The movie industry has already established its roots in this lifetime, and probably even in the next. Hollywood itself is a historical entity; it has its own life, its own people, and its own followers and worshippers. It is like a cult that creates a huge amount of money every single day. It has invaded not only the big screen, but our televisions and music players as well. In fact, the three categories of entertainment have often intertwined and exchanged characters. We obsess over the movies that we feel like we can relate to. Maybe it’s because of the theme, or the ending of the story that has really touched our lives.
Or it was a favorite book that we have read a million times that can now live outside our imaginations and can visually please us on the big screen. Or we watch a movie simply because we adore the actors in it, so much so that we know what they ate for breakfast for the whole week. We have been following the movie industry for a long time now. We praise and worship those who make the biggest money on its opening week and almost not mention those who do not even make it to the big screen and directly to DVDs. Money is the ultimate cause and end of this industry. And it is said that money is also the reason why the ratings exist.
Almost all movies have a rating by the MPAA. However, the accuracy and the legitimacy of these ratings are being questioned not only by the film industry players, but mostly by the people the MPAA swore to exist for, the American parents and their innocent children. The issue that exists now is not whether or not parents should allow their children to watch movies that have been labeled as restricted for them, but the integrity of the ratings itself is questionable. The controversies surrounding the ratings of Hollywood movies cloud over the fact that the principal reason for the existence of the ratings is responsibility and sensibility.
Their goal as an association is to be of assistance to the American parents to help them guide their children in restricting and choosing which movies to watch. As it was stated by Jack Valenti, former MPAA president, in an article that he wrote, “To offer to parents some advance information about movies so that parents can decide what movies they want their children to see or not to see (Valenti). ” But several critiques and hullabaloos have been shed in lieu of the existence of this ratings organization.
Some say that the board members are biased towards the producers and directors that they have come to love. Some say that the members of this board abhor movies that targets issues that they are sensitive about. It seems that the existence of such an organization cannot really protect anybody, if that is what they are really for. If I was a parent, and I was asked if I should allow my children to watch movies that were labeled unsuitable for them by a group of people that have questionable goals and motives, I would say yes, I will definitely allow them.
I would advocate allowing children to watch restricted stamped movies because I know that even if the ratings do not exist, the parents will be responsible enough to discuss issues with their children firsthand. The parents have the discretion when it comes to watching these movies with their children. Parents exist for guidance and support, for explanation and for realization. Some parents are willing to be open and discuss important life changing issue with their children and do not encounter any problems with it.
Some parents shy away from the issue because they think their children would not understand. But this is not true. School-aged children are old and mature enough to try to understand issues. According to Erik Erikson’s theory of developmental tasks, school-aged children are already curious as to how and why things operate the way they do. Their intense curiosities may be able to teach them a lot already, especially if someone they trust, like their parents, will be delivering the information to them firsthand (Kaplan). There is nothing wrong with a child knowing some sensitive topics at such a young age.
In fact, children today are very aware of global issues and how these things affect them. The MPAA can stamp their ratings on movies as long as they want and they could, but they really could not stop any parent from allowing their children to watch movies. Secondly, I deem it unnecessary for a ratings board such as the MPAA to exist. Ratings are arbitrary and subjective; the people who stamp these ratings on movies are people just like us, human beings that can be subjected to persuasions and influences. Some filmmakers are making their case against the MPAA heard.
According to Scoot Bowles of USA Today, Harvey Weinstein’s movie Grindhouse was in the brink of being rated NC-17, a rating that cannot only lower your sales, but can totally cross out your movie from existence. So Weinstein’s game plan was to make Quentin Tarantino, infamous creator the Kill Bill series, which also happens to be the director of Grindhouse, face the debate with the MPAA (Bowles). Apparently, the board loves Tarantino, and instead of giving the Grindhouse an NC-17 rating, they got an R with little trimming in the horror exploitation film. Also, rating is even voluntary (The Classification and Rating Administration).
Film makers can opt not to get their movies rated, this is a freedom of choice. However if this is the case, why is it that almost all films are getting ratings when it isn’t really a requirement? There are issues surrounding this statement. Some are saying that it is a taboo when a film is not rated, or unrated, mostly because unrated films are foreign films, obscure independent films, direct-to-video films, pornographic films, made-for-TV films, large format (IMAX) films, or documentaries that are not expected to play outside the art house market, films that are not going to hit the top ten box office sales any time soon (Medved).
In addition to that, when a film is unrated, some cinemas of DVD stores do not sell them anymore, which is equal to lesser revenues (Bowles). Films rated NC-17 are also almost unable to sell, hence when a film gets this rating, the makers usually plea for a change in rating. The film makers and the MPAA members agree on a new rating, with a compromise. There would be more cuts and whatever else the MPAA board decides to do. This in itself is questionable. When a rating is made, the rating should stick.
How can the organization prove to the parents their worthy is they accept negotiations? Ratings should be given and they should be final. The NC-17 rating is most dreaded because not only will this cut your market in half, but will also make an impression already before it can be given the chance to be seen and heard. There are currently five categories of MPAA ratings. First is the G rating, which means General Audiences-All Ages Admitted, the PG rating, Parental Guidance Suggested.
Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children, PG-13 is Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13, next is the R rating, or Restricted, Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian and finally the NC-17 or No One 17 And Under Admitted rating (Valenti). Regardless of rating, children should be allowed to see works of art. Movie making is creativity at its best, for a targeted audience. I believe that movie makers should be given this freedom to express their art and their visions, how they see the world.
And as their audience, people should be given the chance to see it and appreciate it, give the applause it deserves. Unfortunately, movie making has become a money making industry. Some independent films are really worthy of the exposure, but because they are being crushed by the bigger movie moguls, they cannot compete with it. The MPAA is even said to be biased towards the movie moguls in the industry (Medved). Eventually it will all boil down to choice. It is the movie maker’s choice to heed the advice of the MPAA and accept their ratings.
It is the MPAA board’s choice to give a rating to the movie. Most importantly, it is the audience’s choice whether or not to see the film, whether or not to allow their children to watch it. Restrictions are just guidance, a reminder that there may be some issue or graphic scenes that the MPAA deem not suitable for such an audience, but it is still up to the parents to assert their final decision. Responsible parenthood can immediately and automatically turn down the tables for the MPAA or the movie industry itself.
Nobody really has to be told about their morals, for it is subjective, it depends on the individual. The system at how movies are rated is questionable, no doubt, but the way parents discipline their children is not. They can opt to allow their child to see R rated movies, and the consequences of such an act, may it be good or bad, is theirs for the taking. Works Cited: Kaplan. The Basics. New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2007. Medved, Michael. “R-Rated Movies Not A Good Investment For Hollywood. ” 2000. Texas A&M University. 10 December 2008 <http://www. tamu.
edu/univrel/aggiedaily/news/stories/00/071100-5. html>. “Questions & Answers: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Movie Rating System. ” 2000. The Classification and Rating Administration. 10 December 2008 <http://www. filmratings. com/about/content. htm>. Bowles, Scott. “Debating the MPAA’s mission. ” 2007. USA Today. 10 December 2008 <http://asp. usatoday. com/registration/newsletterCenterLite/newsLetterAbridged. aspx? page=Books&Loc=NTC004&email=>. Valenti, Jack. “How it all began. ” 2000. MPA. 10 December 2008 <http://www. filmratings. com/about/content. htm#1>.