If you have children (especially of the younger variety), you’ve probably found yourself concerned from time to time about the content of a movie they or the whole family might watch. Or even as an adult, you might want to have a more detailed description of why a particular movie is rated “R” or “PG-13” or even “PG.” If you’ve been watching movies for at least a few years, you know that sometimes ratings can be misleading: they simply don’t give the viewer enough information to go on.
Given that dilemma, I’ve found a very handy source that can help immensely in this regard. In fact, I’ve found it so helpful I decided to become a contributor myself. I refer to the website called imdb (http://www.imdb.com), which is used quite often at the library for any number of movie-related questions. Amongst many other features, it has one called the “Parents Guide” which has a link titled “View content advisory.” Clicking on this will take you to a separate page that lists five categories: Sex & Nudity; Violence & Gore; Profanity; Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking; Frightening/Intense scenes. The idea is that people who have seen the movie give an objective description of things that fit into the aforementioned areas. They are not supposed to editorialize but simply state the content. If this is done well, it can be a great help. And that’s the only rub here: because this is user-generated content, it’s not necessarily reliable—some people are sloppy in their descriptions, others simply forget what they saw, and so on. So, as with much on the internet, the user must maintain a certain amount of skepticism. But with that caveat, the feature is nonetheless helpful if you’re not getting enough information from that little box underneath the rating letter. Additionally, if like me you like the idea of the Parents Guide, you can become a contributor yourself simply by creating an account on imdb.
(Note: it’s probably best, if you do decide to contribute, to go back and check at least some of your entries from time to time to make sure they haven’t been changed too much. If they have been changed, and you think it was wrong, you can always re-edit the entry.)