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July 2, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times
"Magic Mike" was undressed by"Ted"at the box office this weekend, as the movie about a debauched teddy bear dominated ticket sales at the multiplex. "Ted," an R-rated raunchfest from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, opened with a strong $54.1 million, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures. "Magic Mike," loosely based on star Channing Tatum's experience as a stripper, also overperformed with a robust opening of $39.2 million. Meanwhile, Tyler Perry's "Madea's Witness Protection" - the filmmaker's first movie to hit theaters during the summer - launched with a solid $26.4 million.
April 2, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey
If you haven't made it to "Bad Words," Jason Bateman's directing debut and sarcastic takedown of the spelling bee game, it's just become much easier to indulge in this guilty pleasure. Like Bateman's 40-year-old Guy with a grudge and unbeatable spelling chops, the movie is turning up everywhere now. The competitive spelling world, teeming with bright kids, obsessive parents and rigid educators, proves to be rich terrain for a caustic, clever comedy. The actor-director puts himself in good funny company too - Kathryn Hahn and Allison Janney among others.
March 12, 2010 | By BETSY SHARKEY, Film Critic
There is one particular question that has long bothered and befuddled some of our greatest minds -- Freudians, Jungians, Judd Apatowians, Seth Rogenians and other noted R-rated auteurs alike: Can an attractive female fall in love with, and I use the scientific term here, a schlub? It remains a huge philosophical debate of course, so props to "She's Out of My League" for wading, unapologetically and unafraid, into the fraught and frothy surf of the "I'm not worthy" genre of films.
January 8, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
There's plenty of R-rated language among the locker rooms, sidelines and offices of the testosterone-fueled NFL, but a new film immersed in that world, "Draft Day," has pulled off a PG-13 rating. The upcoming football flick directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Coster, was initially slapped with an R rating for "brief strong language" by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, but rather than trimming the film or accepting the R, Reitman and Lionsgate successfully appealed the rating.
June 11, 1999
Alphabet soup hypocrisy: a triple-X-rated president who tries to keep G-rated kids out of R-rated movies. CHARLES HAIGH Redondo Beach
October 15, 2010
"Jackass 3D," an R-rated documentary-comedy, also opens Friday in general release but did not screen in advance of press time. The review will appear in Saturday's Calendar and online at as soon as it is available.
April 6, 1992
Thank you, Jim McKairnes, for addressing the misconception of Steven Bochco that the American public is turning away from network TV due to a lack of R-rated programming ("Why the Viewers Are Fleeing the Networks," March 9). How wrong he is. I have quit watching network television, with the exception of the news and old movies, to escape the constant, insipid sexual innuendo currently found in most network programming. What a bore. The public really isn't as stupid as the media always believed.
September 30, 2000
In Thursday's edition, the one with the front-page articles about movie executives apologizing to Congress about marketing R-rated movies to children, The Times itself was pushing R-rated fare to kids. A total of 12 R-rated movies were recommended for viewers under the age of 17 in Calendar Weekend's Family Filmgoer column. Don't you know that only the MPAA's handful of morally superior film screeners can decide at what age our children may view a film? How dare you recommend movies like "Urban Legends: Final Cut" and "The Watcher" to innocent children as young as 16 years, 364 days of age. Deciding the various maturity levels of the millions of different children in this country should be the job of a nonelected, anonymous committee or a Washington bureaucrat, not the "Hollywood Elite" of The Times.
November 27, 2005
Re: "Taking Risk on 'Saw' Gives Firm's Executives a Big Cut," Nov. 16: These three producers are delirious over their profits. The product? Two R-rated films depicting unspeakable acts of violence. The most telling line in the article quoted the producers as saying "no way" would they let their children view the films. So these films are OK for other people and their children to view? Cheryl Kohr Redondo Beach
September 24, 1995
With all the media attention being given the release of the NC-17-rated "Showgirls," I'm wondering why it's OK for kids under 17 to see any R-rated movies. I was wondering this while watching the movie "Clockers" surrounded by "parents and guardians" with children in tow. One woman had one child in her arms while what looked to be 2- and 3-year-olds sat beside her. How about a no-kids-under-13-allowed policy? It's time to quit picking on the movie makers and put the attention where it belongs, on the parents.
December 20, 2013 | By John M. Glionna
LAS VEGAS - Sure, Anthony Cools is a hypnotist, but this slick pompadour-sporting showman won't help you quit smoking. He drives a Lamborghini and dresses in form-fitting suits with a bow tie, skull ring and pointy-toed, black-and-white Giorgio Brutini wingtips. Under his calculated spell, in fact, you might even start chain-smoking, or engage in other nefarious activities you wouldn't be caught dead doing in your right mind. Maybe you'll move your bra outside your blouse, dirty-flirt with a stranger, or act in a porno casting call - with a chair.
