McGinnis: Parental guidance suggestedWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s hard to raise a kid in this day and age. Well, it’s never been easy to raise a kid, but folks like to think that it’s harder now than it’s ever been, so let’s just go with it. With all the obstacles standing in the way of parents as they attempt to bring up their children, it’s important to have as many tools as possible.
This is especially true when exposing children to movies or television shows. It’s important for parents to have a good solid idea of what their children will be watching.
That’s why folks have increasingly turned to sources such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). IMDB features information on practically every piece of filmed entertainment ever made, providing an infinite resource for movie buffs, parents and lazy critics who can do all their research with just a few clicks of a mouse.
But in addition to cast lists, fun facts and useless trivia about who catered the shoot, there are sections like the “Parental Guide.” Edited by readers, the guide outlines any and all objectionable content in every film, giving parents a solid idea as to what their children will see if they view the film in question.
In theory, this is an awesome idea. In practice, one thing becomes apparent: Getting any two people to agree as to what constitutes “objectionable content” is as unlikely as getting any two human beings to agree on pizza toppings. No matter what, someone’s ideas will be different. Consider some of the warnings for the recent PG-rated family extravaganza, “Big Miracle,” the tale of three whales trapped by ice in the Arctic Circle:
Sex and nudity
“A man and a woman kiss, and as they kiss, the man lifts the woman and hugs her.”
I wonder what the objectionable part of this event is. The kiss itself? The hug? The lifting part? It must be the lift. Does he lift her in a suggestive manner? I’m trying to picture a lift that would be subtle enough to retain a PG rating, but suggestive enough to warrant a warning in a parental guide.
“A man comforts a woman, and he hugs her and kisses her forehead.”
The fiend! He might as well be shooting a porno. I know when I’m comforting someone in front of children, I remain at least five feet away from them at all times.
Violence and gore
“A man is alarmed when a metal pen sticks to his lips from the cold.”
I guess in this case, the “alarm” is the violent part? Unless someone came in and threw the pen against his lips in an act of malice.
“A man tells a group of people that a situation is ‘do or die.’”
Thank God no one was quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.” If it had been “and” instead of “or,” the movie might have been rated R.
“Two mild scatological terms, Exclamations (geez, for Pete’s sake), one anatomical term, 17 mild obscenities, one implied mild obscenity (S.O.B), nine religious exclamations.”
It kinda makes you pause when you see it laid out like that, doesn’t it? If someone was following me around in my daily life, the work tallying the profanity section alone would be enough to make his or her head explode.
“Name-calling (a bunch of stupid whales, hippies, tree-huggers, those people, witch, nuts, heartless hunters, killers, fat ladies with oily skin, Cocky McGee, Gordon Gecko [sic], endangered critters that need saving, jerk, smelly drunk depressed Barbie, Reds, Ruskie, crazy.)”
Most of these seem pretty … wait. “Cocky McGee?” OK, that’s the single most awesome insult in the history of mankind.
This is the big one. Listed at the bottom of the page, hidden under a banner of “SPOILERS!” written in red, is this pivotal information:
“There’s one very disturbing, unexpected and sad death that may cause children to cry.”
Well, that’s … disappointingly vague. This is a guide that goes out of its way to provide insanely detailed descriptions prior to this, basically giving away the plot in bits and pieces. Now, as the climax, it hides one last bit of info as a major spoiler, only to divulge less information than it has on, oh, the entire rest of the page. All we know is, someone (or something) croaks and kids may cry. Well, I’ve known kids who cried at “Care Bears.” Can you give us a little more to go on, Parental Guide? Don’t be a Cocky McGee, here.
Keep in mind, what you find innocent another may find scandalous. It’s important to bring your own perspective to all the information, just like it’s important to help kids find the same perspective as they watch.
Concept suggested by friend and co-worker Andy Kocsis. Thanks, sir! Email Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor Jeff McGinnis at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.