The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 25, 1995, Page 9, Image 9

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    Arts ^Entertainment
Jeff Randall
can dilute
aim of film
It seems as though a lot of critics of
the American film industry have mixed
up the whole idea of free speech.
When they ask the industry why it
feels the need to produce films that
contain such plentiful amounts of sex,
violence, and other such shocking el
ements, they are attempting to reverse
the basic arguments of those in favor
of the First Amendment.
Filmmakers shouldn’t have to say ,
why they put breasts, obscenities or
exploding heads in their films. They
can, tnat s it.
But just to appease the inquiring
minds of the right-wing censorship
advocates, I will now take a few min
utes to put forth an explanation based
on my experiences as a moviegoer.
It just so happens that I saw the
unrated, controversial, and extremely
explicit film, “Kids,” last Saturday
evening. It also just so happens that
this film affected me like noother film
I had ever seen.
The film, directed by Larry Clark,
features a group of teenagers engag
ing in unsafe sex, drug use, senseless
violence, and a variety of other activi
ties that are dangerous, illegal, or a
combination of the two*
In the course of the film, the audi
ence is subjected to scenes depicting
these activities with graphic detail,
and acollection ofconversations which
could be considered obscene, at the
very least.
The lessons that are to be learned
from this film are important to every
one; and they are taught by Clark with
such power that they are not likely to
be forgotten by anyone who sees this
Now, before I spiral off into a film
review, let me add that the lasting
effects of this film would most likely
be nonexistent if the film had been cut
so it would receive an Rrating. Scenes
in which drug use, brutality and sex
are depicted without censure serve to
emphasize their senselessness.
w ucu nuns arc cui wun uic mien
tion of making them more socially
acceptable, the result is a dumbing
down of filmmakers’ intentions and,
in some cases, elimination of their
true aims.
When “Schindler’s List” was re
leased, a number of anti-Semites
pointed to its lack of visual scenes
depictingconcentration camp violence.
If‘Kids” wasreleased without foot
age of minors engaged in a plethora of
illegal activities, then people who saw
the film would tend to think that very
little was wrong with those youths.
And I really doubt that was Larry
Clark’s intent.
True, some filmmakers do have the
ability to get their messages across
with subtlety; some audiences, though,
don’t have the ability to recognize
subtlety when they see it.
If all filmmakers are forced to ad
here toestablished guidelinesand sani
tized, absolutely safe subject matters,
then American films will become little
more than propaganda for the way
things ought to be.
I’d rather deal with the occasional
swearword, imaginary severed ear, or
bare breast than live in that kind of
state. I hope somebody up there agrees.
Raadall to a sophomore news-editorial
major aad a Dally Nebraskaa senior arts &
entertainment reporter.
Releases rekindle ratings dispute
for “X” earns
mixed reviews
By Gerry Beltz
and Jeff Randall
Senior Reporters
With the weekend release of
“Showgirls,” and the earlier release
of “Kids,” NC-17 and unrated films
have been getting more attention
than usual from the general public
and the media.
Min Lincoln, however, the buzz
surrounding these films’ releases has
been considerably less audible. Nei
ther “Kids” nor “Showgirls” will
likely show in Lincoln’s film the
lnesc turns absences are tne re
sult ofa long-time policy of Douglas
Theater Co. not to show NC-17 or
unrated films. It’s a policy that the
national theater chain has no plans
to change, Vice President Debby
Brehm said.
“We would like to show films
that a family can go to and feel
comfortable about seeing,” Brehm
said. “We don’t think NC-17 films
allow that.”
The current film-rating system is
administered by the Motion Picture
Association of America Inc. The
NC-17 rating was introduced in 1990
as a substitute for the X rating, a
label that had become closely asso
ciated with pornographic films.
The X rating was abolished, and
films then rated NC-17 were re
leased — supposedly without the
assumption that they were porno
graphic in nature — to result in
wider acceptance of the films by
theater chains.
The MPAA’s suggestion is that
anyone under the age of 17 not be
allowed to view films given the NC
17 rating.
For the Douglas Theater Co.,
Brehm said, the policy remained the
same, regardless of an X or NC-17
Courtesy of United Artists
Elizabeth Berkley stars as Nomi Malone, a young dancer looking for a break on the Las Vegas
Strip in “Showgirls.” The film has drawn controversy with its NC-17 rating.
