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Cold In July [2014] [NR] - 7.7.6



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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In 1989 a man (Michael C. Hall) saved his family by shooting and killing a burglar during a break in, but the townspeople were suspicious of the circumstances and soon the burglar's father (Sam Shepard) arrived in town and started making threats. Also with Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw and Nick Damici. Directed by Jim Mickle. [1:49]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man plays a porn film and we see a large-busted woman wearing a bikini with a thong bottom (the woman's significant cleavage, abdomen, full buttocks and thighs are seen) and says, "She ain't even old enough to drive"; the woman straddles over a man who wears a Lucha-libre mask along with an open shirt (chest and stomach are shown) and boxers; the tape is grainy, but it appears that the man's penis is partially revealed and against the crotch part of the woman's thong as she looks over her shoulder and smiles at the camera, then writhes her buttocks for the camera until a second man appears wearing a football helmet, open shirt and boxers and the two men stuff socks into the woman's mouth as she kneels on the bed, screaming as the snuff scene unfolds (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details); the man watching the film tells another man that the law will not punish the pornographer because the filmmaker is in the witness protection program and nobody cares about the woman.
 After a shootout (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man sits against a table with his legs bloody and spread wide, wearing boxer shorts also covered in blood; the fly is partially open and reveals blood-covered testicles.
 A husband says to his wife, "Drunk and randy; that's how I thought you liked me" (please see the Substance Use category for more details); sex is implied as they hug and the camera cuts away.
 A man enters a framing shop and asks that a photo of a woman wearing a skimpy bikini be framed (the woman's cleavage and full legs to the thigh are shown).
 A man's red convertible has license plates that read "RED BTCH" and a hula doll with bra and grass skirt on the dashboard.
 A woman lies on a bed with her wrists handcuffed above her head to the headboard and she is wearing an undergarment like a one-piece bathing suit that reveals some cleavage before a man with the police covers her with a large cloth. In three bedroom scenes, a wife wears a long, sleeveless nightgown with a bra underneath (we can see partial bra outline; no cleavage) while her husband wears a T-shirt and long pajama bottoms. Three men wear sleeveless undershirts.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - In a porn tape snuff scene (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), a woman kneeling on a bed is shown with her mouth stuffed full of socks as two men hold her in place; a man with a ball bat swings back and as the camera cuts away, we hear the sound of a female scream, followed by the thud of six strikes to her face with the bat; an elderly man views the tape off-screen later and from outside the house we hear him slam a door and see him walk outside with a pistol and sit in a convertible all night.
 Three men select sawed off shotguns and pistols to hunt down a man, they smudge grease on their faces and follow a crew to a dirty, decrepit mansion where one of the men begins to get out of the vehicle and the driver points a gun to his head to stop him and all three men enter the mansion together and a prolonged gunfight ensues: one man suffers a slit throat and dies in the driveway in some blood, a man receives a stomach wound (no blood) and falls off a balcony to the floor below the frame, a man shoots at another man and both fall to the floor, a man receives a shot to the earlobe (with blood and a bloody hole shown) and after a fistfight one man shoots another man in the face, splashing blood all over the ceiling (we see the victim on the floor, with a charred bloody face and a bloody hole in his left hand as a pool of blood forms); a man shoots at another man, whooping loudly, but receives a shot to the thigh from off-screen (no blood), sits down hard and shouts in pain, another man swings a ball bat repeatedly missing each time and receives a gunshot to the stomach, falling down a flight of stairs, dead, below the frame.
 A wife awakens to a noise in her home and rouses her husband who loads a pistol with shaking hands as she lies in bed, whimpering; the man points the gun forward and steps slowly into the living room, catches a burglar dressed in black with a dark face kerchief and shoots him in the upper chest (we see a wide spray of blood up the wall to the ceiling as the burglar sits straight down on the couch, dead); the wife steps into the dark room, her husband turns, points the gun at her shouting at her unannounced presence as she turns on the light; blood covers a large painting, a clock, family photos, the wall and part of a couch and we see the couple cleaning all night and setting out blood stained cushions and the painting for the trash; the husband pours a bucket of bloody water down the toilet and flushes it.
 An elderly man bleeds from a chest wound, while a younger man bleeds from a wound in the side; the elderly man kneels on the floor in front of the younger man and shoots him between the eyes (we see a black hole in the forehead as he falls backward, dead); the older man leans back against the wall and dies (blood covers the younger man's abdomen and groin area (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 A woman screams in the upstairs area of an old mansion while two men rush to her rescue, finding her handcuffed to a bed (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) with a dead man lying face down on the bed and with a bullet hole through his jacket and some blood showing. A man and an elderly man dig up a coffin and unwrap a corpse that smells bad (they grimace and cover their noses) and has dirty teeth and a grimy face; we see that the fingers of the hands are cut off and raw at the first knuckles, with the fingerprints removed. A man wears a gauze bandage on his earlobe, which bleeds through a small amount and another man wears a large patch of gauze on his shoulder, where blood has dripped down his undershirt.
 A train speeds toward a man lying on the tracks as a male bystander pulls him to safety; the bystander takes the unconscious man to a secluded cabin and chains his ankle to a heavy table. A couple fearing that a man will kill them receives police protection and the officer wears a bulletproof vest while detectives stand in the nearby woods with guns drawn to watch for cars; a car drives by slowly, stops, then moves on and the detectives find an abandoned car a short distance away; the camera cuts to the police guard, dead on the floor, face down in some blood and a young boy cries and points to an open window, a detective says that a criminal was hiding in the crawlspace for some time and the homeowners gasp and shake. At a fender-bender in a driveway a man strikes a police officer on the shoulder with a ball bat; the officer kicks the man in the stomach, then punches him and when the man begins to get back up, the officer kicks him in the head, unconscious. An elderly man taunts a younger man that shot a burglar in a couple of scenes with, "Hear ya got ya one last night. Gonna get another bandito?"; the younger man tells the older man to go away in the first scene and in the second scene a third man grabs the heckler in a wrist lock and bends his fingers back, making him scream in pain and he falls to his knees.
 Two men take an elderly man from jail at night in an unmarked car to a railroad crossing, where they inject him with a sedative, lay him on the tracks and break a bottle of liquor over him (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 A three-year-old boy puts a wooden gun into his backpack for preschool before his father removes it and says no; the boy grabs it, points it at his father, shouts, "BANG! You DEAD!" and his father grabs him by the shoulders and firmly tells him no gunplay and no guns at school. A man wakes up with a start one morning to a pistol shot, walks outside and finds an elderly man shooting bottles and cans, which shatter or fall. An elderly man lies in bed at night pointing a pistol at the ceiling, practicing his aim.
 A man finds his front door glass broken, the shattered glass crunching as he walks on it; he has iron bars installed on windows and doors before finding the front door locks hanging loose and the burglar alarm ripped from the wall, as well as the bars on his young son's window swinging free and a trail of bullets leads to a mound of bullets in the boy's bed.
 A father curses at his young son in a restaurant and slams his fist on a table as the boy stares blankly. At a graveyard, a preacher reads a Bible to a pine box as it is lowered into the ground; an elderly man approaches a parked driver on the cemetery lane and says that he saw the driver's fine family photo in the paper causing the driver to fear for his young son's life and he picks him up from school, calls his wife and they argue about safety. A husband and his wife argue about a new couch and the husband argues with the police and his customers in a store. A man convinces two male friends to go with him to kill a pornographer.
 A man pours kerosene onto the frame of a house entryway, lights it and a large fire fills the screen.

