Like it or not, the ratings system in the movies has tended to be pretty arbitrary. Now, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is threatening to boycott in some manner the Motion Picture Association of America or MPAA over the rating given the documentary Bully. The movie was given an ‘R’ rating so that children under the age of 17 could not be allowed to watch the movie.
The movie was directed by Lee Hirsch, and is due out on 30 March. Weinstein and student Alex Libby both lobbied for the rating to be amended down to PG-13. Libby is one of the students featured in the film. The appeal lost by one vote.
Weistein stated that “I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.”
The why for this is rather perplexing. According to MPAA appeal board chairman Joan Graves “Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions. The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.” The problem point, there appears to be a large number of swear words.
Of course, unless just about every other word in the film is a swear word, the language cannot be worse than many PG-13 films on the market today.
Weinstein is planning on pushing to get the rating dropped down a bit. He is planning on asking personalities such as Lady Gaga and Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge “to take a stand with me in eradicating bullying and getting the youth into see this movie without restriction”.
The Weinstein Company “is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future”.
According to the BBC:
However, as The Weinstein Company is not an official member of the MPAA, it is unclear what form a boycott would take.
Bully premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year and follows students and families in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Iowa and Oklahoma.
It also touches on the suicides of two bullied teenagers Tyler Long and Ty Smalley.