Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Rocker

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for drug and sexual references, nudity and language.
Profanity:Strong and crude language
Nudity/Sex:Vulgar sexual references and terms but behavior is limited to a couple of kisses, non-sexual comic nudity (bare tush)
Alcohol/Drugs:Adult character drinks a lot, some drug references
Violence/Scariness:Comic and slapstick violence, no one badly hurt
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 27, 2009

Emma Stone’s breakthrough role in next week’s “Easy A” makes this a good time to look at some of her earlier work. She is terrific in this story of a high school rock group.

Pete Best, who was famously kicked out of The Beatles just before they brought on Ringo Starr and rocketed to international superstardom, appears as himself in this movie about a drummer who was kicked out of an 80′s hair band before they went on to such heights of international superstardom that they now speak with cheeky lower-class English accents, even though they came from Cleveland.

“The Office’s” Rainn Wilson plays “Fish,” the drummer still stuck in Cleveland, where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems to be there just to remind him of how much he has lost. Fired from his job, dumped by his girlfriend, he is living in his sister’s attic when, 20 years after he last sat behind a drum kit, he gets one more chance to live the dream. His nephew’s band needs a drummer for the prom.

A video of Fish rehearsing in the nude becomes a viral sensation on YouTube and suddenly the group of three graduating high school seniors and a demented and bitter burn-out is on tour.



  • Tim1974

    The double standard continues. How redundant and tiresome. This time the old “just for laughs” male nudity. Again, absolutely no female nudity. In fact, is there any movies that contain any partial nudity to equal out that of male nudity ? Just recently we have had movies like “Man on Wire,” “Get Smart.” “Zohan,” and Mamma Mia” just to mention a few that feature only male nudity. If there wasn’t such a double standard then there should also be an equal amount of female nudity to go with it. Since when has it been exceptable to be objectified and then completely ignore the fact because it is “just for fun ?”
    I have no desire to see shows where this occurs.

  • Nell Minow

    I saw two movie comedies this week that both used the naked rear ends of their main characters for comic effect, with no other nudity. One was “The Rocker” with Rainn Wilson, the other was “The House Bunny” with Anna Faris. The big difference was that only one of those naked tushes was by any objective standards attractive; I think you can guess which one. To me, that is more of a double standard than the one you are talking about. Also, as usual in movies of this kind or in fact movies of any kind there are a number of scantily clad and very pretty ladies with nothing similarly decorative from the male characters, again a more significant discrepancy. And in “The House Bunny” the message that what matters most for women is to be attractive and that nothing should matter more to them than having a boyfriend is unmistakable. Again, this is a much, much more complex and layered (no double meaning intended) issue than you give it credit for. If you want to boycott movies that have male but no female nudity I hope you will do the same for movies that have female but no male nudity and movies that send inappropriate messages that encourage women to act like submissive nincompoops.

  • Tim1974

    As a matter of fact, if there were any movies that featured only female nudity I would not be seeing those either. My position continues to stand. I believe that equality nudity is long overdo. I believe it is time to show equal amounts of both. I guess it must be a gender thing. I continue to be concerned about how men are exposed in movies continually and you on how women are perceived. I would like to see women showed in a more positive light in movies and would certainly like to support such a cause but I have been extremely dismayed at how there are no women who seem to want to support the cause of equal nudity and admit that there is a double standard bias against men when it comes to nudity, particularly fronatl nudity. I believe if I listed the movies and the nudity from just this past May until present it would indicate much more male exposure than female. I am for total equality. So Nell, if you could find someone to support my cause, I would be more than pleased to support a cause for female concerns. Hopefully this is not another of our “have to agree to disagree” situations. As always, thank you again for an opportunity to express my opinions.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Tim. I think this is the same “agree to disagree” issue as before. I do not agree that the way you present the issue is a double standard because I dispute the way you characterize it. There is a world of historical, cultural, psychological archetypes and enormous questions we are just beginning to ask and a long way from answering about the way that people respond to nudity in different contexts. And it is always a mistake to take any one element, especially one with so much emotional content, out of context. I do not think you will find any women — or even many men — to endorse the issue as you describe it, especially if you categorize as “a cause for female concerns” the portrayal of women as less than complete or equal human beings.
    I’m always glad to hear from you but I hope you will give us more comments on other topics as I think this one has run its course.

