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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
A one line description of the story.
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.
Any consumption or presence of alcohol or drugs and their effects is noted.
Many kids are scared by (and adults sickened by) the sight of blood or gore. We
include these and any other disgusting scenes here.
Children will often mimic behavior/attitudes they witness on the screen. We list
dishonorable, contemptible, ill-tempered and other such behavior.
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.
This category includes the use and effects of any guns or other weapons (knives,
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.
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
Suspenseful movie scenes are usually more suspenseful due to the use of tense music.
We'll include any such music here.
Movies aimed toward teens usually contain popular music. We'll note any
objectionable material in any of the songs.
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.
This category lists any scenes that show nudity or are of a sexual/sensual
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.
Any scenes of violence -- hitting, kicking, stabbing, shooting, exploding, and every
other possible act of harming people, animals, or property is listed.
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:
A description of what type of music it
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."
What we thought of the music (without focusing solely on
Our Word to Parents:
A summary that hi-lights the "bad stuff" in the
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
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,
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!
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"
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
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...
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.