Monday, April 28, 2014

The Ratings System

The ratings system is a pretty good way for us as consumers to figure out what content a piece of film will contain. It provides a good guideline for us as to whether we should attend  or view a movie with our kids or even if we should see something at all (based on our preferences). But there are some vast holes in the system that tends to brand movies and this is one of the reasons that this blog and others opinions can be helpful.
For one thing the "G" rating can be the kiss of death to many movies because we associate that rating with the horrible, sickly sweet fare that is churned out for children. It's so bland that only children five or under could enjoy it. So when a reasonable, well made piece of entertainment is rated "G" we need to let our friends know about it.
Many older movies are simply NR which nearly fall into the "G" black hole where we assume it's either pablum or and unrated "NC-17" version.

Dean Spanley is one of those pictures that suffers from the NR rating. This little gem is one of those. Just a great period piece, very Victorian, very English and very thought provoking. When it was over, Jeanne and I both said, "Huh!" not a question but an exclamation of satisfaction. We had both been held, mesmerized for the length of the video which we viewed by streaming on Netflix.

This is not an action blockbuster, but a quiet, elegant, thought provoking piece of entertainment.

It is a huge blessing to have the "PG-13" rating, before that movies were either PG or R. One of favorite is "Nuns On The Run" which was rated in those pre "PG-13" days. That "PG" rating it received was very liberal since it has a scene where the two "nuns" are found in a girls locker room as the naked girls shower. That scene is really funny and not done in a lecherous or pornographic way, but it does show a lot of nudity and you wonder if you'd want your 14 year old teen aged son watching that scene.

Recently we watched an "R" rated movie, "The Artist and the Model," A drama set in 1943 and filmed in black and white. If they hadn't told us it was done in 2013 I would have though it was done in the 40's. It is a great piece that will inspire artists in many ways. I just wished we had gotten to see the process where the plaster model was transferred into marble. 
The rating "R" is appropriate because there is nudity through half the film. But it is in no way the kind of assault on the senses that most "R" rated fare is.

So, I recommend it to artists and mature adults. I'm very happy that the rating system is there as a set of guidelines that can help us make better choices. You certainly wouldn't want to take a girl or your first date to any R rated fare, or your kids, but that doesn't mean there aren't gems out there that are acceptable.

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