The other day, Mrs. D.S.C. and I sat down at our laptop, and decided to watch a film in all of its 13″ glory (thank you, Pirates Bay). Although we’d been putting it off for a while, we decided to give “The King’s Speech” a chance.
It was a pretty good movie, although nowhere near Best Picture material (more on that next week in the Oscar preview). The performances were solid, and while it had a semi-Masterpiece Theatre vibe to it, it wasn’t nearly as slow as we’d feared.
Even this staid film comes with a controversy, however. In its nearly unbroken streak of stupid decisions, the Motion Picture Association of America slapped the film with an R-rating. For those of you who haven’t seen it, “The King’s Speech” is about a Prince who is forced to overcome a stammer because he unexpectedly becomes King. There’s no sex and no violence… there isn’t even graphic discussion about sex or violence.
So what’s the problem? In the course of his therapy, there are a couple of scenes in which the King is encouraged by his therapist to swear, to prove that the stammer isn’t a biological issue. He doesn’t say, “Go fuck yourself” or “Fuck off”. He just says “fuck” repeatedly, as well as “bugger” and some other adorably cute British swears. Because the film then has more than four “fucks” in it, nobody under the age of 18 is allowed to see it in the U.S. without a parent there to cover their ears (in the U.K., it is open to anybody over 12).
Inevitably, this is one of the rare fucking movies that a fucking teenager might get something fucking out of. At the very least, it could provide some comfort for kids struggling with speaking impediments, or make their asshole classmates slightly more sympathetic (yeah, right, but you can always hope).
Instead, the kids are allowed to see “Casino Royale”, with this torture scene:
Obviously, the prigs at the MPAA love violence but hate naughty language… some of their rules:
-You can use “harsh sexually-derived words” one to four times and get a PG-13… as long as it’s an expletive and not used in a sexual context. Use it once in a sexual context and it’s an R… “Waiting for Guffman” was rated R because a minor character used “fuck” while doing a monologue from “Raging Bull” during the auditions.
-Any film with a reference to pot gets a PG-13… such as Whale Rider, which showed paraphernalia briefly in the background.
-Cigarette smoking is considered in a film’s rating.
-A man can be shirtless in a G movie… a woman being shirtless makes it at least PG-13.
-Bloodless violence will get you a PG or PG-13 rating, while bloodshed will get you an R.
Which makes sense… the most important thing is to teach our children that violence has no consequences.