Menstuff® has compiled the following information on where our
Movie Ratings come from.
About The Ratings
These ratings come from www.kids-in-mind.com . Here is what they have to say.
Unlike the MPAA, we do not assign a single, age-specific rating and we do not make recommendations. Instead we assign each film three distinct, category-specific ratings: one for Sex & Nudity, one for Violence & Gore and one for Profanity. Each rating is on a scale of zero to ten, depending on quantity (more F-words, for instance, will mean a higher Profanity rating, and so on) as well as context (especially when it comes to the categories of sex, nudity, violence and gore, since they are not as easily quantifiable as profanity).
In addition to assigning three ratings, we also explain in detail why a film rates high or low in a specific category, and we include instances of Substance Use, a list of Discussion Topics (topics that may elicit questions from kids) and Messages (what values the film conveys).
Please note that two movies which have received the same rating -- let's say a 9 in Violence & Gore -- will not necessarily contain an equal amount of violence; they are only similar in the level of violence they contain. Plus, like most numerical rating systems, the numbers are inherently approximations (think of them as plus-or-minus-one). Only the detailed descriptions we provide with each review will give you the proper context.
Unlike with the MPAA ratings, we do not make age-specific or critical recommendations. Since our system is based on objective standards, not the viewer's age or the artistic merits of a film, we enable concerned adults to determine whether a movie is appropriate for them or their children according to their own criteria.
As we never tire pointing out, we make no judgments about what is good or bad or anything else. We do not "condemn," "critique" or "criticize" movies. And we don't "praise" or "recommend" movies either. We advance no "beliefs" and we do not "preach" anything. We are not affiliated with any political party, any cultural or religious group, or any ideology. The only thing we advocate is responsible, engaged parenting. If one reads our reviews one will often find many instances where our descriptions are so detailed they seem absurd. But we'd rather err on the side of comprehensiveness. It's up to parents to decide which details are useful to them and their family, and which ones they consider fatuous.
The MPAA rating system is not accurate because of several reasons: the MPAA itself is not an independent body but is financed and controlled by the film industry, its standards are constantly shifting to accommodate marketing decisions by the film industry, the ratings are negotiable (and in effect promote censorship for independent films while powerful directors can get the rating they want), and the ratings are age-specific, not content-specific and thus essentially approximations.
In reality, any rating above G may imply sexual content, violent content, profanity, or any combination of the three in varying degrees. At the same time, an R-rated movie may not be as objectionable to many thoughtful parents as one would think. A movie that gets an R rating, for instance, because of several F-words is not the same as another movie that gets an R rating because it contains violence, gore, sexual situations, etc. (we venture to guess that even parents who vociferously object to profane language would agree). For instance, the G-rated "Babe: Pig in the City" was assigned a kids-in-mind.com violence rating of 5 principally because of one excruciating scene of a dog being slowly strangled. At the same time, take "Erin Brockovich" as an example of an R-rated film that got a kids-in-mind violence rating of 1 and a sex rating of 3. Yet it was branded with an R rating by the MPAA just for language. And there are others: "Waking Life" and "Good Will Hunting" getting an R for just language, and there are many other R-rated films with low violence and sex ratings. And, of course, we haven't even gotten started on the ostensibly more innocuous PG and PG-13 ratings.
But we trust you get our point: If a parent is primarily
interested in not having their children exposed to violent content,
then he may decide that many an R-rated film is more appropriate for
his kids than many G and PG and PG-13 rated films. Furthermore, since
the MPAA makes age-based ratings their recommendations cannot be
relevant for all parents since not all children are equally
What does "scatological" mean? "Religious profanities"? Other categories?
Ah, we actually get this question a lot, so don't be perturbed if you've been perplexed. We fully appreciate your predicament. But we have to be careful not to spell out each word since that would mean spelling out profanities ourselves. So we do try to write as clinically as possible and we try to avoid spelling out words that are considered obscene or profane by using euphemisms:
F-word derivatives: Words based on, or incorporating, the F-word. Examples include f***er and motherf***er.
Scatological terms: Words that have to do with feces, urine and defecation. Examples include "sh*t," "bullsh*t," "sh*thead," and p*ss.
Religious profanities: Words and expressions that religious people, especially Christians, find profane and blasphemous. Examples include "God d*mn" and "God d*mn you."
Religious exclamations: Words and expressions that mention God or other religious figures to add emphasis or express strong emotion. Examples include "God!" "My God!" "Jesus!" and "Jesus Christ!"
Anatomical terms: Words referring to parts of the human anatomy, mostly the private parts, and are considered crude. Examples include "*ss," "*sshole," "d*ck," "d*ckhead," and "tits."
Mild obscenities: Words used in everyday language, but that may be offensive to some. Examples include "damn," "hell," "friggin," as well as milder forms of anatomical terms like "boobs."
Obscene hand gesture: Holding up the middle finger, or using the index and middle finger in an upward motion, thus signifying sexual coitus.
Sexual references: Characters refer to sex, having sex, and using other specific sexual terms like "screw."
Derogatory terms: Words or expressions that are used to denigrate and insult one's racial or ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation: Examples include the N-word, various anti-Semitic terms, and anti-homosexual terms like fa**ot.
