Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Five Favorite Holiday Movies

It’s that time of year again and I am reminded of my favorite holiday movies. These are the movies that I can go back to every year. They never get old for me.

I dedicate this list to everyone who seem to enjoy taking this holiday season and make into a call to arms to protect their own versions of what this season means. PEOPLE SNAP OUT OF IT!! Instead of looking at all of differences in our beliefs we need to look at the similarities. Remember what each of our different religions teaches about love, respect, honoring life and family. I hope that the messages in these movies can help you put the arguing aside and focus on the important things they teach us.

There is a Doctor Who episode that involves Charles Dickens. Mr. Dickens asks “You're from the future, tell me Doctor. Do my books last”? The doctor looks at him in amazement and says “oh yes. Forever”. A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite stories. That’s why there are two versions of this story on my list.

Scrooged – This is one of the first movies I saw in the Army when I was stationed overseas. I was having a hard time dealing with being out on my own and this movie gave me what I was looking for. It’s a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I am a sucker for a good redemption story. Bill Murray makes a great scrooge. He is just enough of a jerk but not too much of one that we don’t like him.

His transition from jaded cynic to a person who really feels the spirit of the season is great. I love the end monologue, in the typical Murray style, he drives home the point that this is not just a once a year thing, but it can happen every day if we choose it.

My personal favorite line from this movie is “The bitch hit me with a toaster!”

The Muppet Christmas Carol – The Muppets went through a phase of capturing classical books and putting it on film. This one is my favorite. They give the respect to the story that is needed and they add their unique flare to the story without taking anything away. They cast each of the characters perfectly. And adding Michael Caine as Scrooge is perfect.

This telling is one that is great for the whole family, the muppets appeal to both the kids and the kids at heart. They blend song and show together in a nice mix. They tell the story and keep it light and meaningful. If you have not seen this version of the story I recommend it, if you are one who has not seen any Muppet movies this one is a great one to start on.

My personal favorite dialog from this movie comes from Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present. Ebenezer: You're a little absent-minded, spirit. Ghost of Christmas Present: No, I'm a LARGE absent-minded spirit!

It's a Wonderful Life – Makes me Cry every time I see it. Like clockwork right when Zuzu’s petals come out I start to tear up and I am in a full-on cry when everyone in town is pitching in to save Geroge. This story is one that starts off my Holiday thoughts. It’s just not the Holidays unless I get to see this movie at least once.

The main message is that your life is a gift and even if you don’t see it. You have an impact on all the lives you come into contact with. We tend to get wrapped up in our own heads and forget that there are other people out there. And even if we don’t realize it we have made a difference in the world.

My personal favorite line from this movie comes from Clarence. “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he”?

A Christmas Story – I saw this movie at my Aunt’s house while I was housesitting and it was on HBO. I remember laughing out loud at some of the hijinks in this film. The movie has so many memorable moments the “double dog dare” the “Major award” and who can forget the “Red Rider carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle”.

This movie takes place in the past but everyone has had some of the same feelings or experiences during the holidays. What I like about this format is the narration and how they blend in the imagination and memories of Ralphie. I also liked this style in Arrested Development. The narrator guides us through the hilarity.

My personal favorite line from this movie comes from Ralphie’s narration right before going to see Santa, “Let's face it, most of us are scoffers. But moments before zero hour, it did not pay to take chances.”

Die Hard – People overlook this as a Christmas movie, and yes this does not have any particular underlying Christmas movie message. It is a slice of awesome and it takes place at a Christmas party so it fits into the holiday movies category if you ask me. People also overlook the fact that Lethal Weapon and Gremlins all took place during the holidays.

This is just a fun movie. How can I not add this to my favorites with Bruce Willis setting the standard for badass heroes? I have lost the emotion narrative with this last pick but I think that the value on family and how people can come together can still be felt in this film. Remember the holidays are about fun as well as meaningful connections and a renewing of spirit.

My personal favorite line from this movie comes from McClane in the air vent. “Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs...”

