• PTC Responds to MPAA Decision to Reduce Weinstein Film Rating From R to PG-13

    by  • April 27, 2017 • Movies, Press Release • 9 Comments

     movie ratings

    The PTC has responded to the news that the Motion Picture Association of America has changed the rating of Harvey Weinstein’s film, 3 Generations, from an R-rating to a PG-13 rating.

    “We understand and agree that this film centers on a very important topic. But the trustworthiness of the MPAA’s content rating system is also important. In light of today’s announcement, one of two things has happened: either the production company has removed the specific instances of content that required it to be R-rated, or the MPAA has chosen to disregard its own standards for what is acceptable in PG-13 films. We don’t yet know the answer to that question, but there is no third option. Either parents are going to be able to rely on a system based on standards that were put in place to help them, or they won’t,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

    “Harvey Weinstein said he spoke with Joan Graves at MPAA extensively about his film’s rating. If Weinstein can speak with Ms. Graves at MPAA extensively and secure a reduced rating, then why can’t parents speak with Ms. Graves extensively and secure a higher age rating, if they feel it is appropriate?

    “Whether it’s MPAA or the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, we are clearly on a path where the content ratings systems protect the interests of Hollywood, not parents.”



    9 Responses to PTC Responds to MPAA Decision to Reduce Weinstein Film Rating From R to PG-13

    1. Joe Man
      June 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

      The MPAA slapping an R-Rating because of sex/nudity or the f-word being repeated is just silly in the fact a child has heard the f-word or any other language like that used at school, and the fact if they access the internet they can see hardcore pornography. So the MPAA slapping an R-Rating on Mild things while they can access even graphic stuff on the internet is just silly.

    2. LK
      May 2, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      The MPAA has so many other things wrong with it, it needs to be heavily reformed or abolished. Here are just two things wrong with the MPAA:

      1. The G rating has become too strict. Too many movies get rated PG for stupid reasons. The 2015 film “Cinderella” (a.k.a. the sweetest story ever told) got rated PG in the United States, but got rated G in Australia and U in the United Kingdom. The same three ratings in the same three countries were given to the 2011 film “The Muppets”, “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”, the 1993 film “Free Willy”, and the 1986 film “Labyrinth”. The excessive strictness of the G rating discourages filmmakers from making G rated films, and encourages children to gravitate towards films with higher ratings, since G rated films are so rare and are usually either animated movies or documentaries which will either be ignored or ridiculed by too many people over age 10 as “kiddie movies”.

      2. The MPAA’s rating criteria is overly focused on profanity (a 100% legal action protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution outside of the domain of broadcast television), so much so that they seem to frequently ignore actions that are a thousand times worse than profanity, illegal actions that could result in property destruction, prison time, serious injury or death. Since you follow Harvey Weinstein closely, I’m sure you are aware that the 2010 film “The King’s Speech” was rated R for its use of the F-word.

      Now I don’t use profanity when I speak. It’s not because I’m smarter or nobler or have a higher vocabulary than the general public. It’s for two reasons. First, I am a patient person who does not get angry very easily. I believe that the cause of 90-99% of profanity spoken is not low vocabulary or stupidity, but by anger in the heat of the moment. Secondly, I believe actions speak louder than words. If I was given the choice between speaking at a high school graduation ceremony and donating blood, I would donate blood. Why? Because if I make a speech at a high school graduation ceremony, I am 100% certain that most of the audience will forget most of the words I speak years down the road, regardless of whether those words are wholesome or profane. I say this because I graduated from college ten years ago and I have forgotten 90% of what the speakers said. However, if I donate blood, I am 100% certain that my blood will save someone’s life and that that someone will appreciate my donation for the rest of their life, even if they never know where the blood came from. Also, I do not complain when other people use profanity, because I know doing so is an exercise in futility, and if the profanity is directed at me, in all probability their profanity is my fault because I made that person mad.

      Because of this, I will present to you several movies that I feel are much worse than “The King’s Speech”, even though the MPAA believes otherwise:

      “Can’t Hardly Wait”-This 1998 movie is centered around a house party without adult supervision, where underage drinking and extramarital sex take place. Underage drinking is against the law, and can result in death by drunk driving, other physical injuries, or alcohol poisioning. Profanity doesn’t kill people. Binge drinking does. Yet this movie got rated PG-13.

