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Fox Searchlight wearing Shame's NC-17 like a badge of honor

Oct. 24, 2011by: Paul Tassi

Usually when a film gets rated NC-17 in Hollywood, it’s a disaster. Directors and editors scramble to cut it down to an R without sacrificing artistic integrity, and it’s something particular people in the industry (Kevin Smith and the Weinsteins come to mind) have to deal with routinely.

So why then is Fox Searchinglight not only protesting, but actually celebrating the NC-17 rating for SHAME? The film stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and is a graphic portrayal of a sex addict, which is why the rating is present. It seems they want to make a stand as Searchlight’s Steve Gilula explains:

"I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner. The sheer talent of the actors and the vision of the filmmaker are extraordinary. It’s not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It’s a game changer."

As this isn’t some rinky-dink studio, it’s one that’s brought us SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, JUNO and BLACK SWAN, the industry might actually sit up and take notice, and Fox wants to push to film for awards the way it did for those others.

Honestly, I think this is great, as I think it’s time we grew the hell up when it comes to ratings like this. Is there really THAT much of a different between a sexual and violent movie where parents must accompany their kids, and one that kids aren’t allowed in at all? Hell, I’d be perfectly happy if they banned ALL kids from rated R movies, as there are only a fraction who actually will show up with their parents, and half the time they’re crying babies.

But the problem is with the numbers. People cut R-rated movies down to PG-13 because they will automatically make more cash. They cut NC-17 to R, because the former barely make any money at all in the theaters, as the rating is akin to something like hardcore pornography in many people’s minds, even if there’s a particularly good film contained within. Hopefully Fox’s efforts will not go to waste, and the rating can someday become a viable option for films who don’t want to sacrifice to please censors.

Extra Tidbit: Is my banning kids from R movies idea controversial? Any parents out there object?
Source: THR

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3:24AM on 10/25/2011

maybe this...

will keep stupid parents from taking their kids to horror movies?
Why were there 3 to 4 kids running loose in a 5pm showing of Rob Zombies Halloween a few years ago? Because that's the time that they CAN take their kids in (children admitted with consenting adult)... it doesnt mean it's a good idea.
will keep stupid parents from taking their kids to horror movies?
Why were there 3 to 4 kids running loose in a 5pm showing of Rob Zombies Halloween a few years ago? Because that's the time that they CAN take their kids in (children admitted with consenting adult)... it doesnt mean it's a good idea.
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-2
12:30AM on 10/25/2011
The movie sounds like a snooze fest, but I admire Fox for what they're attempting.
The movie sounds like a snooze fest, but I admire Fox for what they're attempting.
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10:30PM on 10/24/2011

well heck...

this is a great Idea!! 'bout damn time somebody took the hex off the dreaded NC-17!! there needs to be a bridge between "R" and "this is basically a PORNO movie= NC17" no... thats crap... institute a more widely accepted "HARDER R" rating... OR for every "R" rated movie, start releasing your movies UNCUT and UNRATED on DVD!!! SCREW THE MPAA
this is a great Idea!! 'bout damn time somebody took the hex off the dreaded NC-17!! there needs to be a bridge between "R" and "this is basically a PORNO movie= NC17" no... thats crap... institute a more widely accepted "HARDER R" rating... OR for every "R" rated movie, start releasing your movies UNCUT and UNRATED on DVD!!! SCREW THE MPAA
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4:52PM on 10/24/2011
NC-17 would be such a liberating relm for film-makers to work in. bring the prestige and this might be a new chapter for indy films.
NC-17 would be such a liberating relm for film-makers to work in. bring the prestige and this might be a new chapter for indy films.
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+12
4:17PM on 10/24/2011

FUCK kids in R rated movies

It's usually the ghetto ass dirty scum that bring their kids to these movies, and make the most fucking noise. I think they should ban kids, for the sake of watching the movie in piece. Hell I think babies in general shouldn't be allowed in movie theaters. Can find a sitter? Tough shit, stay home then or your dumb ass shouldn't have had kids.

Ever wonder why you need a license to own a dog, and drive a car, but any moron is allowed to have a baby?
It's usually the ghetto ass dirty scum that bring their kids to these movies, and make the most fucking noise. I think they should ban kids, for the sake of watching the movie in piece. Hell I think babies in general shouldn't be allowed in movie theaters. Can find a sitter? Tough shit, stay home then or your dumb ass shouldn't have had kids.