I hope that I have at least entertained you with these picks and you can enjoy the holidays however you like. With that, Happy Holidays one and all, may you all be safe this season.

What are your favorite holiday films? Let’s talk about them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It’s a matter of character

The movies that move me are ones where a character changes and grows through the story. I am going to examine a few of my favorite movies and some of the characters they focus on. Films that fail to deliver a good character I am quick to dismiss. I don’t find them as entertaining as the ones that have a rich character that I enjoy taking the journey with. Let me explain by showing you some of the movies I like.

Rick from Casablanca

Rick starts off as a recluse who does not engage in relationships with his cliental. He, as he says,”Sticks his neck out for no one”. We see him at the opening of the movie playing chess against himself. Rick is a person who has been beaten by life and is alone in his bar that just happens to be the most popular and the most crowded. Through the story he opens up as his old girlfriend and her fiancĂ©e need help to escape, he takes huge risks to help them escape and we see him sacrifice his needs for the woman he loves and sends her away with another man, because it’s what is best for them.

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan from The 13th Warrior

Ibn starts out a very pompous person who was exiled because of an indiscretion. He ends up being a champion of the north men who asked for his help. What I like about him is his change of attitude and his education in the ways of the Norsemen. The scene where he learns their language by listening is great. I really like the bond that he has with the other men who fought with him. At the end of the movie you can see the change in his demeanor and his view of the people he fought side by side with. He is one character that I would not mind watching more stories from.

Han Solo from Star Wars

Han Solo is a great example of someone who is a rogue at the start of the journey and ends up a hero. He starts of as a smuggler who is only out for himself. He looks at everything from a “how can I get money from this” point of view, and then at the end he sacrifices his safety for the good of the cause. He had his reward and was on his way to pay off his debt when he has a change of heart and swoops in and saves the day. No matter how many times they change the story, Han will always be the one who shot first. If he didn’t, his journey is cheapened.

Sky Masterson from Guys and Dolls

Sky Masterson is an excellent example of someone who changes his values. Sky is a person who is a gambler by nature and will do anything to collect a bet. He has a reputation of being someone who will take wild bets, and wins. Betting is not his main focus but winning is. His reputation is also very important to him. Sky transforms into someone who takes the reputation of Sister Sarah Brown over winning the bet. Having a loss on his spotless record in exchange for her was a huge change in him.

What are some of your favorites?

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Top 5.. so far.

Some people have asked what my favorite movies are. I have several for different reasons but these are the ones that I find myself watching again and again. In no particular order they are...

Seven Samurai
This is the story of a poor village that is being terrorized by bandits. They plan to get some samurai to come and defend them. They hire a wise Samurai who recruits more to the cause. Together they go and give their blades and their lives to defend this small village of farmers. It’s a story of friendship and camaraderie, Courage and loss, redemption and enlightenment.

I have always loved this movie. Its three hours long and an epic one to watch but I can easily curl up on the couch and watch it over and over again. I love this movie for its humor and its ability to take me though several emotions during the story. Two movies have been modeled on this film, one is The Magnificent Seven and the other is and A Bugs Life.

This movie takes place in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II, an expatriate runs a saloon and an old acquaintance comes back into his life and with her some complications. This movie has politics, humor, sacrifice, adventure and friendship. Through the adversity the characters are reinvigorated with life and find themselves with new perspectives.

I saw this movie in the theaters on its anniversary, it was such a wonderful experience that I had to watch it again, and again. I think during that weekend I took four other people to that movie. I really love the growth of the characters and the humor involved. It pains me to say this but it too has been redone in a movie called Barbed Wire. I am glad that Casablanca has not been tarnished because of the other fiasco of a film. This is proof positive that just because something worked before does not mean you should do it again.

Blade Runner
This is a futuristic Noir film. A detective hired to find rogue androids and terminate them. The androids break away from their work in a bloody escape to find out how long they have to live. All androids were programed with an end date. They want to live and find a way to extend their life. The detective known as a Blade Runner has to track them down before they harm the population.

