By Kent Larsen
Brigham City PG-13 Rating Stirs Controversy
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- With the premiere tonight of Richard Dutcher's
second movie about Mormons for a Mormon audience, the online discussion
board on the film's website is brimming with controversy of the PG-13 rating
given the movie. Zion Films announced earlier this week that "Brigham City"
had received the rating from the Motion Picture Association of America's
ratings board. But filmmaker Dutcher says he is not concerned over the
controversy and in fact welcomes the debate, "It's a conversation that our
people really need to have. If we're always holding ourselves to a G or a PG
standard, it's going to limit the kind of films that we can make."
After Zion Films made the rating announcement, comments on the movie's
message board shifted quickly to discussing the rating, with some fans of
Dutcher's previous movie, "God's Army" complaining about the rating. "We
have a movie that is being portrayed as being 'about Mormons, for Mormons,'
and yet by making it intense enough to get the PG-13 rating has put many LDS
parents in the position of being a hypocrite to [let] their kids go see it,
for having an established rule to see only wholesome and uplifting movies,"
read one post on the message board. But not everyone agreed with the
suggestion that a PG-13 movie couldn't be wholesome and uplifting, "An
honest depiction of the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or even the Joseph Smith
story would probably warrant at least a PG-13 rating. The murders and
intensity in 1 Nephi alone would warrant a fairly strong rating."
Dutcher does admit, in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, that the
movie had almost been killed by the ratings board, which considered giving
it an 'R' rating, "The one thing that saved it is that there was no language
and no nudity. . . . The strange thing about the ratings -- and I don't
know how they deal with this -- is that you're judged not only on the
particular elements that are there but the intensity of it," Dutcher
continued. "If you make a really intense scene, without particularly showing
anything but just the fact that it's really uncomfortable, you can get
slapped with a rating that you don't want. It's tricky, and it's somewhat
He also added that he could, in the future, make an 'R' rated movie. "I
don't think any film I would make would be R-rated for any of the reasons
most of our people avoid R-rated films" -- sexuality or nudity. If I really
get in the mood to deal with really grown-up
Mormons-in-the-contemporary-world issues, sure I could see it going that
way." But he also concedes, "it would totally kill the box-office with my
FILM FUROR: 'Brigham City' Director Not Afraid of PG-13 Rating
Salt Lake Tribune 4Apr01 A2
By Sean P. Means: Salt Lake Tribune