Tillman doc stuck with R rating because he swore while being shot at

by Paul William Tenny

The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story

The Weinstein Company's documentary on Pat Tillman got stuck with an 'R' rating by the MPAA appeals board, which, as THR notes, means it probably won't be screened in any schools and will drastically limit the number of people that will go to see it in the theater. My first thought about why the film wouldn't get 'PG-13' was violence, since this is a documentary about a soldier killed in the middle of a war.

Sadly I gave the MPAA clowns far too much credit. It was actually Tillman swearing while under fire that the MPAA simply couldn't stomach:

The feature documentary tells the real life story of a football player who quit pro sports to serve in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, where he was killed by "friendly fire," shots from other American soldiers. It tells the story of how Tillman's family battled the Army and government to bring out the true story.

The "R" rating was for "excessive language," in particular a scene in which Tillman, as he is being fired on by fellow American soldiers, says "I'm Pat f---ing Tillman."

What I find amazing isn't the MPAA's stupidity -- that's a given and to be expected if you've ever seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated (a highly recommended docu about the MPAA which itself got an NC-17 rating) -- it's that Aaron Sorkin used an identical scenario for an episode of Studio 60 in which the fictional network NBS goes to war against the FCC over airing video of a soldier that swore while live grenades were being thrown at him.

I'd like to think that real people would have better common sense, but apparently stupidity isn't limited to fiction.

in Film


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