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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Roger Ebert on Ratings... again.

   
Author Topic: Roger Ebert on Ratings... again.
Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 09-24-2000 10:31 PM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The recent congressional report about Hollywood marketing R-rated products to teenagers has prompted Roger Ebert to denounce the MPAA rating system... again.
http://www.suntimes.com/output/eb-feature/ebert21.htm

The problem I see with Ebert's proposed solution is that it's no better than what we have today. Ebert wants an "A" rating which will apply to non-pornographic, adult-only material. But how many blockbusters will ever fall into that category? Let's face it, the "A-rated" movies would be niche-market, art house films at best. Exhibitors would not be anxious to show them. It would do nothing to shield youngsters from stuff like Scary Movie. One could say that "the genie is out of the bottle" when it comes to raunchy comedies which are seen by children (with or without their parents) and violent movies which are seen by children too. Will a change in the rating system cause parents to suddenly care what their kids are watching?

The problem with discussions like this is that they always go to examples of specific movies. One guy might think that A Clockwork Orange is a beautiful film which should be seen by adults and maybe teenagers. Another might say that the movie is pornographic and should still be rated X. Who's right? But the argument cannot be solved using that example. Pick another example... should Blazing Saddles still be rated R? The system can never be truly fair because every time you compare one movie to another it's an apples and oranges situation.


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Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-25-2000 12:53 AM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The movie business is about more than just blockbusters. Yes, blockbusters are important but studios and theatres need a steady dependable flow of singles, doubles and triples as well as the home runs. I think Ebert has a valid point - there are films made for adult audiences - films with mature subject matter. This is an audience the studios neglect for 9 months out of the year. Perhaps A isn't the best letter or adult the best designation. Early on in the ratings system PG was M for Mature but was changed to correct confusion caused by the rating. Maybe M should be reinstated.

Regardless of whatever designations you put on it, underage kids are going to want to see movies that the ratings say they aren't suppose to see. It's the nature of kids. Deny them something and they'll want it. Any parent knows this.

As Ebert points out, we live in a society that condones violence, but nudity and sexuality are not ok. As I see it, the problem isn't the movies or the ratings system - its much larger. Kill him but don't kiss him.

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 09-25-2000 05:18 AM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't fault people who are less bothered by movie violence than by sex on the screen. After all, we often have to explain to a child what is real and what it make-believe. The blood in movies is fake but nudity is nudity. And someone really had to say those naughty words too. But what child really ought to see that level of violence or sex (whether it's fake or not)?

My point about "blockbusters" is that the MPAA doesn't do much unless Hollywood thinks there's big bucks to be made. I can't foresee a groundswell of support for a niche rating to "fix" what's wrong.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-25-2000 12:44 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Every time the rating system gets challenged, Valenti pulls out the same surveys that say 76% (or whatever) of parents find the ratings Useful or Very Useful. They probably survey the same parents who bring (or drop off) their kids to see the R-rated movies.

I don't know why the industry doesn't do what the cable TV people do...institute "sub ratings." An R-rated movie ad could have a line underneath the rating block with abbreviations for the content. You'd have the large "R" block, then underneath you'd have letters like S, L, V, D (for sex, language, violence, drugs). Maybe these sub-ratings could have an "E" in front for Extreme. So you might have S, EV, L, D.

Hey, if people can understand all the alphabet soup of the TV world with ESPN, CBS, ABC, HBO, DTV, DSS, etc. they should have no problem with the above. And, the bad-sounding notations like "contains extreme sexual and violent content and drug use" won't have to appear in the ads.

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Greg Anderson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 766
From: Ogden Valley, Utah
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 09-25-2000 09:59 PM      Profile for Greg Anderson   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think if Roger Ebert is really serious about this, then he should but his reputation on the line and give specific examples.

Roger Ebert should go through all the movies he reviewed in the year 2000 and he should make a list of which ones were given an incorrect rating. He should provide us with his own opinion of which rating those movies deserved (and he could use his "A" rating if he wanted to). And then he could tell us which movies were rated R only because a director was constrained by the studio to cut what might have been rated NC-17 (or "A").

It would help if an authority figure like Roger Ebert could provide specific statistics to illustrate how wrong the MPAA really is. I mean... are 10% of the movies rated incorrectly? Are 50% rated incorrectly? Come on, Roger. Go out on a limb if you really care this much.

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Bruce McGee
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1776
From: Asheville, NC USA... Nowhere in Particular.
Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 09-26-2000 12:47 PM      Profile for Bruce McGee   Email Bruce McGee   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This was brought up earlier. Anybody know why the change was made from M to GP, then PG, then the addition of PG-13?

Is it just because of the changing attitudes in America, or is the MPAA just wishy-washy?

Or are Americans just considered by the MPAA to be THAT stupid?

I remember when the bulk of films were rated G or PG. Now they all seem to be rated R!

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-26-2000 04:51 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The GP was changed to PG because it was confusing people who were thinking it meant 'General Public'...

PG-13 came about because of the parental grumblings to the industry from two PG-rated movies that were just a smidge 'too scary/gross/violent' for the little ones, although the advertising for both made things sound like they were good clean family fare: Gremlins and Indiana Jones/Temple Of Doom... I can remember many times when parts of both these films would scare the bejeezus out of younger kids who would run screaming and crying out of the auditorium!

IIRC, NC-17 was created to give studios and exhibitors an option to having an 'adults-only' rating without the boxoffice-deadly stigma of using the 'X' rating (which by this time was synonymous with pornography).

Unfortunately the idea didn't work as it was supposed to, as the NC-17 rating also carries an 'undesireable' (not necessarily 'pornographic') stigma and seems to also be boxoffice poison.

Aaron


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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12445
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-26-2000 05:25 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also, M was not "changed" to GP; they existed at the same time. Movies that were "hard M" went into the R category, and the rest were PGs until PG-13 came along.

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