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An AP PG-13 Story

Old 08-23-04, 02:02 PM
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An AP PG-13 Story

http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/200...D84L37U02.html


PG-13 Remade Hollywood Ratings System


By ANTHONY BREZNICAN

LOS ANGELES (AP) - This is the story of how a gooey green guy in a microwave, a pagan witchdoctor with a beating heart in his hand and that unlucky numeral 13 changed the way Hollywood makes its movies.

It has been two decades since the summer of 1984, when "Gremlins" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" caused an uproar among some parents who took their young children to the PG-rated films and walked out wishing the rating had suggested more guidance than just "parental guidance suggested."

The solution became the PG-13 rating.

But instead of being solely an extra warning to parents, as it was originally conceived, it has evolved into the preferred rating of studios and filmmakers. As Steven Spielberg told The Associated Press recently, PG-13 puts "hot sauce" on a movie in the viewer's mind.


The genesis of PG-13 is directly linked to Spielberg, who in 1984 became a lightning rod for parental ire.

"I created the problem and I also supplied the solution ... I invented the rating," Spielberg, the producer of "Gremlins" and director of "Temple of Doom," said in a recent interview.

With no middle-ground between PG and R, the ratings board of the 1980s frequently wrestled with the right way to classify movies that should and should not be viewed by children. The flaw in the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system was that it lumped all children - from infants to 17-year-olds - into the same group.

Maybe the "Gremlin" who met his steaming, grisly demise inside that kitchen appliance, or the chest-popping human sacrifice that put the doom in "Temple of Doom," were too graphic for grade-school kids, but what about the teenage couples looking for a scary reason to cuddle in the movie theater?

Ultimately, both movies made it to theaters with the PG designation.

After "Temple of Doom" opened May 23, some parents complained to theater managers and the ratings board that their kids were mortified, and news reports began questioning whether the ratings board was being too lax.

Jack Valenti, the longtime MPAA head who recently announced his retirement, told the AP that the heart scene was the catalyst. "By today's standards it's not a big deal," he said. "But it was pretty off-putting. And there was a real problem about how to label that picture."

"Everybody was screaming, screaming, screaming that it should have had an R-rating, and I didn't agree," Spielberg said.

The debate might have faded there if not for "Gremlins," which came out two weeks later.

Joe Dante, the director of "Gremlins," and later "Small Soldiers" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," blames the backlash on the early trailers.

They focused mostly on Gizmo - a friendly, teddy bearlike creature called a Mogwai, which multiplies in water. But it neglected Gizmo's clones, which go through a metamorphosis that turns them into ghoulish, murderous troublemakers.

Dante said the spots also were deliberately "imitating the color and style of the 'E.T.' ads" from two years earlier, hoping to draw people in based on Spielberg's producer credit.

"So the idea of taking a 4-year-old to see 'Gremlins,' thinking it's going to be a cuddly, funny animal movie and then seeing that it turns into a horror picture, I think people were upset," Dante told the AP. "They felt like they had been sold something family friendly and it wasn't entirely family friendly."

But it still became a hit, collecting $150 million. "Temple of Doom" earned $180 million, proving there was an audience that loved movies that mixed wholesomeness with horror.

Clearly there would be more films like this. "There was no way of going back and making the content less hard, because people did expect certain things from these pictures and you had to give them those," Dante said.

But there remained the problem of how to keep little kids away while attracting adults and teens.

Spielberg thought it was an easy fix.

"I went to Jack Valenti, who's a friend of mine, and I said, 'Jack, why don't we do a rating called PG-13, which would suit films like "Gremlins" and "Indy 2"?'" Spielberg said. "So I called Jack, and Jack said, 'Leave it to me ...'"

Valenti took the idea to the National Association of Theater Owners, Hollywood's writer, actor and director guilds, the studio bosses, and assorted religious organizations.

"I didn't seek their approval or anything," Valenti said. "Didn't have to. But I certainly conferred with all of them."

He agreed to make the distinction at 13, saying that was an age when most kids knew the difference between fantasy and reality, and had more independence from their parents.

"The child behavioral experts will tell you that not all 13s are alike, not all 14s are alike, not all 12s are alike," Valenti said. "In the end, as I have stated numberless times, it is the parent who has to make this judgment."

Aug. 10, 1984 marked the first debut of a PG-13 movie: "Red Dawn," about a Communist invasion of America and the high-school rebels who fight back. PG-13 ratings that year also went to the Gene Wilder comedy "The Woman in Red," the sci-fi epic "Dune," Matt Dillon's "The Flamingo Kid" and the mob farce "Johnny Dangerously."

Studios and filmmakers did not view the new rating as a potential punishment. Rather, it was liberating, Dante said.

