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Monday, November 11, 2013

An Easy Way to Deal with America's Broken Ratings System

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM

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Ignore it.

In the Weinstein Company's latest publicity stunt regarding one of their movies getting rated R, they've gotten Judi Dench to reprise her role as M (RIP) to protest Philomena's rating. Philomena is, insanely, rated R because the word "fuck" is said twice instead of once. (Previously, Weinstein has protested the R-rating for the documentary Bully and for The King's Speech—though it's worth remembering that the notoriously domineering Harvey Weinstein is a hypocrite, having edited the language in The King's Speech, once the publicity died down, so that it could be seen by people with delicate little ears.)

Meanwhile, an io9 commenter noticed that Ron Howard's Rush was rated R here in the States—but rated G in Quebec! So they called the Quebec ratings board to ask why. And the ratings board answered! And their answers were 100 percent sensible and reasonable, and prove, in yet another way, that Canada is depressingly superior to America.

And meanwhile AGAIN, a study has found something that will shock exactly no one who's seen a PG-13 film lately: PG-13-rated movies are, in fact, more violent than R-rated movies:

A study set for publication in the December issue of Pediatrics confirms what some of Hollywood’s sharpest critics have suspected: The level of gun violence in the top-selling PG-13 movies has been rising, and it now exceeds that in the most popular R-rated films. (Via.)

Naturally, "A spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America, which oversees the domestic film ratings system in partnership with theater owners, declined to discuss the study."

The weirdly secretive, completely unreliable MPAA has been broken for a long time, and shows no signs of ever becoming even slightly more sensible about their rules—which somehow seem both arbitrary and iron-clad. At this point, I can't imagine film ratings being of interest to anyone besides overprotective parents or terrified prudes—but if you're one of those overprotective parents (and/or a terrified prude), it might be a good idea to do your own research about a film, rather than letting the MPAA's useless ratings affect your decisions.

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