While Harvey Weinstein is already claiming a "victorious" battle with the MPAA—today the trade association ruled they will overturn the R-rating previously stamped on "Philomena"—one has to wonder if there are larger forces at play. No, we're not talking about the terribly unfunny Funny Or Die video featuring Judi Dench as M and Steven Coogan (visibly embarrassed) as a special agent tasked with taking on the ratings board (oddly, the video has since been yanked, and we wonder if the folks who own the rights to the James Bond character had signed off on it...).
Instead, we're talking about the recent report that PG-13 movies are actually more violent than those stamped with an R-rating. A recent study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University (via The Guardian) found that gun violence in PG-13 movies has tripled since 1985, when the rating was first introduced. And while in 2009, the violence in PG-13 movies more or less matched those found in R-rated fare, by 2012 it exceeded them. Of course, considering the ratings system is in place to protect children or values or something, this is pretty shocking news... unless you've been watching how the MPAA operates for the past few years.
The shady group, whose members are largely unknown to the public, tend to skew conservative and generally give the thumbs up to violence over language ("Philomena" got an R because of two instances of the word "fuck"—shocking!) or sex (show a nipple and you pretty much get an R-rating). But recent years have seen increasing criticism of the ratings system, and this new report won't help perception that the MPAA are increasingly out of touch.
Anyway, feel free to bring your grade school cousin with you when "Philomena" opens on November 27th.