I heard a movie star talking about a film he was in. He mentioned it was the first movie that got the PG 13 rating. I was surprised, because I remember when I was 13, the movie Dreamscape came out. Entertainment Tonight (side note: Mary Hart’s legs look even better when you’re 13) said that movie was the first to get that rating.

And when it came on HBO, I remember a woman nude during a love scene. Although, I bought the DVD a few years ago and that scene was edited (no, I didn’t buy the movie just for that scene…it was on sale for only $4).

I talked about moving ratings with local musician Jose Sinatra at a party the other day (you can read about it in a future Crasher). Of course, we brought up the well known trivia question about Midnight Cowboy (Dustin Hoffman/Jon Voight) being the only X rated film to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Somewhere in the 70s, “X” started to only mean “pornography”.

Eventually, they came up with NC17 to indicate that the movie wasn’t pornographic, but that it was for nobody under 17 (unlike R movies, which for some reason, parents are allowed to bring kids in).

The latest Meryl Streep movie “It’s Complicated” (it’s not very good) was rated R. The entertainment magazines have done stories about how it got that R rating simply because of a scene in which Steve Martin smokes a joint with Streep. The ratings board ruled that it showed marijuana in a fun and glamorous light.

Well, if that’s going to be what the ratings board does…what about all the movies that have people smoking cigarettes? The characters that are supposed to be cool or sexy, and they have a cancer stick dangling from their lip or hand.

Is the ratings board going to take the same approach to alcohol? Most teen comedies have a scene that involves a party with underage drinking. Shouldn’t the same rule apply to those films?

Sinatra told me that the PG rating initially was GP, but so many people were confused by that (he’s like a walking encyclopedia of music and movie triva).

I recently watched a DVD of Inside Moves (a must see if you’re a basketball fan, know someone that’s disabled, or you just like good movies). It came out in 1979 and was rated PG. During the director commentary, Donner talked about how it was initially given an R rating because of all the curse words. And that makes me wonder -- at what point does all that change?

Somewhere along the line, we were able to see Denis Franz show his butt on TV in NYPD Blue. And, we also heard some blue language from the cast.

I worked in radio when Denis Leary released the song “A$$hole”. Our boss gave us the okay to play it (this was the early 90s). It was surprising, since a year earlier we were told to edit the Lou Reed classic “Walk on the Wild Side.”

Avatar is currently rated PG 13. I’m not sure why it isn’t rated PG. The Chipmunks movie is rated PG. Not sure why it isn’t G.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen R rated movies that should’ve been NC17. Bruno, which had a one minute close-up of a naked man with a dancing penis (among other graphic sex scenes); Zack & Mira Make a Porno (yet another turkey by the talented Kevin Smith…which had graphic sex scenes); and The Dreamers, which was a Bernardo Bertolucci film, so critics felt like they had to give it a good review. It had a great premise, but lost its way rather quickly. But geez…you think it was hardcore when Marlon Brando used butter in Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris”…it has nothing on this film, which should’ve gotten an NC17.

The NC17 rating kind of bit the dust, when certain groups protested the theatres that would carry them.

Those groups should instead protest the theatres that carry garbage like “Did you Hear about the Morgans?”


MilesTougeaux Dec. 28, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

Actually before PG movie ratings, movies were rated M (Mature audiencies). That caused confusion differentiating between R and M. That and the fact that a vast majority of adult Americans are immature.


Josh Board Dec. 28, 2009 @ 10:45 p.m.

Good point, Miles. And thanks for the correction.


redsoxfan Dec. 29, 2009 @ 4:47 a.m.

I can't remember the last time I even bothered to see what the rating was?? I guess I am either too old, or just don't give a rats ass about the rating...the MPAA can just not exist for all I care... :-)


bushidojohn Dec. 29, 2009 @ 8:46 a.m.

Boy, I could go on and on, on how much I hate the rating system. The issue with smoking now affecting ratings throughly screws up an already antiquated(sic) system.

See "This Film is Not Yet Rated" for examples on how bass akward the rating system is.

Example: I can remember as a young adult (thirteen) seeing a nude scene with Tonya Roberts in a PG film (Sheena!) but this was back in the '80s when the rating system seemed to relax in a certain fashion.

Now a few curse words and a dark situation (homelessness) as in Wendy and Lucy gives a film an automatic "R". Go figure!


Josh Board Dec. 29, 2009 @ 9:04 a.m.

Exactly. Nothing about Wendy and Lucy should be R. Maybe B for boring, but that's another debate.

But, in Ironweed, when Meryl Streep and Nicholson were homeless, I have no problem with the R rating, as there was a sexual situation where Streep had to take care of some homeless guy, in order to sleep in the area that guy was in.


bluenwhitegokart Jan. 1, 2010 @ 3:10 a.m.

Dang! I need to get out more. You guys are talking about movies that I've never heard of before. But then again, I'm too dang cheap to spring for going out to a movie, plus I don't like dealing with obnoxious movie-goers.


KarenBP Jan. 2, 2010 @ 11:59 p.m.

i need to see "Inside Moves" -- if you have it, can you lend it to me? laughs


Josh Board Jan. 3, 2010 @ 2:19 p.m.

bluenwhite...I can be cheap as well. But I have a friend that gets me into many movies for free. And even with that option, I decline a lot of films because they just look bad (and as you said, dealing with obnoxious audience members).

Karen, I netflixed it, so it's already gone.


jfkali Jan. 8, 2010 @ 2:01 p.m.

Yep Josh. I can not stand to go to a movie theatre anymore. Too many wierd people and too many distractions for me. I would rather rent it or wait until it is on Pay Per View. Don't care what the ratings are either.


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