Jury Coordination and Notes

A Matter of Opinion by Raven Devanney, age 17

MPAA.Image.jpgWe all see film ratings on movies, trailers or film websites, telling us what is and is not appropriate for us to watch. And for the most part, we listen. But, what may be appropriate for some may be the opposite for others.

My parents were very open with me when I was little. If I asked a question, they answered. There was never any “wait until you’re older, then we’ll tell you,” although sometimes I wish there had been. When it came to movies, I watched a lot of content that would be deemed “too mature” for other kids that were the same age I was at the time. I saw PG-13 and R rated films long before I was “old enough,” but it never bothered me. I always knew when to turn off the TV when things got too intense. However, I have cousins that would not be able to handle some of the things I watched, so their parents steer them clear of such films.

When it comes to the rules and regulations of what is rated G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17, the films that fit into those guidelines may still be unsuitable for the audience they are considered appropriate for. A 14-year-old may be terrified or disturbed by a PG-13 film and a 9-year-old might love that same PG-13 movie. In my opinion, it really comes down to the maturity of the individual, their own opinion of what they can handle and what their parents allow them to watch.
In 1968, when MPAA replaced the Hays Code which had been in place since 1930 with its new ratings system, there was only G, M, R and X. This was modified in 1970 and again in 1972 to incorporate PG. In the early 1984, after films such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were released with PG ratings, parents complained about the violence and gore featured in those films. So in the summer of 1984, the PG-13 rating was born. And, in 1990, the X rating was dropped because it was associated with porn and replaced by NC-17. Since 1990, the MPAA has included brief explanations of why the film received an R rating (strong brutal violence, some strong sexual content, drug material, etc.) so that parents can make a decision based on the explanation.

The regulations of what fits into these different ratings fluctuate over the years and some films, when re-released, are given a new rating. For example Midnight Cowboy was rated X when released in 1969 and re-rated R in 1971. As I said earlier, what is appropriate for your child is truly a matter of opinion isn’t it. How do you decide what films your child can go see?

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