      “Gone in 60 Seconds”-Memphis Raines has to steal 50 cars in 24 hours to save the life of his younger brother in this 2000 Jerry Bruckheimer production. One car explodes when a rag is inserted into the gas tank and ignited, which not only destroys the car, but could kill people if they were close enough to get punctured by shrapnel. If an explosion like that happened at an auto show or a crowded parking lot, dozens or hundreds of people could be killed. Despite all that, this movie got rated PG-13. I guess the MPAA would rather you steal a car or blow one up than say the F-word.

      “John Q”-When John’s son needs a heart transplant in this 2002 film, his health insurance policy will not cover the procedure. He tries Medicaid, only to find he does not qualify for it. He and his wife sell everything they can sell and collect donations, but they do not raise enough money. So John enters the ER with a handgun, smashes the security camera, disables the elevator, and takes hostages, threatening to kill those hostages unless his son gets on the heart transplant list. I would never be able to do what John did, nor would I want anyone to do that for me. I guess the MPAA thinks otherwise, because they rated his film PG-13.

      “Seven Pounds”-In this 2008 film, Ben Thomas is attempting to atone for causing a nasty car accident that killed seven people by finding seven strangers to do exceptionally kind things for. When he performs his seven kind deeds for seven people, he proceeds to commit suicide by climbing into a bathtub and allowing a jellyfish to sting him. Evidently the MPAA sees suicide as morally preferable to saying the F-word, because they rated this film PG-13.

      So, in my opinion, if “The King’s Speech” deserves an R-rating for saying the F-word, then “Can’t Hardly Wait”, “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “John Q” and “Seven Pounds” deserve to be rated R as well.

      Please feel free to respond.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        May 12, 2017 at 9:32 am

        As a private association, the Motion Picture Association of America is free to adopt whatever guidelines it feels satisfy its mission. Thus, the First Amendment doesn’t really come into it. A private association is free to adopt rules to which its members must adhere. Don’t like the rules? Don’t belong to the association. If your country club has a dress code requiring swimsuits at the pool, you can try showing up nude and yelling, “It’s my First Amendment right to dress any way I want!”, but don’t be surprised if you get shown the door. Similarly, you can write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper, but the newspaper doesn’t have to print it. The First Amendment doesn’t require private associations or businesses to let people the association allows to join to do whatever they want. Public speech is one thing; private speech, on private property or in a private association, is another.

        The thing about the MPAA is, it’s main mission is not protecting families, but promoting the movie industry. This is no doubt why producers like Harvey Weinstein and Seth Rogen are able to flout its directives without consequence; ultimately, the MPAA answers to Hollywood, not the other way around. (It’s probably also why movies by smaller producers, who don’t have the industry clout of a Weinstein, are often subject to much more stringent ratings.) That said, the MPAA is also aware it has to maintain at least a fig leaf of plausibly protecting children and rating movies accurately; otherwise, the organization would have zero credibility with the wider public (and, perhaps more importantly, with Congress, which the MPAA lobbies about many other industry-related issues).

        You may feel the MPAA’s ratings guidelines are too strict in some areas (criteria for the “G” rating, extreme profanity gaining an “R” rating), yet not strict enough in others, such as sex and violence. That is your opinion, and you are certainly welcome to it, and free to express it. Other people may feel profanity is more important. Joan Graves, the head of the MPAA’s ratings division, has admitted that a survey of the public found that most people don’t want even ONE f-bomb in PG-13 rated movies; but the MPAA allows one, but only one; more than one requires an “R” rating — unless you’re Harvey Weinstein, of course.

        Of course, every individual is going to have a slightly different opinion on exactly how content ought to be rated; but when nearly everyone agrees that the current system is fatally flawed, it is clearly time for a new solution. In other countries, the government is in charge of entertainment ratings. In the U.S., decades of court rulings have led to the current situation, where any attempt at government regulation of media content would be dismissed as violating the First Amendment. (Interestingly, this wasn’t always so; until the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, many states and cities had their own censorship boards, through which “local community standards” were maintained and enforced.) So, while the government isn’t the proper body to be rating entertainment, perhaps we can agree that the industry creating the content shouldn’t be the ones in charge of rating it, either. Yet this is exactly the situation which exists, both with movies and television. That’s why the PTC supports Ratings Reform.

        Thanks for your comment.

        • Tim Thompson
          June 4, 2017 at 10:52 pm

          I think the F-bomb rule is stupid for pg-13 movies because other countries like UK, Canada, and Australia allow the f-bomb in ratings that are equivalent to pg-13 movies more than once like 10 times for example.

      • moax429
        May 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

        If the MPAA should – and I *strongly* feel, *must* – abolish anything, it should be their appeals board.