Ever wonder why you need a license to own a dog, and drive a car, but any moron is allowed to have a baby?
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3:16AM on 10/25/2011
I see what you're saying but a lot of morons have dogs and a lot of morons drive cars so licensing having children wouldn't help either.
I see what you're saying but a lot of morons have dogs and a lot of morons drive cars so licensing having children wouldn't help either.
3:37AM on 10/25/2011
preach it brother!
preach it brother!
3:23PM on 10/24/2011
It's about time a studio--surprisingly Fox--stood up against the rating system. A lot of films don't even get to the states because they're borderline NC-17. Antichrist comes to mind as something that could have been NC-17, but ultimately got the R-rating thankfully.
It's about time a studio--surprisingly Fox--stood up against the rating system. A lot of films don't even get to the states because they're borderline NC-17. Antichrist comes to mind as something that could have been NC-17, but ultimately got the R-rating thankfully.
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2:54PM on 10/24/2011
I dont mind but wait Fox? The ones who said to John McClain he couldnt say fuck in Live Free or Die hard for a PG-13 Rating.
I dont mind but wait Fox? The ones who said to John McClain he couldnt say fuck in Live Free or Die hard for a PG-13 Rating.
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2:49PM on 10/24/2011

NC-17 movies own...

they should have more come out. I've seen a few and most of them are all good.
they should have more come out. I've seen a few and most of them are all good.
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2:01PM on 10/24/2011

I wanted to see this before.

I REALLY want to see this now.
I REALLY want to see this now.
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1:51PM on 10/24/2011
Extra Tidbit: Not at all. I have had too many bad experiences with kids in a movie theater: especially with horror films. I had to deal with ten year olds shitting their pants during Paranormal Activity 3 and Let Me In. Fucking parents just sat there as there kid was screaming and crying. On top of that I still say that there should be one showing of kids films (like Pixar) for adults only. Now some would say that is what the late night showings are for, yet I have been to midnight showings to
Extra Tidbit: Not at all. I have had too many bad experiences with kids in a movie theater: especially with horror films. I had to deal with ten year olds shitting their pants during Paranormal Activity 3 and Let Me In. Fucking parents just sat there as there kid was screaming and crying. On top of that I still say that there should be one showing of kids films (like Pixar) for adults only. Now some would say that is what the late night showings are for, yet I have been to midnight showings to Toy Story 3 where half the theater was packed with children.

I am glad that Shame is accepting its NC-17 rating. It is time for the studios to grow up with the times and accept that NC-17 movies could be serious and an award contender. Not all have to be the entertaining debacle that was Showgirls.
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1:47PM on 10/24/2011
I'm on the fence. That sex scene in Double Impact in theaters really fucked me up as a kid.
I'm on the fence. That sex scene in Double Impact in theaters really fucked me up as a kid.
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1:44PM on 10/24/2011
Fine with me. I am proud to say that my theater last night said no to a couple wanting to see Paranormal Activity 3 because they had a baby with them. I mean bringing a baby to a horror movie that is suppose to be only for adults? The hell is wrong with some parents today?
Fine with me. I am proud to say that my theater last night said no to a couple wanting to see Paranormal Activity 3 because they had a baby with them. I mean bringing a baby to a horror movie that is suppose to be only for adults? The hell is wrong with some parents today?
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1:44PM on 10/24/2011
I started watching R-rated movies when I was about eleven. When I was twelve or thirteen, I remember when my mom took me and my sister to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and the ticket lady warned it wasn't a movie for kids. She was right.

With regard to "Shame," I am thrilled they aren't backing down on this. From what I know of the movie it doesn't sound like your typical good time, but I want to see it even more now.
I started watching R-rated movies when I was about eleven. When I was twelve or thirteen, I remember when my mom took me and my sister to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and the ticket lady warned it wasn't a movie for kids. She was right.

With regard to "Shame," I am thrilled they aren't backing down on this. From what I know of the movie it doesn't sound like your typical good time, but I want to see it even more now.
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1:35PM on 10/24/2011
This country definitely has it backwards when it comes to this issue. Graphic violence is far worse than graphic sex. I don't know why that is so hard for people to understand. It would make more sense for films like "Saw", with the crazy amount of torture porn, to get the NC-17 rating, rather than films like "Shame", or "The Brown Bunny".
This country definitely has it backwards when it comes to this issue. Graphic violence is far worse than graphic sex. I don't know why that is so hard for people to understand. It would make more sense for films like "Saw", with the crazy amount of torture porn, to get the NC-17 rating, rather than films like "Shame", or "The Brown Bunny".
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1:45PM on 10/24/2011
Why is graphic violence far worse than graphic sex? I'm just wondering your opinion on why it's such a clear cut issue. Seems arbitrary either way to me.
Why is graphic violence far worse than graphic sex? I'm just wondering your opinion on why it's such a clear cut issue. Seems arbitrary either way to me.
+6
1:16PM on 10/24/2011
I'd be fine with no children under 17 admitted to R rated movies, after sitting through Hangover 2 behind a family that had three children under the age of six.
I'd be fine with no children under 17 admitted to R rated movies, after sitting through Hangover 2 behind a family that had three children under the age of six.
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12:59PM on 10/24/2011
so happy someone finally has the fucking balls to do this
so happy someone finally has the fucking balls to do this
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12:45PM on 10/24/2011

