MPAA Movie RatingsI am not an apologist for the MPAA. As Cinematical's Eric D. Snider astutely observed recently, the Classification and Rating Administration of the Motion Picture Association of America continues to 'arbitrarily enforce and haphazardly apply' their own ratings, generally favoring big-budget studio pictures while lowering the boom on lower-budgeted independent films. With a track record of more than 40 years, though, does any parent today believe that the MPAA is solely responsible for telling them what is suitable for their children to watch?

Evidently Deborah Knight Snyder does. The mother of two children wrote an article for the GateHouse News Service in which she wondered about the movie rating system, which she described as an "imprecise, almost backward process." No argument there, but then she described Alex Proyas' Knowing as a movie that "scared the hell" out of her and questioned: "What parent in their right mind would let a 13-year-old see such a movie?" She continues: "Thank goodness our 13-year-old was otherwise occupied and chose not to join us for the film," and then relates an experience suffered by her older son when he saw The Ring just before he turned 13 several years ago. He later told her: "That movie was terrifying for a 12-year-old!"

Snyder doesn't address her own accountability in these two incidents, of course. One son "chose not to join us" and the other went with a friend's mother: "I confess I didn't think much about his going to see it." From this, we can surmise that an adult who has been watching movies for several decades and has two children -- one of whom is now in college -- had, until this very week, abdicated responsibility for deciding what her children could watch, ceding that role entirely to the MPAA.

categories Movies, Cinematical