        If the filmmakers don’t agree with the MPAA’s decisions, they have the right to release their product *without* a rating (usually accompanied by a notice in print ads and on posters saying, for example, “Adults Only – No One 17 and Under Admitted”). I remember in the late 70′s and early 80′s many filmmakers did that because of violent and/or adult content (e.g. Russ Meyer’s “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” in 1979, the sick horror film “Mother’s Day” in 1981, and Lizzie Borden’s documentary “Working Girls” in 1982).

        Some examples of films that were appealed to a lesser rating:
        – “Reds” (1981) – from R to PG; the F-bomb was dropped 6 times and there was also a subdued sex scene
        – “Poltergeist” (1982) – from R to PG; the F-bomb was dropped twice and besides the gruesome violence there was
        also a scene of drug use (the parents smoke some pot before they go to bed)
        - “Scarface” (1983) – from X to R; nonstop use of the F-bomb and much gruesome violence (Martin Scorsese was
        perturbed by the original rating that he “whined” loud enough to have it appealed)
        - “Terms of Endearment” (1983) – from R to PG; the F-bomb was dropped twice and, like “Reds,” there were some
        subdued sexual situations

        And then after the PG-13 rating was unveiled in 1984, two other examples of films that were appealed to a lesser rating I remember are:
        - “Nothing in Common” (1986) – from R to PG; there were some slang genital references exchanged by Tom Hanks
        and Jackie Gleason and Hanks drops the F-bomb once; and
        - “Roxanne” (1987) – from R to PG; the F-bomb was dropped *19* – count ‘em – *19* times (in a PG-rated film?) and
        premarital sex was given a ringing endorsement (I guess the film’s star – and you know exactly to whom I’m
        referring – was such a crybaby that he was afraid an R rating would alienate his young and impressionable
        audience; in my opinion, he *never* had any talent to begin with)

        So what does all this tell you? The MPAA isn’t too strict; they are *much too lax.* If their ineffectual system had any teeth, then they would start considering American families again and abolish the appeals board. (As of late, the MPAA has become very secretive and won’t tell you if a film was appealed a lesser rating. For example: “Deadpool” – easily the *absolute worst* film I have ever seen – must have been given an NC-17 but was was appealed to R without any cuts; if 20th Century Fox accepted an X for “Myra Breckinridge” and “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and an NC-17 for Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” and another adult film called “Shame,” then why couldn’t they accept an NC-17 for “Deadpool?” Easy. The directors, writers, and stars of that trashy waste of time and money are
        all untalented crybabies. They don’t want the MPAA to tell you it was originally earmarked for an NC-17 but was changed to a less restrictive classification to suit them.)

        • R
          July 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm

          Is Steven Spielberg an “untalented crybaby” for making Saving Private Ryan? Saving Private Ryan was an extremely violent with lots of blood and gore, but that’s what war is really like. Sanitizing/sugar-coating/toning down violence makes violence look comical instead of horrifying, which makes violence look more appealing.

          • Christopher Gildemeister
            July 17, 2017 at 11:53 am

            Steven Spielberg was not an “untalented crybaby” for making Saving Private Ryan. However, Saving Private Ryan was rated R “for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence, and for language,” by the Motion Picture Association of America.

            The use of the f-word may be justified in a depiction of men under fire during combat in a world war, particularly when the film is rated accurately for adults only – as, indeed, Saving Private Ryan was. However harrowing bullying may be, it is doubtful that it causes as much stress as being under fire during D-Day in World War II.

            Moreover, Spielberg did NOT whine that “My movie is so important! It should be shown in every schoolroom, with all the language intact!” He acted responsibly and accepted the “R” rating that his movie had earned. Harvey Weinstein, by contrast, has a long history of pushing offensive content, then bullying the MPAA to change the rating his film’s content merits. It is this the PTC objects to.

    3. April 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      The MPAA knows that they don’t need to listen to the idiots that tell them how to rate their movies and shows. It’s the actors in Hollywood are the real idiots. James Cameron did include some sex in his move “Titanic” which was the only no-no he did. And the reason why I say that is because when Titanic sailed, sex was not allowed in the entertainment industry. And if James was going to be true to the times in making of the movie about the Titanic, he could have left the sex scene out of the movie. The MPAA needs to think about the public that are buying the tickets. Not just what Hollywood wants. It is time for the MPAA to return the rating of Harvey Weinstein’s stupid movie back to the R rating. I don’t care if he would end up loosing a few dollars if he brings it back up to the R rating. It would serve him right for adding filth into the entertainment industry.

    4. moax429
      April 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Knowing Weinstein, it was most likely *appealed* from R to PG-13 *without any* cuts.

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