Monday, December 15, 2008

Rated R--For Winking, Leering, Lascivious Smiling and Brief Smoking

I've never been a fan of the MPAA Rating System, for a host of reasons. One reason is that certain films seem to be able to be rated PG, with plenty of cussing, violence and even a little nudity, while others become R rated for the ambiguous "adult themes." Please make me believe wealthy, successful producers can't smooth-talk MPAA Board members into changing an R to a PG. Please!

A second is that, though literally everyone swears it's true, no one has ever shown me serious science to the effect that the viewing of sexy, violent or highly dramatic movies causes harm to children who live in otherwise normal, healthy households.

Third, who goes to a movie and pays upwards of $10 to see a flick about which they know nothing? There are a plethora of reviews in newspapers, on tv and the internet that will tell one all that's needed to evaluate a film--sometimes too much!

There's a movie out now, a chick flick, I believe. I think that because it has just about every middle-aged ex-engenue you can imagine in the cast. They've been advertising it pretty heavily on radio and on tv lately. The Women. I have no idea what its theme might be--probably a "he done her wrong and now after counsel from all thirty of her best friends, she's going to get revenge!"

It's rated PG, I believe, but the reason why? The list of horrid violations of the young child's eyes and ears includes things like--mature themes, sexual situations, swearing and brief smoking(!).

Brief smoking. I wonder if it's safe to assume that it doesn't mean rolling and lighting up someone's drawers. That could legitimately draw an R rating, I'll concede!

But, changing the rating of a movie because someone smokes cigarettes? That's simple Political Correctness run amok!

As the one and only individual in the whole of Stalag California who doesn't smoke but doesn't care if others do, I find this tobacco-phobia just a mite silly. Since it's been shown that second-hand smoke is not harmful, but simply a mild annoyance (as opposed to the malignantly mistaken notion that the merest whiff of cigarette smoke is more dangerous than the release of a full canister of mustard gas), we have to conclude that the anger displayed by rabid anti-tobacco fanatics at seeing someone across the street smoking a cigarette, is merely the anger of tortured souls railing against the sight of someone enjoying himself.

Sadly, many of the denizens of Hollywood and surroundings fit into this category. So, we have a war against smoking by movie and tv characters.

Ok, so my reaction may be just a bit over the top. Why should anyone smoke, anyway. Smoking, while not actually dangerous to the passers by, is dangerous to the smoker himself.

But, so is drinking. So is driving--whether done in conjunction with drinking or not. So is skiing. The list is long. We all live with danger. Why shouldn't we try to squeeze a little pleasure out of life, each in his own chosen way?

Humphrey Bogart is still cool!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

8 comments:

The Wine Commonsewer said...

Please make me believe wealthy, successful producers can't smooth-talk MPAA Board members into changing an R to a PG

Actually, I'd bet it's the other way around. Swapping a PG for an R is a guaranteed draw to the target audience of males between 16 and 25.

Since it's been shown that second-hand smoke is not harmful, but simply a mild annoyance

You obviously haven't been to my Dad's house in the winter time. I believe that the bogus EPA study on second hand smoke was done at Dad's place. The survivors came back to DC and wrote the study.

As the one and only individual in the whole of Stalag California who doesn't smoke but doesn't care if others do....

There's actually seven of us.

My areas of concern with respect to movies and the kids.

Sex: No

Brief Nudity: fast forwarded through

Swearing: put up with (can't be worse than me)

Smoking: don't care

Violence: Mostly OK if contextual No dismemberment or horror that young teens love

PC Crap: Immediate pause and lecture on the truth

mksviews said...

"....is merely the anger of tortured souls railing against the sight of someone enjoying himself."

Inside every one of these souls is an angry, totalitarian fascist who wants to meddle and control other people's lives.

Lone Chatelaine said...

Ugh :-(

Even a chicky-chick like me has no desire to see a movie called "The Women", smoking scenes or not.

...Although, the smoking scenes are probably the coolest part of the flick. But including them in the ratings choices? Pardon me while I gag.

Col. Hogan said...

TWC,

Actually, I'd bet it's the other way around.

It can go either way.

I make no judgment as to decisions made by parents regards their kids (as long as there's no abuse or neglect). I just haven't heard or read of any objective study that indicates kids are harmed by this stuff. It seems to be all religious zeal.

My opinion is that all knowledge is good (in context) and that kids won't ask, or even notice, if they don't care. A three-year-old won't care.

Col. Hogan said...

MK,

Yes, these are the loosly-wrapped individuals that tend to run for office.

Col. Hogan said...

LC,

One look at the cast and most individuals with any degree of self-esteem will run screaming from the theater. It's a nearly-complete inventory of middle-aged Hollywood neurotics. I think the only one missing is Carrie Fisher. Oh wait! She's in there.

An added point of interest: There is not a even one man listed in the cast. Not one.

The Wine Commonsewer said...

My opinion is that all knowledge is good (in context)

Back in the hippie days I knew some fat Jewish hippie types that made their pre-schoolers watch them have sex.

That's just a tad over the line.

[no, no, Daddy isn't hurting mommie. It feels good!]

Col. Hogan said...

TWC,

....Not to mention bizarre, from the pov of the kids.

Maybe if mama was "riding the mechanical bull," it'd seem like a bit of fun.

I don't want to hear no "Mama, let me try!"