PG-13 ain't what it used to be

Harvard researchers have determined that over the past decade there has been what they've termed "ratings creep" in regards to PG and PG-13 films.

"'The findings demonstrate that ratings creep has occurred over the last decade and that today's movies contain significantly more violence, sex and profanity on average than movies of the same rating a decade ago,' Thompson wrote in a release accompanying the study."

Um, is this a surprise to any parent who pays attention to this sort of thing? I've certainly noticed the continual pushing of the envelope in PG-13 films over the last couple of years. All you have to do to make an R-rated film PG-13 is to change the color of blood from red to black (or just remove the blood from a scene that should be bloody as hell), and show full nudity as long as you just barely obscure nipples and genitalia.

Look at the recent film, Van Helsing for example. You had scenes where an arm is ripped off a character and there is no blood. Another character falls from a 20 story building, the camera shows him lying in the street, and he looks like he tripped over a shoelace. His head should have looked like an exploded melon. As far as nudity, the female vampires were buck-naked, but had breasts devoid of nipples. Other than that, there was nothing left to the imagination.

Rating? PG-13.

The other annoying aspect of "ratings creep" is how it is also apparent in the subject matter of films. Beyond the foul language, violence, or nudity, the topics explored in certain films can also raise it to what should be an R rating. I would hold up the film Chicago as an example of a film that I think should have been rated R.

It's gotten to the point where I even have to screen PG films before I let my daughter watch them. Case in point: Shrek 2. Sure it was funny, but did it really need to have jokes in there about cross-dressing, tight butts, and guys wearing women's thong underwear? Yeesh.

That's just plain wrong... I shouldn't have to worry about the content of a PG film for an 8 year old.


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