Speaking of ratings, Entertainment Weekly reports that the MPAA has rejected the appeals of the distributor and makers of William Friedkin's Killer Joe that the NC-17 rating stamped on the movie earlier this month be overturned. Based on a play by Tracy Letts (whose August: Osage County is set to be filmed, with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts), the movie stars Matthew McConaughey as a cop who works as a hit man on the side, and who is hired by a drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) who wants him to murder his mother so he can collect the insurance money, with the enthusiastic assent of the drug dealer's family.
In justifying the decision to administer the box-office poison that is an NC-17 rating, the MPAA cited the film's "graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality." (It also features male nudity, which is thought to be a special bugaboo of MPAA members, who are not required to get explicit about their objections to a film, and are in fact notorious for getting all coy about them.) Friedkin has been here before, most notably with The Exorcist (1973) and Cruising (1980). Killer Joe is his first movie since the 2006 film Bug, which was based on another Tracy Letts play, and which was extremely helpful in cementing the impression among moviegoers that there might be something a little strange about Michael Shannon.