There’s a documentary coming to theaters soon that goes by the name of Gunner Palace. It’s about soldiers in Iraq, and it’s told from their point of view, and includes all their salty soldier speak. The MPAA gave the film an R rating.
The filmmakers and distributors Palm Pictures felt this was unfair. While the MPAA usually allows a PG-13 movie to have one "fuck," and the film has multiple uses of the word, there is no gory footage, and they argued that the true depiction of how soldiers speak should not get the stricter rating. Plus, they said, kids under 17 deserve to be able to learn about the situation in Iraq.
The MPAA caved – the film will be released March 4th with a PG-13 rating. "In these times, language has become a volatile political issue," said Palm marketing exec Andy Robbins in a statement. "We are pleased that the MPAA chose to view the language of the American troops in the context of their situation. They are at war."
My review of Gunner Palace will be up next week, but I will say now that I think it’s a pretty important film, and one that could serve to sway the opinions of people on both sides of the war, pro and con. They also drop more f-bombs than Daisy Cutters.
Interestingly, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 earned its R rating because of four uses of "motherfucker." Whether filmmakers in the future will use the Gunner Palace precedent to argue that their PG-13 film should be allowed more salty language will be interesting to see.
In related news, PBS recently aired a documentary about soldiers in Iraq and offered affiliates uncut versions as well as bleeped versions, in case they feared getting FCC fines. It seems to me that America is in a full fledged fuck fear fit.