November 14, 2013 | By John Horn and Amy Kaufman
For all of those teenage boys dying to see Judi Dench playing an elderly Irish woman: Now you don't have to bring your parents to get into "Philomena. " In a victory against the Motion Picture Assn. of America that could be as much publicity win as potential box-office triumph, the Weinstein Co. successfully appealed the R rating given to the Dench movie, which had been handed a PG-13 mark. "Philomena," which stars the Academy Award winner as a mother searching for a son she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier, was initially given the restrictive rating because it included more than one utterance of a certain expletive, an automatic trigger in most instances of an R rating.
November 12, 2013 | By John Horn and Steven Zeitchik
When the first "Die Hard" and "Terminator" movies landed in theaters in the 1980s, both were rated R. But their sequels arrived with PG-13 marks - even though the level of violence had actually escalated. Critics have blasted Hollywood's movie ratings for years, claiming that the Motion Picture Assn. of America takes a prudish view of sex and foul language but a very liberal one when it comes to mayhem and bloodshed. A new report provides strong evidence for that critique, concluding that gunplay has tripled within PG-13 films since 1985, the first full year the rating was used.
November 11, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
Gun violence is exploding in PG-13 movies. There's more gun violence in top-grossing PG-13 films than in top-grossing R-rated movies. So say researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University in a study published online Monday in Pediatrics. That's not supposed to be the case. As researchers point out, the Motion Picture Assn. of America says in its PG-13 rating that violence isn't supposed to reach the level of an R-rated film: "A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category.
September 27, 2013 | Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Who would have thought one of the most amusing and oddly insightful romantic comedies would be built around the power and the potent pull of porn? Playing it straight out of New Jersey, that sweet-faced Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the hopeless romantic of "(500) Days of Summer," has pulled off the subversive, seductive fun of "Don Jon" in fine fashion - complete with guinea tee - starring in, writing and directing his first feature film. "The Don," or "Don Jon," is one Jon Martello Jr., a proudly single guy of Italian heritage whose ability to one-night-stand the most attractive female in the bar on any given night has made him a living legend.
June 10, 2013 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
  When Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg submitted "This Is the End" to the ratings board of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the co-directors didn't just expect their raunchy Judgment Day comedy to be slapped with an NC-17 rating - they secretly planned on receiving the adults-only rating. In addition to scores of profanities and liberal drug use, "This Is the End" includes several sex scenes, including one between a demonic beast and a human, and a satanic creature even more well endowed than Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler in "Boogie Nights.
March 8, 1992
So ABC nixed Steve Bochco's newest brainchild, an R-rated drama series and our prime-time chance to become, in Bochco's words, "more adult" (Calendar, Feb. 15). Aw, heck. Of course this means that in order for us to get our entertainment "fix" of nudity, rotten language, etc., we are still going to be forced to rely on movies ... or maybe Andrew Dice Clay. Bochco's "sad conclusion" is that "being good doesn't mean anything anymore." Not quite accurate. ABC's rejection more probably means that being good and dirty doesn't mean anything ... yet. Ellen Clark, Pasadena
November 14, 1991
It is obvious that violent motion pictures ("Screen Violence Would Stop if It Didn't Sell Tickets, Filmmakers Say," Nov. 3) desensitize and inspire our society toward violence. As an artist, to say otherwise, is to say art does not have the power to inspire or sensitize. It clearly does. It is only the degree of influence that can be debated. I know from firsthand experience, as a former Green Beret, that violence is comparable to sex or drugs. Once past the fear, it's a high that can be exceptionally compelling.
June 5, 2013 | By John Horn
When Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg submitted “This Is the End” to the ratings board of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the co-directors didn't just expect their raunchy Judgment Day comedy to be slapped with an NC-17 rating -- they secretly planned on receiving the adults-only rating. Opening June 12, “This Is the End” features an array of actors playing themselves. James Franco is hosting a party at his home when the apocalypse starts. Many celebrities perish, but Franco, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson survive and try to make it through the end of days.
March 26, 2013
An undercover government survey credits movie theaters for making a "marked improvement" in keeping underage audiences away from R-rated movies. The Federal Trade Commission arranged for 13- to 16-year-olds, unaccompanied by a parent, to attempt to buy R-rated movies' tickets and similarly rated DVDs, music CDs and video games. Less than one-quarter of underage shoppers were able to buy a ticket to an R-rated movie, down from one-third in 2010. In fact, ratings enforcement at the movie box office is at its highest level since the FTC began its survey in 2000, the agency said.
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