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PG-13 Rating Turns 20 321

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the microwaved-green-monsters dept.
Ant writes "CNN has a story about the 20 year anniversary of PG-13 and how it was created/born from two of Steven Spielberg's movies. (Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and Gremlins)" Oh, Mola Ram and your heart-removing antics, little did you know the profound impact you would have.
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PG-13 Rating Turns 20

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  • Enforcement... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Izago909 (637084) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <dogsiuat>> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @06:59PM (#10083285)
    I realize the importance of having a rating that differentiates between a kid's movie and one for young adults, but as a non-parent I look on it with contempt. Ever since the R rating begun to be widely enforced, studios have toned down violent films so they can still have a chance at making money from the younger market. For example: I might actually have gone to see the recent Alien vs. Predator film had it been rated R, but since it was PG-13, I decided to wait until I can rent it. Enforcement of the ratings system, and the studios' response to it, has dealt the death blow for true horror/action films, because studios must now focus on making higher quality products for a more discerning audience if they want to make profit and carry the R rating. Instead they choose to neuter their movies and add some more special effects and popular cliché to entice the kids.

    I'm not suggesting that just because a movie is rated PG-13 that it is, by default, a bad movie. What I am suggesting is that continuations of previously successful films, and modern horror/action flicks will never be what we all remember them to be. We will never see truly cheesy and senselessly bloody movies like Evil Dead ever again.

    Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls, this [adirtyshamemovie.com] one looks promising. I saw the trailer for it the other day.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:00PM (#10083308)
      How did you type this and still get a first post?
    • Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls

      Showgirls is not a decent movie. The only real question is whether it's just horrible or whether it's so bad that it's passable as camp. I don't think any of the principals associated with it really want to be associated with it anymore.

      • Re:Showgirls decent? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Izago909 (637084) *

        Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls

        Showgirls is not a decent movie. The only real question is whether it's just horrible or whether it's so bad that it's passable as camp. I don't think any of the principals associated with it really want to be associated with it anymore.

        It's definately camp. Some blame it for destroying Elizabeth Berkley's career, but I blame Saved by the Bell for that. It did wonders for Gina Gershon's though. Oddly enough, she gained a large ho

        • Re:Showgirls decent? (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Oddly enough, she gained a large homosexual following from it.

          Possibly because she played a lesbian in Showgirls and Bound, among other movies?
    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:11PM (#10083391) Homepage Journal
      Nah, your real problem is with the movie studios. Basically, they stopped making plots in, what, '86 or so? With the rare exception of a "Memento" here or a "Requiem For A Dream" there, you can limit your watching to only movies made prior to the late '80s without missing a single thing.

      PG-13 came around about the same time as the studios simply gave up trying. It has nothing to do with making movies teen-safe, and everything to do with the tactic also commonly seen in corporate board rooms: saying to hell with the future, let's see how much junk we can shove out the door on the cheap today before our customers abandon us.

      Give PG-13 a break. If anything, it let studios add the occasional adult element to otherwise-PG movies while still allowing the chilluns to see them. Yes, current movies suck, but that has nothing to do with revamping the ratings system.

      • I agree completely. What's happening with modern films is the studios' response to the enforcement of the R rating.

        On a side note, Rules of Attraction [imdb.com] is the only decent drama I've seen on this side of the century. If anyone knows of any other recent thought provoking films, please post them.
        • I loved Garden State [imdb.com] and Lost in translation [imdb.com]
      • Re:Enforcement... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by huchida (764848) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:39PM (#10083574)

        Nah, your real problem is with the movie studios. Basically, they stopped making plots in, what, '86 or so? With the rare exception of a "Memento" here or a "Requiem For A Dream" there, you can limit your watching to only movies made prior to the late '80s without missing a single thing.


        People keep saying this, but I don't buy it. We have a collective ability to remember the classics and forget all the crappy movies made throughout the years and think things used to be better. They weren't. They've made shitty hack movies since day one. Sequels aren't even anything new, look how many third-rate sci-fi and detective series have been produced throughout the years. I'll give you that the major studios put out some great stuff in the '70's, but that was a fluke-- before then, it was much the same as it is now.

