The MPAA and the BBFC give films age ratings so you know if they're appropriate for your children. And recently they've started giving a brief bit of consumer advice alongside, like the laughable "Contains mild peril" (Finding Nemo), or the ridiculous "Rated PG for non-stop frenetic animated action" (The Powerpuff Girls).
But Kids-In-Mind reckons that's not enough - parents need better information so they can make up their own minds rather than the MPAA deciding for them. Kids-In-Mind claims to provide "Ratings that work".
To this end, they've condensed all worldly vices into three categories: 1. Sex & nudity; 2. Violence & gore; 3. Profanity. And they've given every film a score out of ten for each. (Apparently, other morally dubious activities such as drug taking, theft, racism, etc. don't matter so much.)
So, for example, the recent remake of Halloween gets 10.10.10. The 10 for sex/nudity is for a variety of reasons including, shockingly, "A husband and wife kiss."
The Muppet Christmas Carol gets 0.1.0. The 1 for violence/gore is because "some of the ghost scenes are a little scary and may bother younger viewers."
Year One gets 8.7.5 - a high score despite being only a PG-13. The Favor gets 3.2.3, a very low score for an R.
For me, this just serves to highlight the absurdity of any supposedly objective ratings system. The idea of a bunch of indignant puritans subjecting themselves to ghastly movies just so they can warn other pious parents that there are 398 instances of the word "fuck" in Casino strikes me as hilarious.
This is all very harmless and amusing, but the fact that the official ratings organisations routinely cut material out of films before we can watch them is something else. Why should I be allowed to watch some of the rapey sex and wincey violence in Ichi the Killer, but not all of it? How is anyone qualified to draw that line for all sixty million of us Brits? What's the point if I can just get the uncut version anyway? Isn't the whole system deeply flawed and deeply hypocritical?
Kids-In-Mind might not be the right solution, but they're raising good questions.