The MPAA Should Put Maximum Age Ratings on Movies
A few years ago, I took my grandmother to see Charlie Kaufman’s Synechdoche, New York. The mix of everyday medical body horror, meta-meta-storytelling, and the slow fixation toward plodding death didn’t seem to resonate with her. She did not have a good time. We left the theater, and she was pale and quiet for the whole ride home.
It made me realize: Why are we shielding only the young from inappropriate (and possibly even harmful) content? Don’t we owe our elders, to whom we are so much more indebted, the same thing?
Every day, I soon began to see similar problems cropping up: old men on TV talking about movies being too “woke,” my mom saying a comedian would great if he didn’t swear so much, my uncle complaining endlessly about how they don’t make movies like they used to.
Here I was, just sitting around while these people were suffering. I don’t want to risk one of our parents or grandparents walking into one of these movies unaccompanied, or in some cases (e.g., Step Brothers) walking in at all. We could do some real good here.
Here are some proposed maximum aged ratings I would like the Motion Picture Association of America to consider:
CG-77: Child Guidance required if you are over the age of 77
TL-55: Too Loud for over 55 (e.g., Mad Max Fury Road)
SO-85: too Sad for Olds over 85 (e.g., Melancholia)
WTL-WD: Way Too Long Without Diaper. This one is more an advisory than an age requirement. (e.g., Dune)
TLGBTQ-80/25C: Too tolerant of the queer community for 80 and over (25 and over if Conservative) (e.g., Brokeback Mountain, Behind the Candelabra, Star Wars???)
NC-17: Needs a Child under the age of 17 to explain pop culture references (e.g., The Emoji Movie)
X: May contain Xylophones or other high-pitched noises that will set off hearing aids (e.g., the jump scares in Insidious)
Think about the parents. That’s all I ask. We have to protect them.
The world is a scary place, and they don’t understand it. I know I don’t want my parents being exposed to all sorts of strange, new, uncomfortable things. That makes me uneasy. Who knows what it will do to them?
Of course these limits wouldn’t apply to cigarettes and alcohol. Our old folks need whatever they can get as they go off the cliff. Thank you and good morning.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'The MPAA Should Put Maximum Age Ratings on Movies' in the style of Kara Walker, Jim's artist of choice.*