The 10 Strangest MPAA Ratings

Strange MPAA Ratings

The 10 Strangest MPAA Ratings

The Motion Picture Association of America serves an important purpose: assigning ratings, G through NC-17, to practically each and every film released. G obviously means that anyone of any age can watch it, PG and PG-13 are two different levels of appropriate for anyone above the age of six or seven, R means no one under 17 can see it without a parent, and NC-17 means absolutely no one under 17 under any circumstance. With this in mind, there are often some very strange reasons why the MPAA board assigns the ratings they give for each film. Some are pretty cut and dry — PG-13 for violence and language, for example. Some are more complex: R for graphic violence, strong language, and graphic nudity, for example. Some are just plain odd, though.

Alien vs. Predator

Strange MPAA Ratings

It can be assumed that the MPAA takes major issue with things like blood and gore. What about other strange substances, though? Back when McG decided to take on the mashup between the Alien universe and the Predator universe in 2004, it’s clear he was shooting for a much tamer PG-13 release compared to the other entries in each respective franchise. We can be sure that there’s no way he ever imagined his movie would be rated PG-13 for “violence, language, horror images, slime and gore,” which is an incredibly bizarre thing to note in a movie’s rating.

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Team America: World Police

Strange MPAA Ratings

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are no strangers to the world of feature films: they’ve created a movie of their own, BASEketball, a movie based on their cartoon South Park, and an action movie starring a cast of marionettes. The latter received one of the strangest ratings the MPAA has ever given: rated R for “graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images, and strong language – all involving puppets.”

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Batman Returns

Strange MPAA Ratings

Tim Burton’s contributions to the Batman universe are complicated — his first entry, 1989’s Batman, was incredibly well-received and is still praised as one of the strongest and most interesting Batman iterations to date. His second, 1992’s Batman Returns, was much more flawed and hard to get off the ground. It received an MPAA rating of PG-13 for “brooding, dark violence.”

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Alice in Wonderland

Strange MPAA Ratings

The second Tim Burton film on this list, 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, is a strange movie with an equally strange rating. The first of Disney’s recent string of live-action remakes, subsequently kicking off an endless stream, made a disgusting amount of money at the box office — over one billion dollars — and even spawned a sequel. It received a PG rating for “fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.”

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Wayne’s World 2

Strange MPAA Ratings

Based on the infamous SNL sketch, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey’s Wayne’s World was an instant cult classic. It’s no surprise that the studio wanted a sequel, naturally. The two actors return to reprise their roles in Wayne’s World 2, which is rated PG-13 for “ribald humor” — whatever that means. There’s no way a fan of Wayne’s World (or any typical moviegoer, for that matter) is going to know what that could possibly entail.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Strange MPAA Ratings

It should just be assumed at this point that a Tim Burton movie is going to be strange, so it’s obviously going to get a strange MPAA rating. His 2005 remake of Roald Dahl’s 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is rated PG for “quirky situations, action and mild language.”

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Twister

Strange MPAA Ratings

The most terrifying weather movie since The Wizard of Oz, 1996’s Twister is an insanely baffling tentpole that stands as one of the 20th century’s oddest blockbusters. Helen Hunt plays a storm chaser, Bill Paxton is her husband, and the titular Twister plays itself. It has a PG-13 rating for “intense depiction of very bad weather.”

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To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar

Strange MPAA Ratings

A movie about three drag queens traveling cross-country in a car only for it to break down in a small town can’t just pass through the MPAA without a rating that is appropriately bonkers. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo star in the film rated PG-13 for “subject matter involving men living in drag, a brief scene of spousal abuse and some language.”

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Bushwhacked

Strange MPAA Ratings

Many would recognize Daniel Stern from movies like Home Alone or City Slickers, but he was also in a much lesser-known film called Bushwhacked back in 1995. It’s a tame film about a dummy criminal (sound familiar? The film was apparently conceived as a Home Alone spinoff) who takes on an alias as the leader of a troop of Boy Scouts in order to try and evade the FBI. It’s a comedy, but nothing is as funny as its rating: PG for “language and a mild birds and bees discussion.”

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Fight Club

Strange MPAA Ratings

David Fincher’s Fight Club is a lot of things, but one thing that the filmmaker probably didn’t foresee was the MPAA giving his movie a really weird rating. The movie deals with insomnia, violence, isolation, depression, all sorts of behaviors that could be viewed as controversial — because of this, the MPAA decided to rate the movie R for “disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior, sexuality, and language.”

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Weekend: May. 23, 2019, May. 26, 2019

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