I recently watched some Molly Ringwald 80's teen movies (that I watched as an 80's teen). I was a little shocked. Actually a few books that I've read lately showed that drug and alcohol use in the early 80's was very high, and then lowered a good bit. I think that "just say 'no'" actually worked -- thank you, Nancy Reagan.
Anyway, we were discussing over dinner how explicit 16 Candles was (in parent-code, which probably isn't so secret) for a PG movie especially.
This must have been PG in the pre-PG-13 era. This movie had full front female nudity and many swear words, and of course all the sexual talk you might expect in a teen drama.
When Terry and I were talking about it at the dinner table, Kyle asked, "What's PG-13?" and the 11 1/2-year-old expert jumped in and said, "Those are movies that you can't see until you are 13."
I said, "Just so you know, you probably won't be seeing many PG-13 movies when you are 13," knowing that over the years PG-13's have moved even closer to the R spectrum.
Terry and I were in agreement without having talked about it specifically, "That will give you something to worry and complain about for the next year and a half," he added.
Pretty in Pink actually is rated PG-13, but didn't have any nudity and not nearly as many swear words.
Personally I like the Disney version of teendom. Zack and Cody get close to kissing the girl, but they never show it on screen. The issue of Lily and Oliver "coupling" has never come up on Hannah Montana. I know that's because these shows, while featuring teenagers, are really aimed at a tween audience (and watched by 6-year-olds, including -- ahem -- mine). But why can't movies show the clean side of being a teen? It is out there. In fact, a friend of mine was just saying that her high school senior was upset because so many people were drinking at Prom. She doesn't, and she doesn't associate with those who do. It's her choice, and there are many who make that choice.
My teen life was also more Disney-fied than John Hughesesque, but I still enjoyed watching the old Molly Ringwald movies (back then, and now). Check out my reviews at 5 Minutes for Books, and then read my Molly Ringwald interview at 5 Minutes for Mom and enter to win a copy of her new book Getting the Pretty Back.
What about you? Do movie ratings help you? Do you think that teen movies accurately portray teen behavior or provide a platform for discussing the issues that teens face? Do you/will you let your kids watch them?