  • Amy Miller

    i wasnt so sure if i should let my 14 year old daugher watch this and i watched it myself. the movie is really not that bad and there is absolutely no nude scenes in it. the guy is holding a noodle cup in front of his peenis which is not nudity. u ladies are overeacting.

  • Tim1974

    Thanks Nell and I will be glad to do so as soon as they stop showing more male nudity than female nudity. I see you are as tired as seeing my post as I am in seeing all this male nudity without an equal amount of female nudity. We can only hope, and to that I feel we both agree.

  • Dustin

    Perhaps this will be more suitable on the comments page of your upcoming review of “The House Bunny,” but I completely read that film’s message differently. At the onset, yes, the character played by Anna Faris prides herself on her looks and the attention men give her. She thinks this way because that is all she’s known, and she never had a parental figure in her life to teach her otherwise. By the end, however, I think she is very much a changed person who understands that the common standard for physical beauty fades and what is on the inside is what counts. That she has a love interest does not mean that she needs a man to be happy; the point of his character was to make her see that there are such a thing as normal, down-to-earth people out there of the opposite sex who are interested in what she has to offer beyond her blonde hair, skimpy clothes, and tight stomach.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Amy. As I said in the review, the nudity consists of a naked rear end. Different parents have different ideas about what age group that is appropriate for. I agree with you that this movie is pretty mild in some categories and am especially glad that the behavior of most of the people in the movie is fairly responsible. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie.

  • http://www.fightthempaa.com Noel Torrey

    It is true that males are degraded when it comes to nudity in the media.
    I can count on one hand the mainstream movies that exist that show a vulva.
    I would need around thirty more sets of hands to count the mainstream movies that show a penis.
    It has been this way in movies for around 40 years.
    The first movie we can reference is “If…. (1968)”
    In mainstream movies there is a 12 to 1 ratio of penis shots to vulva shots.
    With this in mind, why is it we are only concerned with not offending viewers who disapprove of female nudity, but we are in no way concerned with offending viewers who disapprove of male nudity?
    Why is the male nude considered art, yet the female nude is considered pornography?
    Why is the female chest considered to be nudity when the male chest is not?
    If it were true that it’s alright to display the human form in film as long as it is not sexual in nature, then where is equality on this subject?
    The male form was shown in full frontal uncensored format in the following movies:
    Powaqqatsi (1988)
    It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
    Both of these movies are rated “G”, not to mention there are numerous “PG” and “PG13″ movies that depict the uncensored male nude.
    Throughout our research on the subject we have found no movies that depict a vulva with a “G”, “PG”, or “PG13″ rating.
    In short it appears the female form can be considered nothing but sexual in manner, why?
    Do none of you have sons who you feel deserve the dignity by not being degraded in this manner?
    Because we know the media will most likely never show concern for people who object to male nudity, our aim is to create equality for people who find the female nude beautiful, especially in regards to the vulva.
    We can be found at the following URL
    http://www.fight-the-mpaa.com
    Noel & Vivian

  • Nell Minow

    I appreciate your taking the time to explain your views, Noel, but I do not agree. As I have said previously, I believe it is tempting to simplify an extremely complex set of issues that really transcend notions of fairness and taste and to reflect and influence our deepest notions of culture, myth, gender, sexuality, and iconography. We could debate endlessly which female body parts are equivalent to which male body parts in terms of impact — erotic, political, artistic, comedic. Certainly, scholars in many categories, film, literature, gender studies, anthropology, and more have done extensive research and analysis. And of course courts have looked into this as well. The Supreme Court regularly rules on what constitutes art (and protected speech under the First Amendment) vs. pornography, and those rulings evolve as changing tastes are reflected in the media.
    Male nudity in movies is often intended for comic and not erotic purposes. Portrayal of female nudity is often objectifying, almost entirely women whose only purpose in the movie was to be nude.
    I recognize the relevance of this issue, but I believe it can only be examined in a broader context. A few years ago, the idea of male genitals being exposed in an R-rated movie would have been unthinkable (I am speaking of a living human being, not a statue). A few decades ago, the idea of breasts being exposed in a movie would have been unthinkable. Both the old and the new ideas on that have had their critics as will be true of whatever is considered acceptable in another 10 or 20 years. I do not think it is useful to claim “double standard” about an issue that is more complicated than that approach will allow and an equivalence that relates to far more than location and function of the body parts. While I have a lot of problems with the MPAA’s approach to many things, I think they are right in aiming only to reflect society, not to lead it.

