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New ‘R’ Rating for Smoking in Movies

May 11, 2007

The Motion Picture Association announced yesterday that every time someone lights up in a film, it will be considered a factor towards ‘R’ ratings. The MPAA statement reads:

“In the past, illegal teen smoking has been a factor in the rating of films, alongside other parental concerns such as sex, violence and adult language. Now, all smoking will be considered and depictions that glamorize smoking or movies that feature pervasive smoking outside of an historic or other mitigating context may receive a higher rating.

See the whole statement here.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    May 11, 2007 10:53 am

    What’s next? Every time someone eats a cheeseburger? .. keeps only one hand on the wheel?.. runs with their shoes untied?

  2. May 11, 2007 1:23 pm

    It does raise the issue of where the MPA should draw lines, and what governs their moral discernment.

    Constant eating of cheesbugers could promote gluttony among impressionable youth, one could argue. Take Oceans 11, for example, where Brad Pitt is constantly eating fast food…or Super Size me, for that matter.

    However, curbing cancer-causing habits on the silver screen doesnt seem entirely bad, but the again, you wouldnt want Edward Murrow in Good Night and Good Luck to be falsely made out to be a non-smoker…which would cross lines of truth telling and artistry…

  3. Jeff permalink
    May 11, 2007 2:20 pm

    It looks like they’re protecting smoking within “historic or other mitigating context.” So Mr. Murrow is safe.

    I think you have to evaluate what the reason for applying an ‘R’ rating to a movie is. It makes it such that only people 17+ are allowed to buy a ticket without a parent, whereas PG-13 and PG are just ‘guidelines’… at least as far as I understand it.

    So by applying an ‘R’ rating because someone is legally smoking in a movie, is basically saying that people under 17 should not be allowed to watch people legally smoke. So where does that stop, should kids not be allowed at the mall without a parent if they’re under 17 because they could see someone smoking outside the door?

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