Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Things That Piss Me Off (Tuesday Edition)

WARNING - RANT TO FOLLOW:

Living in a small town, you don't have many shopping options. Here in Boone, it's either drive an hour and a half to a decent sized city, or go to Wal-Mart.

I hate Wal-Mart, but I wanted my copy of There Will Be Blood on DVD and didn't want to wait for it, so after my film studies class this morning I begrudgingly trekked down to Wal-Mart to pick it up.

Here's the part that really pissed me off - when the check-out lady rang it up and the cash register declared that the film was rated R, she asked to see my ID.

This pisses me off for 2 reasons:

1) I am often mistaken for being younger than I am, but being mistaken for being younger than 17 is a bit of a stretch - although one woman last year mistook me for a 16 year old, so go figure.

2) I know this is not the cashier's fault - this is Wal-Mart policy. And I think it's stupid. It is not the responsibility of corporations like Wal-Mart to become the moral guardians of society and become parent to every teenager in the nation. The original MPAA rating system was meant as a guideline, not to be written into the law as it is now - with varying state laws making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to attend R-rated films without a parent or guardian - even though the official MPAA guideline is under 17, not 18.

It is NOT the government's OR Wal-Mart's responsibility to decide what children and teenagers should and should not watch. That is the parents' job.

Which leads me into the other thing that is pissing me off this week. Last week when I wrote my review of Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights, I noticed that the official MPAA rating said that the film was rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including violence, drinking and smoking.

SMOKING!

Yes, the MPAA has begun its crackdown on smoking in movies. Heaven forbid children should be exposed to something they can see EVERY DAY around town and chances are someone in their family has done around them before.

I'm not a smoker, and I think it's a filthy habit, but this is just ridiculous. I guess that means bad news for Casablanca, EVERYONE smokes in that movie, and you don't want children exposed to that kind of unwholesomness. And don't get me started on 101 Dalmations - Cruella De Vil is screwed!

We have become a nation of crybabies. When we have come to the point that we can no longer handle seeing someone smoke a cigarette without having a moral outrage then we are in a sad state indeed. It always strikes me as funny that the people who are crusading against smoking in movies are just as bad as the ones who condemn sex and violence, as well as the extreme conservatives who want homosexuality and abortions wiped from the public consciousness. These anti-smoking Nazis are no better than them.

I lump them all in the same category of whiny assholes who can't police what their children watch, so they expect someone else to do it for them. That is lazy parenting. This kind of holier-than-thou moral fervor is something I would expect from the religious right, but the ones out to ban smoking seem to be otherwise levelheaded liberals. So why this stuck-up, self righteous attitude? Personal freedom applies to the right to smoke if one wants, just as it includes the right to have an abortion and sleep with whomever one pleases.

I have seen smoking in movies all my life, and I have never once picked up a cigarette. I also grew up watching Roadrunner cartoons and I never once tried to run over anyone with a truck or drop an anvil on their head to see if they would survive.

The MPAA's rating system is outdated and has outlived its usefulness. The time has come to either overhaul it, or toss it out altogether.

When a film genre lapses into self-parody, that is a sure sign that the genre is dead.

Well MPAA, it's time for you to take you cue.

7 comments:

Fletch said...

I could have written this post myself, it's so in tune with my thoughts. Of course, I'm in a big city, so luckily, I don't have to depend on Wal-Mart (as I'm assuming you do) for many of my shopping options.

Also, like you, I get mistaken for being much younger than I am. Don't feel bad, though - I got carded TO SEE A MOVIE not long ago. And I was 30 at the time, which I believe makes the situation a lot sadder for me than for you.

Also, as it touches on both notes, I am a smoker, and I get carded (just about) every time. Goes with the territory, I suppose.

It boggles my mind as well that smoking plays into ratings. Alcohol and aspirin better follow suit, or I'll really get pissed. They're all drugs, right? Ugh...

J.D. said...

Wal-Mart sucks.

The MPAA sucks.

Kids sucks.

Smoking sucks.

Dane Cook sucks.

E! sucks.

Everything sucks.

Except Nick. And There Will Be Blood.

*propagandist*

nick plowman said...

Agreed J.D.

I am not sure how much I do not suck but I agree about TWBB.

I think it is retarded that they would ask you for your ID, I have bought the most age-restricted films and never been asked for anything like that. lol, Wal-Mart indeed sucks then.

Smoking in movies. Wow. I have no problem with smoking in movies. I still do not get why they think people do everything they see in films, because people do not. That is retarded as well. Smoking in movies makes me happy. I cannot live without it. lol

Good rant, I like ranting, I like reading other people ranting. Rant.

Curiousityloko said...

Preach it. Can I get an amen.

Jess said...

I think you'll like this column by Stephen King in EW this past week. Deals with a very similar rant! http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20188502,00.html

Enjoy.

Matthew Lucas said...

Thanks Jess! I haven't read EW in ages, I let my subscription expire because all I ever cared about were the year-end Best Of lists. Otherwise I could find better and much deeper coverage of current entertainment elsewhere. It's really become a fluff magazine, in many regards.

Jess said...

Matt, I totally agree it's fluff. But I love Stephen King's columns. He rants, he praises, he's smart and usually pretty funny.