  • Joe

    Regarding Noel and Vivian and their comments:
    They really need to get a life. They’re posting all over the net. If their concerned about double standards why are they not concerned about the pay differences between actors and actresses. Or the fact that it’s mostly men in lead roles vs. women by what must be several hundred percent. So if men are degraded by being nude in movies they want equality by making women be degraded too? Why not have NO ONE be degraded as a goal. They would force more women to have to be nude and show their “vulvas” to get roles to make things equal? What if they don’t want to have to be nude for a role. And to show vulvas, is unnatural, ladies would have to shave, or part their legs and get the camera closeup. It’s just another case of using lofty ideas and goals to sexualise women. And another case of someone with way too much time on their hands. What kind of person obsesses about sexual genitalia so much as this?

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you, Joe. You said it better than I could.

  • Joe

    Re: Noel and Vivian. I’ve seen their obsessive ramblings on other sites. They seem obsessed w/ genitalia. They go to popular sites like your Nell, and post contradictory psychotic ramblings.
    If it’s wrong for male nudity in mainstream films, then it should be wrong for female nudity in mainstream films. They try to make two wrongs a right.
    If they’re for equality why don’t they fight for equal pay, or equal leads in movie roles. Men obviously make much more money then female actresses and have more lead roles.
    They would have more female nudity in films. It’s already hard for female actresses, they’d have have even another obstacle for actresses, to have to get nude to get roles. What if they don’t want to get nude. No one should have to get nude.
    And to show ‘vulva’ the actresses would have to shave down there and/or part their legs and get a camera closeup. That’s asking quite alot from an actress.
    They are using lofty ideals to concentrate on and reduce women to their sexual parts.
    Disgraceful.
    With all the free time it seems they have on their hands I hope they decide to use it for a truly worthwhile cause.