This is one of the movies that turned me into a Sci fi junky. I love the setting and the messages and the performances in this film. Over the years there have been a number of different versions or re cuts of this film, one of my favorites is the director’s cut that takes out the voice over by Harrison Ford. To my understanding the studio said the test audiences did not know what was going on so they had the voice over created to explain the story. I think the movie is better without it.

The Jack Bull
A horse trader who has been wrongs takes matters in his own hands and seeks vigilante justice on a rancher who has been causing problems. This story surrounds what happens when the law fails to protect the people it was created for. In the end Justice is served but the journey is a costly one and the common good is upheld at a great price. This movie was adapted for the screen by Dick Cusack, John Cusack’s father. This is one of my favorites because of the performance from John Goodman.

“Well, I worry about you and me, Judge Wilkins. I swear to God I do, 'cause if this country gets ruined... it'll be ruined by people *like* you and me. This is a territory of unimportant people; most folks around here... [laughs softly] can't even write their name. You and me... we're the important people. Trouble is, there's not enough of us important people to go around - we're spread thin, so sometimes, important things get ignored or don't get said. Like... take care of the little feller; see to it that he don't get ignored or cheated or insulted; make sure that his dignity does not get trampled on. Now you're feelin' bad right now, and by God, you ought to... seein' as what just happened to a decent man. Myrl Redding did *not* fail the law...the law failed Myrl.”

I know its a TV movie but it was so well done it would have been a plesure to watch it on the big screen.

The Way
A father who is going overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago” from France to Spain, decides to travel in his son place, and learns much about himself and his traveling companions along the pilgrimage.

This is a new one to my list as I have just seen it this past weekend. I enjoyed many aspects of this film. Please read my review of this film in detail here The Way

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coming soon…Part two

Just like the movies, movie trailers have to be viewed and given a rating by the MPAA. They will dole out a green or a red band rating depending on the content of the trailer. Check out the Wikipedia article on Trailer for what qualifies for a green rating.

It’s important to note that a green band trailer can be shown in any theater, where as red ones will only be shown in movies that are rated R, NC-17 or are unrated. This reduces the number of people who can view the trailer.

Production companies have changed the elements in some scenes to make sure that the clips used are going to get them a green rating. Is this misleading to the viewers? Is it selling one thing but giving us another? I think in retail parlance this is called a bait and switch.

ANTZ changed a line in the movie I am assuming that it was to get the green rating. The line in the movie was “Call me crazy, but I have a thing about drinking from the anus of another creature.” In the trailer he says “caboose”.

I think that line was funnier with the word caboose. As a viewer I was a bit let down with the fact that the scene was just not as funny without the word caboose. Caboose is a much funnier word overall. Say it with me CABOOSE, CAAAABBBBOOOOSSEE. I am sorry but anus is just not as funny.

The movie In & Out with Kevin Kline had a change that was obvious in the trailer. The scene at the end of the trailer when he is replying to a masculinity audio tape has been altered. If you look at his arm it looks cut off with a bad CGI effect. I think they were going for hand in pocket, but they missed. In the movie he is holding his crotch, I am guessing they had to do something to change that for the trailer.

I am the type of person that will be drawn to odd things in films. That arm does not look natural. I asked the people I went to the movie with if they noticed it and they said “Jon, why are you looking at his crotch”? Being the quick thinker that I am I replied calmly with “It was Kevin Kline, who wasn’t looking at his crotch”. (I think they bought it) The point is that something in the trailer was changed to fit a category that changed the context of the scene.

The last example I have is from Chicken Little. This is a case of something in the trailer that was pulled from the edited parts. The Trailer has Chicken Little’s dad saying “in about three seconds I am going to scream like a little girl”

Not in the movie at all.

Mike, Thank you for re-watching the movie to verify this last example. His opinion was that it was somewhat anoying that it was not in the movie. I agree, I feel a bit cheated. I don’t know why it was not in the film. I do know that people sometimes used trailers to judge if they are going to see the movie. Isn’t it wrong to change things in the movie if the viewer has a different idea of what is in the movie from the trailers?

