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MPAA - Time to Retire the G Rating


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#1 of 47 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:02 PM

The MPAA needs to retire the G rating.

I mean, is there ANYTHING - one thing - about this trailer below that suggests that the PG rating is informing parents of anything? "Scary Images and Mild Peril"? Might as well tell parents "This has a story - BEWARE!!!! BE-WAAAARE!" because it makes the same amount of sense. Is there one parent - just ONE parent - out there that sees the PG rating on this trailer and thinks "No way - I will NOT bring my 3-year-old kid to see such scary images and mild peril no matter how much they want to see this!"

The arbitrary nature of rating a film G or PG is completely absurd at this point. If nothing is actually G, then PG for all intents and purposes IS the G rating, and having both is beyond pointless.

Just retire the G rating MPAA and demand all films have some text to warn of something like "mild peril", because you've basically done that informally anyway.

 


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#2 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:09 PM

Personally, I'd like to see them kill PG-13. The range of material that it covers is completely ridiculous. It has no value anymore.

 

I would also like to ask the MPAA what they were thinking when they gave the notably violent Cars 2 a 'G' rating.


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#3 of 47 OFFLINE   Carl Johnson

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:19 PM

The biggest reason the ratings system exists is to pacify parents who are concerned about their kids seeing inappropriate content. If I remember correctly pg 13 was added after some felt that a pg rating didn't alert them to the violence in Gremlins. It would make sense if MPAA were to simplify the ratings to general audiences, mature audiences, and adults only. The cartoons that kids watch nowadays are than Gremlins was 25 years ago.

#4 of 47 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:25 PM

The smartest move would be to overhaul the system as suggested above, complimented with a clear, finely detailed listing of all possibly offensive film content on filmratings.com, but I think the MPAA is so monetarily invested in the 45-year-old ratings system that they fear making any large sweeping changes.

 

But ultimately it's the vagueness of the ratings and the descriptions (just what is "mild peril" for this film, specifically?) that undermines the system. They need to provide a more thorough process online and trust that parents that care about these things will use that resource. Right now they want to use a small box on a poster to inform them, but that just doesn't provide enough context.


Edited by Brandon Conway, March 04 2014 - 12:27 PM.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#5 of 47 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:26 PM

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Can we just go back to pre-code?


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#6 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:34 PM

Sure, as long as http://www.kids-in-mind.com stays up to date! ;)


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#7 of 47 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted March 04 2014 - 12:37 PM

Sure, as long as http://www.kids-in-mind.com stays up to date! ;)

 

This is what the MPAA should strive to do themselves.

 

More than anything I think they are going with PG ratings more because of the lack of content descriptions on G movies. Which is their rule, so I don't know why they can't change this policy. Their thinking is "if we put a label of "mild peril" on it we have to bump it to PG" instead of being more practical and saying "hey, Up has some "some peril and action" in it - let's rate it G but put that descriptor on there."

Of course, they should say the following as well: "Let's join the 21st century and have details of the specific moments in the film on filmratings.com rather than just a vague "peril" warning."

But that's too logical for them, I guess.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#8 of 47 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted March 04 2014 - 06:53 PM

The biggest reason the ratings system exists is to pacify parents who are concerned about their kids seeing inappropriate content. If I remember correctly pg 13 was added after some felt that a pg rating didn't alert them to the violence in Gremlins. It would make sense if MPAA were to simplify the ratings to general audiences, mature audiences, and adults only. The cartoons that kids watch nowadays are than Gremlins was 25 years ago.

 

I believe Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was also a contributor to the creation of the PG-13 rating.

 

But, yes, the level of violence in today's PG-13 films often surpasses that of R-rated films from the 80's.

 

There are still G-rated films being released, so I don't think the MPAA would consider abandoning the rating. Two forthcoming examples are Disney's Bears and Fox's Rio 2.


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#9 of 47 OFFLINE   bujaki

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Posted March 04 2014 - 07:18 PM

When I was growing up in the fifties, our local government station in Puerto Rico had several film packages which included some pre-code films, as well as many which would, in today's world, would be rated PG-13, if not R, for moral turpitude, pervasive smoking, violence, etc. Since my mother had seen these films during their first run, and they were good-to-excellent films, she would sit me in front of the TV and admonish me to watch them because they were good!

I don't think I was warped in any way than normal by this activity, but it taught me to distinguish the classics from the garbage. BTW, I also like some Z-grade movies.

My point is that the rating system is pure garbage and that parents are overprotective. I have 3 children, and I did protect them from certain films until I knew they were mature enough to handle them. But it was my informed decision. And the films I protected them from dealt with emotional rather than physical violence. So they were not allowed to see A Clockwork Orange, Blue Velvet; and had to wait quite a number of years before I took them to see A Streetcar Named Desire, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Nudity never bothered me nor them, as long as it was shown in a natural way.

And protecting children from portraying death in a movie? Really? (I don't mean a violent action movie.) Should children not know that at some point even Bambi's mother will die? It's natural; sad, but inevitable.

Of course, anyone of you can rear your children any way you want. This is just the way I did, and they turned out fine.

I'm with Sam. Let's go back to pre-code, when movies dealt with mature issues without all that fuss.



#10 of 47 OFFLINE   Vic Pardo

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Posted March 05 2014 - 07:37 AM

If content warnings are too detailed, people are gonna scream "SPOILER!" :wacko:



#11 of 47 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted March 05 2014 - 09:27 AM

If content warnings are too detailed, people are gonna scream "SPOILER!" :wacko:


Not if it's in a website they need to go to. Parents do this now, all the time, by sidestepping the MPAA.