  • Scott Andrew Hutchins

    The fact that the display of women’s vulvas would be used only to sexually objectify her is endemic of Joe’s point that there are not enough leading roles for women, and that too many are token love interests or even worse, would be brought on solely to be nude. Noel and Vivian have pointed out that often such women are required to wear merkins rather than actually displaying their vulvas, while penises are going on display more frequently than ever. Note that part of Noel and Vivian’s complaint is that the penis has been shown in films of all ratings, while, exclusive of pornography, the vulva has been shown in only 171 films, all of which were R-rated and are soft-core erotic films–the only exceptions I can think of are birth scenes such as the one in Robert Altman’s Dr. T and the Women, in which an actual birthing mother was edited in to look like it was the vulva of the Latina actor portraying a pregnant woman. The presentation of the vulva strictly for eroticizing the woman or showing her giving birth is part of the problem, not the solution, as you seem to portray that Noel and Vivian believe.
    I honestly think that the entertainment industry in general does not like the idea of women in leading roles. The argument seems to be that women can identify with women or men in leading roles, but that men can only identify with men. I don’t agree with this, and I know few men who would admit of themselves that they automatically cannot relate to a female character.
    I have a stage play in which the leading roles did not have to be young women (currently the demographic among stage actors that is in the greatest supply), yet are anyway, and in spite of strong letters of recommendation from theatre professionals, no theatre to which I have submitted the play has even wanted to workshop it. This seems strange to me, since women outnumber the men in the theatre audience (the opposite seems to be true of the contemporary film audience, which was not the case during the heyday of the Hays code, when audiences were primarily women, and films aimed at men, such as James Cagney vehicles, were lower-budgeted and not given the same sort of marketing attention as films aimed at women). This stage play does not contain any nudity or racy scenes, so the refusal to even workshop the play by so many theatres even on recommendation is baffling, particularly when the woman playwright who has recommended me says that the women I wrote all come across as real people, and not as male roles that have been cross-dressed.
    If the film audience is primarily male, is it composed primarily of gay males? I would doubt that, but they are the primary audience that wants to see penises on display in a film. Most straight males do not, and if online personal ads are to be believed, most women don’t want to see just any man’s penis, either. Yet nudity often appears in mainstream magazines geared at women, and supposedly women’s locker room culture isn’t particularly shy about their bodies.
    If the internet is to be believed, more and more women are removing their pubic hair when they remove their leg hair, so yet another obstacle to the showing of female genitalia is removed if the statement is true. We know that Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears remove their pubic hair, and they haven’t minded showing us, but the media gets aghast by it, while not seeming to care if a penis is exposed on a national television series like _Survivor_, that had ample time to optically fog it, but chose not to, while David Lynch thought it was necessary to optically fog Laura Harring’s vulva in the DVD version of _Mulholland Dr._. This is rooted in patriarchal culture–the penis, while ugly, is a source of symbolic power, while the vulva, while beautiful, is symbolic of shame and weakness; thus, men can display their penises proudly on the screen, even if it is a minority who wants to see them, while women cannot display their vulvas with the same pride.
    The feminist side of the argument would be that the vulva, being both a source of pleasure and a source of new life, has more actual power, and as such, it was venerated and respected by pre-literate culture. There is no particular reason why a vulva cannot be shown such veneration and respect today. The penis’s role in the reproductive process is so brief and limited that men, often having greater physical strength than women, had to bully themselves into a place of dominance to prove their worth to themselves, and this is indicated by the phallocratic men who keep score of how many women they can have sex with.
    Indeed, a recent study suggested that the word, through denial of access to women through years of conscripted illiteracy for them, put women in a lesser place to which they do not belong, and that through the use of visual media such as film and the internet, women are gradually resuming their equal status that women had in pre-literate cultures. Whether such status will involve the open display of vulvas, who can say (perhaps Judy Chicago), but the preponderance of penises in movies lately sure seems like a last gasp a phallocratric pretension within this framework.

  • Joe

    Re: Noel and Vivian. I’ve seen their obsessive ramblings on other sites. They seem obsessed w/ genitalia. They go to popular sites like your Nell, and post contradictory psychotic ramblings.
    If it’s wrong for male nudity in mainstream films, then it should be wrong for female nudity in mainstream films. They try to make two wrongs a right.
    If they’re for equality why don’t they fight for equal pay, or equal leads in movie roles. Men obviously make much more money then female actresses and have more lead roles.
    They would have more female nudity in films. It’s already hard for female actresses, they’d have have even another obstacle for actresses, to have to get nude to get roles. What if they don’t want to get nude. No one should have to get nude.
    And to show ‘vulva’ the actresses would have to shave down there and/or part their legs and get a camera closeup. That’s asking quite alot from an actress.
    They are using lofty ideals to concentrate on and reduce women to their sexual parts.
    Disgraceful.
    With all the free time it seems they have on their hands I hope they decide to use it for a truly worthwhile cause.

