In September of 2007, Ang Lee (director of Brokeback Mountain,
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and many more) was saddled with the
NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America's censors on
his movie, Lust, Caution. The rating is the kiss of death at the
box-office. No matter what reviewers say, the large ticket-buying
population of under-17-year-old viewers have already been axed out of
seeing the film, much less those that equate the NC-17 rating with
porn. Most of the time, there is usually one scene that censors just
can't stomach, so to save their films from bombing at the box office,
directors will go back and cut the scene enough to appease the
thumb-screwing censorship committee, which later gets reinserted and
released on DVD as the "director's cut." Below are some "directors cut"
versions of some originally NC-17 or X-rated films.
The Dreamers (NC-17)
Bernardo Bertolucci's valentine to Paris of the past and cinephile's everywhere; this is a steamy story about an American student who befriends a French brother and sister during the time of the '68 student riots. As many taboo sexual themes are addressed as obscure films referenced - it's a must see for any open-minded, cinema-loving Francophile.
The Evil Dead (Unrated version)
Without a doubt one of the best cult, B horror films out there. It's been a few years (24 to be exact) since director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) refused to chop up his gore fest for the coveted R rating. The effects are laughable, especially to a modern day viewer, but that's part of what makes this film so much fun.
Henry and June (NC-17)
There's no way they could have dumbed-down this one. The film oozes eroticism, which makes every sex scene seem that much more heated. Based on actual events about the professional and sexual relationships between famed American writer Henry Miller, his bi-sexual wife June and French erotic writer Anais Nin, the film evokes the atmosphere of a velvet-lined opium den as it is set in the sultry nights of 1930's Paris.
Pink Flamingos (Unrated version)
The first film I ever walked out of - I was 16 and just not ready for renegade John Waters' idea of black humor. I'm happy to say my tastes have evolved (or perhaps devolved in this case) and I now have a sincere appreciation for Waters' lurid filmmaking. Starring the late-great Divine as Babs Johnson, who is willing to do anything it takes to win the title of "Filthiest Person Alive."
Midnight Cowboy (R version)
After the Academy handed John Schlesinger three Oscars for his X rated film, the MPAA reconsidered its conservative verdict and re-rated the film R. This 1969 film of a young prostitute (Jon Voight) and his sickly friend (Dustin Hoffman) trying to make it on the streets of NYC became a classic and was re-released a number of times, allowing all those that were scared away by the harsh rating to see it in the theatre in its original form.
New on DVD This Week
Good Luck Chuck - Not even Dane Cook can save this weak comedy. There's a reason beyond coincidence that this movie's title rhymes with suck.
Mr. Woodcock - A self-help author learns his mother is dating his tyrannical high school gym coach (Billy Bob Thorton) Unfortunately this great premise falls short of its potential.
The Ten - An irrrevernt riff on the 10 Commandments, with voiceover from Paul Rudd and appearances from Winona Ryder and Jessica Alba. Yum.
The Rockford Files Season 5 - Before Magnum PI there was Jim Rockford. This classic, private dick series was developed by the brilliant David Chase, who later created The Sopranos.