Good for them

It's always irked me that you can show people shooting and killing one another and get a PG-13 rating, while nudity and/or sex immediately gets hit with an R or NC-17. Priorities, people?
It's always irked me that you can show people shooting and killing one another and get a PG-13 rating, while nudity and/or sex immediately gets hit with an R or NC-17. Priorities, people?
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12:08PM on 10/24/2011
Extra tidbit: Overall I think you can take kids to see R rated movies as long as you can explain to them what is happening on the screen, i.e., why this character do that or do this, etc.
Extra tidbit: Overall I think you can take kids to see R rated movies as long as you can explain to them what is happening on the screen, i.e., why this character do that or do this, etc.
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3:40AM on 10/25/2011
clearly you do not have kids.
clearly you do not have kids.
+3
12:02PM on 10/24/2011
This is truly great news. NC-17 movies made for a modest budget shouldn't have to worry about tanking. These stories deserve to be told and theaters ought to carry them.
This is truly great news. NC-17 movies made for a modest budget shouldn't have to worry about tanking. These stories deserve to be told and theaters ought to carry them.
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11:42AM on 10/24/2011

Tidbit

I have to say I can't agree. One of my most memorable movie going experiences was going to see The Matrix in theaters. I was 9 at the time.
I have to say I can't agree. One of my most memorable movie going experiences was going to see The Matrix in theaters. I was 9 at the time.
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11:24AM on 10/24/2011
With R-rated trailers releasing more commonly, I can easily see NC-17 movies becoming the norm. I say go for it!
With R-rated trailers releasing more commonly, I can easily see NC-17 movies becoming the norm. I say go for it!
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11:23AM on 10/24/2011

Extra Tidbit

I worked at a theater and our policy was the NO ONE under 17 was admitted to a rated "R" film. Didn't matter if they were with parent or not. It worked great, people loved it. Sometimes we'd get flack from a parent that said it was their right to take their kid in if they wanted...but, as we explained, it was our right to set our polices and their right to either follow them or go elsewhere. All in all, I'd say that at least 95% of the people loved that rule and we had customers that would come
I worked at a theater and our policy was the NO ONE under 17 was admitted to a rated "R" film. Didn't matter if they were with parent or not. It worked great, people loved it. Sometimes we'd get flack from a parent that said it was their right to take their kid in if they wanted...but, as we explained, it was our right to set our polices and their right to either follow them or go elsewhere. All in all, I'd say that at least 95% of the people loved that rule and we had customers that would come to our theater specifically because of it.
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11:15AM on 10/24/2011
Certain films interest mostly adults, not youngsters. A film can be R (e.g. The Ides of March) or PG-13 (e.g. Hotel Rwanda) or PG (e.g. many documentaries, but its audience is mostly adults, regardless of rating. Thus, just show us the graphic violence and sexual content that might be aesthetically necessary.
Also, if NC-17 arthouse becomes successful, NC-17 grindhouse might become successful. We fans can stop seeking unrated versions on-line, on-demand, and elsewhere. We can watch Hatchet II
Certain films interest mostly adults, not youngsters. A film can be R (e.g. The Ides of March) or PG-13 (e.g. Hotel Rwanda) or PG (e.g. many documentaries, but its audience is mostly adults, regardless of rating. Thus, just show us the graphic violence and sexual content that might be aesthetically necessary.
Also, if NC-17 arthouse becomes successful, NC-17 grindhouse might become successful. We fans can stop seeking unrated versions on-line, on-demand, and elsewhere. We can watch Hatchet II and I Spit on Your Grave at the theatre with a good crowd of fellow trash enthusiasts.
And, I hate to break it to some producers and distibutors. But, your movies generally ain't masterpieces. The OTT nudity and gore are the stars. Past arthouse and grindhouse have respected this reality. Thereby, everyone has gotten the high and low erotica, the thrills and chills that s/he seeks.
Good luck, Shame. I applaud your intregity and bravery. Unless the NC-17 is just a stunt to drum up business.
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11:13AM on 10/24/2011
Shame is fantastic and absolutely deserved a very hard R at the very least and is not for the faint of heart, but is not exploitative or particularly provocative either. Just honest. I hope this film makes boffo cash with that NC-17.
Shame is fantastic and absolutely deserved a very hard R at the very least and is not for the faint of heart, but is not exploitative or particularly provocative either. Just honest. I hope this film makes boffo cash with that NC-17.
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11:04AM on 10/24/2011

Ratings Ridiculous

I think it's stupid that people may avoid this film because of it's rating, all I have to go on is a Bumbrey review and a trailer - and the promise of some Carey Mulligan nakedness - but I'm still interested enough to see it.
I think it's stupid that people may avoid this film because of it's rating, all I have to go on is a Bumbrey review and a trailer - and the promise of some Carey Mulligan nakedness - but I'm still interested enough to see it.
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