        The truth is, people want the crap. A good movie can do pretty well and find an audience-- look at, say, Donnie Darko-- but the majority want their Alien Vs. Predator. They want to forget their troubles and watch special effects, not be asked to think. And you can give AvP a scathing review, and their friends will tell them it sucked, and they'll still go to see it. If the audience truly hungered for better movies, there would be more of them.

        There are good movies being made, by the way. Thanks in part to both DVD potential and the explosion of low-cost digital editing, idependent filmmaking is stronger now than ever. And it's actually possible to make something great on a shoestring budget with no studio backing or big names and get it seen. That was much, much harder to do as recently as fifteen or twenty years ago.
        • Re:Enforcement... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by (54)T-Dub (642521) <tpaine@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:24PM (#10083913) Journal
          Amen ... One only has to look at Usual Suspects [imdb.com] to see how succesful a quality low budget (6 million) film can really be on DVD. The format has allowed for sleeper hits like this one to truely thrive. Now with the advent and success of services like netflix the possiblities are truely being realized. The bottleneck was shifted from the movie theaters than can only show 1-10 movies, to the video rental stores that have between 100-500 movies, to the online rental services that currently have over 25,000 movies. I mean talk about an opportunity for independent film makers.
      • Re:Enforcement... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by The-Bus (138060) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:53PM (#10083654)
        No, movies are still good. I could name about 100 that have come out in the past 15 years that are spectacular. As shorthand, please note that 20 of IMDB's Top 50 Movies are from 1990 or more recent. I'm not saying all those are masterpieces, but they're damn good.

        The issue, if you'll let me troll for a paragraph or so, is that you're old and/or not interested in researching truly good films being made now. The quality of films right now, I'd say, is probably better than before, certainly not worse. For every Empire Strikes Back there were five American Ninja movies. It's just that, over time, we forget bad movies. I mean, who remembers movies like Fklesh & Blood [imdb.com]? But we remember Sunset Blvd. [imdb.com]. In 15 years no one will remember Avp. Just give it time. All the good stuff will rise to the surface.
        • Re:Enforcement... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Stormie (708)

          I mean, who remembers movies like Fklesh & Blood [imdb.com]?

          I don't, but I sure as hell remember the 1985 remake [imdb.com] - it had a naked Jennifer Jason Leigh in it!

        • Re:Enforcement... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cei (107343)
          please note that 20 of IMDB's Top 50 Movies are from 1990 or more recent

          This has more to do with the mass markety appeal of IMDB than with the cinematic excellence of that survey. Hell, look for just about any summer or Christmas blockbuster on that chart shortly after it opens. People will say it was the best film evar, but eventually common sense will bump it back down a few notches.
      • Re:Enforcement... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by alphaseven (540122) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:04PM (#10083751)
        With the rare exception of a "Memento" here or a "Requiem For A Dream" there, you can limit your watching to only movies made prior to the late '80s without missing a single thing.
        Funny you should mention Requiem For A Dream, originally that film was rated NC-17, which studios try to avoid because some theatres won't carry NC-17 films and some newspapers won't carry ads for them.

        So what they did was release the film as unrated, with instructions for theatres not to allow anyone under 18 into the film. Since it wasn't technically an NC-17 film it was okay to show. Since then I think this loophole's been closed.

        Anyway rating systems are messed up. Like foreign childrens films like "Billy Elliot" and "Whale Rider" get PG-13, and films with no sex or violence, just people talking, like "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing" and "Before Sunrise" get an R rating because they used the word "fuck" more than twice. I don't get that, use the f word twice it's PG-13, three times it's an R. On the Bourne Identity commentary they said they had to carefully decide which character would get the alloted f word. I don't think language should even be a criteria, kids can see worse language in school libraries.

        And what's up with Europeans get the uncut version of "Eyes Wide Shut" while the U.S. gets the family friendly R-rated version?

        • Re:Enforcement... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @09:52PM (#10084508)
          This is mostly an american thing. It's very amusing to see your "standards" from an european perspective.

          Here in Scandinavia you can curse in TV-shows and movies. I haven't heard much cursing in children movies, but it wouldn't be against the law.