  • Joe

    And I thought I was a kind of a nerd! I’m glad to see I’m not the only nerd around!
    So your solution to all this un-equality is to have more naked girls. You can use all the big words you like (I’ve been known to use a few on occasion). Using large words doesn’t mean you are correct (especially when a small word will suffice) but your saying you want more naked girls. I think that says it all.
    You say some actresses are brought out soley to be nude yet you say there’s not enough female nudity… How many movies should their be of casual female nudity? LOL! Just to explain the irony of any one of your guys statements would take half an hour.
    I am just checking in very quickly as, I, apparently unlike some others, have a full time job. I do wish I had the time to go tit-for-tat (no pun intended), but if I had the time to argue with hypercritical nerds, and I argued with said nerds, I would be as hypocritical as those nerds that are trying to get more female genitalia on screen. LOL!
    If i had that kind of time I would be arguing for equality in pay for people. Perhaps world wide. I would be using the internet to eliminate hate in the world, instead of spending my time using one some studies to prove a point and ignore others, and rejecting anything that is contrary to my viewpoint. An example is bringing up the use of merkins, yet there are male equivalents used. The merkin was probably used due to it being unnatural to want to show your genitalia to the world (as you would have females be pressured to do).Especially when that view point it so have more nudity in film and not less.
    These are the folks that can tell you how many milliseconds a penis is in a movie, or how many pixels it took to create a nipple.
    You seem to know everything about movies (penises in it’s a mad mad world, i have never seen them, perhaps you see penises in your soup too?)So I’m sure you can learn in advance if there is nudity (especially the dreaded penis)in a release, just don’t go to any movie you wouldn’t like for what ever reason. That is what i do. I am not going to go to a movie I know I won’t like to so I can complain about it. What a miserable existence!
    You seem to think your enlightened. Take a long vacation abroad then come back and see if your priorities haven’t changed. Americans are very spoiled to be wasting time on such non-issues.
    And people wonder why America has a bad reputation. This is one reason, believe me, I know.
    I just posted because Nell is wonderful and these people need to get some happiness in their lives, which is what I intend to return to do at this very moment. My wife just told me I’m spending too much time on this nonsense an I must agree.
    And for the record, she doesn’t care much to see penises or vulva on screen either. Tonight we will be watching Quantam of Solace. And if there is a penis or a vulva, we are old enough to handle it, and smart enough to know why it was there, and our preference is, we’ll have wished it wasn’t there. But we can handle it. We just like to watch good movies. Period.
    While you are arguing about penises in movies, we will be enjoying a movie.
    Now, on with my life and I will leave the arguing of how many seconds a butt cheek was in a movie compared to a breast, compared to a penis, compared to a vulva, to those who have nothing better in their lives to do except complain about such things.

  • Your Name

    Joe, you’ve completely missed my point, suggesting you read what I wrote too quickly to understand it. America has a bad reputation in this area (not to mention all the others because people were outraged over Janet Jackson’s nipple. Why wasn’t there more outrage reported in the media over a penis slip in _Survivor_, ON NON-LIVE TELEVISION???

  • TW

    Well your name, Joe said he’s leaving and probably won’t be commenting anymore so maybe you did not read his post. I came here not even knowing this was an issue for some people and see that it is. I didn’t didnt see the survivor slippage, so I cant comment if its imaginary or what. I’ll bet if its real it was nothing to even notice except for you people staring at everyones crotches.
    The obvious reasons there was no outrage for the survivor guy compared to janet jackson. lets think for a second. Superbowl audeience compared to survivors audience. Huge difference in the amount of viewers. People who had the slip up, one a mega superstar janet Jackson, the other some unknown guy.
    If it was brad pitt who had a slip during the superbowl then you could compare.
    Trying to explain this stuff is like 1 plus one equals two. I”m done too. Its been fun.

  • TW

    your name, it looks like you didnt read joes post. hes gone! I’ll step in for a minute this looks funny.
    to answer your questions, the superbowls audience is probably so many times bigger then survivors. Janet jackson is a mega superstar, the survivor guy isnt. I didnt see either slippage, but probably no one noticed the survivor guys except those who stare at people crotches with microscopes. If brad pitt had a slippage in the superbow, you could compare it. apples and oranges. 1 plus 1 equals 2. now i see why people get tired of teaching you here. it wuz fun. bye!

  • Your Name

    Reading articles makes me realized that i am not ignorant. It is really nice to read reviews on the latest movies and music especially on what is happening in the sports world. Thank you for your great article i will be reading on yourupdates frequently.

  • http://www.ep-hi.net/blog/ Ben

    He really toned down his act so that he could play with the kids. It’s sad, because sometimes it seems like nobody is willing to rock.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Oh, Ben, there are so many movies about people who are willing to ROCK! This just wasn’t one of them. There would have been no story at all if the character had not decided to compromise a little. And having real-life pop star Teddy Geiger in the cast and on the soundtrack certainly boosts the movie’s authenticity.

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