When I was a teenager, I enjoyed watching scary movies. The terror was a thrill, and watching a serial killer slowly stalk and kill multiple people was entertainment. In my day (yea, I said it) these entertainments were usually “Rated R.”
In recent years, “Rated R” has come to signify many things.
Foul Language. Chase scenes. Sexuality. Adult themes. The F-Bomb. Dirty jokes. Gruesome death scenes. Violence. References to anything not Sesame-Street-approved. Up until about 7 years ago, I knew basically what to expect when I went to a Rated R movie.
I’m a parent, and my tolerance for certain things got re-set to Absolute Zero. I find that I truly mind going to a movie and not being warned that the word ‘fuck’ will be used in Every. Single. Part. Of. Speech. I find that I mind when people are repeatedly killed…horribly…in the most imaginative ways possible. If you are also a parent, I don’t have to explain why. I find that I mind when I watch a plot that includes the massacre of hundreds…no, thousands…no, millions of people for no reason other than to set the stakes really, really high.
That’s why I want to petition for the ratings system to be changed. Upgraded, if you will.
Rated R movies have changed. Where Rated R used to mean some foul language, a car chase and a make-out session, now it could mean anything from sado-masochistic sex to killing someone in an industrial microwave to torturing puppies….okay, I made that last part up, but the fare in movies these days gets pretty flipping sick.
Now, I’m all for freedom of speech. This is ‘Merica. You can make a movie with any sick thing you want in it. And I vote with my dollars as to whether I support that or not. But I can’t vote if I don’t know what’s coming.
Case in point- if I could demand my money back from the producers of a movie called “Kick Ass,” I would. I don’t want to support them in any way. I won’t even link to the movie. It was terrible. Terrible. Don’t see it. It’s sick and disturbing on so many levels that I lost count. But it was simply Rated R.
We need a more nuanced grading system for movies that have questionable content. Maybe “Rated Anti-P” for movies that parents should never see. And “Rated Bad-Example” for movies that will give anyone between the ages of 5 and 25 some bad ideas to try out. “Rated T” for movies that are drenched in testosterone, proven to lead to car chases, exploitation of women as objects of convenience and hyper-idealized violence with no consequences. “Rated F” for movies that drop the F-bomb more than 12 times per minute. “Rated Ew” for movies with frat-boy humor (Vince Vaughn, I’m looking at you.). You get the idea.
The ratings system for movies and tv needs to be changed. It is sadly outdated, and I can’t make responsible decisions as a consumer while we have a system that gives the same rating to a movie that brutally kills and tortures women and children AND a movie that has an abundance of fart jokes. I dislike paying money to be psychologically traumatized, and that has what’s been happening under the current system.
Who do we have to write to for this to happen?
And while we’re at it, any movie done by Peter Jackson should have its own rating- Rated TDL, for Too Damn Long. (Sorry Peter, but there is no reason whatsoever for The Hobbit to be 3 whole movies. Fail.)