MPAA Mulls New Rating

Should the Motion Picture Association of America add a sixth rating? The current set of five includes G, for general audiences: PG, parental guidance suggested; PG-13, parents strongly cautioned; R, restricted; and NC-17, no one 17 and under admitted. Pressure is building to subdivide R into two new ratings, one for fleetingly racy material, and another (already informally known as hard-R) for extremely graphic horror pics. There are precedents for subdivision and name changing. After all, before there were PG and PG-13, there was a single M rating, for mature audiences. And X changed its name to NC-17 when the terms obscene and pornographic became "legal terms for courts to decide," as the MPAA notes in its explanation of ratings (a comic masterpiece of hairsplitting and equivocation). Now pressure is building from parent groups who feel, as Variety explains, that the current R "is too broad, encompassing everything from a few swear words or brief flashes of nudity to repeated scenes of stomach-churning mutilation and disembowelments." Hollywood is listening, but doesn't want to shove hard-R titles into NC-17 because exhibitors shun films in that ultimate category almost completely and Blockbuster won't stock them at all. My suggestion: Rather than complicate the system with a sixth rating, keep the hard-R material within R, and move soft-R material down into a broadened PG-13. The MPAA's rating guide already uses 306 words to describe PG-13 versus a mere 65 words to describe R. I say add another hundred words of fork-tongued bureaucratese to PG-13 and call it a day. (The illustration is facetious, not a serious proposal.)

Tom Thompson's picture

I agree, and without further hairsplitting, move the soft-R (leave that one alone!) films down to the PG-13 classification. Most of the soft-R have left me wondering why they were rated R at all. Or perhaps, we could just describe the film and let everyone make a decision after reading a description of the film itself and the storyline. Oh but that might mean the audience was intelligent enough to make a decision on their own! Wow what a concept that might be in our world of splintered fundamentalism.

jimmy's picture

PG-mild R...Planes, Trains and Automobiles...PG-13-moderate R action flicks...Die HardR-hard R....gorey horror movies..SawThe MPAA just needs to use the PG-13 for the moderate R movies and PG for the mild R...G can be used as it was intended....the only real family friendly rating...minor language, minor violence and brief nudity...PG-mild R...brief strong language, moderate violence and some nudityPG-13-medium R..strong language, strong violence and nudityR-hard R...anything pervasive...language, nudity and violence