In Search of Family-Friendly Movies
What does the phrase Family-Friendly mean?
First off, I want to point out that we do review all genres of movies. We screen everything from Rated G straight through to Rated R. While we don’t screen every Rated R movie that comes out, we do screen them if they’re interesting to us. Just because a movie carries an R rating, does not mean we will stay away from it. If there happens to be an actor or actress we really like appearing in the movie, we will screen it. But, we usually avoid horror movies and slasher movies. We realize right out of the gate they are not family-friendly. Of course we also realize Rated R movies aren’t family-friendly either. However, as for the slasher-horror movies, there are enough people already reviewing those. As a result, they simply don’t hit our radar.
That being said, what exactly do we mean by Family-Friendly?
As parents, we’re fully aware of what it’s like to go to a movie, trusting the MPAA rating, and suddenly finding ourselves shocked over content. Reality is, many times the MPAA ratings are simply wrong. Also, depending on who you are inside the movie industry, if you rally hard enough, you can actually have the MPAA board give you a rating that’s simply not appropriate for your movie.
We’re not movie cops, and we’re not prudes. But, we are parents who review movies with one question at the forefront of our mind at all times – Is this movie family-friendly? With that in mind, we end up with three basic categories when rating movies. Keep in mind, while we tend to eject the MPAA rating system, when we tag a movie with one of our family-friendly ratings, we’re doing so taking into account the MPAA rating.
We end up with three family-friendly rating categories;
- Cautionary Family-Friendly
- Not Family-Friendly
Of course, those categories are self-explanatory. However, when we give our family-friendly rating, we’re doing so with the MPAA rating in mind. For example, just because a movie is rated PG-13, does not mean it’s automatically appropriate for the suggested age group. Studies show that up until the age of 12-14, kids have a difficult time distinguishing between fantasy and reality. As a result, if a movie blurs those lines, and carries a PG-13 rating, we are more apt to say it’s Cautionary Family-Friendly, instead of Family-Friendly. Many times we will also say, “Know your own kids.” Or even better, “Make it a family outing. See the movie with your family, so you can talk about it later.”
There have been times when we’ve actually given a Disney G rated movie, a Cautionary Family-Friendly rating. Another important aspect of our reviews to keep in mind is that we usually screen movies with an audience. That means we gage audience reaction. Disney’s 2005 Chicken Little was rated G. However, in the middle of the movie the scriptwriters included a War of the Worlds type sequence where a space ship was zapping up the animated characters. The smaller kids in the audience started screaming and crying. The images on the screen were too instense for the kids.
As a result, we said Chicken Little, while it is rated G, falls into the category of Cautionary Family-Friendly. We then warned parents of content for a couple reasons.
- To let parents know what to expect, so they’re not suddenly blind-sided while watching the movie.
- To let parents know what’s coming up, so they can in turn prepare their kids for what they’re about to see.
In the end, it’s a happy ending for the Chicken Little movie. But, when the scenes are suddenly flashing on the screen, you don’t know that.
Now that we’ve explained the Family-Friendly system lets quickly look at our Lloyd rating system. We rate movies here on Frame by Frame with what we call a 5 Lloyd rating system. Here’s a breakdown of what the Lloyd logos mean.
- No Lloyds! – Really bad movie.
- Half a Lloyd
- 1 Lloyd
- 1.5 Lloyds
- 2 Lloyds
- 2.5 Lloyds
- 3 Lloyds
- 3.5 Lloyds
- 4 Lloyds
- 4.5 Lloyds
- 5 Lloyds – A Perfect Score!
Hopefully this information has helped explain our Family-Friendly Movie Guide approach. We’ve tried to briefly explain our system in this information page. For the most part, we also explain in the midst of a review why any given movie receives a Family-Friendly, Cautionary, or Not Family-Friendly rating too.
Enjoy the show!