The MPAA ratings for movies are woefully inadequate. Yes, they tell you something about the “moral” content of a movie. For example, if your middle-schooler wants to see a movie of non-stop violence and mayhem, no problem. If he or she wants to see an important documentary about social ills that happens to include more than two F-bombs, that’s verboten. Makes perfect sense, huh?
But what about those of us who have no children to helicopter around but who care about other types of content? Have no fear! I’ll prime the pump with a few suggestions:
This is a movie populated by idiots doing idiotic things. It could be teenagers opening doors in buildings where serial killers are known to be. (This concept was lampooned most effectively in a hysterical Geico commercial.) Romantic comedies are also prone to this moronic behavior. If they just told the truth at the beginning, none of the misunderstandings would happen. And the movie would never have been made. That’s called “win-win.”
You’ve seen them. Movies so bad, you wonder what now-unemployed producer gave this beast the green light? They have no positive qualities but someone shelled out several (sometimes hundreds) millions of dollars to get it made. You spend the entire movie asking yourself, “Who thought this was a good idea?” (q.v. “Mortdecai“)
By the end of one of these things, your scalp is bleeding because you spent the whole time scratching it. Instead of asking, “What did you think?” you ask, “What happened?” Let me say up front that I like some of these movies. Some I like a lot. This label could be applied to “2001”, as well as most films by Terrence Malick or Wes Anderson. After all, it’s good to have something to talk about after a movie other than the headache you got from the extreme volume and non-stop light show of special effects. Some so labeled, however, are simply self-indulgent nonsense. The poster child for this category is David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.” More prominently and more recently I’d add the interminable “Interstellar.”
The worst kind of movie. This is the equivalent of the current NC-17. Except these should be labeled, “no one over or under the age of 17 will be admitted.” Some of the aforementioned movies could also carry this caveat, but the most renowned recent example is “Boyhood.”
Do you have any labels you’d like to add?
[Congratulate me for not shamelessly promoting my new book.]