movie

Lights…Camera…Action…and Ratings

In the film industry, there are 5 ratings: G – all ages admitted, PG – parental guidance suggested, PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned for children under 13, R – Restricted and anyone under 17 needs to be accompanied by an adult, and lastly, NC-17, where no one under 18 is admitted, whatsoever.

Back in the day, the ratings were different. For instance, PG-13 didn’t exist until 1984. So, many mature movies before were rated PG. Nowadays, PG is pretty much the same as G. Most family-friendly movies are rated PG. In fact, when I was little, I thought PG meant it was for all ages.

Some people, however, still see PG as inappropriate and only allow their children to watch movies that are rated G. In fact, back in the 00’s, my youngest brother’s 1st grade class was only allowed to watch G-rated movies. PG was forbidden, including those geared toward kids, such as “Shrek 2”. Seriously—they couldn’t watch “Shrek 2” because it was rated PG. Crazy, huh? My dad actually supported the teacher restricting to just G. Yeah, back in the 70’s, it would’ve made sense as PG-rated movies then were usually for adults, such as “Jaws” or “Airplanes”. I would understand not allowing little kids to watch PG-rated films when it comes to those like “Jaws”. But “Shrek 2”? That’s ridiculous. That’s like not allowing kids to feed themselves or wash their hands by themselves.

Anyway, while PG doesn’t really mean anything these days, I want to focus on the other ratings, too. G is not as common these days. One movie I feel is too dark to be rated G is “Muppets Treasure Island”. At nine years old, I was a bit scared at times when watching that film. PG probably would’ve been more appropriate.

Anyway, fewer movies these days are rated G. NC-17 seems to be the least common rating and is usually used for the most extreme. However, it can also be if there are at least 400 curse words. That was the case with 1999’s “South Park Movie”. It was originally going to be NC-17 due to a ton of fowl language. In fact, only one swear word was removed so that it could be rated R instead. Honestly, there are plenty of dirty words that could’ve been removed from that film. But not enough to lower the rating to PG-13.

Anyway, I am glad that the rating for “South Park Movie” was lowered to R. To me, the film is waayy to mild for the NC-17 rating. There are PG-13 movies scarier and more intense than that. Also, many “South Park” fans are underage, so it would’ve been unfair to them had they stuck with rating it NC-17.

Sometimes, PG-13-rated movies are so scary or intense, their ratings are raised to R. There was talk for raising the PG-13 rating to R for “The Hobbit: Part 3” film due to a ton of battle violence.

So, those are my thoughts on film ratings. There’s also a video on YouTube called “Does PG Really Mean Anything” that you can search for. I’m not the only person who noticed certain details and movies and their ratings.

movie

What I Look for in Movies

Image from Pixabay

Who doesn’t love movies? I don’t know about you, but I always have. There were also times where I didn’t know what I was watching. This was mostly when I was little.

I just saw scenes and enjoyed the characters. But did not know the plot. When I was an older child, I started understanding the storylines of movies. When I studied creative writing, I started pointing out plot points (inciting incident, call-to-action, midpoint, falling action, and resolution).

Many adults will understand sarcastic or dry humor. Unfortunately, I don’t, although I do get the inappropriate stuff, even when it’s snuck into G and PG-rated movies. People may also point out hidden symbolisms.

What I do, though, is not only identify the plot points as well as the main conflict and other literary elements, but I also point out these two unique things:

1: Moments that would get you arrested in real life

Have you seen “Toy Story 2” or “Night at the Museum 3” or even watched “Ned’s Declassified: School Survival Guide” on TV? If not, I would not suggest reading forward—unless you are uninterested in watching them.

So here it is. Remember in “Night at the Museum 3”, when Lancelot went crazy and ran on stage during a live performance of “Camelot”? Rather than calling security and having Lancelot arrested, the guy playing Arthur just explained to him that he was just an actor and held the play as he calmly told Lancelot to get off the stage. However, if you run on stage during a live-performance in real life, you would get arrested. Forget about yelling at the actors and threatening to hurt them, like Lancelot did. You could run on stage, stand there, and say nothing and still get arrested. Just the action itself is illegal.

In “Toy Story 2”, Al steals Woody from the garage sale Andy’s mom holds. He gets away with it. Andy’s mom doesn’t bother to call the police. However, in real life, not only would Al have been arrested for stealing, but so would have Andy’s mother for failing to report a crime she’d witnessed. But if that happened, Andy and Molly would’ve been taken away by CPS and the ending would’ve been too sad. Therefore, “Toy Story 3” may never have been made as audiences would have complained about the ending to “Toy Story 2”.

In an episode of “Ned’s Declassified”, where students were having the fifth graders tour the middle school, there was a scene when one of them (not in sight) that removed Seth’s clothes. He was naked while using a plush elephant to cover himself. Everybody else laughed. A younger kid may have done the same. A parent may have stated that it was inappropriate and turned off the TV. I, as an older sibling, reacted by saying, “You’d get arrested for that in real life.” Yup, even as young as 17, I was pointing out things that would get you arrested in real life.

Because of having to learn about the importance of believability in prose writing, I have developed expectations too high for movies and TV shows. I now find it strange when characters in movies do things that real people would get arrested for, but the characters don’t. So many illegal activities happened constantly in the movies “Monster Truck” and “Dumb and Dumber Too”, but the characters didn’t get arrested because of plot movements or conveniences.

While many say “It’s just a movie”, that can also be an issue. Someone who doesn’t know better may imitate those actions and get surprised when they get arrested because the characters in the film didn’t get arrested. Then someone could try to sue the film company.

If the characters can’t get arrested for plot reasons, couldn’t there, at least, be a disclaimer in the end credits, warning audiences not to try those activities or else they’ll get arrested?

2: Things that would not be acceptable today

There are so many of these. I could not state them in one post. However, I will give a few examples of movies that I don’t think would come out today.

  • “A Christmas Story”

If you’ve seen this film, the kid, Ralphie, wants a bb gun for Christmas. Obviously, in the 80’s, that was acceptable. However, today, after so much gun violence, especially in the US, I do not believe this would be acceptable today. No way would a child with a bb gun be appropriate.

  • “Pinocchio”

Although rated G, there is smoking, drinking, and the use of a dirty word, which I will not specify. Smoking wasn’t always inappropriate, especially when people were unaware of the dangers before the 60’s. They thought smoking was cool. And “Pinocchio” was released in 1940. That was at least 20 years before smoking-dangers were discovered. And even then, people were resistant to the studies. I saw in a video that it was not until the 90’s when smoking became inappropriate for young audiences. I don’t think “Pinocchio” would be released today.

  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Just this past holiday season, this movie got tons of criticism for it being offensive, promoting prejudice and discrimination, and more. I was confused, so I watched the film. And I could see why people complained. When Rudolph’s nose cover came off, revealing his red nose, the other reindeer freaked out. Even Santa took their side (“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Santa said to Rudolph’s dad). The elf boss gave Hermey a hard time about being a dentist and not wanting to make toys. “You’re an elf, and elves make toys!” the boss said. Umm… that’s elfist. Another scene is where Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius arrived on the land of misfit toys. There is a Jack-in-the-box whose name is actually Charlie. He complained that no kid would want to play with a Charlie-in-the-box (that’s namist). Sensitivity is growing for some reason. So I could never see “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” being released today.

So that is really it for what I look for in movies. I apologize if I seem overcritical at times. But thanks for reading.