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MPAA Says Smoking Will Play A Role In Film Ratings


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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Abby_B

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Posted May 11 2007 - 08:06 AM

Just read this article on how the MPAA is changing the ratings to include whether or not the film includes smoking, and that the act of smoking, particularly by characters who are underage, can affect the final decision on what rating the film will receive.

I'm not sure what I think about this. The article says that this is meant to help discourage teens from smoking, is that going to work? I don't know.

#2 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 11 2007 - 09:13 AM

I HATE, HATE, HATE smoking yet I'm strongly opposed to this. It's going to lead to more riddiculous rulings like the infamous one for "Whale Rider". The only good thing is that period pieces are exempted from the rule. Presumably, if you set a film anytime in the past, you can get away with having smoking in your film.

#3 of 39 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted May 11 2007 - 09:22 AM

I'm with Adam in hating smoking but I don't think this is a particularly good idea or even something that will make any difference at all. It's not like teen smoking is suddenly going to be curbed because teens can't see it in PG-13 rated movies now. Is there any person in the world that never thought about smoking before and suddenly took it up because Clint Eastwood looked cool doing? It's the same thing (in my mind) as blaming movies for violent actions. There's other factors involved than just seeing it in a movie and copying it.

#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 11 2007 - 09:29 AM

To me, any difference at all would be worth it Posted Image

The MPAA is already a collection of arbitrary and toothless standards, so adding one more won't break the camel's back.

And I consider the smoking industry/lobby a fairly amoral group, so sticking it to them a little here is fine by me. I'd feel differently if I were 13 though Posted Image
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#5 of 39 OFFLINE   Brian W. Ralston

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Posted May 11 2007 - 10:16 AM

Yes BUT...a lot of studios, theatre chains, video rental stores and bix box stores are affected by the MPAA ratings. An example would be the NC-17 rating. A lot of theare chains won't play NC-17 rated films any more...Blockbuster won't rent them on DVD and Wal-Mart won't sell them. It is a kiss of deather for the commercial appeal fo a film. As a result, most studios now contractually require filmmakers to deliver films that will not get an NC-17 rating up front. Sure, NC-17 is a much more extreme example than this smoking thing. But, "a collection of arbitrary and toothless standards" or not...this will affect the films being made to some degree. The studios will be wanting their PG-13 or PG ratings and if underage kids smoking will garner an R rating...then underaged kids will no longer be smoking in films.
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#6 of 39 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted May 11 2007 - 11:14 AM

It's not as though the MPAA couldn't tbe aking smoking into consideration before issuing this edict. The group can give a film any rating they want without having to defend their decision to a neutral arbiter. Remember:
The lesson: Don't just look at the rating, but also the reason for it - both to learn whether the film is appropriate and for sheer entertainment value.
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#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted May 11 2007 - 12:07 PM

Great, so now rated R could mean dozens of characters are murdered in brutal ways...or someone might have had a cigarette after dinner. Please, make the rating system make even less sense.
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#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted May 11 2007 - 12:30 PM

As I said above: If you're basing whether or not you see a movie or allow your kids to see it on just the rating, you're not getting enough information.
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#9 of 39 OFFLINE   AaronMan

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Posted May 11 2007 - 12:31 PM

The MPAA is the one of the worst organizations ever created. It forces the directors to self censor themselves. This is just one more step towards a complete stranglehold on creativity. Directors already have it bad enough as it is (distribution, advertising, etc) if he or she decides to make an R rated film. Think about it: DR. No would have been rated R under these circumstances. And guess what else? Disney's Pinocchio would be given an automatic R if it were released today under this new stipulation. So MPAA, let me get this straight. Toht cant have his face melted off and Raiders of the Lost Ark only gets a PG, but if somebody was caught smoking, only then would it get an automatic R? This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. The rating system needs to be dismantled. Mark my words. In 10 or 15 years, R rated movies will be unheard of. It will be a sea of gray, middle-of-the-road, don't- offend-anyone, safe, family friendly, PG-13 lukewarm crap!!!!!!!!!!!

#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted May 11 2007 - 12:56 PM

Not quite. Would you rather we went back to the way it was before the MPAA? Where local religious boards, different in every community, decided what could and could not be seen? How films would be banned in one city, and not another? Without the MPAA, we'd have Jerry Falwell and Bill Donohue having too much power. The MPAA, controlled by the studios, is the best alternative. And the R/PG-13 rating isn't to blame on the MPAA. That is just the economics of filmmaking. Studios want to get the widest audience possible. It isn't the fault of the MPAA. But, yes, this smoking thing is ridiculous. By their logic, guns shouldn't be allowed in PG rated films, as those are far more dangerous than cigarettes. Alcoohol too.

#11 of 39 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 11 2007 - 01:08 PM

Actually, the MPAA is doing something it NEVER does. It's explaining something that will lead to an "R" rating. Directors should be happy. As for guns being more dangerous than cigarettes...I'll take that bet. But that's for another forum.
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#12 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 11 2007 - 01:23 PM

What about films with wonderful messages to young people that just happen to feature smoking in a not-terrible light? People see smokers around them everywhere. My mother is a smoker. My father was a smoker. Some of my friends are smokers. It's part of the fabric of our daily lives, under 17 or not. For that to no longer be captured in PG-13 and below films is outrageous. All smokers are not evil people. Why should they have to be in films?

#13 of 39 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted May 11 2007 - 01:29 PM

My mother did not smoke. I just want to get that on the record.
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#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 11 2007 - 01:32 PM

I bet your lungs work, too. Mr. Fancypants.Posted Image

#15 of 39 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted May 11 2007 - 01:47 PM

Who thinks this is just to distract people from that buried-alive movie scandal? (raises hand)
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#16 of 39 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted May 11 2007 - 03:02 PM

What was this about? Never heard anything about it. This smoking thing is just another useless rule from the minds of people with too much time on their hands.
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#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted May 11 2007 - 05:31 PM

Captivity. The MPAA has been feeling heat on two fronts - one front being This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and the other being how warm and friendly they are being to gore-porn. Though technically the Captivity scandal was not their fault, they only created the context in which it occurred.
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#18 of 39 OFFLINE   Shawn.F

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Posted May 12 2007 - 01:34 AM

I think they should have buried this current rating system with Jack Valenti a week or two ago. I have always thought that the age rating system that the UK uses was a good one, but even that has its issues.

#19 of 39 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted May 12 2007 - 02:38 AM

Violence, as always, will continue to have no effect on ratings. Posted Image

Seriously, this is a major departure for the MPAA, who always before have refused to give any explanation of or rules for their rating criteria. I'll be interested to see what comes next.

(Of course, the return of local film-censorship boards actually reflecting "community standards" would be interesting too. One wonders if, like legalized gambling, it would soon become a race to the bottom, in an attempt to attract business to local cinemas by giving movies the lowest rating possible. Posted Image )

#20 of 39 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted May 12 2007 - 03:21 AM

I don't think that would fly in modern times. Lots of lawsuits alleging censorship and violation of First Amendment rights would ensue from a variety of parties.
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