[Screen It]
    

 


HELP & INFORMATION


  • Who We Are
  • What We Do
  • Categories
  • Ratings
  • Movie/Video Review Info
  • Music Review Info
  • How to Use Screen It!
  • Frequently Asked Questions




  • WHO WE ARE

    We are a small (2 person), husband and wife team who provide these reviews. We're not affiliated with any political, social or religious group thus assuring that we'll provide unbiased reviews. By doing so, we allow parents and others to decide whether a movie/video/CD is appropriate for them and/or their kids based on THEIR values.

    I started this service after so many parents asked me if certain movies would be okay for their children. At the time I was attending movies to study them for screenwriting purposes, and paid little attention to that issue. After checking around, however, I found that there wasn't a way for parents to find out about the content in movies or videos (especially in an unbiased way), and that most didn't trust the MPAA ratings (G, PG, etc...).

    Thus, Screen It! was created and has been in service since March 1996 and on-line since July 1996. While my wife still works her "regular" job, I left my government job of ten years to pursue this full-time. Once this endeavor begins generating some income, I hope to expand it to provide more reviews of older titles and hope to venture into reviews of video/computer games as well as TV programming.





    WHAT WE DO

    Screen It! was created to give parents a way to access the content of popular entertainment their kids are exposed to. It is not intended as censorship. Rather, it is designed to allow Hollywood and Record Labels to continue to produce movies, videos and music while informing parents of the content in them. Some people argue over the moral quality of films while others want to ban certain albums that contain material that particularly offends them.

    That is censorship, and it's not right for others to decide what you or your children can see. That decision lies with you. Until now, however, there was no way for parents to find out about the content of movies, videos, or music. For movies, the MPAA rating (G, PG, etc...) is a start, but offers just a one line, generalized description of the "offending" material. A few newsletters here and there offer a little more information, but are usually biased or are lacking in detailed content listings.

    That's why we created Screen It!. An unbiased, easy to use, yet heavily detailed and complete look at popular entertainment your kids might see, rent, or buy. And this applies to kids from one to seventeen. We offer detailed content listing in many categories for every movie, video and album we review. Each category is then assigned a rating that summarizes the quantity and degree of the content.





    CATEGORIES

    Detailed content listing is available in numerous categories for every title that's reviewed by Screen It! In addition, we assign a rating that summarizes the degree and quantity of the content in each and every category. Movies and videos contain both visual and audio material and are subsequently broken down into more categories (15) than music (10) that contains only one visual element, the cover art.

    RATINGS

    Every category is assigned a rating that summarizes the quantity and/or the "quality" of the content. Obviously this is somewhat of an objective practice and should be used as a quick guideline or summary of the content. You are advised to always examine the content listing to determine whether there's something present that you may object to.

    People sometimes disagree with a rating we give a particular title's category. For instance, "Star Wars" received an "extreme" in "Violence." While many would argue that the film isn't that violent, especially compared to say, slasher films, thousands if not millions of people are killed in it. Violence being violence, we gave that category the "extreme" rating, but marked it with an asterisk to note that it's not as severe or explicit as other "extreme" ratings for different films.


    MOVIE/VIDEO REVIEW INFO

    Each review will display the title, the year of initial release, the main actors/actresses and the movie/video's MPAA rating. Following that is our exclusive content table. It contains fifteen categories of content found in the movie/video and how each has been rated. Each category heading in the table is linked to the complete scene by scene listing of that category. Clicking on the category headings will toggle you back and forth between the table and the listings. Alternately, you can scroll through the listings as they appear.

    Below the table you'll find several helpful listings:

  • Quick Take:
    A one line description of the story.

  • Plot:
    A more detailed look at the plot.

  • Will Kids Want to See it?
    What might draw kids to a film.

  • Why the MPAA Rated it:
    The actual stated reasons of the MPAA for giving a title its rating.

  • Cast As Role Models:
    This explains whether the main characters would be good or bad role models for kids.

  • Cast, Crew & Technical Info
    Information made available by the folks at the Internet Movie Database.

  • How Others Rated This Movie
    Summary of how popular or unpopular a movie/video is provided by the Internet Movie Database based on Internet users who have cast their votes on that particular title.
  • Our Take:
    What we thought of the movie (without considering the objectionable content).

  • Our Word to Parents:
    A summary that hi-lights the "bad stuff" in the movie/video.


