Monday, May 10, 2010

Ridiculous Ratings #1

A few years back, the MPAA– that wonderful organization that assigns ratings to all movies– began adding short content descriptions to their ratings to better inform overprotective parents.

These descriptions never fail to amuse me. My favorites are the descriptions that warn that the movie contains "mild peril," "fantasy violence," or the most ubiquitous of all, "thematic elements." Yes, God forbid we inadvertently see a movie with a theme.

Anyway, last weekend I found my new all time favorite rating description. I was watching a movie called Alien Trespass. It's a fun little movie that's an homage to 1950s sci-fi films such as War of the Worlds, and I highly recommend it. However, the MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie said– and I swear I am not making this up– that it was rated PG-13 for "Historical Smoking."

Wow. Where do I even begin the mocking process? That may be the stupidest rating I've seen so far. There's a professor character in the movie who is constantly smoking a pipe, as many people did in the 1950s, so I must assume that's what they mean by "historical."

So now a character smoking in a movie now automatically gets it a PG-13 rating. What makes the rating even more ridiculous is that the movie features an alien that kills people by absorbing all the nutrients in their body, leaving only a small puddle of sludge behind. The alien even kills a five year old girl in this fashion! The rating, however, doesn't say a thing about that. So apparently aliens absorbing kids is OK, but the mere sight of a man smoking is so shocking and traumatic that we must prevent anyone under the age of 13 from witnessing it. I really need to move to a new planet.

I know they're doing this to try and prevent kids from smoking, but it's all a bunch of bull. I watched thousands of hours of TV and movies as a kid that were chock full of people smoking, and I never once had the urge to start. I even used to buy candy cigarettes and bubblegum cigars when I was little, and although I'd act like I was smoking those, I still never took up the habit for real. If a kid can be that easily swayed by a movie, then he was going to pick up the habit anyway, and no amount of censorship is going to stop it.

By the way, does anyone out there know of a good way to take screen caps of DVDs? I used to be able to do it, but something on my computer must have changed, and now I can't for the life of me figure out how to do it now. I finally ended up taking a photo of my stinkin' monitor to get the screen cap above. There's got to be an easier way.


  1. Most ridiculous rating ever, truuly, and dang! As for the screen cap, will print screen work?

  2. Yeah, I laughed out loud at that rating.

    I tried using Print Screen, and even ALT + Print Screen, but it didn't work. I get an image of the DVD window frame, but the inside is black. My previous computer could do it, but this newer one can't for some reason. I even tried some kind of shareware program that was supposed to allow DVD screen caps, but it didn't work either.


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