Kevin Smith has had a very tough relationship with the Motion Picture Association of America (i.e. MPAA) over his entire career. His debut film Clerks was originally given an NC-17 rating based solely on the foul language. His first PG-13 film Jersey Girl was given an R rating until Smith and Miramax appealed. And finally his 2008 film Zack and Miri Make a Porno was once again originally rated NC-17 and for a third time he and Miramax appealed and won their targeted rating. Once again Kevin Smith is dealing with the MPAA on his latest film. Now let’s take a look at the ridiculous nature of this issue.
-Cartoon Balls are A Problem-
Yesterday Kevin Smith took to social media deriding the MPAA for giving his latest film Yoga Hosers an R rating based on a single scene. The scene in question had a picture of Johnny Depp’s character with testicles drawn on his face. Below is a screencap of the scene in question.
As you can see, there are a set of testicles drawn on the picture on a book. Is this offensive enough to garner a film an R rating? That’s up for debate, but we need to think back and see if there is any precedence set by previous films. Fun fact: There is, so I’m going to point to a few films that have similar content.
-Balls in PG-13 Films-
Okay, so what we have are a cartoony drawing of testicles on a face. Looking back I can immediately think of two other films that have similar content to this. First and foremost is the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You. The scene in question has the characters Joey and Michael talking. While the conversation is going on Joey begins to draw on Michael’s face. At the end of the scene we see that Michael has penis drawn on his face. Here’s what it looks like.
I think it’s safe to say that someone with a penis drawn on their cheek pointing to their mouth is far more suggestive than testicles drawn on a chin. But let’s take a look at another film that in fact has a character with balls on their chin.
Men In Black II another PG-13 film has an alien that is so imaginatively named a “Ballchinian” and this is what he looks like.
How can a cartoon drawing of testicles be R rated material when an anatomically correct live action scrotum on a character’s face gets away with being in a PG-13 film? Seriously, just looking at that image as I write this article is freaking me out.
-Hypocrisy at it’s Finest-
I didn’t want to spend my entire article on this, but I have to at least speak about the MPAA and it’s fair-weather principles. Just view Kirby Dick’s documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated and you will get a clear understanding of what this means. Aside from the fact that they’ve always been harsher on nudity than violence they tend to get more restrictive when controversy is at play. Thinking back to 2004, during the Superbowl Halftime show Justin Timberlake “accidentally” exposed Janet Jackson’s breast during a performance of Timberlake’s song Rock Your Body. After this the country went in an uproar over a lack of moral decency in media. In turn we saw a major crackdown of suggestive imagery in TV and film. But once the controversy receded things slowly went back to normal. In conclusion, what’s the big (word censored) deal with a drawing of testicles on someones face in a film released this year?
As usual, what are your thoughts? Do you think Kevin Smith will win the appeal and Yoga Hosers will get a PG-13 rating? Is it ridiculous that a film over 15 years old can have a penis drawn on someone’s face and get a PG-13 rating?