By: John Clyde, KSL
It can be hard today to figure out what movie to go to based off the MPAA
You head to a PG-13 film because the rating seems appropriate, and you realize you were just slapped in the face with a cold dose of reality you weren't ready for. On the other hand, maybe you avoided a film because of an R rating only to find out later it was much tamer with a much better message than the PG-13 film you forked out a week's worth of wages to see.
Thanks for nothing, MPAA.
That's why many moviegoers are turning to their peers for more accurate ratings. The movie site OK.com
allows you as a moviegoer to rate movies and give your opinion on the age appropriateness level. This way you're getting an age rating from other parents like you as opposed to an anonymous group.
The MPAA is notorious for making some bad decisions when it comes to ratings, and here are just five of their biggest blunders.
The Matrix – R
In 1999 we were given what is considered by many as one of the most original and eye-popping sci-fi films of all time.
“The Matrix” blew us away with its clever shots, mind-melting story and revolutionary effects, but the MPAA's R rating has left audiences scratching their heads for 15 years.
“The Matrix” includes little language - less than most PG-13 fare - and is almost totally void of sex. There is a fair amount of violence in the film, but it's nothing more than we've seen in any of the James Bond films - all PG-13 - and there is next to no blood mixed in with the violence.
“The Matrix” is rated at a 14+ on OK.com and has an impressive critical rating of 91 percent. This is not a kids movie, but it's also not worthy of the R rating it received.
Anchorman – PG-13
In 2004 Will Ferrell gave us one of the most quotable movies of all time that also just so happened to have one of the most surprising MPAA ratings in recent history.
“Anchorman” received a PG-13 from the MPAA, but the film is riddled with sexual innuendo and language.
This article is not meant to discuss the merits of a film or whether it's worth watching or not, but rather that we have a rating system in place that we can't really trust.
Parents on OK.com rate “Anchorman” at a 17+, which would fall more in line with an R rating than a PG-13.
Insidious – PG-13
Horror movies by their very nature are not intended for kids, and that is why more often than not they receive an R rating to warn parents that this is a movie for adults.
In 2011 the horror film “Insidious” was released with a PG-13 rating. The film is a well-done horror film that relies on its cleverness and pacing to scare, rather than violence, gore or digital effects. And yes, it does scare.
The film doesn't have too much by way of content, but it's also not a film fit for younger teenage audiences.
The film is relatively light on language; the biggest profanities are actually kind of hard to catch, and there's no real blood or gore to speak of.
What makes this most interesting is that a similar horror film, “The Conjuring
,” which was made by the same director as “Insidious” and stars Patrick Wilson, was released in 2013 with an R rating.
“The Conjuring” actually has less language, fewer sexual discussions and about the same level of violence as “Insidious,” but the ratings open themselves up to two very different audiences.
“Insidious” is at a 14+ on OK.com and “The Conjuring” at a 16+. I'm not sure either really deserved an R rating, but neither was appropriate for a PG-13, either.
Confusing? Absolutely. Another reason the MPAA could use an overhaul.
The King's Speech – R
Hollywood gave us a great year in 2010 by offering great movies like “Inception
,” “The Social Network
,” “Toy Story 3
” and “How to Train Your Dragon
.” But the movie that took home the Oscar for best picture that year was “The King's Speech.”
“The King's Speech” is one of the most inspiring and beautiful films to be released in a long time. The writing was phenomenal, the acting superb and the message powerful.
When the film was submitted to the MPAA it received an R rating, and it was re-submitted in hopes of lowering it to a PG-13 to open it to a broader audience. The re-rating was rejected and “The King's Speech” landed in theaters with an R.
The film contains only mild references to sex and is void of blood and violence. The one thing the film does have is language, but in one brief scene that lasts about 60 seconds.
That sounds like a justification, but the language, unlike most language in films, is actually key to the plot and the context is not meant as an insult or crude, but rather therapeutic.
“The King's Speech” has a 12+ rating on OK.com. Whether a teen under the age of 17 should watch it should really be dependent on the parent and the teen, but a misplaced rating kept many away from a very powerful film with a beautiful message that many older teens could greatly benefit from.
Titanic – PG-13
This film may be the biggest blunder the MPAA has ever committed.
“Titanic” was released in 1997 with a PG-13 rating, and many audience members left the moving wondering how the film managed the lower rating.
“Titanic” went on to win a slew of awards when it was released, including best picture and best director. The film is a spectacle to watch, but it is not for kids - and that's exactly who flocked the theater over and over again to see the film.
While the film has the notorious “drawing” scene that features full-frontal nudity, it also has at least one instance of extremely strong language and large amount of violence and frightening sequences that aren't necessarily appropriate for younger audiences.
Again, this is not about whether “Titanic” was a well-made film, but rather that the MPAA rating totally missed the mark.
On OK.com “Titanic” is rated at a 16+, which would put it closer to an R rating than a PG-13.
This article was not a “what to watch” list or about which films to avoid, but rather just a few examples of a flawed rating system and how OK.com can help you in your search for what to watch.
Do you think the MPAA got these film ratings right? What other films do you think have the wrong rating attached? Let us know.
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