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'Blue Valentine' ratings war (of words) continues

November 18, 2010 |  8:05 am

The Weinstein Co. dispatched a message to reporters Thursday morning that it had "engaged a formidable legal team" to challenge ratings on "Blue Valentine" and "The King's Speech," though the takeaway was mainly that it had engaged a formidable press release.

In a release titled "The Weinstein Company Accepts NC-17 Rating on Blue Valentine in Order to Appeal It" (and, just below that,  "TWC Also Protests R Rating on The King’s Speech"), the company said it had hired a legal team that included heavy-hitting/press-happy attorneys Bert Fields and David Boies to engage in said pursuits.

It also rounded up some, um, emphatic quotes from filmmakers and actors. "Blue Valentine" star Ryan Gosling was quoted with, "You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen."

And "The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper chimed in that "I hope that language can be judged by its context just as violence is currently judged in context.  The f-word in ‘The King's Speech’ is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy."

You have to give Harvey credit for making the most of this opportunity, getting two indie films further into the spotlight by using an issue (the standards of the MPAA) that gets many people's blood curdling. But the fact is that as disagreeable as it may be, unless the string of obscenities Hooper refers to is removed from "Speech," -- something the director and the Weinstein Co. have made clear they won't do -- the MPAA probably won't drop the R. And unless the much-touted hotel (non-)sex scene comes out of "Valentine," the NC-17 likely stays too. So basically the ball is in the Weinstein Co.'s court.

In the meantime, we have some priceless quotes. Perhaps none is more entertaining than Fields' statement in Thursday's release that the MPAA's R for Hooper "violates The Weinstein Company’s right to freedom of speech under the state and US constitution." Er...

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in 'Blue Valentine.' Credit: The Weinstein Co.


Gosling: NC-17 for Blue Valentine is a 'buzzkill'

The MPAA's mystifying call on Blue Valentine

Harvey Weinstein on Blue Valentine controversy: Can't we all just get along?


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