Saturday, May 23, 2009

inding orrester

So a while back I sat down to watch the 2000 Gus Van Sant-directed Finding Forrester, because I remembered it being pretty good: A story of an urban* kid (then-newcomer Rob Brown) whose basketball passion is coupled with a love of books -- and who happens to stumble upon a reclusive old author (THE Sean Connery) living in his neighborhood.

*Hooray euphamisms!

This time, though, something struck me as the first few minutes unfolded:

Where the eff is the F-word?

It's not just that the film takes place in an inner-city* high school, where that word -- and countelss others -- are prevalent in the halls. It's that it takes place at any high school. Any one of them. "Cursing like sailors" should be changed to "cursing like students." I'm sure even schools labeled Christian have a few rebellious kids who experiment with the f-dash-dash-dash word at the lunch table.

*Another euphamism!

But not here, not in inding orrester. Sure, they certainly were targeting a PG-13 rating when omitting the most flexible of profanities, but that doesn't excuse it. Here, it's ridiculously distracting. If your movie attempts to capture any sort of dialect -- be it street-wise black, gangster Italian, bored rural high schooler, whatever -- you've got to be fully authentic to make it work. And in those above cases and many others, "authentic" starts with "F."

How this word became the standard for an R-rating is beyond me, but that's the way it is. Which is why, when scanning the list of truly, indisputably all-time-great movies (set in contemporary times, at least), a VERY small number of them carried a rating of less than R.

And no -- despite its redeeming qualities, this F-less wonder is not on the list.

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