The following blog post is Rated R.
After seeing ‘Rango’ this weekend and walking out of the theater half asleep and very disappointed, I decided to read a few reviews to see if anyone else shared in my dislike for the movie. Although a majority of reviews (89% according to rottentomatoes.com) were positive, I did find a few that matched my feelings exactly. But I’m not here to talk about the movie itself, rather the reactions of some of the parents to the film.
The following are reader comments, responding to one of the negative reviews I read of the film:
Who cares about the animation when my kids were literally counting the number of curse words in the film. HUGE disapointment! Can’t wait to see how many kids at school are telling each other to “go to hell” after seeing Rango this weekend. Thumbs down Nickelodeon!
I agree. I don’t understand why they would need to add the profanity and the choking of the girl, and the gun usage. It boggles my mind what these guys are putting in kids movies. STOP TEACHING CHILDREN TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR AND LANGUAGE.
CGI was great. Movie was long, boring, and loaded with profanity. We drew the line with “Damn you to hell!” among a ton of other phrases. Not for kids – even our teenagers said that it’s not appropriate for kids. Not a few instances of cussing. A LOT. Why isn’t anyone mentioning it?
Icing on the cake? When the kid sitting a few rows in front of us laughed like crazy when the critters onscreen were swearing up a storm. We were disgusted.
Not a PG movie.
Not a PG movie? When was the last time you, as a responsible parent, actually took the time to read the full definition of a PG movie?
PG — Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. A PG-rated motion picture should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend. The PG rating indicates, in the view of the Rating Board, that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, and parents should make that decision. The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture.
Assuming a PG movie is acceptable for your children is not good enough, especially when the definition of the rating clearly states that you should investigate the content before allowing your children to attend. It is not the job of the motion picture association to act as a parent. The standards have been set but it is still up to the parents discretion to determine what is appropriate and what is not. There are plenty of websites out there, aimed at parents, where you can find lists of each and every instance of violence, profanity, drug use, and sexual references in movies before deciding to take your children to them. Some sites break things down even further, listing the following: alcohol/drugs, blood/gross stuff, frightening scenes, imitative behavior, scary/tense music, among many other things.
How did I find this information. Click the link below to be let in on my little secret.
After browsing through a few of these reviews, I would have easily made the informed decision that this was not the right movie to take a young child to see. With all of the violence in Rango, I frankly find it laughable that the few instances of bad words are the focus of these negative comments.
The occasional use of the word damn and hell is not what I would consider “cursing up a storm” by any stretch of the imagination. “Damn you to hell” is the worst offense that I could think of in the movie, but one responder said they used “a ton of other phrases” and cursed “A LOT”. I can’t recall hearing any other words besides damn and hell that the average person would consider profane. Even the cited words are are stretching the definition of profanity in my book.
What even happened to good old days of the 7 dirty words you can’t say on TV? As the late, George Carlin so eloquently stated: “Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits.”
When did Damn and Hell become such taboo words? Dare I even mention their use in the bible?
I was able to find 2 studies done which “measured how acceptable the public finds the use of swear words, blasphemies, and other expletives in broadcasting”. The first, published in 2000, by British Broadcasting Standards Commission, Independent Television Commission, BBC and Advertising Standards Authority; called ‘Delete Explitives?’
A second, similar paper was published in 2010 by New Zealand’s Broadcasting Standards Authority. ‘What not to swear?’
Neither one of these studies made a single reference to the words hell or damn, while Pissed Off, Balls, Jew, Jesus Christ, Crap, and God all made the list with varying levels of acceptability.
Barring the obvious misunderstanding of the rating system, I have to ask this question. Why are we so afraid of words? Four simple letters that when put together in a certain order, are deemed evil by society. Are we afraid because we truly hate these words, or are we afraid of getting a call from the school because our child cursed in class? Does the real fear lie in the thought of being called a bad parent because our child uttered a bad word? Or do curse words actually hurt kids in any way? I guess that’s a much larger issue, that I can’t even begin to get into here.
Unless you plan on isolating your children from society, tv, the internet and all other forms of media until they are adults, it is absolutely impossible to prevent them from learning curse words. They will also eventually be exposed to violence, nudity, and yes, even sex. It’s the job of the parents to explain why the words and/or actions depicted in the movies are not acceptable for children. I knew quite a few curses when I was younger, but also knew enough to not use them because that is how my parents raised me. I also was exposed to a fair amount of violent tv and video games, and somehow managed to not grow up to be a serial killer.
That being said, I do agree that there is a time and a place for everything, and parents should be able to allow their children to see certain movies without fear of exposing them anything inappropriate. The bottom line is the information necessary to make an informed decision on what movies are appropriate for your children, based upon your own standards, is readily available to anyone who chooses to look for it. Being animated or rated PG does not automatically make a movie child friendly, and does not relieve you from the responsibility of researching it ahead of time.
Just because someone is under the false assumption that all PG rated movies are supposed to be child friendly, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the rating system. Hell, even the G rating carries a mild warning, stating that it is not a “certificate of approval”, and does not necessarily mean a movie is a children’s film. The PG rating carries further responsibility with it. Without even reading the detailed explanation of the rating posted above, the title alone should give you a clue, followed by the subtitle which explicitly states that some material may not be suitable for children. How much clearer can it be?
Think about those words for a minute. They do not say that this movie will be suitable for your kids. They suggest that you should take responsibility for something that your child may see in the film, do you job as a parent and guide them through the rights and wrongs.
So, parents, feel free to criticize this movie for the load of crap that it was, but please take the time to learn a little bit more about the rating system and do some research on the film before getting up-in-arms about the few bad words you were so shocked to hear.
It’s time for me to sign off and go play some Call of Duty: Black Ops, where I am almost guaranteed to run into just as many 12 year old kids as adults, using words that would never be allowed in a PG, or even a PG-13 movie. I’ll be sure to take note of a sharp rise in the number of kids telling people to go to hell after seeing Rango this weekend. They really should make a law about children under a certain age playing games like this. Oh wait…