Day: January 20, 2014

508 Swears- Hollywood Ratings are Ridiculous

rated r

Ok. Guys get ready for a little bit of a soapbox…

In the Mormon culture I grew up in it is commonly discouraged to see Rated R movies. I am not sure where that designation got started but it is a stupid way to evaluate content in a movie.  What!  You say! How can that be?

Here’s what’s going on…

If a movie has more that 3 f words it is immediately tagged with an R rating.  It does not matter scenario (war time, under attack, bullying, documentary, more than 3 you are out).

There is no limit that I can see on the number of swears that can be said to make something NC17.  As far as I can tell NC17 is used only for sexually explicit erotic movies like Showgirls.  We saw a great example this week of the lack of limits when Martin Scorsese’s movie Wolf of Wall Street had 508 f words.  A record! How exciting…

The most swears I have ever seen in a movie is 146 in Goodwill Hunting, which if you read this blog you know is a movie I hate and wouldn’t watch again without being bolted to the chair.

One I liked called Silver Linings Playbook had 76 but a lot of that was background and it did feel natural to the setting and place (see I’m not a total prude).

Last summer the movie Bully, a documentary about bullying and trying to STOP VIOLENCE was made R for 4 audible f words from the bullies beating up a kid on a buss.  This is a documentary! It’s not glorifying that behavior it’s trying to stop it.  Shouldn’t that count for something.

But no.  It’s an R.  So if someone has a rule about no R rated movies they miss out on one movie with 4 swears and are kept rightfully away from one with 508.  Should that really be the same rating?  It doesn’t make sense!

The next reason why the ratings system is stupid is how they judge violence.  If your scene has blood it is considered an R but if it is a bloodless death it can be PG13.  That’s how movies like the Hunger Games get away with murdering children for sport at a PG-13. I remind you Bully is an R that is trying to reduce child on child violence…ironic.

dark knightTake a look at this graphic it contains all the violent content of the Dark Knight, a PG-13 film.  This is so long that I had to make it super small font to fit on one page.  It includes shooting a cop, an explosion in a jail, a man’s face is burned off in chunks and a pencil is stuffed through another man’s head.  I mean what does a movie have to do to make R for violence?  Evidently be Saving Private Ryan and actually show a real invasion that actually happened with blood…but you can have pencils through heads no problem. Sigh…

Sensuality is another issue that the ratings are bonkers about.  You can only show certain things, make certain sounds or kisses to be PG-13.  It’s all ridiculous and kind of insulting.  We get what’s going on even if there’s a convenient white sheet in places.  Please!  Plus, sensuality depends so much on situation as far as offense.  Is it a real relationship? Are the characters married?  Is it a prostitute? The same scene could be wildly different in offensiveness depending on the story.  That’s why a flat rating for a list of objectionable scenes/words doesn’t make sense.

Here’s the thing I want to watch adult movies about adult topics.  I love children’s movies but I also like films about adult characters struggling with life and its challenges.  I am also willing to admit that some movies are not made for me and my moral and that’s ok.  I’m perfectly fine with that but we should at least be given a rating system that makes sense or have none at all like they do at Sundance.  This would force patrons to use a site like to find out the actual content of the movie and if it is something they feel comfortable seeing whether it is PG, PG-13, R or whatever.

The ratings are STUPID!!!  The only good they might be is to stop kids from seeing R’s in the theater..maybe. Although I snuck in once when I was in high school.  (secret…)

I think we should all look at criticism out there, read the screenit summary or detail and decide on our own terms if it is a movie we want to see.  That’s what I do with live theater.  No rating system required.

If a rating system couldn’t steer me away from seeing a pencil through a man’s face than it is of no use.  I’m on my own for determining movies to watch and I recommend the same to you.  Also share with your friends so they can use your experience to make their informed movie-going decisions.

I give the Rating system an F

rating system