I’ve written at some length about movie ratings, how they’re deeply broken, a moving target and biased toward violence and against sexual content. I was interested, then, to read on Boing Boing about this attempt (I think I’ve written about this before…) to build a better rating system:
We enable adults to determine whether a movie is appropriate for them or their children, according to their own criteria. Unlike the MPAA we do not assign an inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE & PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10. We also explain in detail why a film rates high or low in a specific category, and we include instances of SUBSTANCE USE, a list of DISCUSSION TOPICS that may elicit questions from kids and MESSAGES the film conveys.
They’re a secular company, which is good, because most of these obsessively-detailed review sites are powered by right-wing religious groups. That generally doesn’t make for a unbiased reading of the material.
However, I’m immediately perplexed by their rating decisions. Pan’s Labyrinth, Letters From Iwo Jima and The Departed all get an 8 for violence and gore. If I were rating them, it’d be:
- Pan’s Labyrinth – 6
- Letters From Iwo Jima – 8
- The Departed – 9
I mean, how many head shots did The Departed have? What are the nastiest films? Devil’s Rejects and The Forsaken.
Hilariously, Team America: World Police gets a 9 for sexuality. The first sentence of their reivew is awesome:
Please note that all the characters are marionettes, thus some detail is limited with respect to body parts and sexual activity…A man asks a man if he is gay. A man talks to another man about fearing that he will force him to perform sexual favors. A woman says that she will have sex with a man if he makes her a promise. Women wearing traditional belly dancing outfits (revealing cleavage and bare abdomens) dance in a tavern. A woman wears low-cut tops that reveal cleavage. A man proposes marriage to a woman. A man and a woman kiss.
These obsessive lists of transgressions always sound like found poems to me.