A BUS ROARED past bearing a poster for the animated movie Hop.
“I took my kids to see that film,” I told my book industry colleague Eddie. “It turned out to be shockingly unsuitable for impressionable young minds.”
He was surprised. “I thought it was a cartoon about the Easter Bunny. It had sex and violence?”
I explained that it contained something far more damaging: bad acting and dumb jokes.
I could actually see the kids’ skulls collapsing inwards as their brains shrank.
Could not Hop have simply been given a “B” rating for “Bad”?
Occasionally, inspectors DO give extra information. When the recent PG version of Alice in Wonderland came out, the US film board warned viewers that it contained “scary images and a smoking caterpillar”.
This usefully enabled the many groups campaigning against tobacco-using insects to avoid it.
Movie ratings are a huge issue just now. The July issue of Pediatrics quotes three research studies which said parents felt short-changed by information available.
Last week, the commentators at this website were chatting on-line about the topic, as were some of the readers in Hong Kong.
So here’s a proposed new movie rating system, with many of the ideas coming from a reader named Lift Lurker, or Otis, possibly the most creative Asian person alive.
1) “GM”: This stands for Guy Movie.
Lots of action, but no brain activity involved in the production of the movie, or necessary to enjoy it.
2) “WO”: This stands for Women Only.
Lots of emotion, no car chases.
3) “SP”: These are films for Sick People.
No plots, just violence.
4) “GF”: These are for Geek Freaks.
Plot focuses on incomprehensible intergalactic politics.
5) “BS”: These films are Babysitter Substitutes.
6) “CEMMC”: Movies which Can Even Make Men Cry.
Examples: Toy Story 3, The Shawshank Redemption.
You can tell how permissive countries are by the cut-off age for grown-up movies, 18 in most countries.
In Denmark anyone 15 and up can watch grown-up stuff, and in Indonesia, it’s 16.
But Thailand has an “over-20” category and Singaporeans are the most careful people in the world, with young people having to wait until they are 21 to see many Hollywood movies.
Let’s extend the age system. The Last Airbender was so juvenile it should have had an “Under-10s Only” certificate.
Director Night Shyamalan would have to turn up to every showing to babysit the audiences.
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 should have been “People Aged 120 And Up Only”, so no one would have had to sit through it.
Meanwhile, a wag who should not be named sent in his analysis of the current classification system.
G: Nobody gets the girl.
PG: The good guy gets the girl.
R: The bad guy gets the girl.
X: Everybody gets the girl.
Here’s the simplest rating system of all, and it’s worked for me every time.
1) Look at poster.
2) See word “Pixar”.
3) Enter cinema.