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The MPAA recently went under fire for refusing to lower the rating of Harvey Weinstein documentary Bully from R to PG-13. Now popular movie critic Richard Roeper is calling out the group.

Roeper cites Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and The Hunger Games as examples in inconsistent ratings by the MPAA:

After an excruciating labor, Bella gives birth to a baby girl but seemingly dies in the process. But after Edward injects her heart with his own venom, a red-eyed Bella jumps to life. She’s a vampire!

The Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings board gave “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” a PG-13 rating, despite all the violence and weirdness and blood guzzling. Now if the vampires had started dropping f-bombs or if we’d seen Bella’s boobs — well, that would have been a different story. That would have led to an instant “R” rating.

Inconsistency. Hypocrisy. More leniency for violence than sex. These are the hallmarks of the MPAA ratings process.

“The Hunger Games,” a fictional story of teenagers forced to kill one another, gets a rating of PG-13.

And then he slams the MPAA:

Of all the narrow-minded, out-of-touch, obstinate ratings decisions made by the MPAA over the years, giving “Bully” an R might just be the dopiest. Lee Hirsch’s documentary that focuses on a handful of bullied teens was rated R because some of the subjects of the movie use profanities.

In other words, the very kids who are featured in “Bully” wouldn’t be able to see “Bully” without an adult guardian because of words they already know and use. This is a film that should be seen by every junior high school student in America, yet the MPAA is saying those kids should be shielded from a couple of f-bombs.

You can read his entire piece on the Chicago Sun Times.

We’re definitely interested in seeing Bully and forming our own opinion on what rating this film should’ve received.

  • kmorris76

    I completely agree. 

  • grapes9h5

    The MPAA is the worst, plain and simple. Just watch “This Film has not yet been rated” if you need the proof.

  • Jael

    As much as I loved The Hunger Games and Breaking Dawn, I have to agree with Roeper.  The MPAA has rated movies more harshly based on sex and language than on violence.  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a movie that was rated PG-13 that I thought should have been given an R-rated. 

    Actually, scratch out the sex and keep the profanity.  I remember seeing Click in the theatre with my dad and cousin and being embarrassed by all the sex (and sexual innuendos) that should have given the movie an R-rating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.smith07 Heather Smith

    This is why I like the Canadian Rating System a lot better. Things like The King’s Speech and The Descendants were rated 14A (which were rated R in the States), which is the same rating the PG-13 X-Men Wolverine received. And then things like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are rated 18A. PG-13 and R are split into 4 different categories (PG, 14A, 18A and R), which makes a lot more sense. While things in the MPAA are directly split into PG-13 and R, and there’s a huge difference between there. The King’s Speech was barely an R-rating I thought, while TGWTDT definitely deserved the R with the combination of violence, lanague, sexuality, etc. the MPAA needs something between a PG-13 and R. 13 and 18 are a very difference maturity levels, and there are levels between. And this is why I like the CHV better. Still slightly flawed, obviously, but have a better system than the MPAA.

    • Guest

      I agree. Really most other countries have a better rating system then the MPAA! In Ireland and the UK the categories are G, PG, 12A (PG-13 in the States), 15A (similar to the 14A in Canada) 16 (which hardly gets used, most of the time movies around this bracket get 15A), and 18

  • Caitlyn

    The MPAA is harsher on language than it is on violence and sex. Perhaps they think that America has become desensitized to those things? I am not sure. But the system for other countries seems to be more appropraite. Most of the R rated movies I have seen deserved that rating, but the ones that are only rated R for language seems a little odd. But The Hunger Games did deserve the PG-13 rating because it did not show really graphic violence like it could have if it was rated R. And frankly, I am glad that they did not make it super graphic and like a slasher movie. And I did not see Breaking Dawn but I assume that they made use of strategic camera angles to get that rating despite the sex scene.

  • eiVega

    I don’t think Twilight or Hunger Games should be rated R because their violence is mild compared to other films, but there definitely needs to be something to better handle ratings based on profanity.  I always took profanity ratings as a joke and knew they never really were in the same league as other R-rated movies.  That’s why I always read the one line justification for the rating.  (Best one ever:  The Simpsons Movie PG-13: For Irreverent Humor Throughout) However, I’ve never been in a position where I was too young to see a movie I wanted so I had’t paid much attention to what a joke the system is.  I never took it seriously, but if it is preventing others from seeing an important film then yes, this is problematic.  The MPAA are limiting themselves to technical rules instead of thoroughly analyzing the content before them.  I don’t mind if there is some sort of measuring system to provide guidance on the films available as long as people are free to make their own decisions to see what they want.

  • Anon8


  • Lucia

    I think the MPAA should definitely embrace the idea of adding another rating within their system. Others below have mentioned similar things, and in Australia we have a wide variety of ratings that serve their purpose well – G, PG, M (mature audience recommended – can refuse youngsters if deemed appropriate), MA15+ (must be accompanied by an adult if under 15) and then R (18+)
    This works really well and then at least there’s less of a jump between stuff ok for teens/tweens and adults only!

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