Monday, April 23, 2007

Rated R For Revenue

This is a rant.

It's well known that many movie studios hate to release NC-17 movies, as movies rated as such are usually detrimental to the bottom line (NC-17 means no one under 17 allowed, period). Very few NC-17 movies make a lot of money as many theaters and major rental chains refuse to carry them. This puts pressure on the studios to get the 'R' rating (under 17 allowed with parent or guardian) so that they can release their movies widely. Usually that means that nudity and sexuality is cut out, but violence, for the most part, stays in(personally I think it should be the other way around).

I have watched two exceptionally violent movies recently: 300, and The Grindhouse. The violence doesn't bother me, though some critics have voiced concerns. What does bother me is that in both instances there were entire families present at both showings. I'm not talking a sixteen or fourteen year old with mom or dad, I'm talking about eight, six, and even four years old!

What kind of parents bring their four year old to a movie like 300 or The Grindhouse? It boggles my mind. Absolutely irresponsible. Could a 16 year old handle those movies? Probably. A 14 year old? Again, probably (I recall sneaking to see The Excorcist, Hallowe'en and the like at that age). But a four year old? I'm not a parent but I cannot fathom this at all. And it wasn't just one family with children that age, but several.

If these movies were released under NC-17 these families simply would not be allowed to see them (if the idiots who work at the local big box theater actually did their job - another problem in this day and age). This tells me that the system is broken.

Apparently others agree (Variety, CBS). Legislation, however, is not going to fix the problem. Occasionally some politician will rail against the immorality of it all (possibly the same politicians who accept campaign contributions from far more unscrupulous sources), all to little affect. The studios will continue to sneak these films past the MPAA in order to fill their coffers. The theaters will continue to show them for the same reason. I will continue to see them because I enjoy them and I'm mature enough to handle them.

But that four year old? Why is he watching with eyes wide open?


Overman said...

You think like a father, for sure. (I mean that as a compliment). Reckless parents are a difficult challenge, I don't know what the solution is. I know I can exercise discretion with my own children, but I think there really is a societal impact of some parents showing such careless disregard. To me, it's no different than the raw vegan parents who made the papers recently for feeding their infant on their raw foods only diet... without regard to what the tiny child's digestive system was equipped to handle.

bllius said...

Thx, but not anytime soon.
I agree there is an impact. I have no idea what the solution might be.