“In our minds, an NC-17 film is
the same thing as an X-rated film,”
Brehm said.
The policy also extended to cover
unrateu films, she said.
“If a film is unrated, that usually
indicates to us that it wasn’t able to
get an R rating, and the film com
pany decided to release it without an
X rating,” Brehm said.
“An X-rated film is not some
thing that we consider to be family
friendly,” she said. “And we try to
run family-friendly theaters.”
Amy Vrana, a moviegoer Satur
day night, supports the policy.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said
Vrana, 18. “Restrictions need to be
made on certain materials, and I
don’t think it’s a violation of any
freedoms or anything.”
But for some in the Lincoln com
munity, the lack of NC-17 and
unrated films is disturbing.
One of those people is Danny
Lee Ladely, director of the Mary
Riepma Ross Film Theater.
Ladely said his theater had no
policy regarding films of any rating.
“We try to show films that we
think are good, and we try not to
base our opinion on how explicit
those films are,” he said.
The current rating system for
films is one that the general public
often misunderstands, Ladely said.
He said films that wished to re
ceive a rating from the MPAA had
to pay the organization several hun
dreds of thousands of dollars in or
der to pay for the rating process.
Lower budget films, therefore,
often don’t have the money to pay
for the ratings and are released with
out them.
Ladely said he planned to show
“Kids” at the Ross Theater some
time in January. But don’t expect to
see “Showgirls” in Lincoln anytime
“1 think the film is perfectly aw
ful,” Ladely said. “I wouldn’t show
it, no matter what the rating is, be
cause it’s just not a very good film.”
The current climate in America
and in Hollywood may be against
NC-17 films, Ladely said, but things
could change rapidly if films such as
“Kids” and “Showgirls” attract
enough attention and money.
“Hollywood always goes for the
bucks,” Ladely said. “If people de
mand NC-17 fi 1ms and start going to
see them, film companies will be
happy to oblige by making more of
The same effects would likely be
seen at theater chains, he said.
Outside of Lincoln, NC-17 and ~
unrated films are more easily found
at a number of theaters that have
broader policies regarding such
One of those theaters is the
Dundee Theater, 4952 Dodge St.,
Omaha, which is currently running
See NC-17 on 10
'Showgirls’ underclad,
overrated and plotless
By Gerry Beltz
Film Critic ~
Yep, it’s definitely an NC-17
Why? Boatloads of breasts,
- buckets of but
Movie tocks, over-the
Rpvipuf 'Pp sex sccncs>
ncwiewr drug scenes.
aiong wun vi
ciously realistic
language and
one brutal rape
sequence all add
up to make the
Please notice that the words
“plot” and “storyline” weren’t a
part of that last paragraph.
The reason for this omission is
there isn’t any real plot, aside from
the standard “gosh-will-she-cver
make-it” storyline that is snipped
Movie: “Showgirls”
Stars: Elizabeth Berkley,
Kyle MacLachlan, Gina
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Rating: NC-17
Grade: C
Five Words: All style with
little substance
straight from “Stayin’ Alive,” the
not-so-successful sequel to “Satur
day Night Fever.”
Elizabeth Berkley — of TV’s
“Saved By The Bell” fame—stars
as Nomi, a dancer who makes her
way to Las Vegas in the hopes of
‘Kids’ sends message
with forceful perfection
By Jeff Randall
film Critic
One of the biggest challenges
that many filmmakers face is telling
a message-based story without ham
— -mering that
Movie message into
audiences so
many times that
it becomes over
wrought and in
credibly dull.
And while
this problem has
been virtually
ignored bv di
1--rectors such as
Oliver Stone, who prefer to blud
geon their audiences with moral
message after moral message, some
directors have taken the other way
Larry Clark does so with near
perfection in “Kids.”
FUm: “Kids”
Director: Larry Clark
Stars: Leo Fitzpatrick,
Justin Pierce, Chloe
Rating: NR (NC-17)
Grade: A
Five Words: It’s not “The
Breakfast Club.”
In telling the fictional tale of a
group of seemingly doomed teen
age friends, Clark manages to slip
in social commentary in the sim
plest and least obvious of places.
With the exception of a few blunt
shots, he beats his points into the
See KIDS on 10