PROFANITY 6 - About 17 F-words and its derivatives, 15 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, Josey Wales, pig farmer, stupid, girly, Jap, cranky and old, a man who owns a frame shop is nicknamed "Framer" but this does not seem to be name-calling), stereotypical references to men, women, fathers, sons, little boys, Christians, Texans, criminals, prostitutes, Mexicans, pornographers, corrupt police officers, Southern cops, 4 religious profanities (GD), 4 religious exclamations (God Bless, Oh my God, Jesus, Jesus Christ). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Two men inject another man with a sedative and break a bottle of liquor over his unconscious body (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man says to another man on the phone, "You owe me a beer," a wife asks her husband if he's been drinking and he says he had a couple of beers, two men walk into a café where many beer bottles are shown on tables and they order three beers and carry the bottles to a car, two men drink from beer bottles, a man orders and drinks a bottle of beer at a café in the morning (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man tells another man that he needs "a drink... I haven't even had my coffee yet," and two men play poker and a short glass of whiskey sits on the table. A detective smokes a cigarette in his office, an elderly man sits on a bench by a store and holds a lit cigarette in one hand, a woman in a driveway smokes a cigarette after a man lights it and he walks away with a lit cigarette (not smoking), and a woman sits in a café and holds a lit cigarette (not smoking).

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Safety, protecting one's family, guns, vigilantism, pornography rings, snuff films, prostitution, absent fathers, police corruption, the Dixie Mafia, the federal witness protection program, conscience, responsibility, justice.

MESSAGE - Absent fathers can harm their sons' development and bring themselves tragedy.

Special Keywords: S7 - V7 - P6 - MPAANR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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