Every single film that you watch is rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. The question is: who are the actual people that decide what content is appropriate for our children and various age groups? According to this wonderful muckraking documentary, it's a bunch of stuffy, over-40-year-olds that really have no merit to decide what is viewable for any of your young children. The film has many points that ponder the question of whether or not the process should be reviewed or scrapped altogether for a new process: one of the main problems is the members of actual rating board are anonymous, so the public doesn't know who decides these ratings. Kirby Dick, the film's director, digs deep into the detriments of such a censorship system, and anyone sane will come away with the opinion that the MPAA ratings board is a corrupt system that plays favorites and doesn't have any real credentials when rating a film G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17.
Speaking of the rating "NC-17" (which means no admittance whatsoever for any person under 17 years old), that is exactly the rating that the MPAA ratings board smacked down on this film--particularly due to the fact that this film shows various scenes from actual NC-17 movies and questions their ratings along the way. As stated above, the members of this illogical board are anonymous; one of the main reasons this film saw significant press was the hiring of a private investigator to determine the members of the board. And here they are (as of 2006):
- Barry Freeman - 45 - married - elementary school aged children
- Arlene Bates - 44 - married - age of children: 15 and 23
- Matt Ioakimedes - 46 - divorced - age of children: 17 and 20 (had served as a rater for 9 years as of 2005)
- Joan Worden - 56 - married - age of children: 18 (twins)
- Scott Young - 51 - married - age of children: 22 and 24 (next-door neighbor of Mrs. Bates)
- Joann Yatabe - 61 - married - age of children: 22 and 25
- Howard Friedkin - 47 - divorced - no children (aspiring screenwriter)
As you can see, the majority of the members either own theater chains or are representatives of a religion (I won't even bother getting into that here). You would think that the members of a ratings board with ratings that only apply to persons under the age of 17 would have children under the age of 17, no? No. Most of them do not have children under the age of 18. It's all a tangled mess involving advertisement and money through the owners of the above chains. As Roger Ebert states, "