Friday, May 11, 2007

MPAA factors in smoking as rating criteria

I'm not a big fan of the MPAA. They call their rating system a guide for parents, but I see it as a way to censor material and block potentially legitimate viewers from seeing certain films. Why can't a mature 15-year old see an R-rated movie without his parents? A movie that is sexually explicit will end up with an NC-17 rating, which will cause the movie to either be edited (censorship) or not be played in most movie theaters (censorship - but more just business). The rating system is stupid.

That being said, the MPAA isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and so it's nice to see them do something good for a change. They have added smoking to their list of criteria that could cause a movie to get an R rating.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the MPAA ratings board "will now consider smoking as a factor among many other factors, including violence, sexual situations and language, in the rating of films," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.

"Clearly, smoking is increasingly an unacceptable behavior in our society. There is broad awareness of smoking as a unique public health concern due to nicotine's highly addictive nature, and no parent wants their child to take up the habit. The appropriate response of the rating system is to give more information to parents on this issue."

Thankfully, smoking will not be an instant kiss of death. While I agree smoking should be a cause of concern in movies, some people wanted movies containing smoking to immediately receive R ratings. This would mean that films set in a historical time where smoking was prevalent would be R-rated no matter what, etc. etc. The MPAA, however, will look at a few rules:

Is the smoking pervasive?
Does the film glamorize smoking?
Is there a historic or other mitigating context?

I think this is a good movie, but we'll see how it's enforced...

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