Theaters have increased the number of showing times for Jim Carrey’s “The Mask.”
Photo by Stephen Lightfoot
A new viral campaign, called the PG-PP Movement, has emerged from a small movie-watching Facebook group with 209 members. This group is petitioning for the Motion Picture Association (MPA) to add a new rating for movies filmed prior to or during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Change.org petition, which currently has 209 signatures, PG-PP stands for “Parental Guidance suggested–Pre-Pandemic.”
Helena Williamson-Barrett, a self-proclaimed Netflix connoisseur and founder of the PG-PP Movement Facebook group, hopes that the MPA will take this petition seriously. “I was watching ‘Titanic’ with my two children in my highly sanitized home theater. During multiple scenes, I saw so many people squeezed into a tight space, I was immediately panicked about their health,” she wrote in a public Facebook post paired with a picture of a ‘Despicable Me’ Minion.
“I was terribly distracted by the crowds of people running around the ship, brushing up against each other and breathing without masks. I couldn’t even figure out what the movie was about! It was a relief to see some of them distancing while floating face-down in the ocean near the end,” Williamson-Barrett concluded. Many others in the group reported similar feelings of fear and panic when watching pre-pandemic movies and were reportedly worried about what messages their children might be receiving.
According to the description on their page, “98 percent of movies filmed before the pandemic do NOT display proper social distancing or even involve masks!” One commenter claimed, “Films depicting large crowds demonstrate reckless behavior and pose a danger to society during these unprecedented times. I can’t believe how selfish these directors are being, sacrificing personal safety for their artistic vision.” They posit that movies with little to no social distancing may be influencing teens and young adults to break guidelines, stating: “If this filth is what teens are watching these days, it’s no wonder they’re partying like they’re in ‘The Great Gatsby.’”
However, there are people who are vehemently against this budding movement. A rival Facebook group titled “Free the PP” claims that putting restrictive ratings on pre-pandemic films would prevent children and teens from being exposed to, as one commenter states, “what it’s like in the real world.”
Multiple concerned citizens are also questioning the name of the PG-PP Movement, pointing out the inappropriate implications in the acronym. “I guess they should’ve been more careful,” said Nathan Brown, a student interviewed at a “Roarin’ 20s” frat party. “I mean, we all know that PP stands for Party Pooper, and that’s just, like, sad. Dude, I can’t even support the movement without all my friends laughing and calling me a poophead.” The acronym seems to be making the movement unpopular with the younger generation, as several other partygoers looked uncomfortable when asked about PP films.
Some members of the original group have put out statements regarding other courses of action. They say that “if the MPA can’t implement this rating, they should at least promote safe practices for children by putting CGI masks on every person in popular films, such as ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘The Lion King,’ and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’” When asked how such a task would be accomplished, one member, Elizabeth Nettles, stated: “They got some poor schmuck to CGI out all the buttholes in the movie ‘Cats,’ so I think it would be kind of like the same thing.”
The MPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. One member of the PG-PP Movement Facebook group claimed that, as the official MPA Twitter account made a post promoting the popular TV series ‘Scrubs’ one minute and 23 seconds after being asked, it can be assumed that they were purposefully ignoring the query.