Am I the only one who notices these things? Is it wrong? What are your thoughts?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming soon...Part one

Watching the trailers is one of my favorite things about going to the movies. I love that almost as much as I do the movies themselves. There is something wonderful about seeing sneak peeks of films that are coming out. The anticipation of a film is almost as fun as watching them.

There is an art to making a good trailer. A good trailer can get people into a bad movie while a bad trailer can drive people away from a good movie. I understand that the film makers themselves usually don’t have any input as to what gets put into the trailer. That is handled by the production company. The person who edits the trailers can’t even be held accountable because it’s going to be the group of people holding the money that has the final say. Also to be clear I am going to focus on trailers not teaser trailers. Teasers are a whole other IMHO article.

I want to show you a good trailer first, one that sells just the right elements of a movie and gets you interested in what is going to be comming. Then we will break them down from there.

This was a great composite of action and intrigue and it gave nothing away as far as any of the subplots in the film. What do we know from this trailer? We know the following… Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere and Action, action, action. There were three underlying subplots to this movie that we get to enjoy as we watch the movie. Nothing was given away but we did get a good idea of what is being sold.

You knew going into the movie this is a horror film about the ghost of his mistress coming back to haunt him. This ruins the build up and reveal to the fact that Harrison Ford’s character had an affair. The first half of the movie has a huge red herring subplot on who the ghost is. This story line is pointless if we already know it's not really whats going on. The over share on the trailer is where I think this movie’s failure was.

This had me up until the end. My journey of interest kind of goes like this… I was mildly interested, more interested, hey this might be cool, wow, this might work, HELL YEAH I WANT TO SEE THIS KICK ASS FIL….he is peeing fire, really? I have so many off color jokes about this being an ad for safe sex right now that I will just set the trailer down and back away.

That last little bit throws so many doubts as to the quality of the film. For me it overshadows the rest of the really cool things and the only thing I am left with is a pee joke.

Movie making is a collaborative process, the people who make the choices about the content of the trailers needs to keep that in mind. The trick to putting bums in seats is to entice them with a great hook that is a great trailer. This is where I am going to leave off for now; I am going to call this part one. Part two will go over the edits they do in a trailer to make sure that it gets a green band rating.

What are some of your favorite trailers? Good or bad your choice.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the Beginning…

One question that has always plagued me is why we need to have an origin story with every hero film. There are some characters that are iconic and don’t need one. Superman is one that comes to mind. Are there people on the planet who do not know how he came to be? If there are, they are probably not going to see this film anyway. Origin stories take up time that could be spent with an original story. Instead of telling the part of the story everyone knows, tell us a part that is unlike anything we have heard before.

Spiderman is coming out and it’s starting from the beginning, again. I know that that is more of a reboot and some of the elements from the first movies are now going to be changed to be more in line with the comic books so I can see where you would want to start over. Rewriting history is the one exception to doing an origin story. However, the origin story needs to be completed in the first 15 min of the film and they need to kick the real story off from there.

Other reasons to start from the beginning is the completely reinventing the style of the story, Batman Begins is a good example of this. Previous films have had the look and feel of the Tim Burton’s Batman movies. In order to separate themselves from those films they started from scratch to reset the style of the new film. If the Hero is not as famous or more obscure it makes sense to start from scratch.

Let’s look at the first X-men movie. We didn’t need to have an entire movie dedicated to how things started; we just need to have a quick recap/introduction at the beginning of the film. Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice over was perfect. It let everyone know what was going on and then we enjoyed the movie from there. The Incredible Hulk is another one that did a great job of recapping at the start. Do a quick recap during the opening credits that way you can bring anyone who is not familiar with the origin up to speed and you movie directly into the story.

