I’ve never been one for R-rated movies. In fact, by the time I finished college, I don’t think I had ever seen a full R-rated film knowing that it was R-rated. Truthfully, there were a couple where although I didn’t know the rating for certain, I didn’t walk out even when things went sour, so I can’t pretend to be such a perfect little boy. (I’m resisting the urge to be glib about my concurrent refusal to watch R films but willingness to watch porn privately). But still—I steered clearer than most.
Apart from the prophetic prohibition of R films, I found it easier to just leave the responsibility for choosing what is acceptable to the faceless motion picture ratings group. But now I’m persuaded that that’s sort of a cop out. Putting aside the controversy over the inconsistency and arbitrary nature of the rating system in this country, it seems that for a thinking adult, ratings are inadequate. I’ve seen a fair amount of nudity in non-R-rated films (and that’s where I personally run into the most trouble). My inclination is to believe that NC-17 movies are downright bad. However, no children under 17 are admitted to the temple movie, so what’s the rating on that?
I’ve now watched a few R films, generally chosen for having an uplifting message and having a rating that is meant to protect children from being unnecessarily troubled rather than for being indecent. But I’m ambivalent because of the prophetic advice not to watch R-rated films—especially given the arbitrary and evolving nature of the ratings system in the