          The same goes with nudity. I've seen movies for children that contained nudity, but in a natural setting (like taking a bath etc.).

          What we really try to protect young children against is violence. It seems like the american movies do the opposite. You can show violence, but if anyone shows a tit, the movie instantly moves up a rating :-)

      • Requiem... Yeah, that was a good movie if you wanted to put a gun in your mouth the next day....)

        Programming:
        Someone picked up a pile of these for $1 at a garage sale.

        As he perused through them, he took notes.

        From it we got

        • The Fugitive
          Good movie, but loses points for standing on the shoulders of an ok tv show
        • Addams Family
        • Flintstones
        • Beverly Hillbillies
          Good Lord, why
        • Rocky & Bullwinkle
          ibid
        • Mod Squad
          Still, the same
        • Incredible Hulk
          It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a tanking movie!
        • Spiderman
          Ok, real
        • And people prefer to buy the "Dogs playing poker" picture than real art.
          The taste of the masses when it comes to any art form leans towards the bland and mindless. I think when it comes to art/entertainment most people want it as pure diversion. They don't want deep thinking, they want the cheap laugh (There's Something about Mary), the movie where stuff gets blow'd up (Terminator 2), the music that is just empty and catchy (Ace of Base), and licensed video games (Enter the Matrix)
          The mass market is going
      • Movies do not suck (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kahei (466208)

        Good movies are coming out at an alarming rate. In fact, I would say that for the first time since the 60s it is now possible to go to a mainstream cinema and have a high chance of finding a real grownup movie on. Even wide-appeal movies like the Kill Bill movies, Lost in Translation and so on are grown up in the way that 80's movies never were. We have more 'pure art' movies available than ever before, now that Japanese, Chinese and Korean movies are finally actually being shown on screens (admittedly o
    • Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls

      You mean the movie that is sold in a package making fun of itself? Right.

    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by huchida (764848)
      It's not necessarily PG-13's fault. It's the market. Studios know they'll make more releasing a movie for the widest range of audiences. If there wasn't a PG-13, movies like Alien Vs. Predator would be butchered further down to PG. Or not be released at all.

      At least we have DVD now, so movies hacked up to get the tamer rating can release "unrated" versions with the lost footage intact (in fact, the unrated versions drive up sales, consumers are much more inclined to buy a movier they're already seen wh
    • So you're saying that since PG-13, movies have declined in quality from Evil Dead?

      The mind boggles.

      • You should read the comment [imdb.com] on the IMDB site. He sums it up very well. It's not as much the quality, as it is the complete campiness and cult following it's gained because of the directors methods. Please keep in mind the original rating was R, but was re-rated NC-17 in the early 90s.
    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stcanard (244581)
      That's not the fault of PG-13, it's the fault of executives who decide on a target market, then try to build a movie around it.

      Making a movie, then deciding if it fits in G, PG-13, 14-Years, R, NC-17 is fine.

      Declaring ("We need to make this movie PG-13" | We cannot afford to have a movie NC-17") "so cut it down until it fits" is the issue.
    • Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls...

      I've heard good things about Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers [imdb.com], though I haven't seen it myself yet. For what it's worth, Ebert & Roeper both gave it two thumbs up [go.com].
    • by the-matt-mobile (621817) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:52PM (#10083651)
      Though my position on this issue probably doesn't sync with the norm, I've found the problem with PG-13 to be the exact opposite of yours. Sometimes I'd just like to see a good movie without any of the questionable junk. (I know, I know - lots of people seem to prefer to see the stuff I just called junk in their moves - I'd rather that stuff be in movies rated R though.) Movies which for the most part probably could be rated PG throw some gratuitous scene or language in just to get the coveted PG-13 rating so that the teenage crowd won't dismiss it. So, what you end up with are movies which are mostly pretty good, but have some questionable content which may or may not fit with the rest of the story or the intended audience in one small scene just to get the more mature rating. So, from my perspective, the PG-13 rating has actually worsened my movie going experience. But, I recognize I'll be hard pressed to have very many other people on Slashdot agree. Let the puritanical accusations commence!
    • I think it's more of a problem that no matter what the subject is, every Disneyish [read lame cartooon] movie since ever has a G rating when there are tamer non-animated PG-13 movies.
    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lord Kano (13027)
      I'm so glad that you mentioned AVP. It is a perfect example of what is wrong with the PG-13 centric model of movie making.