I think one reason film makers do this is because studios have a set expectation of how the formula is going to work out. It worked for Batman so we need to have this in every hero film. It really depends on the character and story. I also think that studios are trying to accommodate many people in their telling of the story and try to encompass people other than the fan base of the characters. I think they probably underestimate the popularity of these characters. I know that you can’t make a movie and please everyone, the fan base is supercritical of how their beloved heroes are portrayed. But as film makers I would suggest that you can move on to new original stories and we as the viewers will keep up. I promise.

What do you think? Is it a requirement to have an origin story for Hero Films?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Too Much of A Good Thing.

I am a movie geek; I love the art of movie making. I am also a nerd so when it comes to science fiction films I am usually happier than a womp rat in beggar’s canyon. I am usually one of the first in line to partake in anything science fiction. I love Star Wars and have been a fan for a long time. I remember going to the theater to see a trailer for Star Wars and was completely hooked from that point on to any and all things sci fi. I am here today to say that I am and always be a Star Wars fan. And I have to be honest I will always love that universe.

I just learned about the changes to the content with the Blu-Ray release coming out. George Lucas is the creator of that universe and he has complete control over his property. I respect that and encourage that. He obviously wanted to have a specific look and feel to his universe and he has every right to try and capture that. But I am the consumer; I am the one that decides what I do with my money. I can and will choose not to buy the Blu-Ray release of the first six films.

I am in love with the enchantments to the scenes adding more life to some of the city shots; bring the bland sets of cloud city to life with windows in long boring hallways. These changes are great, but I have an issue when you change content. Paramount has done the same thing with the re-mastering of the original Star Trek series. They made the product that was there better by leaving the content alone but updating the effects of the shots that they had. Mr. Lucas should take a lesson from them. I think the example of this is when Han shot second. That completely changes the aspects of the movie. We completely lose Han Solo’s journey from rogue to hero, this completely takes away the contrasting elements. It’s such a small thing that changed so much.

It kind of reminds me of the art teacher. Her students all had really superior work. When asked how she taught the students to do art so well she said I just know when to take away the picture, because they will continue to add to it until it’s over done.

I am including a clip from the new movies one that has the most controversy around it. What do you think?

In my opinion the original was much better because we could see the emotion coming from a guy in a mask. We don’t need to hear the dialog to know what is going on here.

 I say thank you, but no thank you Mr. Lucas. I will not be joining you on this adventure. To you I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Where has my DC universe gone?

Why do Marvel movies seem to fare better than DC movies? Aside from Batman and Superman, I would say that the DC universe suffers from poor writers, at least on the live action side of the house. If you look at the quality of stories coming from the animation team at DC you would expect that they could do better than they have been. I like my hero movies to be spectacular not just “sok”.

Let’s look at Green Lantern (2011). This movie was good. It was not bad, but it was not great, it was not... heroic. With a character like this you would expect that there are no limits to the possibilities with this story. The action was fine but it did not leave you on the edge of your seat or make you worry about the character. The humor was fine but again it was not as good as let’s say… Iron Man or even Captain America. It was just not timed well enough to give the audience relief from the action or the tension.

The effects were fine and I had no problem with any of the creative choices they did with the story I thought everything fit together visually. I did think that the sinewy costume for Hal Jordan was a bit much; they could have been pulled back on those effects to save money and spend it on the constructs the character made.

The DC animators made an origin story of Green Lantern called Green Lantern: First Flight that would have made a better movie. The story was much more intriguing than the film. I think they should give the animators a much bigger budget and have them start doing the live action films. It would give DC a lot more draw in the theater. With the quality of stories this team puts out I would pay money to see the animation on the big screen, but I would also love to see what they could do with a live action film.

John Stewart is my favorite Lantern and I want to see his version of this film. I have said it before that we need a lot more diversity in our hero community. I have not read the comic books the only things I know about him are from the animated series of Justice League. Hummm that’s an idea Justice League movie... I’m in.

