Picks and Pans Main: Screen

updated 10/15/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/15/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NC-17, in addition to sounding like a potion bald guys put on their heads to grow hair, is beside the point. The new rating—not for children under 17—may simplify life for such directors as Pedro Almodóvar and Philip Kaufman, whose films dabble in explicit sex. But it hardly seems more useful than the basically useless R to moviegoers, even if theater managers start checking birth certificates more scrupulously than they have been. Far more promising are the Motion Picture Association's plans to expand its R rating to something like an R-Vio (for violence), R-Nu (nudity), R-O (obscenity) or R-X (the sky is falling). The only way the N series will lead to anything is if they bring in such variations as NAHTAM-IQ (not for anyone with an IQ higher than a moose's) or NEB-.01 (not for those with a low easily bored threshold).

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