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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Movie Ratings and Sex Offender Laws

I was thinking about the movie rating systems that we use and think that the changes that have been made over the years have been of little use when you consider the movement of sex offender laws. It is not easy to locate usable information on movies that help in determining if you want to watch it or not. The rating system I grew up with was pretty straight forward and easy to remember. This was when Jaws (rated PG), Star Wars (rated PG), and The Poseidon Adventure (rated PG) were the ones that you had to sneak into to see. When The Poseidon Adventure came out I was 7 yo and our family had a picnic on the floor right under the big screen along with a number of other families. All the seats were full as well as much of the floor. When Jaws was out I managed to get in by calling out "Mom wait" when I got close to the ticket booth and because the line was so long it was easy for a kid to get lost. Yes I sneaked in at 10 years old. After the movie I still had much of the afternoon so I went to the beach and did some body surfing. Most of the other kids my age didn't want to go to the beach for several weeks after watching Jaws. It was like the parents took the kids to see Jaws just to spend a couple of hours with them and in return they wouldn't have to take them to the beach that summer. When I saw Star Wars it was like watching a cartoon with a few real people in it. What I liked the most was the latest visual effects. Gone was most of the Buck Rogers style effects.

Most of the PG rated movies back then were based on what was thought to cause a kid to have bad dreams. Then when you look at the toys that came out because of these movies you see that most of the PG movies where made for the kids. Every movie rating above PG was off limits to kids for one reason or other and we really didn't want to see them anyway. There where few if any toys to be had for them so as kids there was nothing to be had by having seen them. Movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (rated R), Saturday Night Fever (rated R), Animal House (rated R), and Halloween (rated R) were meant to be seen by teens who have let the toys go and wanted to be more grown up. Yes they had more of an adult theme to them but compare them to The Smurfs (rated PG) and you may rather let your teens watch the old movies. I actually had to tell my kids that they would not be able to watch The Smurfs until they grew up (daughter is 8 and son is 5). If you read the reviews of The Smurfs ( you would think this is a kids movie but it is not. In the old rating system it would have been an easy R rating.

Here is one point I am trying to make. As adults that lived with the old rating system we knew what PG meant but no longer do. PG means that a parent "must" review the movie as a grown up. If I let one of my kids see The Smurfs movie I would be setting myself up for accusations of trying to groom them. I have enough troubles as it is I don't need more.

The big problem with movie ratings today is that every movie is a "must review" first movie. Sex offender laws are not supportive of this however so caution is needed. What I mean here is that if you are going to watch a movie no matter what the rating is you should watch it first in private before you watch it in any other way. If you are a sex offender you can't afford to have your kids come in while reviewing "The Smurfs" a PG movie much less an R rated one. I learned the hard way when I started watching movies again (after years of not watching them. Even the rock CDs I have collect dust.) that the movie rating system is a mess. I was watching what I thought was rated PG movie called "Legendary" and the reviews I read made me think it would be a good one to watch even if the kids watch a bit of it here and there without me knowing it. Well PG and nudity were never put together when I was growing up so was I surprised when it happened and my daughter standing right beside me trying to get my attention at the same moment. Yes I got accusations thrown at me.

So when should a sex offender with kids watch an action movie? Never. I was watching the movie "Dead Tides" (Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) Rated R for sexuality, and some violence and language) listed as being an Action | Drama | Thriller on Hulu and what I get is what I would call "Porn". I am glad that at least on Hulu they have that image guide so you can try to skip over that stuff. The MPAA rating for sexuality is what I would use to describe The Smurfs movie and I would have rated Dead Tides as having multiple explicit sex scenes. Are sex offenders protected from being accused of things when stuff like this jumps out from nowhere? No.

I have 2 great unmolested kids that have been taught to tell if someone tries to touch them or whatever even if it is mommy or daddy. And who is the one teaching this? Me, A Registered Sex Offender. Where are my kids now? With there mom across town in an apartment. We are still married and intend to stay that way but what good is it to be a husband and father if you can't be with your wife and kids? The sex offender laws make the modern movie rating system unusable for parents that have the sex offender status standing over their lives. The only thing a sex offender can do is not have a TV, computer, or in any way watch a movie.


  1. So as a registered sex offender are there any laws that say you cant watch a "R" rated movie ? in your own home and alone ?

    It HAS begun and now the registry MUST GO!
    Here is you official chance to take your stand and take it down! 

    The WAR Admin Team AND our Class Action Core Team are proud to announce that we will begin work this week on two law suits to be filed at the federal level this fall. That’s right – two of them!

    The first is on behalf of registered sex offenders and the second on behalf of families and friends of registered sex offenders.

    The challenges will be against SORNA and the impact to the registrant families, which has been verified and documented by researchers. Also, the public impact will be defined in an upcoming survey being developed with the assistance of Professor Crysanthi Leon of the University of Delaware.

    Even though these laws were mandated at the Congressional level then enacted to varying degrees by the state legislatures, we will be asking the court to rule on “the law” thus removing the manner in which legislators have purported to keep children safe – punitive punishment for registrants and families. It is time to take the issue out of the state legislators hands and campaigns and place it firmly in front of the supreme courts.

    The concept of filing based on the collateral damage experienced by those who seek to provide positive support at re-entry and thereafter will gather steam and provide a more assertive approach than is being used today.

    Please consider this your invitation to visit our website where you will instantly see the announcement as well as the opportunity for participation. We have also listed some Frequently Asked Questions to help answer as many immediate questions as possible.

    Join the ‘Movers and Shakers’ in these law suits.