Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This Film is Not Yet Rated

The Man and I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called This Film is Not Yet Rated.  The documentary highlights the history of the MPAA, the Hollywood-based ratings board that gives films the traditional G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 (formerly X) ratings.  If you've ever wondered why a film got a rating, you must see this documentary!

The people rating movies are not publicly identified.  They work in secret meetings.  Their neighbors don't even know what they do for a living.  The building the ratings people work in is guarded by armed security guards and fences with electronic doorbells.  The MPAA works in secret to protect the raters from outside pressure or bribes to get certain ratings.  Supposedly all of the raters are parents of school-aged children, but after investigation, the documentary revealed otherwise.

I was stunned that there are no rubrics or standards or even written instructions for how to review and rate a movie.  There is no standard saying that the "F-word" automatically gets a PG-13 versus an R rating.  There is no standard saying that children's movies are free of realistic violence or nudity.  Movie ratings are totally subjective.

The documentary makes the point that in Europe, sexual situations are not as closely scrutinized as much as violence.  In the U.S., violence has nearly a free reign and sexual situations are highly regulated.  Here, a scene where a woman is touching herself above her clothing as an act of foreplay is rated NC-17, but a scene where a man points a gun at another man's head and shoots him at point-blank range out of vengeance is PG-13 stuff.  Seriously?

I have lost all respect for the MPAA.  Until there are standards for film ratings, I no longer hold any movie rating with credibility.

I wonder what incredible movies didn't make the R-rated cut due to stupid, stupid things like foreplay or full-frontal nudity.  Oh the horror, anatomy!  Gimme a break.

1 comment:

Jenifer said...

Hi- found your blog when I googled- surveys- I find it interesting. I noticed you do not have children although I go to a website and they "rate"movies based on a more Biblical standard- they say whats good, bad and ugly. They even tell you what types of clothing is worn in the film- just thought I'd share