Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PG-13 Films Rock!

After being in town the past few days and leaving to find my trusty internets working perfectly, I have had nothing but time to prepare the following revelation: I love the Motion Picture Association of America! I find it reassuring that a group of anonymous individuals can be the moral guidepost for today's busy parents. It is good that parents can rely on these like-minded and consistently accurate censors to rate a film as safe for our children aged thirteen to seventeen.

Never has a grander label been created. Credit cannot be entirely given to the MPAA; in his own words, Steven Spielberg "invented the rating" in response to parental outrage in 1984 over his Temple of Doom and Gremlins films. Since that time, the PG-13 rating has been the hallmark of quality in cinema. The middle-of-the-road banner has lifted so many kid-friendly pictures into risque fare and turned so many vulgar and graphic films away from the dreaded R-rating.

For example, last summer's Live Free or Die Hard was the first of the four-film franchise to receive a PG-13 rating. Granted, the PG-13 of 1984 has become extremely lenient in more recent years, allowing scripts to pepper more hints of nakedness, rampant violence and the ability to drop an "F" bomb or other suggestively vulgar slur. At the least, the rating kept John McClane from uttering his tired catchphrase. Thanks to the PG-13 bump, "yippie ki yay motherf-" is all that can be heard before a gunshot ripping into his shoulder drowns out the nasty vulgarity.

Another triumph of the PG-13 shield is that it saved the population from being exposed to Scarlett Johansson's breasts in The Island. According to rumors, the steamy and totally unnecessary sex scene between Ms. Johansson and Ewan McGregor had her straddle him in the throes of passion with her bra firmly in place. Scarlett questioned the script, and eagerly offered to unleash her large, unappealing mammaries to make the scene supposedly more realistic and natural. However, director Michael Bay held strong to the principles of the PG-13 rating to ensure The Island could reach the masses.

I could cite dozens of horror films in recent years that have been phenomenal thanks to the PG-13 banner. 1408, The Ring, The Grudge, When a Stranger Calls and AVP: Alien vs. Predator are just the tip of the fantastic PG-13 horror iceberg. These films provide more creepiness in their languid atmosphere than gallons of blood, thousands of expletives or countless violent episodes could ever craft.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Niles, creator of 30 Days of Night, who fought tooth and nail to get his property under the pesky R banner. He said the studios really wanted a PG-13 film that could appeal to the masses, but as he put it, how can you make a movie about vampires and not make it rated R? I don't know how you'd go about creating such a masterpiece, but everyone who knows me knows I'd be first in line for a vampire flick with the PG-13 mark of quality.

PG-13 is a wonderful way to expose youth to semi-adult concepts without all the peskiness of reality or grit. It also spares parents from having to share these experiences with their children when they can be spending time socializing with other adults. I know my sixteen-year-old cousin loves to go see the latest PG-13 blockbusters whenever she can find a babysitter for little Julia. I'm just surprised that it's not mandatory for every film released into major theaters to undergo the MPAA's approval so more films can receive the glorious PG-13 designation. Even though this isn't the case, luckily for audiences, the popularity of films in this category just fuels the need for more. It won't be long before the success of PG-13 films makes the R-rating obsolete. I say, that day can't come fast enough for us eager audiences.

This article has been made impossible by the Reel Whore not participating in Lazy Eye Theatre's Bizarro Blog-a-thon. I did nothing in my power to be certain I was the very first blogger to participate. I hope you hated it!

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. I loved Die Hard 4 much better without that improper Yippie Kay Yay business. It was much better edited for my prudish ears.

    And I'm glad The Island was PG-13. Scarlett's icky, and I'm guessing her mammaries are gross, too.

  2. Yes, Scarlett's very icky, glad we were spared from seeing her ugly boobage.

    Can't believe it took them 4 films to get the Die Hard series just right.