Dante recalled an old B-movie saying: "An older child will NOT watch anything a younger child will watch, but a younger child will watch ANYTHING that an older child will watch."

That philosophy transformed the PG-13 rating into a marketing tool. It promised edge without threatening offense.

"In a way it's better to get a PG-13 than a PG for certain movies," Spielberg said. "Sometimes PG, unless it's for an animated movie, it turns a lot of young people off. They think it's going to be too below their radar and they tend to want to say, 'Well, PG-13 might have a little bit of hot sauce on it.'"

The disposable income teens spend coming back again and again to their favorite flicks is the fuel that keeps Hollywood running. Would they have flocked to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" in as many numbers if it had not been marked with the darker PG-13?

The PG-13 rated "Titanic" is the highest-grossing movie in history, and the top 10 includes four others - both "Spider-Man" movies, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Jurassic Park."

PG, meanwhile, runs the risk of suggesting blandness.

That's the likely reason you'll see Will Smith's naked rear in "I, Robot," Kirsten Dunst's wet T-shirt in "Spider-Man," or the joke in "The Terminal" about Tom Hank's muddled English being mistaken for profanity.

Cutting those scenes may have improved the chances of getting PG ratings. But who wants that anymore?

"Kids don't want to feel like they're seeing pap," Dante said. "People will go out of their way to put one dirty word in it just to get the rating that they need to give the picture some legitimacy, so the kids won't feel like they're going to see their little brother's movie."
Old 08-23-04, 02:18 PM
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No mention of how the PG-13 rating is sucking the creativity out of Hollywood? Shame!
Old 08-23-04, 02:21 PM
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Movies should adopt the same ratings that video games have... E, T, M, etc...
Old 08-23-04, 02:24 PM
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The ratings board is inconsistent and often ridiculous.

How in seven Hells could this:





get a PG-13 and this:



be just one rating different? Ridiculous. That is all I have to say.

Last edited by Rivero; 08-23-04 at 02:26 PM.
Old 08-23-04, 03:34 PM
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I'm still trying to figure out how movies like Austin Powers 2 & 3 and Jumanji didn't get R's. And why Judge Dredd did.
Old 08-23-04, 03:55 PM
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Or why Matrix isn't PG-13. Or how in the world with all its gushing blood and severed head glory the movie Jaws got a PG way back in 1975 instead of R.
Old 08-23-04, 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by rennervision
Or why Matrix isn't PG-13. Or how in the world with all its gushing blood and severed head glory the movie Jaws got a PG way back in 1975 instead of R.
I'll give you a hint: It starts with the letter F and ends with a K.
Old 08-23-04, 05:08 PM
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Originally posted by slop101
I'll give you a hint: It starts with the letter F and ends with a K.
I've seen more than a few PG-13 movies with "fuck" in them a few times. Which you can write uncensored here now.

http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=381071
Old 08-23-04, 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle
I've seen more than a few PG-13 movies with "fuck" in them a few times.
I think the rule is one F-bomb per PG-13 film. If it goes to 2 or more, it tends to be an R.

Offhand, I can't think of any PG-13 films with more than one F in them. Can you give some examples?
Old 08-23-04, 05:43 PM
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i hate PG-13 and prefer most movies with a solid R. I will tend to pay for the R and wait for the PG to PG-13's nowadays. PG-13 has disgraced the movie industry, but being that I saw one of the first PG-13's in "Red Dawn" way back when and it is one of my favorites of all time, I can't come down on it too much, but that was back in the early 80's and things were a lot less strict back then. I can't imagine the glory of that movie if it would have been R. "Wolverines!!!"
Old 08-23-04, 05:53 PM
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I'm still trying to figure out how movies like Austin Powers 2 & 3 and Jumanji didn't get R's.
Jumanji should be more PG-13 than PG, which is it's current rating. There's violence done towards humans, but it's not that violent. Same applies to the animals. It might scare young children, but it's basically okay for everyone else. Jumanji should be a light PG-13 at most, nowhere near a hard PG-13 or even an R (you goddamn pansy ).

Now the Austin Powers films have PG-13 ratings because it's only "light" sexual innunendo... basically your run of the mill "dick and fart" jokes. But I can see why it should R. Now ask me why Bring It On isn't an R with it's oral sex and fingering references? Ask me how Out Cold got a PG-13 when it has a scene where a man tries to fuck a jacuzzi.

Now, ask me how Almost Famous has an R for slight bad language and brief drug use. Ask me how, with the exception of some nudity and brief bloody violence, how Dark City got an R. This debate can go on... and on... and on...

End of discussion: The MPAA is entirely whacked out of their fucking mind. You can have as much violence as you want in a PG or PG-13 film, but make sure it's not bloody. But you utter a few "fucks" and show some titties, you'll get an R.

