Champlin objects to any rating system that prevents children from seeing certain films. He argues that some excellent films will inevitably be counted among those unsuited to younger audiences. But this is a tiny price to pay in order to protect children.
As a psychotherapist, I have no doubt that some top-notch movies are disturbing to both children and adolescents. (Such films are also dangerous to psychologically vulnerable adults, but there is obviously no practical way to prevent such individuals from attending.)
Instead of opening up all films for juvenile viewing, we should be far more restrictive of movies that glorify sadism. The images we hold in our minds guide our actions. When people repeatedly visualize cruelty while experiencing pleasure , sadistic impulses are reinforced.
Example: As the beautiful villainess in a recent shoot-em-up blockbuster receives a graphically displayed bullet hole in the forehead, the theater audience bursts into laughter and applause. When young people are exposed to such episodes thousands of times over, is it any wonder that the United States is the murder capital of the world?
The film industry continues to feed us images of slaughter, forgetting that what we sow we also will reap. Despite the fact that I hate censorship, I believe we should retain the X rating, apply it to sadistic content more than to sexual content, and extend the age restriction to 21.