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Harvey Weinstein and the MPAA ratings board seem to be two parties destined to be locked in combat for as long as they see fit to fight. At least, that's what it looks like as The Weinstein Company's co-namesake is butting heads with the regulatory group yet again, this time over their upcoming film 3 Generations. The story of a transgender teenager becoming the person they believe themselves to be has been given an R-rating, and as Weinstein has done in the past, he's appealing the rating for a more appealing PG-13. And as usual, he says he's doing it for the kids.
Deadline ran some interesting coverage about how Harvey Weinstein's appeal not only ruffles the feathers of the MPAA, but that the Parents Television Council also has some skin in the game, as they fully back the MPAA's decision to give the film the most restrictive commercially viable rating. Tim Winter, the president of the PTC, made the following statement in support of the decision:
The most worn-out page in (TWC head) Harvey Weinstein's playbook describes how to whine about an age rating from the MPAA. And with his new film, 3 Generations, he is back at it once again, suggesting that his film is too important to be rated accurately. Mr. Weinstein must think that if a standard is good, then a double-standard is twice as good.
Winter's remarks are as applicable to past instances of Harvey Weinstein's history of ratings challenges as they are to the case of 3 Generations. Weinstein has gone on record, much as he has with Blue Valentine and Bully in the past, by stating that the content of the film is so socially relevant that it deserves a rating that would allow it to reach as big of an audience as it can. In the case of 3 Generations, the story of a teenage female transitioning into a male is, in Weinstein's eyes, a message worthy of a wider field of viewing.
The validity of Harvey Weinstein's argument lies in that double standard that Tim Winter and the PTC mentioned earlier, which is the double standard Weinstein implies rules the MPAA. That standard is, naturally, the one that allows violence more leeway to make its way into PG-13 films, but shades a film with any sort of content deemed "controversial" to groups like the PTC with an R-rating. Weinstein especially fought that battle with both Philomena and The King's Speech, where the levels of choice profanities exceeded the MPAA's allotment of profanity in a PG-13 film, automatically classifying both films as R-rated products.
There's no indication whether the MPAA will reverse its decision or not, but as Kevin Smith pointed out in his memoir, Tough Shit, Harvey Weinstein is probably using this crusade not only to reverse the decision, but also drum up publicity for the film on the whole. Seeing as 3 Generations has been on the shelf for about two years or so, it's hard to argue that point. We'll see what happens when and if the MPAA responds to Weinstein v. Winter: Dawn of Paternalism, but for now, 3 Generations is scheduled to hit theaters on May 5.