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01/02/2003

Rated R for Bad Writing

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I was watching Queen of the Damned the other day. I've been trying to burn through my Netflix rental queue lately. Working at home really makes that easy. I can work on one computer and watch DVD's on the other. What the hell was I talking about? Damn, I'm easily distracted.

Anyway. Queen of the Damned. Not a very good movie. While I'm not a fanatic about having movies that are based on novels be 100% accurate to the book, I do like the movie to somewhat resemble the story. Mainly on things like major plot points. And as much as I don't really like Tom Cruise, he was a very good Lestat. Stuart Townsend? Not so much. Kind of crappy, actually. But I didn't really want to write a review about the movie. See, I got distracted again. I'll meet you at the next paragraph.

Hi. I'm gonna try and stick to the topic this time. Anyway. I was watching Queen of the Damned and right at the beginning is the good old MPAA rating screen. I don't know when they started this, but movies just don't tell you what the rating is anymore, they also tell you why. Queen of the Damned is rated R. For vampire violence. It actually says "Rated R for vampire violence." As if vampire violence is just one notch more serious than werewolf violence, Godzilla violence or even C.H.U.D. violence. So that made me want to check out what other descriptive ratings are out there.

Everyone is familiar with the more common ratings phrases like "Rated R for language and violence." The main problems for R rated movies are violence, language, drug use, sexuality, sexual images, sexual content, and nudity. But for each one of these there are also modifiers. The words "brief", "strong", and "some" get thrown in to a lot of ratings. Some of the elements that movies get rated R are for some sexuality, brief nudity, strong violence, brief drug use, some violences, some drug use, and all sorts of combinations therein. The one you don't really see a lot of is strong nudity. I'd like to see more movies with strong nudity. Then you get the combinations. There is violence/gore, violence/nudity, sexuality/nudity, and terror/violence. There is even a violence/grisly images. But why isn't there a terror/nudity? There are a couple of Harvey Keitel movies where I would have appreciated the terror/nudity rating.

Recently, the MPAA has started throwing in some very specific modifiers. Windtalkers is rated R for pervasive graphic war violence. It's funny that they don't warn people about the strong Nicolas Cage content. A Japanese movie called Visitor Q is reated R for strong aberrant sexual and violent content. So yeah, I put that on my Netflix queue. Kidding.

Here are some more of the stranger ones:

Final Destination 2 R for strong violent/gruesome accidents
Why does the prospective moviegoer care whether the violence is accidental?
Jackass the Movie R for dangerous, sometimes extremely crude stunts
Well, duh.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back R for nonstop crude and sexual humor
I'm sure that Kevin Smith appreciates the nonstop in there.
Scary Movie 2 R for strong sexual and gross humor
Is gross worse or better than crude?
Drive By R for language and violence, including a rape
Oh. Just give away the movie why don't you?
We Sold Out Souls for Rock 'N Roll R for nudity and a series of self-mutilations
So yeah, I put that on my Netflix queue. (KIDDING!)
She Lives By Night R for vampire sensuality and violence
Again with the vampires! Why is sensuality different when it's a vampire? Besides the teeth I mean.
Highlander:Final Dimension R for adventure violence
As opposed to the ordinary, hang-around-the-house violence.
Steel Frontier R for non-stop action violence
That sounds like a great movie actually.
Johnny Mnemonic R for strong sci-fi violence
Somehow a phaser is worse than a bat to the side of the head?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation R for demented mayhem and torture
Demented Mayhem is totally the name of my next band.

Go to www.filmratings.com to find your own favorites.