I’ve not seen the movie version of The Hunger Games, and there’s a good reason for that; I hated the book. I read it just before it was released and it was, in fact, the second review I ever wrote for Amazon Vine. I found it unrealistic, derivative and was annoyed at the fact that it violated the rules of its world. I hated the second book even more (especially since, as I recall, it was largely a redress of the first book), and disliked the third so much I couldn’t even make myself finish it. So I think it’s safe to say that I’m not in the audience for the movie.
But the fact that I’ve not seen it, and don’t plan to, won’t stop me from commenting on how bizarre I think it is that the movie is rated PG-13. The studio apparently went out of their way to make it PG-13, too, even trimming out seven seconds or so of violent content, so that it would be “acceptable” for kids to see it. What fun! You know, it’s been a while since I read that first book, but I seem to remember things like a twelve-year-old kid getting shot in the chest with a crossbow, and numerous other children getting killed in other horrible ways. How it was even possible to do a faithful adaptation of the source material without getting an R rating is beyond me, but apparently they managed it. So, well done, we now have a movie with children murdering each other that’s rated so that kids can see it. Excellent.
There’s another movie that’s been getting attention lately, and that’s the documentary film Bully. This is another one I’ve not seen, and to be honest, I probably won’t. It’s about kids being bullied in school and how horrible it is. I know that already. I lived that when I was a kid, and from what I understand the problem has gotten worse by several orders of magnitude. If I ever find myself flipping channels and notice that it’s on, I’ll watch it, but otherwise I don’t feel the need.
I am, however, pissed off by the fact that this movie, which is directed toward teenagers, and is about teenagers, and shows the real shit that teenagers have to put up with, is rated R. Apparently the MPAA in their “wisdom” decided that even though kids hear words like shit, fuck, cunt, kike, faggot, nigger, fat-ass, asshole, retard and the like every single goddamn day at school, well, their minds are too fragile to hear those words on screen.
This is baffling to me. Refusing to allow kids to see a movie that shows life as it actually is for many kids that age just boggles the mind. It’s especially baffling when it you put it next to something like The Hunger Games, which shows kids in the same age group hunting down and murdering each other. But since they don’t swear while they do it, I guess that makes it ok. I mean, if Katniss and Peeta had dropped the f-bomb a time or two or, even worse, been shown naked (gasp!), or having sex (double gasp!), well, can you just imagine? We’d have to have it rated R, at least, maybe even NC-17, because while extreme levels of violence are ok, swearing and nudity and sex are right out!
Of course the ultimate source of the problem here is America’s fundamentally broken relationship with sex and violence. When it comes to the latter, we can’t get enough of it, and generally don’t think twice about exposing our children to it. I’ve had several occasions when I’ve been at the theater watching very violent films that were rated R and seen someone with their kids. These are the same people who likely would be horrified if you suggested they should let their kids watch a soft-core movie on Skinemax.
The Hunger Games is, in fact, a great example of this disconnect. Katniss is allowed by the author to kill several people, including kids her own age or younger. Yet clearly she’s a virgin and, as near as I know, stays that way through the series. I recall a scene in, I think it was, the second book, where she had her first kiss at age seventeen and it was like she was having her first orgasm, which, given how asexual she is in the books, it’s entirely possible she was. I can guarantee you that if there was even one sex scene in any of the three books that was even remotely as graphic as the violence, you’d hear such a hue and cry from parents that…well, that sales probably would have tripled, but that’s not the point.
I haven’t run one of my little polls in a while, so I think I’ll do it now. Please note that the poll is for people with children only. Also feel free to expand on any poll choices in the comments.