Movie ratings get creative revamping

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The movies we see are going to get a lot cleaner. Well, at least the air is.

The Motion Picture Association of America is going to start giving “R” ratings to movies based on tobacco usage. If smoking by adults is pervasive in a movie or the film glamorizes smoking, The Associated Press reports, the MPAA will fold that into the ratings, depending on the context.

Maybe we’ll prevent lung cancer in thousands of impressionable children who are apparently ignoring anti-smoking campaigns on television, in magazines and all over the Internet.

We can’t stop there. I’ve got four solutions that, in line with a smoking rule, could vastly improve our movies.

Back to the “Drewing” board: Drew Barrymore playing the amazingly gorgeous girl who’s eccentric and full of love and quirky but can never seem to find the right guy because she has a few hangups. It’s enjoyable the first time you see “The Wedding Singer.” Or “Never Been Kissed.” Or “50 First Dates.” Never mind the movie, “Music and Lyrics,” just released in time so you can rent it and watch it as a warmup to “Lucky You.”
Barrymore’s a great talent, but she should have enough power in Hollywood (she has her own production company) to reach for a different role. She’s already done the role nine times by my count on her profile, and it jumps to 10 if you count her role in the documentary “My Date With Drew.”

Any movie with Barrymore playing this role is intended for one type of audience, and we should accommodate it by limiting such releases to Valentine’s Day and the three weeks following.

Honesty in advertising: I will admit I enjoyed “I, Robot,” despite the movie being only tacitly connected to Isaac Asimov’s book of the same title. However, I remember being inundated with promos for beer, stereo equipment and clothing — under the character disguise of a future police officer who liked “old school” stuff. “I, Robot” star Will Smith was also well-known for promoting Ray-Ban sunglasses during his “Men in Black” period.

Maybe we can shame sponsors out of unabashed product placement. Maybe if sponsors had to disclose during the credits how much they paid to get their products in the movie, we won’t have to pay $8 to see glorified informercials.

Dry movie: Since you have to be 18 to smoke and 21 to drink, and thousands of people die every year in alcohol-related auto accidents, it seems discriminatory to attach an “R” rating to movies with smoking and “PG-13” to movies with drinking. This includes “Can’t Hardly Wait” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” movies that are constantly replayed on cable.

Erase mistakes: Take all of the box office profits and build a time machine, so we can talk sense into moviemakers and stop any movie that falls under these rules from being made. While we’re there, we can stop “Gigli” before it starts.

So there are four great ideas. I’m betting on No. 4, because we all know time travel is more likely than the entertainment industry owning up to hypocrisy and their lack of creativity.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: