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Unrated vs. R-rated
by: Dr. Boogie

The other day, I went out to Best Buy to pick up a copy of Team America: World Police. I had been anxiously awaiting the DVD release, and I had seen that there was an uncut version of the film for sale as well as the version that had been shown in theaters. Ooh, I thought to myself, I wonder what else could be in the uncut version that wasn't in the R-rated version. I mean, it already had gratuitous puppet sex and violence; what else could there possibly be? And so, I went out and snagged a copy soon after it went on sale. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived home, I realized that I had mistakenly grabbed a copy of the R-rated version instead of the uncut version.

At that point, a thought occurred to me as I searched for a way to displace the blame from myself for not noticing that the uncut version has "uncensored and unrated" stamped in big red letters on the cover: If you liked the version that was shown at the theaters, why wouldn't you want to get the uncensored version, especially if they both cost the same amount of money? Perhaps those people who would spend their hard-earned money on the R-rated version figure that whatever was put aside for the uncut version would be too much for them. "Sure, I don't mind seeing a guy get hit by a bus, but I don't want to see that same guy get his head squashed by the car that was right behind the aforementioned bus." That's an argument I can understand: the viewer is a puss.

But then it occurred to me that these cut down R-rated versions do have a very specific market. They are for parents who allow their kids to watch R-rated movies, but draw the line when it comes to those same movies released with an extra minute or two of footage. And rightly so, I say. Let's just say, theoretically, that a movie has 8 stabbings, 3 decapitations, and 2 instances of the main character saying, "Oh shit!" That's a goodly amount of violence and obscenity for an R-rated movie to have. You could even mix it up and have 2 decapitations, 4 people getting hit by cars, 3 execution-style shootings, and 1 exposed breast. Just one. In the uncut and uncensored version of that same movie, however, you might see 6 impalings, 4 disembowelings, 3 exploding heads, and 1 or 2 instances of necrophilia, give or take. As you can see, the difference is dramatic. If I were a hypothetical parent, I wouldn't want my contrived kids watching this theoretical movie on my imaginary television (which by the way is over fifty feet tall and powered by a series of smaller televisions).

But that's just for the individual. What about the people who put these movies out? Why would a company publish both an R-rated version and an uncut version of the same movie? A few months ago, I saw Ichi the Killer in a theater, but was surprised to learn that the American distributor of the DVD also sells a less violent, R-rated edition of the film. Apparently, someone thought that it was ok to show a man getting his hand chopped off, but it's not ok to show him holding his bloody stump and wailing like a vegan on Free Ham Day.

(note: expect an in-depth review of this movie by Dr. Boogie soon)

The reason that any company would waste DVDs on the two different versions of a film should be obvious: profit. Someone in marketing got it into their head that if you have twice as many on the market, you can make twice the profit. It's part of the reason you see so many crappy sequels to decent movies. Hell, why do you think Uwe Boll gets to keep making movies? Volume, that's how. It works great with all that crap they sell at the Dollar General, and it kind of works well with movies, too. I learned all about it in an economics class I took one summer. I also learned why it's not technically cheaper to buy a season pass to Six Flags than it is to just buy regular tickets, but unfortunately, I can't remember exactly why that is, and nobody believes my story. But I digress...

Imagine, though, if every R-rated movie also had an uncut and uncensored version. We'd finally have a chance to see the scene in Rambo where John Rambo grinds off a bad guy's face with the front wheel of a motorcycle. You could pick up a copy of Predator: Uncut and view an extended version of Schwarzenegger's fight with the Predator in which the Predator accidentally gets his foot caught in the corpse of Carl Weathers, and has to lug him around for the rest of the fight. Also, few people realize this, but the original script for When Harry Met Sally called for Billy Crystal to always greet Meg Ryan's character by saying, "hey, you cunt!" If only Rob Reiner had pushed for an uncut DVD to be released...

A man can dream, can't he? Well anyway, the bottom line is this: we ought to just release the uncut, uncensored versions of movies and just forget about R-rated versions. It's a waste of money, and it's inconvenient for those of us who have always wondered what it would look like to see a man with his guts spread out all over the place, but don't have the gumption to go out and make it happen. Moreover, it's a waste of precious gas when I have to make two trips because I accidentally picked up the crummy R-rated version. You hear that Hollywood? When you release two editions of the same movie, you're letting the terrorists win, and let me tell you, they are poor winners.

editor's note: Dr. Boogie isn't allowed to rent R-rated movies unless he's accompanied by an adult.

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