      Remember the previous Alien and Predator movies? There was blood all over the place. There were even a few shots of naked boobies. And the comedic relief of the "You are one ugly motherfucker" line is missing.

      I could understand a new franchise going for the PG-13 market. But established franchises like Alien, Predator, Friday the 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street should stick to their r
    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:16PM (#10083850)
      It's also lead to an interesting counter-trend out of Hollywood... they're now putting out the "unrated edition" DVD for movies that had to get some scenes cut to qualify for the lower MPAA rating. The American Pie movie series comes to mind as an example of just such a case.

      Effectively, two cuts of such movies end up on the DVD marketplace, and the consumer decides how offensive they want the movie to be.
      • Dead wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

        by glpierce (731733)
        "It's also lead to an interesting counter-trend out of Hollywood... they're now putting out the "unrated edition" DVD for movies that had to get some scenes cut to qualify for the lower MPAA rating."

        It's not a "counter-trend," it's a "profit-trend." The "Unrated" label is just a ploy to sell more DVDs. "Ooh look! This is unrated, it must be full of sex and murder! I want to see what I missed in theaters!"
    • Re:Enforcement... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Snowman (116231) *

      Also, if anyone hasn't heard of a decent NC-17 movie since Showgirls...

      The tomato never lies: Showgirls [rottentomatoes.com] was not a decent movie, it is thoroughly rotten.

      ...this [adirtyshamemovie.com] one looks promising. I saw the trailer for it the other day.

      It looks decent enough from the trailer for what looks like a B movie. I do not know if they are toning it down for the general audience of Internet users (i.e. includes people who cannot get into an NC-17 film), but it appears as though it is an actual movie and not just a porno on t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @06:59PM (#10083289)
    PG13 has been able to watch itself.
  • Woah (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:00PM (#10083303)
    Did anyone else think they were raising the allowed age for letting kids into a PG-13 movie to 20?

    Or maybe 20 year olds could be naked now in a PG-13 movie.

    Or... how old are the Olsen Twins again?
  • by Will2k_is_here (675262) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:03PM (#10083316) Homepage
    For a second there, I thought PG-13 was about to become PG-20!
    • Ratings Creep (Score:4, Informative)

      by superyooser (100462) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:07PM (#10083778) Homepage Journal
      It already has! Researchers call it R-13 [worldnetdaily.com].
      A Christian ministry advising parents about the content of popular movies says its not surprised by a Harvard University study finding films within the same rating class are getting raunchier, noting it made the same discovery four years ago.

      ChildCare Action Project Movie Ministry indicates the Harvard data echoes its own findings from 2000. The Harvard study, released last month, shows content of movies with specific ratings is getting stronger, meaning a film rated PG-13 today likely would have received an R rating several years ago.

      Researchers looked at films released between 1992 and 2003. The study found more sex and violence in later PG movies and more of the same, plus more profanity, in PG-13 movies. It also found R-rated movies contained more profanity and sex.

      Today's PG-13 movies, it was found, are inching toward what R-rated movies looked like in 1992.

      Even films rated G were found to have more violence, especially in animated features.

      The CAP Ministry notes it scrutinized films for eight years using a specific set of standards and mathematical formulae. [capalert.com] The group's statistical analysis found PG-13 movies consistently including more objectionable elements as the years went on, leading the researchers to coin the rating "R-13."

      "In the first five years the percentage of R-13 movies more than quadrupled (an increase of 459 percent) which says in the year 2000, 450 percent more of the PG-13 audiences were fed R-rated programming than in 1996/7," the Christian research said.

      Researchers from both CAP Ministry and Harvard noted the movie rating system used by the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, is too general.

      Said CAP Ministry founder Tom Carder: "The CAP Analysis Model could replace the MPAA. And the CAP Analysis Model provides it objectively, not vulnerable to mood and preference subjectivity so you can be in a better position to have the information you need to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your kids (or yourself)."

