According to an article in today's Variety, MPAA chairman Dan Glickman is trying to find a new rating that will group together the movies that currently tip the dirtier scale of the R-rating -- the 'hard R' films that contain copious amounts of nudity, the f-word every three seconds, or gruesome torture-horror imagery, for instance. The move is apparently being motivated by outraged parents who can't believe what is allowed under today's R-rating and demand there be something new between PG-13 and R to let parents know whether they are allowing their teenage children to see a 'soft R' or a 'hard R.' The article reminds us that this debate has been had over and over throughout the years, and that X-rated films like Midnight Cowboy even won Academy Awards before the rating was 'overtaken' by the adult film industry.
The MPAA is also under pressure from the studios to get rid of the NC-17 rating, because its association with heavy sexual content has made it almost worthless -- Blockbuster refuses to carry any DVDs rated NC-17, for example. Many daily newspapers also refuse ads for NC-17 films, even though unrated films with similar content can sometimes skirt by, the article notes. Cinematical recently interviewed Kirby Dick, director of This Film Is Not Yet Rated, about the pros and cons of the current ratings system, if you want to know more.