CATEGORIES Movies
Pat Tillman was never one to back down from a challenge. Now, years after his death, the former NFL star and Army Ranger is taking on one last foe: the MPAA.

As reported by Deadline, The Weinstein Company issues a statement yesterday announcing their intention to fight the Motion Picture Association of America's decision to give their new documentary, 'The Tillman Story,' an R rating, which according to the MPAA was applied due to "excessive language."

Tillman, of course, became a national icon when he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 after turning down a $3.6 million contract to remain with the Arizona Cardinals. 'The Tillman Story' tells the story of his family's efforts to uncover the truth about Tillman's death; though the military originally claimed that Tillman had been killed while braving "devastating enemy fire," and subsequently awarded him the Silver Star and a posthumous promotion, was was later revealed that Tillman had actually been killed by friendly fire, leading to charges by his family that the government had used Tillman's death as a propaganda tool. Pat Tillman was never one to back down from a challenge. Now, years after his death, the former NFL star and Army Ranger is taking on one last foe: the MPAA.

As reported by Deadline, The Weinstein Company issues a statement yesterday announcing their intention to fight the Motion Picture Association of America's decision to give their new documentary, 'The Tillman Story,' an R rating, which according to the MPAA was applied due to "excessive language."

Tillman, of course, became a national icon when he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 after turning down a $3.6 million contract to remain with the Arizona Cardinals. 'The Tillman Story' tells the story of his family's efforts to uncover the truth about Tillman's death; though the military originally claimed that Tillman had been killed while braving "devastating enemy fire," and subsequently awarded him the Silver Star and a posthumous promotion, was was later revealed that Tillman had actually been killed by friendly fire, leading to charges by his family that the government had used Tillman's death as a propaganda tool.

Considering the subject matter, then, The Weinstein Company believes the MPAA's ruling to be excessive if not downright ridiculous.

"Of course there is excessive language," producer John Battsek said in the release. "This is a film that follows a truly exemplary family torn apart by the death of their loved one and the barrage of government deceit they encountered in their pursuit of the honest truth. We should be looking at this film as a way to show our younger generation the power of true family values and the sometimes unfortunate failings of our government."

The film's director, Amir Bar Lev, agrees.

"The language in this film is not gratuitous," he said. "I think this is how many people would react when faced with the unthinkable. Giving this film an 'R' rating prevents young people from seeing this film; the very people who should be exposed to a great American like Pat Tillman."

This isn't the first time in recent years the MPAA has come under fire for a high profile ratings decision. Perhaps the most famous example came in 2004 when Matt Stone and Trey Parker's puppet farce 'Team America' was originally slapped with an NC-17 rating in part due to a puppet sex scene which the MPAA somehow decided was too graphic for audiences despite the fact that it was entirely filmed using anatomically incorrect (genitalia free) dolls.

Ironically, another high profile project that earned an NC-17 rating from the MPAA was the documentary 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated,' which investigated and criticized MPAA standards. In a logic loop worthy of 'Inception,' the board gave the film an NC-17 rating for a sequence depicting what type of content could earn a film an NC-17 rating.
Whether or not the nascent controversy over 'The Tillman Story' will lead to the kind of changes at the MPAA that critics have been calling for for years remains to be seen. For now, though, The Weinstein Company is focused less on broader issues and more with this specific movie.

Because, as company founder and president Harvey Weinstein says, "This is one of the most important films I've distributed in my career and I want my teenage daughter, and the nation's young adults to be able to watch Pat's story. We need to learn from this story and limiting who can see it is not the answer."

'The Tillman Story' is scheduled to hit theaters on August 20.