http://blog.moviefone.com/media/2006/01/rated.jpgOne year ago, the MPAA's film ratings system was exposed for being unfair and inconsistent. This was thanks primarily to the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated, which screened at Sundance. Now, without acknowledging that film's possible influence on the decision, the MPAA is announcing a change in the ratings process and procedures. A campaign is set to begin at Sundance on Monday, when Dan Glickman will be joined with Classifications & Ratings Administration head Joan Graves to officially go over the revisions.

Variety has the list of changes, which includes the decision to publicly post the standards that must be met to receive a particular rating. Also added to the appeals process is an allowance for a filmmaker to compare his film's content with another lower-rated film's content in order to make a consistency argument. Other parts of the revision include a description of the still-anonymous ratings board members and new rules for the eligibility of those members.

The best part of the campaign, though, could be something not related to a rule change at all. The MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners are planning to do more to communicate with parents and urge them against bringing minors to R-rated films, particularly those deemed "hard-R". I'm really hoping that this plan is a way to get the R rating to mean what it is supposed to mean, and to decrease, if not discontinue, the use of the box office killer NC-17. With more theatres adhering strictly to the ratings system, there are fewer kids getting into inappropriate movies than were at the time the NC-17 rating was instituted.

The MPAA's major problems are in the public's misunderstanding that ratings are more than just parental advisories and in the disservice the ratings do to both the art and the business of film. If the MPAA is able to make clear its motives and do more to support film, it won't matter as much about the rules.


More on film ratings:

MPAA to Email Lazy Parents

To Be Blunt -- Movie Ratings Are None of Congress' Business

Court Overrules Ratings Board in Italy

Interview: Kirby Dick, Director, This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Sundance: MPAA doc pirated by the MPAA?

Kevin Smith Doesn't Need the MPAA

Pulse Director Doesn't Dig the MPAA or the PG13

IFC Pushes for Change at the MPAA

Rated PG for Religious Elements