Michael Moore on ‘Where to Invade Next’ R Rating: ‘I Will Make No Cuts’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Moore on 'Where to Invade
Courtesy of PGA

Michael Moore will not edit his upcoming documentary “Where to Invade Next” in order to earn a PG-13 rating, the filmmaker told Variety on Monday.

“I will make no cuts,” he said. “We don’t believe in censorship in this country. There can’t be any compromise on this sort of thing.”

The director is appealing the Motion Picture Association of America’s decision to award his satirical film with an R rating. The organization cited “language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity” in making its decision. Moore acknowledged that all of those things are featured in the film, but argues that nothing in the picture is any more provocative or disturbing than the content of an evening news broadcast.

“The MPAA doesn’t want teenagers to see these things without parental supervision,” said Moore. “My advice to the teenagers of America is you know what to do and you know how to get in.”

In an interview with Variety, Moore listed off the parts of the film that prompted the MPAA’s ruling. The violence in the picture includes footage of law enforcement officers beating Eric Garner, a Staten Island man whose death last year helped spark a wider debate about police brutality. The drug use is related to a section in the film on Portugal’s decision to decriminalize narcotics — a move that some suggest has led to a reduction in substance abuse. The language stems from the use of “f–k” by Icelandic citizens protesting the 2009 collapse of their banks. And the nudity is a fleeting image of a naked man. That’s from a vignette that shows how some Europeans are able to enjoy three weeks at a spa to treat stress thanks to government-backed healthcare.

“You see a total of two seconds of naked Germans going into a Jacuzzi,” said Moore.

“Where to Invade Next” finds Moore comparing how foreign countries like Finland and France grapple with social and economic issues to the approach in the U.S. Its endorsement of European systems of government and condemnation of this country’s military-industrial complex will likely draw fire from the director’s conservative critics, of which there are legion. A Dec. 23 release is planned to qualify the film for awards. The picture is being handled by a new distribution venture formed by TWC-Radius founders Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League.

This isn’t the first time that Moore has clashed with the ratings board. The director appealed the R rating given to his anti-war film “Fahrenheit 9/11” and his films “Roger and Me” and “Bowling for Columbine” also drew controversy for their ratings.

“The [MPAA] is not doing this against me personally,” said Moore. “It’s the subject matter that makes them nervous. It’s volatile subject matter that we are still without adequate healthcare in this country. But there isn’t gratuitous violence in the film and nobody is having sex. I’m not encouraging drug or alcohol or tobacco use, so what’s the problem?”

“I see PG-13 movies where literally hundreds of characters are mowed down with guns or bombs,” he added.

Moore and the film’s distributors have the option of releasing the film without a rating, but they won’t do that because many theater chains would refuse to carry the picture. The director said he was hopeful that the MPAA will change its ruling, but believes an R rating is better than no rating at all, because he does not want to reduce the audience for the picture.

“I won’t edit my films to placate them,” said Moore. “I never offer anyone a mediocre experience. With me you get the real deal, and I refuse to break faith with my audience. I don’t want you thinking I pulled a punch so I could somehow get a TV release or play in an airline.”

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  1. Jeff says:

    Although I’m not an American (I’m Canadian), it’s interesting to see how Michael Moore apparently “challenges” what people hold as “American Values”. I think the freedom of opinion, editorial, opposing views, dissent are close to the heart of all democracies – and they really are written into the American Constitution. I think all he’s really challenging is dug-in fear, mediocrity, and stale, rigid, “old-school” attitudes that have nothing to do with American ideals or any ideals at all, but are just the imagined territory of people who live in fear. (Hey, we have them in Canada too..)

    Oddly enough, Michael seems to be a veritable proponent of the very democracy that America holds dear to its heart: the right of all humans to be guaranteed a decent chance at life: a life that’s not pimped to the corruption and arrogance of the military-industrial machine.

  2. Toland says:

    I still remember that time he went on tv in front of billions of people, and told them that going into Iraq would be a disastrous idea

  3. The Truth says:

    Whether or not you appreciate Michael Moore’s style of advocacy, he’s been on the right side of every issue he’s made a film about. As far as his new film is concerned, police brutality is absolutely unacceptable in a country that pledges “liberty and justice for all.” Law enforcement should be diligent, decisive, and potent, but never abusive. And any authentic patriot knows we should have a single-payer medical insurance system in the United States that covers everyone. If you think that’s anti-American, you’re simply too ignorant to understand that we can’t intelligently consider ourselves to be the greatest country on earth if we aren’t civilized enough to guarantee all our citizens quality healthcare whenever they need it.

  4. Roland Hill says:

    I know, I know… I still remember that time he went on tv in front of billions of people, and told them that going into Iraq would be a disastrous idea, that it was a war based on political reasons, and that there would be no WMD’s found. …. What an idiot.

  5. Ralph Reese says:

    Michael Moore – is nothing but a POS – will never see anything he makes — EVER

    • H.M. says:

      What movies do you go see Ralph? American Sniper natch, but after that one film in how many years? I can smell the mothballs and Vicks vapor rub from here.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Oh no! I’m sure Moore is saddened by your over reaction and prejudice. Yes, that’s what you are, prejudiced. You’re mind us made up because if who he is without seeing a single moment of the film. Youd make a good comrade, prejudging.

      • Moony says:

        I’ve seen enough Michael Moore to know that EVERY film he makes is anti-American crap, so why, all of a sudden, should I expect differently?

  6. Moony says:

    That ‘R” is the kiss of death for this anti-American crap.

  7. Tom Hastigs says:

    A “R” does nothing to stop people that will appreciate the content of this film. So FU to those that have been paid to diminish the importance of Michaels view!

  8. I can’t imagine teenagers being the target audience for this film, although it would be great to learn they were interested in the subject matter. I don’t think you would be able to get anyone under the age of 12 to watch this movie, so that just leaves the 13 to 16-year olds that can’t get in. Note to MPAA: 13 to 16-year olds have access to the internet. They have seen things way more graphic than a couple of naked Germans getting into a hot tub, Things you probably wouldn’t allow into an NC-17 rated film. They have heard the F-word already. They have played video games with violence as graphic as any of the Saw or Hostel films. They may not get to view your R-Rated films in theaters (though most find a way if they want to see something bad enough) and they just stream it on Netflix or watch it on HBO. My point is that I am not sure how relevant a rating is in the year 2015. It really is a joke to think that the rating system even makes a difference.

  9. GKN says:

    Can’t wait to see this. So glad he’s back!

  10. Bob Dinitto says:

    Good for you Michael, stand firm! Powerful special interests will always try to subvert the message. Don’t let them win!

    • Frank says:

      What message? More anti-american garbage made by Michael Moore to fill his wallet. He is one of the the most detestable individuals in the Hollywood community, and that’s saying something!

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