      Read more [worldnetdaily.com]

  • Hooray (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:04PM (#10083325)

    CNN has a story about the 20 year anniversary of PG-13

    In a related story... nobody cares.

  • The Funny thing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajiva (156759) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:04PM (#10083326)
    The funny thing is that actor that plays Ram was a popular Indian actor that played villian roles. His lines were all in Hindi, and not gibberish. Something about "Black mother" if I remember correctly.
  • Revisionist history (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The article talks about how it was adopted and loved and all that when for a long time - even after Indiana Jones and such - it was the No Man's Land of ratings. Teens could still get in to R movies, while parents wouldn't want to take younger kids to PG-13 movies. I'm not sure where they came up with this tripe of a story. Then again it seems to be an RIAA press release gifted to them by CNN so it's understandable that it's full of shit.
  • by greypilgrim (799369) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:05PM (#10083338)
    What I don't get, is that the rating systems are inconsistent. Here in Quebec, most movies that are rated R elsewhere are rated PG-13. Take Hannibal for instance, I believe in the U.S. it was rated R, in Quebec it was PG-13 or maybe even PG-14, and in Brittish Columbia I think it was rated PG. How can anyone make sense of anything when the rating system is inconsistent? If you ask me, it's just a waste of time, completely meaningless.
    • by tntguy (516721) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:08PM (#10083363)
      It's the exchange rate.
    • by Hamster Lover (558288) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:25PM (#10083479) Journal
      All the provinces in Canada have a movie review board that is empowered with determining a rating on all publically released movies. What one province will rate PG another might give 14A (think PG14, it's a Canadian thing).

      Quebec and Canada in general, seem to have a more liberal ratings policy than their American counterparts. I had the same reaction when I was out for a movie in Texas and saw several movies rated "R" that were 14A back home in BC. Another difference that comes to mind is while the Canadian ratings system is mandated by provincal law, the American ratings system was a compromise created by the MPAA to stave off government censorship (if memory serves).

      Something else to note is while in the U.S. the MPAA rating carries over onto the video release, the Canadian distributors apply a "Canadian Home Video" (or somesuch) rating that reflects the liberal Canadian ratings during the theatrical release. No province that I know of classifies home movies other than adult, thus the "Canadian Home Video" rating system.
    • For some PG-13 films, the use of English pushes them over the edge into R in Quebec.
  • by Radon Knight (684275) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:05PM (#10083346)
    I guess that explains why Indy was so surprised when he said, "He's still alive!" Or why Short Round yelled, "Cover your heart Indy! Cover your heart!" during the bridge scene.

    For those of you who don't know what I'm referring to, in the U.K. cut of Temple of Doom, the British censors refused to screen the movie without deleting the heart-removal scene, and the scene of Short Round being whipped, and maybe one or two other scenes. (The recently released Indy boxed set in the U.K. kept with the original theatrical versions, which pissed me off when I realised the difference.) As you might expect - and as I mentioned above - the heart scene was sorta crucial for making sense of a couple points of the movie.

    • Reminds me of -never- again watching Indiana Jones movies on the BBC ;)

      I still remember tuning in, and 'sitting down' for the heartripping-bit (yes, i am sick ;) ) : Only to discover they just totally deleted it :D

    • You guys went 15 years or so without even knowing about the heart scene? Salty.... Bloody censorship pisses me off no end.
    • Similarly, the version of "Silence of the Lambs" I first saw was the one censored by Blockbuster.

      [spoilers ahead]

      They had removed the shot in which one of the mental patients threw semen at Jodie Foster. This was a major plot point: the reason Hannibal decided to cooperate with her investigation. In the Blockbuster version, Hannibal told her to go away, then people started yelling, then he called her back and gave her the information she was looking for.

      It made a lot more sense when I saw the whole

      • Similarly, the version of "Silence of the Lambs" I first saw was the one censored by Blockbuster.

        A few people have made comments about Blockbuster censoring movies. How bad is it? I do not have a membership and have not for many years. The last time I rented a movie was a VHS cassette "formatted to fit my screen, edited for length and conent" and all that crap. Now I purchase DVDs formatted to fit my widescreen HDTV and of course the vast majority of DVDs are director's cuts, unrated version, special edi

      • Are you sure you're remembering the blockbuster version and not the tv version (alternate versions [imdb.com]).

