MPAA ratings

The Funniest MPAA Ratings Descriptions of All Time

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Before 1990, when the Motion Picture Association of America rated a movie, that rating was all the commentary they offered: G, PG, PG-13, R, X, M, GP (look ‘em up!). But in September of that year, the MPAA began amending ratings with brief descriptions of the action that resulted in that rating, and that’s where the fun began. You see, those descriptions give the rest of us an opportunity to not only figure out exactly what was offensive to this super-secret group of oral sex-loathing penis-fearers, but to read their oh-so-delicate descriptions of said offenses, which often read like hilarious blank verse — or, in the case of this week’s “unusual behavior” notation on Fifty Shades of Grey’s R rating, like the hothouse declarations of a delicate flower in a lesser Tennesse Williams play (“I do decla-yuh, this is such unusual behav-yuh, oh Beulah, get me to the faintin’ couch!”). So as a thank you for literally years of giggles, here are some of our favorite MPAA descriptions:
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How Homophobic is ‘Love is Strange”s R Rating?

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Over the weekend, Ira Sachs’ lovely, heartfelt romantic drama Love is Strange performed quite well in limited release, claiming the top per-screen average for any film in theaters. But those numbers might have been higher, were it not one outside factor: the MPAA, bizarrely, gave the film an utterly disproportionate R rating. Since the film concerns a longtime gay couple and the troubles they encounter after getting married, a bit of a storm has erupted around the picture, with a general consensus emerging that the picture’s rating is proof positive of the organization’s inherent homophobia. And believe you me, there’s merit to that claim — but maybe not when it comes to the case of Love is Strange.
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5 Movies That Should Have Been Rated PG-13 — And 5 That Shouldn’t Have

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Thirty years ago this month, John Milius’ Cold War wet dream Red Dawn rolled into theaters, helping launch the careers of Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey. But it also launched a significant chapter in movie history: it was the first film released to theaters carrying the new PG-13 rating, a Goldlocks-ish “just right” nestled between the PG and the R. But as with all things MPAA-related, the PG-13 became a giant clusterfuck in the three decades hence, as its desirability led studios and filmmakers to push the rating to its absolute breaking point — loading up their PG-13 blockbusters with dead bodies while the ratings agency’s bean counters tallied “F-words” and bare butts. So to celebrate this dubious anniversary, let’s take a look back at ten cases where the 30-year-old rating was woefully …Read More

Hey MPAA, Why Are PG-13 Movies More Violent Than R-Rated Ones?

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When the PG-13 rating was introduced back in 1984, the aim was clear: to create a rating for movies that were just a little too intense for the PG rating, yet not “adult” enough for the R. Its invention was prompted by the massive success of Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, two PG-rated pictures whose intense and rather scary violence caused widespread complaints from parents. But in the nearly 30 ensuing years, a funny thing happened: instead of cranking up their PG movies, Hollywood started cranking down their Rs. With the lucrative dollars of teenage moviegoers at stake, the PG-13 became the industry’s most desired rating, and its most lucrative. But a new study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center finds something more disturbing: though initial PG-13 films contained about as much gun violence as G or PG-rated pictures, “since 2009, PG-13-rated films have contained as much or more violence as R-rated films” (emphasis mine). And hey, funny story, that rise matches gun violence off-screen too.
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