Before they can even think about attempting a JL movie they need to get their house in order. With the pending reboot of the universe and the Wonder Woman movie failing to get off the ground (or the series) they have a lot to work on. I think DC needs to pull in all of their creative people and start fresh on a plan to roll out a Justice League movie. Yep don’t pussyfoot around it, just make it. Then focus on making stories that show us adventures going forward. Everyone knows how these heroes started. Just give us the goods on the big story and keep making movies that we will enjoy.

An article for another time will focus on the need to make an origin story for every hero. Really, do we need to see how Superman came to be? Is there a person on the planet who does not know this story? It kind of feels like they can’t give up the past, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

What hero movie was the best and which one was the worst in your opinion?

Friday, January 28, 2011


The MPAA is a Body of people who review movies and based on what they see, they gather to put ratings on films. Now if a film maker wants to show their movie at a theater, they have to have a MPAA rating or their movie does not get shown. The ratings are given by a group of people who are just like you and me and have families. They range from different ages and come from different backgrounds. Once they submit the movie to the MPAA they will get a rating back of either G for general audiences or this movie is ok for all age groups to watch. PG for parental guidance is recommended or this movie is safe but might have some questionable subject matter in it Parents take warning. Or the film could get a rating of PG 13 which means that No one under 13 is allowed to watch the movie without a parent because of the questionable content. If the movie has several adult themes the movie will get an R rating which means that the movie is restricted no one under 17 allowed without a parent. In rare cases a movie is so graphic that a movie will get a NC-17 under no circumstances will anyone under 17 be allowed to view the film and that also means that the movie will not be distributed in the major theaters. If the film maker has a problem with what it was rated there is a rebuttal process that they can ask for and then they have a separate panel of people come in and review the film to see if they will change the rating. This process is completely “voluntary”.

This is how movies get released to theaters; the problem with this system is that the people rating the movies are not consistent in what it views as questionable material from one movie to the next. A movie involving a scene where two people involved in a sex act will get an R rating for one movie and if another movie shows two people of the same sex doing the exact same act it’s rated a NC-17. This inconsistency would indicate that an agenda or one belief structure manages the reviewers. There is a secret group of people who rate the movies and are supposed to be secret so they will not get approached by film makers to have them sway one way or another on a rating for a film. This practice also has its roots based on what government has on its mind as a hot topic. For example in 2007 the MPAA made a choice to include Smoking in its list of things it was going to rate against. “The Motion Picture Association of America recently announced that "depictions that glamorize smoking or movies that feature pervasive smoking outside of a historic or other mitigating context" will be taken into account by the organization's rating board -- joining the ranks of other film taboos such as profanity, nudity, drug use, and violence.” (Goldstein) Another inconsistency needs to be brought up; if a big studio submits a film they will get detailed notes on how to alter their film to get a more favorable rating. In an Interview with Kirby Dick the director of the Documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated Joan M. West and Denis West have this to say about the mindset of the MPAA “Valenti confidently pronounces that, "I have Valenti's Law, which says that if you make a movie that a lot of people want to see, no rating will hurt you. If you make a movie few people want to see, no rating will help you. Ratings have nothing to do with box office." (West and West) Roger Ebert explains in his review of Kirbys Film “The whole kangaroo court is founded on a doozy of a Catch-22: The MPAA insists that it has procedures that it applies evenhandedly. But the procedures are secret so nobody can tell what they are. If something is not allowed, it's because it's against the invisible rules.” (Ebert)The differences in how film makers are treated further highlighted by this example if an Independent film maker submits a film all they get back is a rating and no notes, and when they ask for feedback the response is we are not film makers you have to make changes and resubmit the film. This shows that big studios get preferential treatment from an organization that says whether or not a film gets a rating that distributors are going to want to support. The level or focus on what is being rated is also disproportionate, if you have a film where a person is attacking a woman you get a rating of PG but if you make love to a woman in a film that’s an R rating. Sean Means from the Salt lake Tribune said the following about how biased the violence is. “for example, [Rodger Ebert] proclaimed Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" "the most violent [film] I have ever seen," and said "The MPAA's R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic." (Means)
As it turns out the varied group of people are all ages 40 to 50 that had school aged children and none of them do now. So it would seem that the wide variety of people are not so varied and only represent a small margin of the population. The board of people who come in during a rebuttal viewing are all executives of Film distributers and members of the Film production companies. A letter to the editor of the Baltimore sun from Kathy Ratchford sums up this nicely “Having been an avid movie-goer for many years, I don't mean to attack the entire film industry. I simply want to suggest that the MPAA should get with the times and allow the public to make its own choices. Young people today do and know more at a younger age than the people who are rating these films.” (Ratchford)This system is obviously flawed, Amy Wallace pointed out in her article in the Los Angeles Times “At issue: How to give parents guidance about film content while preserving filmmakers' artistic freedom. Critics of the current MPAA rating system--which uses the symbols G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17--say it fails on both counts, neither fully informing consumers nor protecting cinematic creativity.” (Wallace) what we need to do to set things right is to make the system be less about a group of people making judgments and about letting viewers know what is in a film. Giving the viewer power over choosing what they want to watch and that can be the measure of what gets shown and what does not. We need to institute a Labeling system, if there is violence in a film, at the bottom of the poster we see it listed, if there is sexual content list it, same for anything that might be questionable. That way the MPAA will just need to have people watch the film and tally what they see, it removes the judgment or agenda from what rating a film gets, a film gets rated on what are in the film not someone’s impressions of what they see. We do not have to abolish the MPAA we get to empower parents and viewers to make judgments on their own and the system becomes fairer.