        Blockbuster says they don't censor films, but they do refuse to carry NC-17 films until the studio cuts them (Bad Lieutenant, Crash) to an R-rated "blockbuster version". Since Silence of the Lambs was originally R I don't see why they would request an edited version.

        While it's not censorship, I do think what blockbuster does is deceitful because their customers are unaware that several of the videos there

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:05PM (#10083347)
    The fine brat-esque-pack Red Dawn.
    • For the record (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Raul654 (453029)
      That anon post is exactly right - Red Dawn was not the first film to get a PG-13 rating (I can't remember which one was), but it was the first film *released* with a PG-13 rating. At the time, Red Dawn had more scenes of graphic violence than any other movie ever made.
      • At the ripe young age of 9, I remember being highly interested in the birth of the new rating, and began keeping track (purposes - yes, I'm a trivia geek, why do you ask?) of those first few PG-13 movies. Red Dawn was indeed the first released PG-13 film, but among the other first movies were Dreamscape [imdb.com] (for violence) and Oxford Blues [imdb.com] (for language and brief nudity) and The Woman In Red [imdb.com], all within a week of Red Dawn's release.
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:06PM (#10083352) Homepage Journal

    Why is this "knews" piece even relevant? CNN has a pro-MPAA, pro-RIAA, Valenti puff piece every couple days. You don't see a whole lot of well-rounded copyright discourse on the major media news outlets. (Gee, I wonder why...) CNN: We're tough on music fans. We like suing kids and grandmas. We equate infringement with theft. We are fair and balanced, too.

    • You don't see a whole lot of well-rounded copyright discourse on the major media news outlets. (Gee, I wonder why...) CNN: We're tough on music fans. We like suing kids and grandmas. We equate infringement with theft. We are fair and balanced, too.

      Quite some time ago (about the time the RIAA started cracking down) CNN had an interview with an RIAA rep on "Newsnight with Aaron Brown" in which Mr. Brown concluded by wishing the rep good luck on their hunt to bring the bad guys to justice. I sent an email

      • Apparently at least one of the most senior newsmen also believe that the RIAA is doing the right thing.

        The problem is that Aaron Brown is just a mediocre journalist at best. At some point, CNN decided to introduce all kinds of people to the major anchoring jobs that look good and are great at giving some more human touch to stories, throw in a small non-offensive joke once in a while. People like Aaron Brown or Paula Zahn. But they don't excel at their jobs, which is a pity, given CNN's status.

        CNN still
    • Disney owns ABC america
      News Corp owns Fox News and 20th centuary fox
      Time Warner owns CNN
      Viacom owns Paramount and CBS (and also UPN)
      I dont know who owns NBC (I think it is or was Vivendi or General Electric or something)

      No matter where you go, most "news" outlets are biased.
      When it comes to any issue that affects the big $$$$$ that Big Media makes, they are always going to go with whatever side makes them the most.

      With regards to copyright, expect the MPAA to push for HD-DVD players (or whatever the new s
  • Almost nothing gets a "G" or "NC-17", so most films are "PG-13" and "R". I think the Catholic ternary system was a little better in distinguishing movies: "A", "B" and "C"- children, adult(not naughty), and condemned.
    • Don't you mean SNT, PC and NPC?

      SNT = Skirts & Ties
      PC = Practicing Catholics
      NPC = Non-practicing Catholics
    • by daveo0331 (469843) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:46PM (#10083617) Homepage Journal
      The problem is with the unintended consequences of the ratings system. In theory, there should be 5 different ratings (G, PG, PG13, R, NC17). In reality, the ratings start to take on meanings other than the ones they were intended to have. For example, G means "kid's movie" and NC17 means "sex" so studios deliberately avoid putting out movies that have these ratings. Sometimes this means adding an expletive or two for the sole purpose of getting the movie up to PG instead of G.