    MOVIE/VIDEO REVIEW CATEGORIES

    ALCOHOL/DRUGS
  • Any consumption or presence of alcohol or drugs and their effects is noted.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Many kids are scared by (and adults sickened by) the sight of blood or gore. We include these and any other disgusting scenes here.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Children will often mimic behavior/attitudes they witness on the screen. We list dishonorable, contemptible, ill-tempered and other such behavior.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Although horror films are usually associated with this category, kids are often scared by scenes found in PG and even G rated films. Such scenes are noted here.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • This category includes the use and effects of any guns or other weapons (knives, bombs, etc...).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Here you'll find irritating or dangerous behavior and dialogue that kids may imitate. Things ranging from playing with electrical wiring to performing karate moves to using phrases such as "shut up," "idiot," and "butt head" will be noted. Actions listed in other categories (such as drinking or smoking) will not be listed here.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Usually associated with horror/suspense movies, this category includes any scene from any genre (such as a person suddenly being grabbed) that will make you and/or your child jump.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Suspenseful movie scenes are usually more suspenseful due to the use of tense music. We'll include any such music here.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Movies aimed toward teens usually contain popular music. We'll note any objectionable material in any of the songs.
  • PROFANITY
  • Even PG films are often filled with words or phrases you'd rather your kids not hear. You'll find a detailed listing of all profane words uttered in the movie/video.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • This category lists any scenes that show nudity or are of a sexual/sensual nature.
  • SMOKING
  • Any scenes where characters smoke (cigarettes, cigars, pipes) are noted.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Children are often upset from scenes that show or imply family problems. We list any such scenes or discussion of family bickering, fights or upheavals (such as divorce).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Often a film will contain scenes or subject material that you may want to discuss with your children. You'll find such material in this category.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Any scenes of violence -- hitting, kicking, stabbing, shooting, exploding, and every other possible act of harming people, animals, or property is listed.

  • MOVIE/VIDEO REVIEW CATEGORY RATINGS

    EXTREME
  • The movie is full of such scenes in the category. The "Die Hard" type action films (with lots of shooting and deaths) are usually extreme in the violence category.
  • HEAVY
  • Many scenes in the category. Steady drinking and frequent drunken behavior throughout a movie would be rated this way.
  • MODERATE
  • More than just occasional scenes in the category. This rating may raise a warning flag for you.
  • MILD
  • Many incidents such as 3 "s" words or students smoking several times during the movie.
  • MINOR
  • Just a few incidents, or ones with little or no impact.
  • NONE
  • No content at all in this category.

  • MUSIC REVIEW INFO

    Each review will include the band or performer's name, the title of the release, the year it was released, and the name of the recording label. You'll also see our exclusive content table. It contains ten categories of content found in the music and how each has been rated. Each category heading in the table is linked to the complete scene by scene listing of that category. Clicking on the category headings will toggle you back and forth between the table and the listings. Alternately, you can scroll through the listings as they appear.

    Below the table you'll find several helpful listings:

  • Genre:
    A description of what type of music it is.

  • Will Kids Want to Own it?
    Whether we think kids of any age might want this new title (based on popularity, previous releases by the band/performer, etc...

  • How We'd Rate the Content:
    Our ratings scale similar to the one used for movies and videos. Thus our minor is comparable to "G," mild to "PG," moderate to "PG-13," heavy to "R," and extreme to "NC-17."

  • Our Take:
    What we thought of the music (without focusing solely on objectionable content).

  • Our Word to Parents:
    A summary that hi-lights the "bad stuff" in the music.

  • MUSIC REVIEW CATEGORIES

    ALCOHOL/DRUGS
  • Any mention of consumption or presence of alcohol or drugs and their effects is noted.
  • COVER ART
  • This category will detail possibly objectionable material seen in or on the cover of a CD or cassette, such as sexual content, smoking, guns, etc...
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Children will often mimic behavior/attitudes they hear being sung or sung about. We list dishonorable, contemptible, ill-tempered and other such behavior.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • This category includes the use and effects of any guns or other weapons (knives, bombs, etc...).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Here you'll find irritating or dangerous behavior and dialogue that kids may imitate, such as references to smoking or using phrases like "shut up," "idiot," and "butt head." .
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • This really focuses on recordings aimed at younger kids and will include material that may be scary to them.
  • PROFANITY
  • Many albums are often filled with words or phrases you'd rather your kids not hear. You'll find a detailed listing of all profane words uttered in this category.
  • SEXUAL CONTENT
  • References to sexual activity will be listed here.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Topics such as divorce, death, and suicide are among those that will be listed in this category.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Any references of violence -- hitting, kicking, stabbing, shooting, exploding, and every other possible act of harming people, animals, or property is listed.

