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Free State of Jones, Bye Bye Man, Sausage Party and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 06/01/16 at 06:50 AM CT

Welcome again to another exciting edition of the ratings game! Our contestants this week include a fascinating, fact-based look into a rebellion that formed in the midst of the Civil War, a adults-only animated film and not one but two thrilling horror films coming soon to a theater near you (if you dare!). There is sure to be something that will interest you this time around - if only every week held this much excitement.

MPAA Official Logo

Let's meet our first contestant, shall we? He's a tall drink of water from Mississippi who is tired of fighting a war he doesn't believe in. Gathering a group of like-minded farmers, run-away slaves and other like-minded individuals he will form a rebellion against the Confederacy - putting his life on the line for what he believes. Please give it up for... Free State of Jones! Matthew McConaughey takes on the role of the farmer and father who loses nearly everything and, pushed far enough, decides to form his own succession. Even though he is outnumbered and over-powered, he will not go down without a fight. Joining him on this journey will be Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, Sean Bridgers, Jessica Collins, Wayne Pére, Mahershala Ali and many more. This one certainly has "potential Oscar nominee" written all over it - a historical, fact-based drama with lots of character and a bit of action. It's no Five Years a Slave but considering the backlash over the "Oscars So White" last year, this could help ease the tension. Granted, it may also be too pandering or just a bad film, but McConaughey has been good of late, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. This one is rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images.

Up next is a group of long, lean, thick, juicy fellows who break all the conventional rules by delivering the rare R-rated animated film. That's right, hailing all the way from a local convenience store, we're bringing you a real Sausage Party. Adult-skewing animated films are few and far between. The last two I managed to see went from excellent to disastrous. On the one hand, I quite enjoyed Rob Zombie's The Haunted World of El Superbeasto - it was fun, frantic and very adult. On the other hand, Hell and Back was an unmitigated disaster from the animation style to the wooden delivery of all involved. Hopefully Sausage Party, with the likes of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton and Jonah Hill all on board can give the talented cast a meaty film to work with. Granted, the chances of this doing well at the box office are slim - but, hey, who knows - maybe like Deadpool this will usher in a new era of R-rated animated films to go with R-rated superheroes. It earns that R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use.

Coming straight from the nightmares of the most unspeakable acts of horror man has created - just saying his name is enough to bring his wrath, as a group of college students are about to find out - don't look behind you because you just might see The Bye Bye Man. Even thought that title is all sorts of boring, I have to say, the premise behind the film has me intrigued. Imagine if the most despicable and vile acts people carry out are not a matter of psychological trauma or playing video games but rather a what - pure evil in the flesh. When a group of students stumble upon this truth, the bring down the wrath of this entity - and if his secret gets out, all hell will really break loose. I don't know - horror is a tough sell for me to actually get in the theater, but, who knows, if this rises above the typical cliches, it could be a rare winner. Rated R for bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.

Finally, we have a thriller with a sci-fi twist. A corporate risk manager is given the unenviable task of determining whether an AI created and raised in the lab should be terminated or not. That's right, she/it has a name and that name is Morgan. Now, is is just me, or does this sound somewhat like the plot to Ex-Machina? Okay - so that wasn't about "terminating" an AI per-se - but it was still about determining whether said artificially created life was "human" so to speak. This sounds like it's taking the same approach - only with a bigger cast. Rose Leslie, Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti (FTW!), Boyd Holbrook, Toby Jones and Sam Spruell are all on board, among others. I don't know how the larger cast will work but the film does have promise, but after Ex-Machina, I'm also a bit wary as that film was gold and if this is just a kind of knock-off - even with that cast - I will be disappointed. Rated R for brutal violence, and some language.

That's all the contestants we have time for this week - but check out all the ratings game winners below!


Rated G.


Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity.


Rated R for bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.


Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images.


Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language.


Rated R for language including sexual references.


Rated PG for thematic elements, a war image and smoking.


Rated R for violence and a scene of sexuality.


Rated R for brutal violence, and some language.


Rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing sexual content and language.


Rated R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language and drug use.


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