Writing in Slate, Edward Jay Epstein re-explains movie ratings and helpfully resummarizes what the Hollywood studios look for in movies. In short: Explicit, gory violence in a movie is OK, but sex is the kiss of death.
As the Slate story indicates, this situation results partly from the market and partly from government regulation of broadcast television, which is the eventual market for many movies.
Meanwhile, News of the Weird summarizes the kerfuffle over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
In July, after word got out that the video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” could be fitted with an online update to make some of its scenes explicitly sexual, an 85-year-old grandmother in New York sued the company, Rockstar Games, for having failed to rate the game AO (adults only, age 18 and up) to take account of the modification. However, Florence Cohen apparently freely purchased the M-rated version (age 17 and up) for her then-14-year-old grandson, even though it invites players to murder, steal and engage in gang violence and attacks on police. She complained only when she found out that the M version’s unexplicit sex and partial nudity could be made explicit. [MSNBC-AP, 7-27-05]
Is it just me, or are there some screwed-up priorities here?