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When did the MPAA start using "descriptions" with their ratings?

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When did the MPAA start using "descriptions" with their ratings?

Old 09-13-06, 11:13 PM
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When did the MPAA start using "descriptions" with their ratings?

We were discussing this at work today, and I mentioned how this is a relatively new thing for the film industry. Just wondering if anyone knew when it started. One of the first times I recall seeing it was for the trailer on House of 1000 Corpses.
Old 09-13-06, 11:26 PM
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Some soccer mom probably filed a lawsuit saying her rugrats were scarred for life because they saw a pair of boobies in an R-rated movie she allowed them to watch.
Old 09-14-06, 12:29 AM
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I just find making a distinction stupid...and R-rated movie is an R-rated movie. Whether it's Hostile with boobs and blood or Goodfellas with "fuck" every few minutes....I guess that's where the terminology "Hard-R" evolved from.

Making the distinction within the realm of the PG-13 world makes a little more sense, but once you hit an R-rating, forget about it. "Boy, that was a lot of violence/swearing/nudity for an R-rated movie!" WTF?!?
Old 09-14-06, 01:33 AM
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Some of the descriptions can get down right silly.
Old 09-14-06, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Abe.
Some of the descriptions can get down right silly.
My favorite is when G and PG movies have "Mild Thematic Elements" listed as the possible offense. What the hell does that mean? Are there parents out there trying to protect their children from the "thematic elements" of the world, even if they're "mild"? Is there a film that exists that doesn't have "thematic elements"?

Last edited by sb5; 09-14-06 at 02:07 AM.
Old 09-14-06, 04:25 AM
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I seem to remember the descriptions appearing in the wake of Columbine. Seriously.
Old 09-14-06, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert
Some soccer mom probably filed a lawsuit saying her rugrats were scarred for life because they saw a pair of boobies in an R-rated movie she allowed them to watch.
parenting... aint' it a bitch
Old 09-14-06, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank
I just find making a distinction stupid...and R-rated movie is an R-rated movie.
I disagree. As a parent, it's helpful to have more information. For example, I would have no problem showing my kids a film that was only rated R because "Fuck" was said too many times (Planes Trains and Automobiles), as opposed to an R-rated film that had wall to wall splatter and violence.
Old 09-14-06, 01:17 PM
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^

Exactly. There are movies that are rated R solely because someone takes drugs in a scene. Or because the word 'fuck' is used a couple of times. Or there's a brief shot of someone's pubes.

Letting people know a bit about what actual content is in the film is hardly 'stupid'.


And, in answer to the original question (straight from the source):

In September of 1990 two more revisions were announced. First, the board began giving brief explanations of why a particular film received R ratings. Since, in the opinion of the Ratings Board, R rated films contain adult material, they believed it would be useful for parents to know a little more about that film?s content before they allowed their children to accompany them. Sometime later the board began applying the same explanations in the PG, PG-13 and NC-17 categories as well. These explanations are available to parents at the theater (by telephone or at the box office), in certain media reviews and listings, and are made available at www.mpaa.org and filmratings.com.

http://www.mpaa.org/Ratings_history1.asp
Old 09-14-06, 01:21 PM
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I like the description on Twister. It says "Rated PG-13 for depiction of very bad weather".
Old 09-14-06, 01:28 PM
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My favorite is comic mischief. The hell does that entail?
Old 09-14-06, 04:46 PM
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Trailers and advertisements have often carried their own disclaimers going as far back as the 1970's. The original Rollerball ads in the 1970's had a blurb to point out that the R rating was for extreme violence and not nudity, so mom and dad could bring the whole family to see it.
Old 09-14-06, 05:43 PM
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I'd like to see a site that allows you to make your own rating and description.

Something like..."Rated NC-17 - Graphic Depiction Of Inter-Anus Urination"
Old 09-14-06, 05:44 PM
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So, should Sci-Fi Violence be considered better or worse than normal violence? It always gets me that need to mention that it's Sci-Fi.
Old 09-14-06, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin M. Dean
So, should Sci-Fi Violence be considered better or worse than normal violence? It always gets me that need to mention that it's Sci-Fi.
Again, there's a difference between a guy shooting a robot with a laser and a guy hacking up another human with a hacksaw.
Old 09-15-06, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Again, there's a difference between a guy shooting a robot with a laser and a guy hacking up another human with a hacksaw.
But what if a robot hacks up a human with a laser? Is it Sci-Fi Violence or just regular Violence at that point? ...and should whether it's Sci-Fi or not really matter.... I find it a bit arbitrary.
Old 09-15-06, 12:56 AM
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Since it includes both a "robot" and a "laser" it is Sci-Fi violence.

If it is missing one of those two then its just regular violence.
Old 09-15-06, 01:12 AM
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What if violence hacks up a laser with a robot
Old 09-15-06, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
I disagree. As a parent, it's helpful to have more information. For example, I would have no problem showing my kids a film that was only rated R because "Fuck" was said too many times (Planes Trains and Automobiles), as opposed to an R-rated film that had wall to wall splatter and violence.

I remember everytime I saw that movie as a kid, my parents made me leave for those 40 seconds or so....brings back sooo many memories
Old 09-15-06, 01:37 AM
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I work in a gamestore (games have ratings similar in nature). There is a woman who has a son who is not 17 (probably like 12), and always wants mature games, so she has to buy them. All she ever cares about is whether you kill any policemen in the game. Today it was "True Crime: Streets of L.A." I've never played this game, but the rating is:
Blood and Gore, Mature Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
I thought I remembered there being some drug use in there too, but that's from the website. All she asked was, "Do you kill any cops in it?" She bought it. Weird the standards people have.
Old 09-15-06, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by thomkai
All she asked was, "Do you kill any cops in it?" She bought it. Weird the standards people have.
I wonder if she uses the same standard when buying Ice-T albums?
Old 09-15-06, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe.
What if violence hacks up a laser with a robot
That's clearly a case of comic mischief.

Didn't that movie "The Cave" have a description like "monster violence" or something similar.
Old 09-15-06, 09:50 PM
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I honestly don't see why anyone thinks this would be a bad thing. It's simply a tool for anyone who cares to use it - whatever retarded system of value they place on the info is up to them.
Old 09-15-06, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by clemente
I honestly don't see why anyone thinks this would be a bad thing. It's simply a tool for anyone who cares to use it - whatever retarded system of value they place on the info is up to them.
Exactly. Though, I find even these descriptions to be rather arbitrary -- eg nudity. This tells me nothing. Is this a a quick shot of a butt or is it a long scene with tons of nudity?

When I'm a parent, I think I'll probably stick to either watching the movie myself first or using additional tools like www.kids-in-mind.com or www.screenit.com
Old 09-16-06, 12:01 PM
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I kinda like the system when I see "Abusive Language, Graphic Violence, Strong Sexual Situations, Nudity, and Drug Use" I know I'm in for a good time. Most of the time.

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