Monday, September 10, 2012

Rated R Movies

Since I haven't been able to get out to a see a movie for a while, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on R rated movies. For those of you who may have time travelled from that past to read this post, rated R means kids under 17 will not be permitted without a parent or guardian due to the content of a movie. Ratings can be a helpful tool to determine what might be appropriate for certain age groups, so what gives with the parents who take little kids to see crap like Saw and Hostel?

My dad is a thespian and film enthusiast. His extensive video collection seldom featured big Hollywood block busters, but he did collect many dramas and award winning films and he regularly invited his kids to see foreign films with him. As a result, I grew up with many rated R movies in our home, but they were usually artsy movies as opposed to the "Bikini Babe Car Wash 3" genre.

I don't go to rated R movies today, but I've seen several when I was younger and have seen many that have been edited or on TV. I loved renting edited movies from Clean Flix before they got shut down over copyright issues. I'd like to get a clear play DVD player that allows you to edit the content of movies, but I am still a little torn over the concept of editing movies.

Many of my favorite movies like The Godfather, The Matrix, Gladiator, and The Shawshank Redemption are rated R, but I saw them edited. As a result, I don't know about all of the content that was originally in the movie and am hesitant to tell people how great a rated R movie was in case that person rents it and are turned off by the 35 F bombs or the sex scenes that might be in the unedited version that I knew nothing about.

Approximately half of the movies in the top 50 best movies on IMDB are rated R. Interestingly only 1 of the top 50 biggest money makers is rated R. I guess you can read a couple things into that. First, making a rated R movie will hurt how well a movie does at the box office since you are obviously excluded a large group of potential viewers. One might also read into this and assume that Rated R movies are typically more likely to win academy awards or receive more critical acclaim. Since 1970, 22 of the 42 movies that earned an academy award for best picture were rated R.

The MPAA rates movies with a panel of judges that have a somewhat secret formula. It's kind of like the formula credit bureaus use to determine your credit score. You have a pretty good idea of what certain things will do, but some subject matter can be hard to pin down and is not always consistent. I have seen some PG-13 movies that were more offensive than some rated R movies but inconsistent movie ratings is a topic for another day.

I don't really know what my point was about R rated films. I think the rating is helpful and I try to stay away from them. There are good rated R movies like Slumdog Millionaire, The King's Speech, and Schindler's List (so I've been told) and then there are just down right filthy and raunchy rated R movies. Since it is often hard to differentiate until you have seen a movie, I avoid them and have tried to make The Movie Guy a family friendly site and only review movies with a rating of PG-13 or below.

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