Yesterday the Weinstein Company and the MPAA decided to go their separate ways over Bully, and allow theater owners to make up their own minds whether it’s worth making an exception to their usual unrated film policy in order to get Bully in front of the young audiences it could help the most. But today another organization has stepped forward to stand in the way, push the film down, and make everyone obey its personal demands or else. In a statement dripping in irony, were that a thing it could recognize, the Parents Television Council has issued a typically blinkered, hyperbolic call on theater owners to refuse to screen Bully, which it sees as a movie that, “regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system”—the ratings system being that thin line separating the family-friendly stability of gruesome murder and the lawless chaos of naughty words.
“The MPAA's job is not to make subjective judgments about the merit of a film or the importance of the film's message,” the Parents Television Council said, as its own job besides complaining incessantly about television now also includes dictating what the jobs of motion picture ratings boards are, apparently. That is, of course, in addition to its other side job of predicting the future, as it once again looked into its crystal-ball-that-it-calls-a-globe-because-you-shouldn’t-say-“ball” and gravely intoned, “If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like Bully, nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.” Indeed, allowing the Weinstein Company to get away with poisoning the minds of innocent children with their toxic footage of actual children could open the door to other filmmakers making their own unilateral decisions about what is and isn’t right, and no one should be able to do that but the Parents Television Council.