Movie Ratings: Smoking Marijuana=R; Murder=PG-13

Saturday, December 26, 2009
Christian Bale avoiding an R rating in Terminator Salvation

Many in Hollywood are up in arms over the decision by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give an “R” rating to the romantic comedy It’s Complicated. The decision had nothing to do with scenes of sex or violence in the film starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Rather, the R rating was applied because of a scene showing two characters smoking marijuana. According to the MPAA, the act of getting stoned without consequences for the characters on screen was too much to give the movie a PG-13 rating.

The ruling has outraged those in the industry who disagree with the MPAA’s habit of awarding violent films, like Terminator: Salvation a PG-13, while branding It’s Complicated with the harsher R rating.
“It’s another outrageous example of the lunatic priorities of the MPAA, which claims to serve the interests of parents but actually dances to its crazy drummer, happily handing out PG-13 ratings to unbelievably violent movies like Terminator: Salvation while whipping out the R rating at the first sign of a few naked breasts or, God forbid, an unsheathed penis,” wrote Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times.
Examples cited by other critics of the MPAA include Woody Allen’s PG-13 Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which a man has his mistress murdered with no bad consequences, and the PG comedy 9 to 5, which shows Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin getting high without consequences.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The MPAA Gets an X-Rating (by Robert Elisberg, Huffington Post)
New Film Ignites Debate on Ratings Policy (by Brooks Barnes, New York Times)


LLLou 12 years ago
Another sign of cultural "head in the sand" mentality.I hope that some day the American society will grow up and face the truth that Cannabis is just an herb , and responsible use of it is no more destructive to society than any other "socially accepted" government sanctioned, recreational drug,like Alcohol, and indeed Cannabis is LESS harmful.
jsknow 12 years ago
There is no reason for this plant to be regulated more strictly than potatoes. The ingredients in marijuana have never killed anyone, eat enough raw potatoes and you’ll die. LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW AND END THE DEATH, DISEASE, CRIME, WASTE, CORRUPTION AND NUMEROUS OTHER HARMS INFLICTED ON SOCIETY, FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS BY ITS PROHIBITION. More information about drugs and drug policy from Just Say Know: Using Internet Explorer web browser: With All Other Browsers:
scottportraits 12 years ago
What gets me, even more than the movie rating system, is the movie standards for vice and acceptability. They show everything in movies these days, and cuss like crazy, too. Then, we show ads warning kids not to smoke pot or smoke cigarettes, or drink and drive.....but the ads are contradicted by behaviors displayed in the movies. The anti-drug ads are a waste of money if we show the exact opposite image of drug use in the movies by top-notch actors and actresses. Our movies and TV 'teach' kids that we are hypocrites; that we should smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, cuss and swear, cheat on our mates, snort lines of coke, smoke an occasional joint. It looks so cool when Brad Pitt or Nicole Kidman or all of them in almost all the movies do some of these things. The rock and pop culture, and rap/hip-hop music all has lyrics encouraging drug use and debauchery. Then we show a 20 second TV ad (cost:$10 million dollars for national play) about an egg in a frying pan, or some goofy thing, and the kids just laugh at it. You are sending them conflicting messages. Now they don't believe anything we say. What is needed, of course, is better education and true, accurate information. Or they won't believe it. No half-truths, no cheap theatrics, no scare tactics. And rating a movie like this with an 'R' just makes the kids more curious. We really have to make drug use and pot-smoking BORING to have any effect, now. How can we do that with drugs when we just spent $86 million dollars for a national program to teach high-schoolers 'abstinence-only sex education' ??? We really like to delude ourselves. And remember: when a locality or state has a medical cannabis proposition, or a pot decriminalization question is on the ballot, guess where the money comes from which pays for the ads AGAINST the MJ referendum ?? From the tax-payers !!! Your tax dollars have always paid for those scare tactics ads !! Surprise !
todd 12 years ago
this is as stupid as the people who made the rules. I wish I could murder dem because it would be less than getting caught with some weed. What they have basically done is aid the fight against prohibition because more people will get frustrated and start to wonder about all the lies. In the end they will lose. We are the ones paying for their movies fuck their ratings. If you pick movies by the ratings your already to stupid for me to talk to. What ever happened to not judging a book by its cover. Those days are gone we are in full blown big brother slavitude. the machines have already taken over all you can do is join the resistance or the revolution. We are fighting and will win in the end. YOU CANT STOP US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fred Evil 12 years ago
The only REAl consequences of using cannabis, are oppression and imprisonment by an ignorant public, and their jack-booted thugs, the DEA and ONDCP. Alcohol KILLS 75,000 Americans a year, and addicts 15%. Cigarettes KILL 450,000 Americans a year, and addict 30%. Cannabis kills ZERO Americans a year, and can cause dependence in 10% of those who use heavily. Common sense was thrown out with the baby and the bathwater decades ago. The DEA and ONDCP have yet to realize their footing is crumbling beneath their feet. Common sense and science are finally being recognized!!! LEGALIZE cannabis, REGULATE cannabis, TAX CANNABIS!!!
todd 12 years ago
That's just as insane as pot laws themselves are. We need to start paying attention to how our politicians stand on Marijuana legalization before voting for them.
AP 12 years ago
Amen! God's loving image (the naked body) need not be censured in our all! I'm happy to maintain a homestead where full nudity is the norm among all my family members. Affronts to His creation, such as the decadent slaughter of people, should be given a second and a third look by the MPAA. And, smoking marijuana? Please! Virtually everyone has done it or been around it, so let's not kid ourselves here and tell our children that the act is some kind of horrible back-room HIV-fest. Think, America, think.

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