a film with a NC-17 rating (whichBlue Valentine and the Weinstein Co. are currently fighting.

Cianfrance says: "I don't have an answer for why that movie [Black Swan] would be OK and ours wouldn't." Harvey Weinstein says: "I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language." Aronofsky has heard that the scene in question with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is more "emotionally authentic" than Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis's girl-on-girl sex scene in Black Swan, but if that's the reasoning for the different ratings, he finds it "totally backward." Cianfrance takes it to mean "…the MPAA is saying, 'Your actors are good — but they're too good.' "

- You can sign the petition against Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating here. In the meantime, the MPAA could be comparing Blue Valentine to Love & Other Drugs (rated R), which Fox is selling as sex romp. For its part, Vulture argues that the film's nudity is not gratuitous. The MPAA ratings board seems to judge sex and nudity genre by genre. The closer a film comes to reality, the more likely the risk of censoring.

- One UCLA student is launching a new reality genre: Sleepy Film. After getting flack for making boring films from professors and peers at UCLA Extension writing classes back in the 1990s, Sondra Lowell decided to run with it. She's created films that are designed specifically to induce sleep. “It is mostly a blank screen with flashes of plot and personal growth affirmations, accompanied by an unintelligible binaural soundtrack,” she says of one of her sleep-inducing flicks. She cites Andy Warhol's Sleep to add artistic cred to her endeavors. Check out an excerpt below to judge for yourself - art, or an attempt to validate a Film degree from UCLA?

This article is related to: Awards, Box Office, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Independents, Daily Read, Media, Marketing, Oscars, Darren Aronofsky, Edward Zwick, Thriller, Drama, comedy, Romance


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.