  • MUSIC REVIEW CATEGORY RATINGS

    EXTREME
  • The album is full of such scenes in the category.
  • HEAVY
  • Many items in the category.
  • MODERATE
  • More than just occasional scenes in the category. This rating may raise a warning flag for you.
  • MILD
  • Many incidents such as 3 "s" words heard in the lyrics.
  • MINOR
  • Just a few incidents, or ones with little or no impact.
  • NONE
  • No content at all in this category.

  • How To Use This Service

    Select the area you wish to explore. Currently you can choose among "MOVIES," "VIDEOS," and "MUSIC." This will bring up a screen that shows the current releases as well as recently released titles. Simply click on a title and its review will be displayed. Or at the top of the screen you'll find an alphabetical list of letters. From there select the first letter of the title ("B" for "The Birdcage," and not "T") or scroll down the page and select the title of your choice.

    You can also choose to have our titles displayed in different ways to make your search easier. For 'MOVIES" and "VIDEOS" you can search by the film's rating or the genre it falls under. For "MUSIC" you can search by the band or performer's name as well as by the genre the title falls under.

    Once you're done reading a review, you can print it out, or select another title. To do so, simply select "Reviews" at the bottom of the page. Then choose how you want to search through our movie, video or music listings. If you have any questions, select "HELP" and see if an answer is already available that addresses your question. If not, select "MAIL" and send us your questions, thoughts or comments. We'll be glad to get back to you with an answer. Have fun!


    Frequently Asked Questions

    REVIEWS:

  • Why don't you give age recommendations? Most other sources do.

    That's a simple one. It's because no two children are alike. For example, one nine-year-old might be able to handle a certain type of scene, while another child of that same age can't. Or a given ten-year-old might be able to handle material that a thirteen-year-old can't. Every child is different, and that's why any parental source that gives out ages is anything but accurate or even useful. How can that reviewer know what's good or appropriate for your kids when they've never even met them? Additionally, some get more ridiculous (for the above stated reasons) when they break down the groups into narrowly defined ages (6-7, 8-9, etc...).

    Thus, we simply tell what's there. Based on the information we provide and a parent's own knowledge of their child(ren), they can determine if the given title and its content are appropriate for anyone in their family. We don't make the decision -- the parents do.

  • A new movie just opened but I don't see it in your "New This Week" section.

    We review movies released in the Washington, D.C. area and while many movies open nationwide on the same day, many open regionally and then open in other markets at later dates. If you don't see the title you're looking for, check out the "Recently Released" section or find the title by using the alphabetical listing service at the top of the page.
  • I've noticed that you've got the same movie listed under "Movies" as well as under "Videos." What gives?

    There are two answers to that question. First, often times a particular title is still playing in a handful of theaters (usually the discount ones) when it's released on video. Secondly, since our site has a dedicated international audience, we have to leave those titles in the movie section because often it takes up to a year after they've opened here before they open in other countries.
  • APPEARANCE:

  • Your page doesn't look right. Some things are centered, and some paragraphs just end before they seem that they're done. Why?

    Unfortunately, the commercial race to offer bigger and better things has led to a lack of standards on the Internet. A page that looks right using one brower (Netscape) doesn't look right on another (Internet Explorer). It's comparable to not being able to watch a TV show correctly (with color, sound, and everyone showing up on the screen) unless you watched with a certain brand TV set.

    It's quite ludicrous, but as content developers, we have no control over that. So, our suggestion is to use Netscape Navigator (available from their website: http://www.netscape.com). For those using big services like AOL, you can still download Netscape and use it with your current online service. If you don't, things might not look the way they should.

  • Why don't you have fancy graphics and stuff on your page? It looks boring!

    That may be, but at Screen It! we believe in content over flash. While we'll probably never win the "Best Look" award, we're certainly known for our in-depth content. So if you want your fancy graphics, visit those other pages and wait, and wait, and wait...
  • MISSING/INCOMPLETE INFO:

  • How come some of your titles say "Review available soon" or "Coming soon" on the day the movie opens?

    Sometime the studios don't preview a movie for the press and we don't get a chance to review it until the day it opens. The reasons for this vary, but usually it means that even they don't think it's any good and hope that any word of mouth, and an absence of negative reviews from the critics, will make the movie profitable.
  • Why do some of your reviews have "Our Take" and "Our Word to Parents" while others don't?

    We didn't begin including those areas until the summer of 1996. While we'll try to get back to those reviews to complete them, you're not missing any content.
  • Why do some of your reviews list religious words or phrases being used as profanity, while others don't?

    When we first started this service, we assumed that if a movie contained so many "f" and "s" words, it didn't matter what else was uttered, since those were the "worst" things you'd hear. Well, our faithful visitors let us know that they'd like to see anything and everything that they might find offensive, so we listened and now include such words and phrases.
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