Monthly Archives: May 2007

The Queen and the MPAA

Thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I just saw two movies of note.

Finally saw The Queen with the amazing Helen Mirren. The Queen of the title is the very much living Elizabeth II. The film centers around the events following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It’s a quiet film really. The reason I would suggest everyone run and rent this is because of the astonishingly powerful performance of Helen Mirren. The filmmakers wisely chose to focus on a couple of the members of the Royal Family. They also cleverly used news footage of Diana in a montage fashion that was very effective. Well worth seeing.

This Film is Not Yet Rated is a totally different kind of film. After the death of the Production Code, the MPAA was formed. This is the body that determines what rating a film gets.

Which I have to admit is an issue I haven’t paid much attention to. I’m over 17 and I don’t have kids. I can’t remember the last time I actually noticed what rating a film got. As a lot of the filmmakers interviewed in this documentary explain, a rating can determine how much money the film makes or what type of audience sees their movie. The wrong rating can, in short, be the kiss of death.

So who are the people who rate the movies? What is their process? What are their specific decisions?

No one really knew – at least until this documentary.

And really, even after this documentary, it still seems like the Vatican is a more transparent and accountable organization than the MPAA. Which is my chief objection to it. I am not opposed to a ratings system. Frankly, I think there’s a place for it in America today. What I do object to is that this organization operates like a Star Chamber. There is no reason why the raters at the MPAA need to be anonymous. Nor should it be unaccountable.

And it is.

More on the soap opera genre

Former soap writer, Kay Alden recently participated in a colloquium at MIT. Brilliant analysis of what is wrong with soaps, how they’re written, how to fix them, the people who watch them. Long, but so so worth the listen.

She’s currently consulting on All My Children. One can only hope they listen to this woman.

The simple pleasures

I went into Wegman’s (awesome grocery chain) to buy some tomatoes and ended up spending $25 on expensive cheeses and fresh bread. I have to tell you it was worth it.

Their bakery is pretty decent. I took a baguette, toasted it with a little truffle oil, and added some sliced tomatoes and some really yummy St. Agur blue cheese.

Reader, it was heaven.