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#12 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 05 2014 - 11:44 AM

 

But, yes, the level of violence in today's PG-13 films often surpasses that of R-rated films from the 80's.


And the level of sex and nudity in the PG films of the '80s frequently surpassed that of today's PG-13 films! ;)
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#13 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 05 2014 - 11:45 AM

If content warnings are too detailed, people are gonna scream "SPOILER!" :wacko:


The Kids In Mind website does a great job of describing the specific content of films without being too spoilery.
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#14 of 47 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted March 09 2014 - 05:18 PM

The ratings system also is locked into this habit of allowing certain kinds of content while stigmatizing others.  I feel that it may be totally in line with some people's value system, but by no means everyones, and the end result is it just makes the system sucky for everyone.

 

It's been said many times before, but you're allowed way more violence in a lower rating than anything else.  A simple film about teenagers speaking the way teenagers speak would almost certainly garner a rating that would prohibit teenagers from actually seeing it.  "The Hunger Games" can show kids killing kids and that's OK for a PG-13, just as long as they don't say the "F" word.  (I'd argue that if I was a kid being hunted by other kids and running for my life, that would be a perfectly appropriate time to drop an f-bomb.)

 

It didn't used to be that bad.  I recently rewatched "All The President's Men," which is a PG movie from the late 70s, and it has about a dozen uses of the "f" word.  No violence, no nudity, no disturbing visual imagery, just a movie mostly showing adults in conversation.  Nowadays that would be an automatic R.

 

They should probably get rid of them altogether.  There's so much violence on broadcast television shows; there's enough nudity in premium cable that some of those shows would be in real danger of getting slapped with NC-17s, and on basic cable there's enough cursing that most of those things would be automatic Rs.  The internet itself doesn't carry any sort of rating.  If the goal is to protect children from seeing age-inappropriate content, kids have so many opportunities to see things that would get a movie an R or worse just by channel surfing, browsing the web, reading postings on facebook, etc.  It seems strange to care so much about one kind of content being delivered in one kind of way, and then not to care so much if all the other forms.  (Which is why we get PG-13 movies which become "unrated" DVDs.)

 

...and people still bring crying babies to 10pm screenings of R rated movies anyway.



#15 of 47 ONLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted March 09 2014 - 05:53 PM

I'm trying to think of PG-rated films of the pre-PG-13 80s with major levels of sex and nudity in them. Violence tends to push the PG-13 envelope harder.

#16 of 47 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted March 09 2014 - 06:34 PM

I'm trying to think of PG-rated films of the pre-PG-13 80s with major levels of sex and nudity in them. Violence tends to push the PG-13 envelope harder.

 

I've been trying to think of some, and I can't either - I keep coming up with things like "Fast Times at Ridgmont High" which was R.  It's almost like PG-13 means, especially these days, "R-rated violence, PG rated sex/nudity/language"



#17 of 47 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted March 09 2014 - 06:51 PM

^ It seems that as long as it's not overtly graphic or bloody, most violence is OK for PG-13. So you can show 50 people get shot but it only becomes R rated when you see blood squirt out of their wounds.



#18 of 47 OFFLINE   RabbitMan3000

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Posted March 10 2014 - 05:09 AM

If you haven't seen the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated, you really should. It goes into great detail to describe exactly how messed up the MPAA really is.

 

I'll tell you that as a parent (I have a 6 year old girl) and a movie lover I try to preview anything that my little one will see. That's the best option, and even then there are things that bug her that I wouldn't have guessed and there are things that don't bother her that I thought would have.



#19 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 10 2014 - 11:48 AM


It's been said many times before, but you're allowed way more violence in a lower rating than anything else.  A simple film about teenagers speaking the way teenagers speak would almost certainly garner a rating that would prohibit teenagers from actually seeing it.  "The Hunger Games" can show kids killing kids and that's OK for a PG-13, just as long as they don't say the "F" word.  (I'd argue that if I was a kid being hunted by other kids and running for my life, that would be a perfectly appropriate time to drop an f-bomb.)

 

There was a documentary about schoolyard bullying a couple of years ago that was supposedly a must-see for parents and kids, but it got slapped with an 'R' rating. There was a huge outcry, but the MPAA didn't budge. Eventually they reduced it to PG-13 when the director agreed to remove a handful of F-bombs. No worries about the discussion of teens who committed suicide, of course.

 

http://abcnews.go.co...ublic-pressure/


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#20 of 47 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted March 10 2014 - 12:08 PM

Everyone would be better off if they just got rid of the ratings. You can tell what the suitability of a movie will be based on the marketing campaign from the studios anyway. 95% of the time, with few exceptions at any rate.

 

The MPAA is a censorship board first and foremost. Content get's killed prior to shooting in hopes of getting a PG-13 or whatever rating they need/hope to get. People going into a Transformers movie know what they are getting, it's not like without the board there all of a sudden there's going to be a hard core sex scene in it. The studio putting up the three hundred million will make sure that the film caters to the widest group/lowest denominator in the hope that it will make a billion.

 

And no one needs to see an R rating or NC-17 or "Unrated" to know a Lars Von Triers film will probably have a penis in it and be inappropriate for their 8 year old.

 

It's a stupid system that isn't benefiting anyone other than marketers.






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