For further questions please e-mail
The purpose of kids-in-mind.com is to provide parents and other adults with objective and complete information about a film's content so that they can decide, based on their own value system, whether they should watch a movie with or without their kids.
It's like a food labeling system which tells you what a food item contains. That's it. We make no judgments about what is good or bad or anything else. Indeed, we do not "condemn," "critique" or "criticize" movies. And we don't "praise" or "recommend" movies either. We advance no "beliefs" and we do not "preach" anything. We are not affiliated with any political party, any cultural or religious group, or any ideology. The only thing we advocate is responsible, engaged parenting.
If one reads our reviews one will often find many instances where our descriptions are so detailed they seem absurd. But we'd rather err on the side of comprehensiveness. It's up to parents to decide which details are useful to them and their family, and which ones they consider fatuous.
Parents should seek out sites like ours and make decisions based on objective information about content. Our position is that no organization should be involved in arbitrating who should or shouldn't see a film (especially one as closely involved with Hollywood as the MPAA). What we'd like to see is many independent organizations like ours distributing ratings to media outlets and theater chains. And allow the marketplace work. Consumers will choose the ratings system that serves them best in making a decision, according to their own values and priorities -- we freely admit that we think our ratings are hard to improve upon, but the consumer should be allowed the final decision.
The fact is, however, that while the current system does not serve consumers well, it works perfectly for the filmmakers, the studios and the theater chains. It is based on a cozy relationship between the MPAA, the film industry, and the theater chains. It is a malleable system that can be altered at will to accommodate changes in the market. For instance, the rating of choice right now is PG-13. A movie with a PG-13 rating is just easier to market: parents like it better than the more adult R-rating, and kids like it better than the more juvenile PG rating; plus, a PG-13 rating is merely a "cautionary" rating, as opposed to the more restrictive R rating (although, of course, anybody, of any age, can watch any R-rated movie as long as he's accompanied by an "adult guardian"; in some locales any 17-year-old will do).
So, in order to accommodate the marketing demands of studios and theaters, the MPAA has been slowly but surely changing its criteria so that a PG-13 movie today contains far more violence, sexual content and profanity than a few years ago (for example, it used to be that one F-word would garner a film an R rating; now it takes 3 or more F-words).
Our organization is a for-profit company that, in addition to kids-in-mind.com , publishes two other movie-related websites, critics.com and mediascreen.com .
Kids-in-mind is extraordinarily popular, registering millions of accesses every month (it is the second site listed on Google when you search for "movie ratings," right after the MPAA's own official site).
We came up with the idea for Kids-In-Mind after we went into a video store and watched as a customer was trying to get one of the clerks to explain exactly why a film was rated PG-13. Of course the clerk couldn't. She realized that the MPAA ratings were simply too vague, and that most parents would not agree on what they'd consider offensive material. Some are upset by profanity and nudity, but seem indifferent to violent scenes, while others think that kids will hear all sorts of obscenity at the playground in any case, and so don't mind them listening to actors spewing expletives. We never doubted that Kids-In-Mind would be a hit with parents and other concerned adults. We were surprised, however, to receive support from an unexpected quarter -- the MPAA itself. Apparently, filmmakers will sometimes screen one version of their film for the MPAA's ratings board and then release a slightly different version in theaters. So, the MPAA got into the habit of comparing our Kids-In-Mind with their own notes. Since we were the first to come up with this concept (we started publishing Kids-In-Mind on AOL in 1992, as part of our Critics Inc. site) we have the largest database of parents' reviews available anywhere, enabling parents to check out the content of innumerable videos. Several newspapers, magazines and web sites have tried to emulate our reviews, with varying degrees of success, but none has generated the same amount of trust and loyalty our Kids-In-Mind reviews have.
Critics Inc. is a for-profit company that was established in 1992 as an online entertainment magazine exclusively available on the America Online and Delphi networks. Since 1998, Critics Inc. has moved its properties to the web and in addition to kids-in-mind.com, publishes two other movie-related websites:
Critics.com is a unique, prominent review hub that provides movie ratings determined by a survey of notable critical opinion. Each critics' ratecard illustrates the national critical consensus in one glance and provides links for readers who want to explore individual reviews further.
MediaScreen.com is a leading online guide to DVDs, that originally started covering laserdiscs in 1993. It became the one and only destination for home-theater fanatics on AOL and its popularity continues on the web. While MediaScreen.com does cover prominent Hollywood features, it also specializes in covering art, foreign and obscure titles.
Apart from being accessible on the web, our reviews are syndicated to other media, such as newspapers -- our movie and video reviews, for instance, are published every Saturday in the NY Post (print and web).
Our websites have been featured and praised by many American and international press and other media outlets. A partial list includes Time, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Fresno Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Cincinnati Enquirer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, BBC World Service, and several local radio and TV stations, web sites, magazines and newspapers.
Kids-in-mind.com is extraordinarily popular, registering millions of accesses every month (it is the second site listed on Google when you search for "movie ratings," right after the MPAA's own official site).
Critics Inc., 6724 Perimeter Loop Rd., Suite 310, Dublin, Ohio 43017-3202 or 614.408.3865 or firstname.lastname@example.org