Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Should we really be shocked to find shooting in a PG-13 movie?

A new survey to be published in the American Pediatrics journal is making pop culture news this week,as it reveals that movies rated PG-13 seem to have an awful lot of violence(particularly gun violence) in them.

This might be news to some but I'm sure that I'm not alone in saying "Really? You don't say! Perhaps you should tell me something I already don't know!" Don't get me wrong, I get that not everyone has the time or inclination to take note on media content but if you're honestly that concerned about what your kids see or don't see, maybe you should be a little more attentive there.

Many of us are no stranger to the convoluted reasoning of the MPAA for cracking down harder on sexuality than violence over the years, especially film makers who have to jump through the various hoops set up for them in order to get a rating that would allow them mass market distribution and advertising.

 I suspect part of the reason for the focus on this study is to point yet another finger at Hollywood to blame for the very tragic real life shootings that have occurred during the last few years. That to me is just sad as such information could be used to benefit both artists and audiences in a positive way instead of becoming an excuse to avoid making any real world changes that matter:

Frankly,the folks running this study would have saved themselves a lot of time by just watching Kirby Dick's documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, a smart and savvy look at the hypocrisy of the movie ratings industry.

This film was released in 2006 and not much has changed since then, as big studio movies still get preference over independent ones in terms of ratings leniency and saying the "F" word too many times(even if the actual act is not shown on scene) is more frowned upon than gratuitous gunplay:

Even as we speak, a new bit of nonsense over a movie rating is going on. The Weinstein Company is currently contesting the MPAA over slapping an R rating on Philomena, which stars Judi Dench as a woman seeking out the child she gave up long ago.

Why is this film rated R? Not for violence or sexual content but because of "strong language". Yep, someone said that word that isn't fudge too many times and oh,no, we must protect the children from that!

 Never mind that this is not a film aimed at a younger crowd to begin with or that England,where it was made and first distributed, has no problem with it at all. Such puritanical hand wringing makes us look so immature on what is supposed to be a grown up subject:

Hopefully,something good will come of this film industry fuss,namely a reorganization of the MPAA's practices and standards. It's about time that we abandon this ruse of "what's best for the children" when it's truly the adults who have the problem.

After all, there is much more access to information about what is and is not in any film and many of the ratings warning boxes these days pretty much spoon feed you the type of material to expect in whatever you plan to watch.

 I've seen listings for "vampire/sci-fi/action violence" and "drug use", plus nudity and anything else that might shock your grandma. Take the time to read all about it if you're truly a concerned parent and then apply that to your own family only!

As for the MPAA, it would be nice if a sensible approach was instituted to the ratings system that respected the intelligence of movie goers instead of acting like a bunch of grumpy old men kicking people off their lawn and who knows, it might happen sooner rather than later. We shall see:


Thaddeus said...

You know how I don't always make my points quickly? I have a lot to say on this topic, but I can summarize lots of it with one anecdote:

In the commentary to Scream, Wes Craven said that the MPAA hated his movie because it was about a killer who would sneak up on you, struggle with you, and then plunge a knife into your body.

He said that they very clearly preferred OTT, cartoonish violence, like a T2-style fight where someone uses a mini-gun to mow down tons of people. The MPAA felt more resistant to more realistic - and more emotionally-engaging - violence. So they basically encourage the film industry to go for OTT insane crap!

And all of this is on top of the general stupidity of trying to market every single bloody movie to the 8-13 y/o set, even if it in no way works for the topic/subject (or, worse still, for the overall quality of the completed film).

lady t said...

Your comments are always worth the wait,Thaddeus and nice anecdote there!

I don't listen to commentaries as much as I should but sometimes I would hear the dialogue instead or want the person speaking to be talking directly about what's on screen at the moment but I digress.

Since this writing, the MPAA has granted Philomena a PG-13 which is hopefully a step in the right direction for future ratings choices.