      I've heard of the Catholic rating system. One thing they do that the MPAA doesn't is they look at how the sex/violence/whatever is portrayed and not just whether it exists. So if someone gets murdered, but the movie shows the consequences of violence rather than glorifying it, the Catholic system tends to take this into account. Of course, it's all based on the Catholic Church's idea of morality, so movies can also get nailed for things like showing unmarried couples living together, gay/lesbian relationships, etc.

      They must be doing something right, though. I believe Gigli was rated "Offensive."
      • The Roman Catholic system actually tends to reflect the ideas of quality, realism, and depth (granted - all often within the limits of certain moral biases, particularly about sex).
        RC censors operate under rules where they are expected to look at West Side Story, recognize that it's based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, that the musical score is a skilled orchestral work and integral to the creation as a whole, and that there's an added message about racial and class intolerance that makes a number
    • There are at least 5 different ratings - allowing much greater flexibility.

      G (Irl, General) - U (UK, Universal)
      PG (Irl, UK, Parental Guidance)
      12PG (Irl, over 12s only, or under with a parent/guardian) - 12 (UK, over 12s)
      15PG (Irl, over 15s only, or under with a parent/guardian) - 15 (UK, over 15s)
      18 (Irl, UK, over 18s)
  • by cOdEgUru (181536) * <cherian.abraham@gmai l . c om> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:09PM (#10083380) Homepage Journal
    Not many know the actor who played Mola Ram is a Bollywood actor who has the badguy act down to the dot. Some info on how this talented actor landed this role can be found here [indiainfo.com]

    However the first time I saw Temple of Doom, I specifically didnt enjoy the manner in which Speilberg sought to portray the culture and traditions of India and Hinduism. Thanks to movie such as Temple of Doom, a big part of Western Hemisphere thought this sad portrayal was still true of India until the Indians started stealing their jobs :).

    But heck, its a movie and though not as good as the other two, it is still enjoyable. I hope Speilberg and Ford gets around to making one more and I wouldnt complain if they threw Sir Sean in to the mold as well..
  • by PapayaSF (721268) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:16PM (#10083422) Journal
    An interesting bit of movie rating history: when the MPAA brought out the original system (G/M/R/X), they trademarked the first three but not "X." Pornographers were thus free to use it, and it came to be associated with "pornography" instead of "adult content," requiring the creation of the "NC-17" rating years later.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-rated [wikipedia.org]
    • Yup, hence "Urban Cowboy" was correctly X rated (while it contained some nudity, nothing approaching porn... it'd be a soft R now)... the only oscar winner with that rating :)
      • Yup, hence "Urban Cowboy" was correctly X rated

        Do you mean Midnight Cowboy ?

        I can remember my parents seeing this in the theatre, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, both rated X.

        Imagine a world when your parents go out to see X rated movies.

        Ok that was too easy, imagine a world where... uh, oh never mind.

    • Oddly enough, the full-page ad in the Village Voice for "The Brown Bunny" this week gives the rating as 'X' rather than 'NC-17'.

      I guess even the marketing group for the movie knows the film has nothing going for it other than its explicit fellatio scene...

  • by wobedraggled (549225) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:21PM (#10083448) Homepage
    When it came out in the 80's it was the best thing to happen to movies. Youu could have a good humor flick with a flash of nudity and still have the teens go to see it. Now it's an excuse to make a half assed horror/thriller and tone it down enough to make them extra money. So many movies have been killed by this rating. Blah....
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:22PM (#10083459)
    Spielberg had the brilliant idea of adding a sub-rating to a 2-level rating system (making *gasp!* 3 levels), told it to his buddy Jack Valenti, who then asked their opinion to theater owners (who, as everybody knows, are reknown experts in pedopsychology) and implemented it.

    The new sub-level then quickly became a marketting tool to capture more teenager money, effectively turning the whole rating system into a 2-level system again, since no filmmaker wants a PG rating anymore.

