Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Basterd Does It Again

I went and saw Inglourious Basterds Thursday night and loved it. Funny, strange, dark, twisted - in other words it was standard Tarantino fare.

Tarantino seems to be making a career out of creating all the films he wanted to see as a 15 year old. This time around, it is the pulpy WWII flick. Like an idiot savant, he focuses his skills and abilities on products of sometimes dubious merit but he does it with such verve and originality that it leaves you wanting more.

The more I watch his flicks, though, the more I realize Tarantino's limits. I don't think we will ever see a mature, adult movie from him. While I can accept that - his work is so much fun that I will always make a point of watching it - I do wonder what would happen if he tackled a more adult storyline with actual characters instead of comic book archetypes. If only he used his talents for the forces of good and all that. . .

Of course, watching this movie reinforces all that is wrong with movie age rating systems. This movie is rated 14A, meaning anyone can go to it as long as they are accompanied by a guardian. This is a movie where people are scalped and swastikas are carved into people's foreheads (actually creepily funny in the context of the film). While there wasn't an overabundance of violence, what violence there was was graphic and nasty. Still, you can take your 6 year old to the film if you are so inclined.

Imagine if Tarantino focused on naked bodies rather than naked aggression. They'd immediately slap an 18A on his flick to keep impressionable minds from being corrupted by the naked body. Bizarre and hypocritical just don't go far enough to describe the current situation. We've created a system that rewards selling violence to children.

I'm not getting all prudish. I'm not saying Basterds should be kept from teenage eyes or anything. Far from it. Basterds is exactly the sort of movie I would have searched out as a teenager so how can I argue against teenagers today watching it? I'm just saying that something is seriously out of whack when this movie passes the censors without issue while other less violent fare has to jump through hoops only to get slapped with an 18A (even worse if you were in the States, the dreaded NC17).

I'm thinking there should really be two ratings - 14A and G. The 14A would be restricted to people 14 and above. The G would be open to everyone. Simple as that (well, I guess you can keep another rating around, like X, for the outright pornographic stuff). Not only would it be more honest - teens are going to find this stuff anyways - it would be easier to regulate. I don't see what we gain by creating these arbitrary layers for teenagers (14A, 18A, R). All it really does is make stuff seem more exotic (and attractive) than it really needs to be. Have some faith in these kids to make decisions. They might not always make good ones but with practise they will make better ones. Right now, we don't allow them the chance to make decisions. We keep everything away from them and then, at some arbitrary point (like an 18'th birthday) we tell them to go nuts. It's a wonder they don't turn out worse.

1 comment:

Daibhin said...

If you haven't seen it already check out the documentry This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It is about the ratings system in the US and it is crazy but facinating.