End of discussion (part two): Most of the people in this country are fucking stupid.

End of discussion (part three): The MPAA means nothing anymore. The ratings reflect time and place, nothing else. In the '70s, you could show some nudity and violence and still get a PG. Now, no. Yet those films are still rated PG.

I'll give you a hint: It starts with the letter F and ends with a K.
With the exception of one scene in Matrix Reloaded, the entire trilogy is pretty clean when it comes to bad language (only a few "shits" and "goddamns" here and there). The only time when the word "fuck" is even uttered, is when Neo utters it near the end of Reloaded.
Old 08-23-04, 06:43 PM
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in reloaded therre is some bloody violence. in one quick scene, monica's character shoots a guy in the head and blood comes out to hit the window, and a person with tons of blood at the end of the movie.
Old 08-23-04, 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
in reloaded therre is some bloody violence. in one quick scene, monica's character shoots a guy in the head and blood comes out to hit the window, and a person with tons of blood at the end of the movie.
1. The head shot isn't nearly as graphic as say one in the Dawn of the Dead remake.
2. When Trinity is bleeding at the end, it's not nearly as graphic as the gastric bypass surgery scene shown in Super Size Me which got a PG-13.

The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded have some blood here and there, but both are hard PG-13/light Rs at the most.

Now The Matrix Revolutions on the other hand is R all the way.
Old 08-23-04, 07:11 PM
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On the commentary on Whale Rider, it was said the R was given for the the marijuana pipe that was shown in the bottom corner for 1 sec. The brother was grabbing it to hide it when Pai showed up. I didn't notice it at all until I hear the commentary.

Stupid!
Old 08-23-04, 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by Verbal Gorilla
On the commentary on Whale Rider, it was said the R was given for the the marijuana pipe that was shown in the bottom corner for 1 sec. The brother was grabbing it to hide it when Pai showed up. I didn't notice it at all until I hear the commentary.

Stupid!
Whale Rider isn't rated R.
Old 08-23-04, 09:21 PM
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While I don't have a problem with a rating between PG and R, I hate how studios are aiming for a PG-13 rating, just to have a better box office. AvP is the most recent case. Wasn't Terminator 3 also rumored to have a PG-13 at one point?

BTW, Whale Rider was PG-13.
Old 08-23-04, 09:47 PM
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Everyone is so ultra sensitive. It's disheartening.
Old 08-23-04, 10:43 PM
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Originally posted by rennervision
Or why Matrix isn't PG-13. Or how in the world with all its gushing blood and severed head glory the movie Jaws got a PG way back in 1975 instead of R.
Because WAY back in the 1970's, people wernt so uptight. That was back when you could see a boobie and not get into trouble. If Jaws was released today, I assure you - it would be an R.

*blinks* Wait a sec - we can say fuck? Since when!
Old 08-23-04, 10:53 PM
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Its kind of funny that in Canada they have a similar ratings system (I don't know the specifics) , but most of the movies that are rated R here will only get a 14 rating there, and a lot of the PGs and PG-13s have an all ages rating.
Old 08-23-04, 10:58 PM
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On stuff like minor nudity and such pushes the movie just to an R, yes, always we'll get the 14 rating. It's also surprising how often violent movies still get the 14 rating when they get R in the states. Matrix is a good example.

Also funny how Matrix is full of innocent people getting shot to death, and people are thinking the word "fuck" had did it in. What screwed priorities we have.
Old 08-23-04, 11:11 PM
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I just checked the back of some of my DVDs which show both the US ans Canadian ratings here is what I found ...

the entire Matrix Trilogy R in US 14 in Canada
Terminator 3 R in US 14 in Canada
This Is Spinal Tap R in US 14 in Canada
Speed R in US ... only PG in Canada
Rockstar R in US 14 in Canada
Sleepy Hollow R in Us 14 in Canada
Old 08-24-04, 08:16 AM
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Originally posted by Jay G.
Offhand, I can't think of any PG-13 films with more than one F in them. Can you give some examples?
Old 08-24-04, 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by Dean Kousoulas

BTW, Whale Rider was PG-13.
Still a stupid rating for such a harmless film. Take out the pipe and this thing could've been a G for Chrissakes.
Old 08-24-04, 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by El-Kabong
Because WAY back in the 1970's, people wernt so uptight.
That's not a very good argument. What information leads to this conclusion? How do you measure how 'uptight' people are today versus how 'uptight' they were in the seventies?
Old 08-24-04, 09:35 AM
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That's not a very good argument. What information leads to this conclusion? How do you measure how 'uptight' people are today versus how 'uptight' they were in the seventies?
Logan's Run got a PG while having both male and female nudity.
Jaws got a PG for having intense violent sequences with gore.
Grease got a PG for having quite a few innuendos (and the F word in Italian).

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