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  • Fridge Horror: The chairman of the MPAA is one of the most powerful people in America, and answers only to the heads of the studios that make up the Association.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The film was co-produced by Netflix, in the very beginning of its years doing original content. In 2019, Netflix eventually joined the MPAA, taking 20th Century Fox's slot after their purchase by Disney.
  • Mis-blamed: While the MPAA is (rightfully) given a lot of flack for sometimes bizarre and frequently inconsistent standards for what precisely will earn a specific film a specific rating, the fights to get films certain ratings isn't entirely their fault. The NC-17 rating is a "kiss of death" for a movie, with filmmakers having to re-edit and resubmit their films (sometimes nearly a dozen times) to get an R-rating instead of an NC-17. Why? Because most movie theaters simply won't show films with an NC-17 rating, making it practically impossible for the film to make money. The MPAA has nothing to do with this; that's the choice of the companies who own and operate the movie theaters. Especially considering the selling power of "Unrated" cuts of films on home video (which rapidly gained steam around the turn of the millennium), leading to many films being released on home video in "Unrated" cuts — which are sometimes inferior to the rated theatrical cut the filmmakers were actually satisfied with — to make more profits. Profits that could go to theaters willing to show NC-17 rated films. Relatedly, studios might mandate a specific film fall within a PG-13 rating, believing its target audience should be teens or kids, when the film would greatly benefit from the content allowed in even a "soft R" (and thus, be better received by critics and/or fans, and thus make more money).
  • Nightmare Fuel/Squick:
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    • The film contains plenty of both, due to its disturbing clips from other movies. Notable examples include a screaming soldier with his guts hanging out from Saving Private Ryan, a puppet pooping on another puppet during a sex scene in Team America: World Police, and the infamous orgy scene, complete with masked cultists, from Eyes Wide Shut.
    • There's also the brief but very intense compilation of film scenes where women are raped and/or beaten up, which Kevin Smith states that he finds more offensive than depictions of consensual sex.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • European ratings tend to be more permissive about sex and more restrictive about violence than American ratings, but are given no specific examples.
    • Outside of America, classification boards are usually administered by the government. Unrated films are effectively banned unless they're exempted; anything that doesn't fit in with the rating systems cannot be shown unless it's educational or sport-related. Incidentally, But I'm a Cheerleader got an M rating (equivalent to PG-13) in Australia, while American Beauty got an MA15+ (closer to the American R rating).
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    • Though the MPAA promotes itself as a preferable alternative to government-mandated regulation/censorship of film, many believe MPAA ratings do carry the force of law. Imagine an unaccompanied small child trying to buy a ticket to an R or NC-17 film. Would any American theater allow this? The MPAA is a private organization with no law-enforcement authority. De jure, yes. De facto?
    • The irony is that thanks to law, movies given ratings by a government agency would be less restrictive, not more, since they would toss "moral" objections out the window.note 
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