MPAA Ratings

Study Shows PG-13 Films Contain More Gun Violence Than R-Rated Ones We’re only human, and it’s completely normal to for us humans to give in to our baser urges every once in a while. Maybe we eat an entire sleeve of Oreos in one sitting, or we half-ass the crossword puzzle in an in-flight magazine and just leave it there, denying the next person in that seat the chance for an unanswered puzzle. And sometimes, we just want to watch people with guns shoot other people with guns. It’s human nature, and for almost all of us there’s a thrill to be found in some well-choreographed Hollywood gun violence. But a new study from The Ohio State University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that we may be overindulging in America’s new favorite pastime. You can read the full report here, but be advised- it contains several graphs and the word “homoscedasticity.” Parts of the study aren’t exactly a surprise; gun violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled since 1985. But here’s the big news: PG-13 films, which initially held “about as much gun violence” as any G or PG flick, now have “as much or more violence” than your average R-rated feature. The study also mentions the “weapons effect,” or the idea that mere exposure to weapons or violence can cause aggressive tendencies in viewers. Naturally, the more violence the PG-13 crowd is exposed to, the […]

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Hot on the heels of winning a slew of awards at the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein has decided to go to war with the MPAA over the new documentary Bully, which was “slapped” with an R rating for language and lost an appeal to have it changed to PG-13. I’m not going to spend all my time pointing out the irony that Harvey Weinstein is a big bully himself, leveraging the tragic events in this new film to orchestrate a publicity stunt. Suffice it to say, if he were interested in actually having as many students as possible watch this film instead of making money, he could easily distribute censored screeners to schools with any offending language bleeped out. And why is he doing a little song-and-dance about releasing it “unrated” when he knows full well that the National Association of Theatre Owners will have to treat it like an NC-17 film (under the yoke and obligation of the MPAA)? Make no mistake… Weinstein’s in it for the money and not the cause. But let’s leave his personal bullying out of the argument and consider the possibility that an R rating might, in fact, be the right thing for Bully.

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A couple of days ago we reported that Harvey Weinstein intended to once again heroically take on the MPAA. This time it was because they had seemingly ridiculously stuck the upcoming documentary Bully with an R-rating due to some nasty language. The kerfuffle with that comes from the fact that director Lee Hirsch’s work is an important look at a terrible behavioral plague that has the American school system in its grip, and has already lead to an unacceptable amount of violence and death. This movie deals with the lives of bullies and those that are bullied; it’s theoretically an eye-opening experience meant to preach an anti-bullying message to a generation of people who are growing increasingly more callous in the way they treat one another. But, you know, that doesn’t work if the movie gets an R-rating and none of the kids who are supposed to go see it are able to buy a ticket. Just a few days ago this didn’t seem like such a big deal. Weinstein had successfully argued down the rating of one of his films before, so there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to do it again; especially in such a cut and dry situation where a movie was made for didactic purposes, and a little bit of language could probably be excused under the grounds of the film needing an air of realness in order to reach the younger generation who most need to hear the message. The MPAA isn’t […]

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The Motion Picture Association of America has a history of questionable practices when it comes to their content rating of film releases. And Harvey Weinstein has a history of going up against the organization when he doesn’t agree with harsh ratings they’ve slapped on Weinstein movies. In October of 2010, his indie project Blue Valentine got slapped with an NC-17 rating due to an oral sex scene, and Harvey successfully appealed the decision, arguing that nothing in the film was exploitative or unessential, and that the rating would be financially harming a great work of art if it was left to stand. It looks like it’s time for round 2 in the Weinstein/MPAA war. This time the fight is over a documentary called Bully, which takes a look at schoolyard bullying in the United States. The MPAA has deemed that the film should be R-rated due to “some language,” and Weinstein is pissed because a restrictive rating would prohibit the youths who need to see a movie like this most from being able to buy a ticket.

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The Motion Picture Association of America must die. It’s a monopolistic behemoth that poisons creativity and commerce while hiding behind the failed task of educating parents about film content, and the time has come to call for its dissolution. The above logo is what we, as movie fans, are most familiar with when it comes to the MPAA because we see it on trailers and home video, but that symbol is really a trick of PR. The goal of the MPAA is not to rate movies, even if that’s the product we know and loathe best. The MPAA’s founding, fundamental aim is to maintain the corporate dominance of its members – the six largest studios. It does not serve fans. It does not serve families. It does not serve filmmakers.

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During a little sit down meeting of the minds with MTV, Hugh Jackman and one of MTV’s interviewers talked turkey about the upcoming X-Men spinoff The e and what sort of rating Jackman and director James Mangold would be shooting for. The big, headline grabbing news is that there is actually talk of an R-rated Wolverine on the table. During their discussions, Jackman and Mangold have acknowledged that, “There’s such great temptation to make an R-rated Wolverine. I’ve always felt that. I know a lot of fans would like that. I totally get it. If there was ever a superhero that was going to be R-rated, it’s Wolverine.” These are going to be exciting words to hear for a lot of comic book fans, and many will probably come away from the interview spreading the word that an R-rated The Wolverine might happen, but I’d like to throw some cold water on that. When speaking further on the subject Jackman says that the problem with making an R-rated superhero movie is that, “In the last ten years I’ve also met many 12, 13, dare I say 10, 14, 15-year-olds, who for them Wolverine is not just cool, you see it in their eyes, he’s everything to them … you’d need to have a really good reason to exclude those fans.” Despite the quality of the reason I just don’t think there is any way that any studio anywhere would ever exclude the teen and tween crowd from a Wolverine movie. […]

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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