It seems that the MPAA, that scourge of young film fans everywhere, is at it again. The shadowy ratings body has an unfortunate tendency to slap R ratings on acclaimed arthouse, foreign, and LGBTQ movies such as Call Me By Your Name while leaving Hollywood CGI slugfests like Suicide Squad with a family-friendly PG-13.
Their latest victim is Eighth Grade, the directorial debut of one-time wunderkind stand-up comedian Bo Burnham. Starring Elsie Fisher as a young teenage girl in her final week of the prolonged torture that is middle school while navigating the minefield of having a brand on social media, the film has been called "the first movie to nail youth culture in the digital age" by Variety. It's also been given an R rating for "language and some sexual material," meaning it cannot be seen by its target demographic, the eighth graders for which it's named.
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Not willing to lie down and accept such an absurd situation, the film's distributor, A24, has decided to challenge the rating in a unique way. They're holding free screenings in all 50 states — even Wyoming — tomorrow night, giving teens and preteens a chance to see the film without being barred at the door.
The Arizona screening will be held in Scottsdale at Harkins Camelview 14 at Fashion Square. According to the film's website, free tickets will be available at the theater one hour before the film's 7 p.m. showtime on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can pick them up at guest services. Ratings will not be enforced.
And parents, if you're still looking at this movie suspiciously because of its rating, know two things: 1. Because of the availability of porn in the digital age, your kids have probably already seen a lot of obscenity, so you shouldn't worry about it here; and 2. remember a few months ago, when (spoilers) Spider-Man literally disintegrated into dust at the end of Avengers: Infinity War? That probably scarred a lot more kids than this movie will, and it was PG-13. Ratings are bullshit. Let the kids see this movie.
Eighth Grade: Free Screening. 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 8, at Harkins Camelview 14 at Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale; 480-947-8778; thisis.eighthgrade.movie. Free admission, tickets are limited and first-come first-serve.