As the system seems to be controlled by the big studios they do not want to easily lose the control over this market. Ramona and Parachini address one point that Jack Valenti clams the MPAA protects agents. “The MPAA, led by its president, Jack Valenti, offers a stock response to criticism. If the MPAA did not exist, so Valenti says, filmmakers would have to contend with hundreds of local governmental rating boards. We reject this argument as unsubstantiated, self-serving and a weak attempt to justify arbitrary MPAA censorship.” (Ripston and Parachini) Studios have had a history of not wanting to give up control; it took a lawsuit and the threat of government sanctions to release the monopoly that the big Hollywood studios had in the early days. They had a vertical market and owned the manufacture and distribution of films so that independent companies could not even get a foot in the door. This plan will work and will allow them to see how much better the balance will be served. One way is to show them that having independent film makers as competitors to invigorate competition would be a good thing. The other reason this would be good is that they would have access to film makers as a first draft, use the MPAA as a rookie recruitment area. Working with the little guys can have benefits.

The tight controls that are on the system now can’t last forever, with more and more focus on this issue it will be impossible to not get asked questions on how this monopoly has continued. Moving toward a more put the power of choice in the hands of the masses will bring this industry back in line with what people want. People don’t want to have their information filtered through a lens of someone else belief structure, people want to be the ones to control what content they feel is inappropriate or not. Voting by the dollar is a language that this industry knows. Make it a point to watch Independent films take a risk on films that are not screen by the MPAA. The Audience needs to wake up and start thinking for themselves. If people feel strongly about this problem they need to write to the MPAA and suggest a change to give freedom to artist and information to viewers.

Works Cited
Ebert, Roger. This FIlm Is Not Yet Rated. 15 Septemper 2006. 26 July 2010 .
Goldstein, Evan R. "Smoking in the Movies." The Chronicle of Higher Education (2007): 4.
Means, Sean P. "Can the MPAA Smoke out the Problems in its ratings system?" Salt Lake Tribune (2004): D2.
Ratchford, Kathy. "Letters To The Editor." The Baltimore Sun Company (1991): 6A.
Ripston, Ramona and Allan Parachini. "MPAA's Big Chance to Change ." Los Angeles Times (1997): 3.
Wallace, Amy. "Analysis;Do Ratings Need New Categories." Los Angeles Times (1999): 1.
West, Joan M and Dennis West. "MPAA RAtings , Black Hoels, and My film: an Interview with Kirby Dick." Cineaste 32 (2006): 14-19.