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Movie ratings

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(This thread is a continuation of the slight derail in the summer movies thread.)


What does everyone think about movie ratings? Are they fair? Necessary? Should it be an advice? Should it be enforced by law? What should be emphasised? Is sex more dangerous than violence? What's the best system?

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The problem with movie ratings is that they stick to the time when the film was released. For example, When I was kid (11, or so), Clockwork Orange was still rated 18+ just like porn films. It was fair in 1969, but was it still fair in 1989?


I think the BEST system is: responsible parents. Ratings often don't mean anything. I've been shocked, sometimes, as an adult, by a few movies that were only rated 16+. Parents should (fortunately, some, if not most of them DO) take a close look at previews, before they decide. Furthermore, ratings rarely consider a form of violence that is, to me, more important than its physical counterpart: psychological violence. Seeing Bruce Willis kill tons of people with humour is not so shocking, while other movies, without actually showing acts of violence, can be a perverted form of promotion. Especially when the manicheous barrier between good and evil is removed. Willis is -generally speaking- the good guy, and the bad guys are really bad. Take a look at Trainspotting, now. The kids live in a violent world, they're junkies, thieves, their friends die, but at the end they (at least, McGregor does) change their lives thanks to an act of violence. Not because they became good. No. Because they have enough money to stop being violent.


Now THAT's the kind of films that coul be really deranging for teenagers. It breaks all the traditional values of education, and therefore, it would deserve a 16+ rating. But there's no miracle. If we want to protect kids, the best way of doing so is EDUCATION. I've been lucky enough to have this, as most of us here. Someone whose parents took care of will not even wonder if stealing money could be a solution to his problems. Someone who's left alone all day long and goes to the cinema as he'd go see a therapist can.

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On the other hand, you could also say that Die Hard devalues life, making people numb to the act of killing by portraying it in a cheerful manner.


And Trainspotting could also be seen to show how miserable life is as a junkie (just think of the filthiest toilet in Scotland) and that only with lots of luck and some wisdom (the others don't choose life) can you get out of it.

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You hit on what I have always believed, Genesis. It's up to the parents to determine what is and isn't good for their kids, no matter what the rating system says. The only problem is the majority of parents are lame, so ratings are needed to keep those who are clearly too young from seeing something they shouldn't .


Nothing gets me on a tirade more than parents who are not involved in their kids lives. I'm sure my kids wish we weren't as involved as we are, but too bad. They're precious gifts and we're going to do our best to watch over them. Before you think I don't allow them to see anything over a G rating, we've been taking them to R rated movies since they were infants. After the movie we always talk about it and clear up any misconceptions they have and they are extremely aware of what is movie fantasy and what is reality. Some movies we don't allow them to see because we know they aren't adult enough for it yet. As parents, we consider what is and isn't good for our kids and make decisions based on that.


Using Genesis' examples, we'd let them see Die Hard (they've already seen them all) but not Trainspotting. Die Hard is clearly hollywood make-believe and easily dismissed as fiction. Trainspotting shows how life really can be, and as a parent, I don't think my kids need to see that just yet.


But back to the ratings... interesting questions, Goo. Sex and Violence. Violence I tend to allow the kids to view, when it's in a setting that isn't 'reality', but I'll avoid letting them see any sex. Funny how I consider them old enough to handle arms being chopped off but seeing too much skin makes me cover their eyes. I guess it's because of their age as well as the fact that sex is something they'll eventually be facing in their own lives and I don't want them to think it's like it is in the movies. See, I doubt they'll be dealing with psychos with chainsaws, so it's much easier to place that in the 'make believe' world, whereas a couple in love being intimate is something they could relate to. I have much more to say, but this post is way too long already, so I'll hold off for a while. biggrin.gif

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  • 3 weeks later...

Um... okay.


There are a multitude of studies concluding that violence, even if it is make believe and fantastical, is far more damaging to the psyche of children than sex.


Children who play violent games and watch violent television and movies are statistically far more likely to display anti-social tendencies and symptoms of sociopathy. Similar studies into pornography, which is more extreme than what we are talking about here, show that a far lower percentage of children who view sex acts exhibit abnormal behaviour as a result.


Both Bella and Genesis have said that they don't mind their kids watching violence because it is unrealistic, and has clear cut good guys and bad guys. I don't see the benefit of this. Kids need a healthy dose of reality AND fantasy, not one or the other, because otherwise they won't learn the distinction between the two. When you talk about good guys and bad guys, I think of speeches by George W. Bush where he explains how the US is good, and Iraq is bad, so we should kill them all. I don't care how you feel about the war, but that world view is totally stupid. There is no such thing as universal morality, and there is no such thing as moral black and white, so you simply can't divide the world into good and bad, it doesn't work.


Your experiences as a child will shape who you are. No matter whether they are things you have watched or things you have done, the mind is like a sponge at that stage in your life. If you spend your childhood safely ensconsed in a fantasy world of goodies and baddies, where it's okay for goodies to kill and maim because they're good, then it's pretty much a given that you will have a really warped world view which seeks revenge for 9/11 but can excuse Abu Ghraib.


I personally agree with your fundamental tenet - that it is really up to parents in the end. However, I can say for certain that when my kids hear the names Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarznegger around the playground, they'll say "Who?" Fear of sexuality is just a throwback to the conservative attitudes of the 19th century anyway. Violence kills people, sex creates people. 'Nuff said.

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Wow, how did this turn into a political thread? Fact: Our President has never ever said Iraq is bad or that the US should kill them all. He has said TERRORISTS are bad. If he believed Iraqi people were bad, why would he want to help them obtain freedom from a madman? Why would there be plans to fight precisely and prevent as many civilian casualties as possible instead of just dropping a bomb?


Abu Ghraib? Hmm, on one hand I have thousands of deaths and on the other I have some extremely humiliating pranks pulled by a couple individuals who were acting on their own. So it's because I grew up ensconced in a fantasy land that I see the two as being vastly different and am only mildly upset about the 'victims' who are still alive and can return to their families?


My kids are fully informed on what is going on in the world and what is fact or fiction. They saw men begging for their lives in Iraq and know that these men are dead now because their heads were slowly cut off. They understand the difference between a terrorist and a movie Rambo. They aren't sheltered, but they are kept from viewing things I think would upset them. I didn't let them see any of the videos of the beheadings because that was real and extremely upsetting, I won't have that image in their minds. Am I going to let them watch a head get cut off in a movie like Braveheart? Yes, because that didn't actually happen to the actor and it won't give them a pit in their stomach and make them feel ill every time they think about it.


Everyone has their own way they believe is the best way to raise their children. In ten years time I'm willing to wager my kids will be better functioning adults than the majority of others their age. Sure, I could be wrong, but you can bet I'm going to do my best to keep them on the right path and I'm going to stay involved in every aspect of their lives. Movie ratings help me make decisions, so I'm fine with them being around.





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Bella, I think the political thing was just an example, a sidestep. You're complaining about derailing and then pushing the train off the bridge completely (humiliating pranks? people died there, ferchrissakes!).


Anyway, back to topic. I think the violence over sex thing is the part I don't understand. What's so bad about sex, that makes it worse than violence? What's so great about violence, that makes it better than sex?

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