Brent Bozell

At the Sundance film festival in January, he and NATO honcho John Fithian urged directors of independent films to embrace the NC-17, to bring "validity" to the rating, suggesting they would have more freedom to pursue "edgier art house fare if the system were more viable." That is, if the NC-17 rating didn't have that unfortunate stigma.

At the theater owners' ShoWest convention last week, Glickman and Fithian were pleading for the NC-17 again. Variety reported Fithian tried to "explode some myths" that theater chains won't play NC-17 movies and newspapers won't advertise them. He claimed the average NC-17 movie grossed $3.9 million, while the average unrated film brought in $1.8 million. That doesn't sound like much of an argument. When "Saw III" was edited back to an R last year, it brought in $80 million.

That still leaves the question: Would "edgier" NC-17 films deserve our respect? For example, Variety reported people were intrigued at Sundance by the movie "Teeth," a "dark comedy" about a girl who has teeth in her private parts, but movie buyers were worried by the ratings problems. Would a "respectable" NC-17 rating system grant it much wider distribution?

The New York Post reports that the forthcoming movie "Grindhouse" is also expected to draw an NC-17, at least at first, for its raw content. The Post had the inside scoop: "In one scene, a cute topless girl is roughly tied down on a table by evil female Nazi experimenters who begin draining her blood, and as she screams in agony, they brand her like livestock with a coal-hot steel swastika," the source said. "And every girl in the Nazi concentration camp is topless."

Another scene features "a grossly obese man chewing on a baby."

This potential NC-17 film has two big-name directors Hollywood loves at the helm, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Would they put their prestige on the line to promote the spread of the NC-17 rating? Is this "artistic" sludge the kind of film-making that Dan Glickman is trying to suggest would make NC-17 "respectable"?

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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