The Ratings Sham Revisited

By: Dr. Ted Baehr; ©2002
Dr. Baehr contends that the “ratings” system currently in place in the movie industry are doing more harm than good. Does he have a better idea?



In my book, The Media-Wise Family, I exposed the shell game of the MPAA ratings system and told how the rating system divorced the movie industry from moral standards and allowed movies to suddenly contain any content, no matter how vile, as long as the MPAA fixed a rating on it.

What is worse, the system only attracts children to the worst product. Curious kids no longer have to search for the worst product, they can just look for the strongest rating.

I predicted the same downward spiral into debauchery would happen with television. Regrettably, my predictions have come true.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that people don’t know how to use the television ratings and are totally confused by the v-chip.

Shifting from the national association of broadcasters code, which mandated standards and was voluntarily observed by the networks, to a rating system has only brought a deluge of sex, violence and foul language.

Simply put: Rating systems do not work: we need to go back to standards.

How Does MOVIEGUIDE® Help you Pick a Movie?

Box office figures for 2001 indicate that practically all of the major movie critics around the country are almost completely out of touch with the American public. All, that is, except for the critics at MOVIEGUIDE®, the definitive family guide to movies and entertainment.

Box office figures are the truest measure of what the public chooses to see in movies. Overall, seven of the MOVIEGUIDE® critics’ top picks for Best Family Movies and Best Movies for Mature Audiences, including The Princess Diaries, Monsters, Inc., Spy Kids, Shrek, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park III, and Pearl Harbor, made it into the Top 25 Movies at the Box Office for North America. Also, 50 percent of the Top 10 Grossing Movies in 2001 were in the MOVIEGUIDE® picks for Best Movies for Families and Best Movies for Mature Audiences!

In contrast to this, none of Roger Ebert’s top choices, and none of his fellow critic, Richard Roeper’s, top picks made it into the Top 25, much less the Top 10, movies at the box office.

Furthermore, only one of USA Today critic Mike Clark’s top choices and only one of New York Times critics Elvis Mitchell’s, Stephen Holden’s or A.O. Scott’s made it into the Top 25 Grossing Movies. Finally, only two of Associated Press critic David Germain’s top choices and two of national movie critic Dave Kehr’s picks made it into the Top 25.

The MOVIEGUIDE® critics and judges also beat out such renowned critic associations as the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics, each of whose top movies only contained two from the Top 25 Movies at the Box Office in 2001.

Clearly, it pays to know what the MOVIEGUIDE® critics think are the best movies.

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