Sundance Doc Messing With The Wrong Ratings Board

With the kind of David vs. Goliath spirit that turned Super Size Me into a Sundance festival hit and a giant pain in McDonald's ass just a few years ago, many eyes are on Kirby Dick's 2006 Sundance doc offering, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which takes on another unchallenged American institution: the MPAA's ratings system.

The documentary chronicles Dick's efforts to pin down ratings-board members, whose identities are kept private, and find out how they operate. He hires a private investigator who's fiercely determined to flush out the people behind the ratings system.


She rifles through the trash of one ratings-board member, stakes out the MPAA offices to run license plates of cars pulling in and out, tails the group's employees and eavesdrops on them when they go to lunch.

There's an irony to be savored when the same techniques the MPAA uses to catch and prosecute content pirates is used against it to determine just who comprises the anonymous board of prudes slapping NC-17s on any movie featuring a three-way or frontal male nudity (or, God forbid it has both, the dreaded NC-34). And while This Film Is Not Yet Rated has, appropriately enough, not yet received its MPAA designation, you can be sure its director's suggestive name alone will guarantee it gets a minimum R.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the MPAA has rated This Film, and the rating is NC-17, which the filmmakers appealed, only to see the rating upheld in a December hearing. The MPAA's official reason: It "contains a number of clips from movies that have been rated NC-17." Translation: Your movie sleeps with the 17+ fishes, Dick.