    In short: *yawn*
  • AVP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @07:43PM (#10083600)
    AVP is a prime example of abuse of the PG-13 rating by a major studio. AVP was shot as an "R" rated film, but the studio, at the last second, decided to cut the film to a PG-13, so the younger crowd could get into see it, and make more money. To me, they ruined the film by doing this. Thankfully, they did not cut Freddy vs. Jason to a PG-13, yet it still was the number one movie that week and made a lot of money. Hollywood has long since lost it's segregation in regards to ratings. Instead of making kid films, teenager films and adult films, the studios are making "all in one" films that just about everyone can see.
  • by Castaa (458419) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:19PM (#10083883) Homepage Journal
    I was surprised to find out that the motion picture rating system is a voluntary system. It is enforced by the ownership/management of a theater and not by law (like age limits on alcohol or driving).

    I found this out when Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was released this year. There was such an uproar about the film being rated 'R' (and thus a "Bush led conspiracy to keeping some people from seeing it") that a couple of theater owners in the Bay Area said they wouldn't enforce the 'R' rating on the film.

    I'm not sure what would happen if a theater owner consistently ignored the rating system.
  • "As Steven Spielberg told The Associated Press recently, PG-13 puts "hot sauce" on a movie in the viewer's mind."

    Blah, more like mixing hot sauce with milk. Aiming just below the R for the more profitable PG-13 has ruined many movies in my mind. Giving up grit and realism for something more palatable to censors while thrashing the original vision.
  • But then again, is that surprising.

    The problem is that *all* of the ratings rely on someone else telling parents what's appropriate for their children. I know, but let's pretend that parents in this country actually parent.

    A better system of rating would be to rate them for launguage, violence, sexuality, etc., very similar to what many pay-cable networks use.

    Google for yourself - there's plenty of outraged people out there who think that some PG-13 movies are unacceptable for 13-year-olds, but if a mov
  • In Britain, up until 1989, we had ratings similar to the US ones. U (Universal) for films suitable for everyone, PG (Parental Guidance) for films that contained some content unsuitable for very small kids, and 15 and 18, films suitable only for 15 and 18 year-olds respectively.

    However, in 1989, the 12 rating was introduced, primarily as a result of the 15 rating that the James Bond movie Licence To Kill received for one or two of the more violent scenes. The first movie to actually receive a 12 rating was
  • The myth of PG-13 (Score:2, Informative)

    by keyshawn632 (726102)
    As a movie employee, I see this myth being held by many, especially young, afraid adolescents; the myth you have to be at least 13 or with an adult to see a PG-13 movie.
    The actual guideline (that the MPAA doesn't really like to promote) is that the
    PG-13 rating still allows those under 13 to be admitted without a parent or guardian
    source: http://www.mpaa.org/movieratings/about/content5.ht m [mpaa.org]

    I'm even though a little surprised that PG-13 allow to get away with the RTFM word [In alien v. predator]; th
  • ..you can't expect the MPAA to do anything without stripping people of more rights, can you? So of course they had to make PG-13 and 'R' and apply the classic law of 'kids are sub-human things that should only watch what we decide they should watch' and put age-restrictions on theaters, just to ensure that kids don't leave their cages.

    Oh yay, let's celebrate a great milestone in thought control.
  • by Coupons (793098) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @09:38PM (#10084410) Homepage

    I've never seen a rating system for books - thank God. Some popular music is dissed for sex, obscenity, etc., but a rating system? Why are movies special?

    Let the film makers make the flick they want to make. ASSume the flicks are viewable by those who have reached the age of majority. Most film makers are already required to shoot alternate footage for the TV version. With digital distribution to theaters (How are we coming on that?) let the theaters show the different versions at different times of the day.

    I don't want my media censored. At the same time, I'm weary of writers, musicians and film makers who act like little kids and try to see what they can get away with just for the sake of doing it.

    If you don't want to watch something, fine, don't watch it, but you don't have the right to stop me from watching it, so bugger off.

  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Friday August 27, 2004 @05:33AM (#10086381)

    People who are either kids, or are just barely not kids (i.e. most Slashdotters) don't like the rating system! Who woulda thunk it? ;)

    But seriously ... grow up, have a few kids, and I don't think you'll mind having a few voluntary tools to keep them from becoming too coarse and vulger, too fast. Trash doesn't have to actually be harmful for you to want to keep your kids from wallowing in it.

    After all, when that must-see, super duper important movie that the kids simply *have* to see comes out, you could just take them there yourself, you know. Or rent it, since movies come out on video about five minutes after they're released now.

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