See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Ratings war 

Guess which film received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America: one containing eight seconds of sexual activity (not showing penetration) or one beginning with 26 consecutive minutes of bodies being blown to pieces, decapitated heads rolling around and other realistic violence and gore.

If you’ve played “The Ratings Game” (www.lot47films.com/lie/ ratingsgame) on L.I.E.’s official Web site, you already know the first film referred to above is L.I.E. itself, rated NC-17 (now playing at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak), while the other is the R-rated Saving Private Ryan.

In addition to the game, the creators of L.I.E. have posted essays lambasting the MPAA and its rating process, calling it blatant censorship. All this in response to their film being “rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content,” for containing a frank conversation about pedophilia, teens contemplating homosexual feelings and a few seconds where a man’s bare rear end is visible. There’s even a form letter calling for a revision to the rating system that people can e-mail directly from the site to their state’s senators.

While films distributed in this country are not required by law to be submitted for an MPAA rating, practically all movie theater chains refuse to carry an unrated movie. In order to be shown at New York City-area United Artists theatres, L.I.E. was submitted to a board of 12 anonymous parents that single-handedly decides the rating that motion pictures receive, and was branded with the rarely used NC-17.

The MPAA’s official mission statement, carried out by the mysterious dozen, reads, “… the rating system is a simple one: to offer to parents some advance information about movies so that parents can decide what movies they want their children to see or not to see.”

However, parents won’t have any chance to decide if their children can see L.I.E. until it becomes available on video. Minors are strictly prohibited from attending any movie rated NC-17, even if accompanied by their parents.

For more on the MPAA rating process and its effects on the film industry, visit www.lot47films.com/lie and mpaa.org.

Metro Times editorial assistant Nicole Jones contributed to The Hot & the Bothered, which is edited by George Tysh. E-mail him at gtysh@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit