Harvey To The Rescue Of 'Blue Valentine'?

Harvey Weinstein tells me that, for the first time ever, he plans to personally make the appeal to the MPAA this Wednesday. He will urge them to reduce his award season hopeful Blue Valentine’s current NC-17 rating to a more exhibition-friendly R instead. He was in town briefly last week and I caught up with him in the lobby of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Friday night where he showed up to support his stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams who were doing a Q&A after a SAG nominating committee screening. “Usually just my lawyers do the appeals, but this time I am going to,”  he told me. He noted that his companies  have been involved in many appeals over the years but have only won a handful of times. He’s obviously hoping this is going to be one of them, especially with his own personal plea.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear no one milks ratings controversies for the free publicity better than Harvey. As he perused the Academy’s  incredible poster displays on the walls of the Linwood Dunn (“That’s Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style. She was in my movie Pret A Porter”), Weinstein said he thought the awards campaign for The King’s Speech was going smoothly. He’s happy now with its new poster (the first one left something to be desired). But Harv said he  really, really wants Golden Globe (and Oscar, of course) attention for Blue Valentine too. After the SAG screening he planned to follow the stars to their next stop, a BAFTA Q&A at the Pacific Design Center. Harv is in full award season battle mode now and obviously relishing the strong early limited run grosses for his Kings’ Speech.

Meanwhile The Weinstein Company rented out Hollywood’s Harmony Gold screening room all weekend long for continuous showings of Blue Valentine and invited Academy, HFPA, and Guild members through full page newspaper ads with the headline: “Before the MPAA makes their decision, MAKE YOURS”.  I am told the screenings were well attended for the most part. At the SAG screening, Gosling didn’t mince words on his opinion of the rating. “I guess it’s fine to do torture porn and violence on women, but don’t even think about making love to them,” he said about the R tags which graphically violent movies like Saw and its ilk are routinely rewarded.

Williams and Gosling have been doing the circuit drumming up attention for the December 31st release of  Blue Valentine on both coasts. Michelle Williams’ Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal moderated a Blue Valentine Q&A Thursday in LA while Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal  hosted a   screening  Sunday in New York. Last week at a Tribeca Grand event, Oscar winner Kate Winslet “hosted” a much talked-about screening because she heaped praise on Williams whom she’d only briefly met once before. “This is a beautiful performance but it doesn’t feel like a performance  at all,” Winslet gushed. “Iit feels like pieces of the actress are breaking open and being exposed to us all at what must have been I am sure a huge emotional cost.”

  1. The Blue Valentine MPAA rating PR stunt is old and tired.

    The industry has caught on and we are as bored with this narrative as we were of the Piranha 3D ratings PR stunt this Summer.

    The King’s Speech is a great film and is doing very well. Now this movie needs to also stand on its own merits.

    1. The issue seems pretty straightforward to me but from your cryptic remark I am apparently missing something. What is it you’re inferring?

  2. Absolutely awful. The MPAA needs to standardize their ratings for violence, sex, and other things they find questionable.

    The fact that huge amounts of gore/murder/torture/whatever is worse than sex is unfathomable to me.

    The fact that the MPAA treats gay and lesbian sexuality differently is also absurd…

    And now there is this? What the fuck. This is so obviously an R picture it’s painful. Making it NC-17 makes the MPAA look ridiculous.

  3. Typical. Mr WME’s attractive blond British wife produces sub par movie, Harvey picks it up at Sundance to “maintain his closeness to WME”, promises Oscar campaign and now look – he’s even off to “personally attend” to the rating appeal. It seems even the big Mr W isn’t too big to kiss ass.

    1. RollingEyes, have you even seen the damn movie, or are you just talking out of your ass because you’re a typical anonymous Internet troll who never gets called on this crap? Well, I’m an EP on “Blue Valentine,” and I’m replying with my real name, because your cocktail of half-baked assumptions pisses me off.

      First of all, the film is extraordinary. Yeah, I’m biased, but “sub par” movies don’t get an 89% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Derek Cianfrance isn’t some hack director; he’s an artist whose talent and love of the medium is visible in every frame. Second, Lynette Howell Taylor is an accomplished and committed producer who was making movies like “Half Nelson” long before she met and married Graham Taylor of WME. This is no vanity production; it’s a labor of love that took years of hard work to get made. Third, Harvey Weinstein is taking this appeal seriously not just because it’s good publicity — and we all know it is — but because giving “Blue Valentine” an NC-17 rating is an appalling miscarriage of justice in a world where “The Human Centipede” and “Piranha 3-D” get an R. If you had actually seen the movie, you’d know that. And until you’ve seen it, please have the decency to shut up.

    2. “Blue Valentine’s” reputation is much better than “sub-par.” I haven’t seen it, but that’s not the impression I get from the cavalcade of critics fawning over the thing. You’re being a little tough there, buddy.

  4. i kinda feel like this is gonna be too little too late. although harvey is the master of milking free publicity from stuff like this i cant help but remember the same situation that the nancy meyers comedy “it’s complicated” sustained due to its showcasing of streep/baldwin sharing a joint. afterward, adam fogelson and steve martin went to appeal personally to the mpaa only to be once again denied. i have been fortunate enough to already see this amazing film and hope for the best that it receives a rating that it deserves, even that of “Restricted”.

    1. Just like a great movie/documentary was made about the filming of ‘Apocalypse Now’ and Terry Gilliam’s fiasco over “Don Quixote” so too should a similar movie/documentary be made about this attempt to fix this film’s rating. I bet the end result would be a comic/tragedy. Who knows, if Harvey is smart he in fact is documenting the process. The lid needs to be ripped off these idiots once and for all.

  5. PR or not, it’s damn refreshing to see a mogul — even a mogul manqué — lay his considerable tuchas on the table in support of a film and not ditch it in favor of the next release (while cross-collateralizing all of them, of course).

  6. Rolling Eyes got it right. Sub par film, its just like the old days with Cassian, but different…..

  7. I went to a screening over the weekend (moderated by Deadline’s Pete Hammond) and after the movie, my friend leaned over to me and said “I honestly couldn’t figure out why this got an NC-17,” and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen PG-13 with more explicit content than this, it all seems ridiculous. Give this very fine film (not the best of the year, but at least one of the best) the R rating it very much is entitled.

  8. Gosling is an idiot who is lucky people went to see The Notebook or else no one would even know who he is because his other movies flopped

  9. have seen blue valentine which is a terrific movie, two great performances and very well made. i couldn’t for the life of my understand the NC-17. there is no frontal nudity. nothing particularly graphic. i asked michelle williams’s agent, and she said it was for seeing a woman derives pleasure from oral sex (where we don’t see the guy). Really? That is weird. The MPAA is defining culture in a way which upsets me. Graphic violence is PG-13 but women enjoying oral sex is something you need to legally prevent anyone under 17 from seeing. Someone needs to show these people up, they are out of control.

  10. b-dog, great comment: “Graphic violence is PG-13 but women enjoying oral sex is something you need to legally prevent anyone under 17 from seeing.”

    “Blue Valentine’s” cinematic crime: displaying, discretely, the sexual satisfaction of a woman.

    Violence is OK for kids, pleasure is not.
    Heaven forbid that an adolescent witnesses a FEMALE enjoying sex.
    Movies target 18-34’s with one theme: graphic violence.
    Vampires suck blood, zombies eat people, Bruce Willis and every other “action” star revels in shooting, beating, blowing things up.
    All this is good for America, cinema, and people of all ages.

    Logically, EVERY movie that displays violence-shooting, stabbing, explosions-should receive at least an NC-17, or an even more restrictive rating.
    And logically, EVERY movie that discretely portrays sexual/sensual pleasure-ESPECIALLY of women-would receive a PG-13.

    Realistically, violence makes Hollywood rich, so violence will never receive its just rating.
    However, because Hollywood likes to cater to religious fanatics, female pleasure will ALWAYS recieve NC-17 or worse. After all, the most influential religion in America still, to this day, treats women as second class citizens who are subservient to men, viewing women as the original sinner and corrupter of men.

    Why can an action “hero” show pleasure at his killings in an PG-13 flick, while a woman hero can’t show her pleasure in her lovemaking?

    Why is killing PG-13, and lovemaking NC-17?

    Isn’t this the enlightened 21st century?

    1. So true! You guys have to see: You have to see this film: This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) – IMDb

      They talk exactly what you are talking about

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