Note: The purpose of this series of posts — “Critiquing Movieguide” — is to point out times that Movieguide makes me facepalm. As a follower of Jesus and a lover of movies, Movieguide should be speakin’ my language. But they don’t. Often. Horribly.
Excerpts from an article on Movieguide — New Study Shows Ratings Systems Don’t Really Work — and my responses:
The rating system can’t be fixed. Why? Because a ratings system will always give Hollywood a license to insert toxic content into more and more of their movies and television programs.
When it comes to graphic and disturbing content, there is a difference between portraying evil and condoning evil. Some of the best movies I’ve seen have been PG-13 or R-rated movies with graphic violence, graphic language, and/or graphic sexual content.
Because even though those movies portrayed evil, they didn’t condone it: They showed the horrors of a life consumed by violence, lust, greed, anger, etc.
…the Number One rated show in 1998, SEINFELD, averaged slightly more than 38 million viewers, but the Number One rated show last season, THE BIG BANG THEORY, averaged slightly more than 19 million viewers, a drop of 50 percent.
The reason why Seinfeld had more viewers than The Big Bang Theory could have to do with the fact that, today, people have more ways to entertain themselves.
For example: Many people get their entertainment from Netflix, their news from the internet, and only turn on their TVs to watch DVDs/Blu-Rays.
Also: The Big Bang Theory appeals to a specific social group of people. The, for lack of a better word, “Geeks”: The people who go to conventions, binge-watch Star Trek and waited in line for days for The Lord of the Rings movies.*
My point being: Seinfeld has a wider appeal than a show like The Big Bang Theory. Thus, more people will watch it.
…on Feb. 18, 1996, THE NEW YORK TIMES Arts & Leisure cover article talked about “The Ratings Games at the Cineplex” and how R-rated movies attracted children as young as 10-years-old, and how easily they were admitted into their local movie theater.
Blaming R-rated movies for why kids are watching R-rated movies in theaters is like saying “People don’t kill people — guns kill people.” (And if Movieguide’s stance on the Second Amendment is anything to go by, Movieguide obviously doesn’t believe that is true.)
To go into more detail:
If kids want to watch R-rated movies, than how is it the fault of the people who made the R-rated movies?
If a mother takes her 5-year-old son to watch a movie like Deadpool, how is that the fault of the filmmakers? The filmmakers make it clear: Deadpool is rated R and should only be watched by people 18 and older. A 17-year-old guy buying a ticket to Deadpool is buying a ticket of his own God-given free will: The movie studios don’t have him under a spell going “Must watch Deadpool. Must watch Deadpool.”
My point being: Whether people choose to listen to ratings is a choice that is out of the filmmakers’ hands.
On a side note: I was raised in a Catholic household. Before I was 10 I had watched movies like The Terminator and Aliens with my family. My point being: Families have their own standards — independent of the rating system or a theater’s policy — for what is considered “acceptable viewing.”
*I am a proud Geek.