Movie Picture
This week: HARD Rs
07.11.02

I remember a time when studios made movies regardless of the rating system, or demographics, or marketability. It was the time of the "Hard R". What's a "Hard R", you ask? It's ok, don't feel bad if you can't remember. It's been a long time. A "Hard R" was a film made for adults. No, not that type of adult film. These films had real actors and actresses, great stories, and were made with an actual budget. These were films like 9 1/2 Weeks and Wild Orchid. Even comedies sometimes went for the "Hard R", like Porky's. But now, well, now that doesn't often happen.

2002 saw the brief return of the "Hard R" with Unfaithful from director Adrian Lyne, who has been one of the most daring directors in this field. Lyne is responsible for films like Fatal Attraction (1987), Indecent Proposal (1993), 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), and Lolita (1997). The last of these films, Lolita, couldn't even find distribution in the United States because of its unflinching look at its subject matter.

So what happened between 1992-1993? These were the last prolific years of the "Hard R"s. They gave us Indecent Proposal, Sliver, and perhaps the best known "Hard R" ever filmed, Basic Instinct. After this, the level of adult oriented material has fallen by the wayside. Sure, there was 1995's stinker Showgirls, but that film lacked story, plot development, and decent acting. What was once just adult oriented filmmaking is now considered gratuitous and unnecessary, with films like Unfaithful becoming more and more scarce.

I've attempted to figure out what it is that makes Americans so

Brian B.