May 30th, 2012
12:41 PM GMT
London (CNN) – ANONYMOUS – Some violence and sexual content
Flying across the Atlantic I was browsing through the selection of movies on the Video on Demand. It soon became clear that the censor who rates the movies for United Airlines takes their job very seriously indeed. Not for them, the normal ratings 14, 16 or Adult. Oh no. That would be far too simple. These days the censors have to give us a real rundown of the experiences we might expect.
The horror movie "Fright Night," with Colin Farrell, is described as "Bloody horror, language including some sexual references." While for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "Inception" it warns, "Sequences of violence and action throughout (I hope so, or I would ask for my money back!) So far so good, and I can sort-of understand why you would offer specific warnings about blood and gore.
But when comedies like "Crazy Stupid Love" are tagged "Coarse humour, sexual content and language" and the teen movie "Footloose" is described as having "Some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content and language" I rapidly realized that the censor was probably my maiden aunt who didn't get out much but who had a vivid use of vocabulary.
Even movies for the family like "Puss in Boots" received reproach with "Mild rude humor," and I completely failed to understand the warning of "pervasive language" for the political thriller "Ides of March" or, most ludicrous of all, the children's movie "Dolphin Tale" described as "Some mild thematic elements." What on earth does "Mild thematic elements” mean? It's a movie. It's supposed to have "thematic elements," otherwise it won't make sense!
"Some sensuality," "partial nudity," "brief strong language," "disturbing images" - on and on it went as I was warned about what I might be exposed to, if I was brave enough to push “play.”
For goodness’ sake. Most of us are sensible enough to know that a movie with Brad Pitt will have a few fist fights. A drama made by Guy Ritchie will have some scenes best not viewed at a church social, and if the movie has Adam Sandler in it, well, you make up your own mind.
I don't need long-winded, ridiculous descriptions when a simple rating would do. This has taken the risk-averse culture of caution to extremes. Nor can this be justified "so parents know what their children are watching" - like parents always know what their children are viewing on line? Use the usual ratings and let common sense prevail.
So … how would United rate this article? "Some Angry Themes," "Complicated structures," “No sensuality." Guess, you won't read it.
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