Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quantifying menace

In case you were wondering, my subject is the title for a script I'm writing, a time-twisting intergalactic thriller in which James Bond teams up with Jar Jar Binks to fight an evil coalition comprised of Goldfinger, Darth Maul and a bunch of corrupt imperial senators.

Okay, no.

Actually, it was inspired by re-watching The Dark Knight earlier today. I came away with the DVD from a holiday gift swap -- much better than the fake vomit or package of blue condoms you often get stuck with at these things. We finally got around to our second viewing today, and I have to say, I liked it better the second time around. I liked it plenty well the first time, just not as much as the average person. Something about it made me appreciate it more the second time.

But that's not what I'm here to write about today. Actually, I want to write about the funny explanation given by the MPAA for its PG-13 rating, which I happened to notice after the FBI warning screen.

Namely, it was rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of violence and some menace."


That seems like a funny way to measure the amount of menace in The Dark Knight, which I consider to be among the most menacing mainstream films ever made -- even including R-rated movies. That doesn't mean it's the most violent or psychologically scarring, but this movie has menace coming out its ears. You could say that Heath Ledger's Joker is the very personification of menace. Doesn't it seem like this would be more honest? "Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and a shitload of menace." Then that would have to be followed by "This rating justification is rated PG-13 for some profanity."

It made me think of something really funny the website I write for compiled a couple years back. And since this is Memorial Day, no day for me to come up with an original idea, I am going to possibly illegally reproduce the following list for your reading enjoyment. Hey, at least I'm not trying to pass it off as my own. However, maintaining my own blog anonymity (for whatever value that has) precludes me from crediting the actual authors. Or should I say, compilers.

While I contemplate the hot water I could theoretically be getting myself into, I hope you will enjoy the following:

The 10 Funniest Ratings Explanations by the Motion Picture Association of America:

10. Mother’s Boys (1994)
“Rated R for language and for a mother’s sociopathic behavior”

9. Indian in the Cupboard (1995)
“PG for mild language and brief video images of violence and sexy dancing”

8. All I Wanna Do (1998)
“PG-13 for teen sex-related material, language, and substance misuse”

7. The Hunted (1997)
“R for strong bloody ninja violence and a humorous drug related scene”

6. War of the Buttons (1994)
“PG for mischievous conflict, some mild language, and bare bottoms”

5. Alien vs. Predator (2004)
“PG-13 for violence, language, horror images, slime, and gore”

4. Skateboard Kid II (1995)
“PG for brief mild language and an adolescent punch in the nose”

3. Bushwhacked (1997)
“PG for language and a mild birds and bees discussion”

2. Twister (1996)
“PG-13 for intense depiction of very bad weather”

1. Jefferson in Paris (1995)
“PG-13 for mature theme, some images of violence, and a bawdy puppet show"

Thanks, guys. I'd credit you if I weren't strangely committed to masking my identity. Not unlike a certain caped crusader I know.

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