Jackass: The Movie? Or the MPAA?

Please forgive the questionable title on this column, but it certainly is a question that begs to be answered after checking out the content in Jackass: Number Two, a "movie" (better described as an obscene circus act) that has left many—including hardened liberals—wondering just what does the MPAA consider NC-17 content?

In the most general of terms, I will attempt to describe what this movie contains: Men, appearing naked during much of the film, who are willing to shove nearly any object into any body orifice. Abuse of animals is also included, as are sexual stunts done with animals. Human defecation and virtually every other grossity imaginable are depicted on your local cinema’s 60-foot screen

Yet, for some reason I can’t even begin to discern, these crudest and rudest scenes ever put to screen from a major (Paramount) movie studio rates a lame R-rating. How easy is it for a kid to get into this film? Either he (or perhaps she) finds an older friend, or they do what the FTC discovered many others do—one-third of 13-year-olds and nearly two-thirds of sixteen-year-olds lie, cheat and sneak their way in (Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: A One-Year Follow-Up Review of Industry Practices in the Motion Picture, Music Recording & Electronic Game Industries, page 13 [please link to here—]http://www.ftc.gov/os/2001/12/violencereport1.pdf].

But what really amazes me is even those who somehow find a way to "enjoy" this sick garbage and find it funny, are wondering who put sleeping pills into the MPAA rating board’s water supply. A little searching on the Internet, revealed quotes far better than I could ever write, and believe me, these are not coming from people who are worried about seeing some "skin" on the screen.

Says Josh Tyler, a guy who gave the offensive Clerks II from this past summer 4 out of 5 stars on his review site Cinemablend.com [http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Jackass-Number-Two-1822.html]: "Come on, it’s not even really a movie… Basically this is a snuff film without the death and sex, though frankly death and sex would be preferable to some of what Jackass subjects people to. To me this is closer to the modern definition of pornography than anything you’ll ever find in an adult video store… Think about this a minute. What’s this movie doing with an R rating? In its 90 minutes I saw more male and female nudity than I’ve seen in every other mainstream movie I’ve watched this year combined."

Josh then describes some of the parts of this film he found particularly offensive, using terms I can’t repeat on this site. He also draws the usual conclusion of how come consensual sex ranks an NC-17 rating and this stuff doesn’t. But even Josh, who doesn’t appear to be particularly soft on family issues, can see the error of the MPAA’s ways.

"By giving [Jackass Two] an R," reasons this reviewer, "What the MPAA is saying is that it’s ok for parents to take their kids to see it. Remember, R-rated means minors can attend as long as they’re accompanied by an adult. And trust me, they will be attending. Parents, if you take your kids to see this, you’re a bad parent. My screening was full to the brim with bad parents guffawing and hollering like a theater packed with shirtless Clevons, their many bare-footed children plopped down right beside them. If there was ever a movie that deserved an NC-17, then this is it… Jackass: Number Two should be the poster child for what’s wrong with our ratings system in America."

Here’s a guy named Joseph C. Tucker on a UK website [http://www.thezreview.co.uk/reviews/j/jackassthemovie.shtm] who gave the original Jackass movie a B- grade, but had this to say in his review: "Though I enjoyed Jackass: The Movie and the television series, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the film and the stunts… PARENTS DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN OR TEENAGERS WATCH THIS FILM. The crew is somewhat professional idiots and they make very dangerous stunts look funny. In my opinion, Jackass: The Movie should have been rated NC-17 for its content, and there are warnings about the stunts before the film begins. Shivers went through me when a young man in the crowded theater I saw the film yelled, "I’m going to do that," after one of the stunts was performed in the film."

Once again, it seems we need to remember who film ratings were designed for: Parents. Any adult, 18 years of age and over, can go see an NC-17 film. Yet studios are gunning for your teenagers because they are the ones with money to spend on movies like this—and they did just that on Jackass: Number Two‘s opening weekend. The film made just short of $30 million. Compared to what most movies are making recently, this is a huge wad of cash. Making the prospect of seeing even more of these movies more likely is the fact that they are shot on video cameras and have no expensive "stars," making them dirt cheap to produce.

If you have a moment, I encourage you to remind the Motion Picture Association of America’s "Classification And Rating Administration" (CARA) who they serve, and why their ratings are so important. Here is their address:

The Classification and Rating Administration

15503 Ventura Boulevard

Encino, CA 91436

I’m certain a Jackass: Number Three will be around the corner. Hopefully it won’t be starring members of the MPAA’s ratings administration.

More details about the movies mentioned in this post…