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Picking a movie to watch with your children (or other people's children, in case you're babysitting them or have gained sole custody of them because you're Michael Keaton in One Good Cop and their father was your longtime partner ruthlessly killed in the line of duty) can be a difficult task, particularly if you love watching Barb Wire every night and are terrible at parenting.

Gramercy Pictures/Dark Horse Entertainment
"Gather 'round, children! It's story time!"

Luckily, the Internet Movie Database has a helpful Parent Guide for each of its cataloged titles that, like the rest of its user-submitted content, seems to have been written exclusively by time-traveling demonologists from the 1920s.

According to the website, each IMDb Parent Guide is meant "to help parents make informed viewing decisions by describing the facts of relevant scenes" in a given movie. This is another way of saying that the Parents Guide is a forum in which viewers with a limited grasp of sentence structure and social convention come to voice their concerns about the level of child-appropriateness of a specific movie and wind up writing the most insane things ever recorded in a pronounceable language. The credo of "describing the facts" is taken to the same slavishly tone-deaf degree as a team of robot archaeologists trying to recreate 21st century customs based on a stack of Steven Seagal DVDs they excavated from the radiation-blasted ruins of a Galveston Walmart.

Instead of informative content descriptions for parents, we end up with painstakingly detailed accounts of every violent and/or sexual act in the film, completely free of context. Reading an IMDb Parent Guide is like prying the flight recorder out of the fused metal wreckage at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and playing it back to discover 10,000 hours of unbroken screaming. They make every movie sound like an unflinching surrealist nightmare about the depths of human depravity as described by a puritanical android. If you made a flipbook of the following 15 examples, it would transport you to a photonegative reality full of tarantulas and spoiled meat.

The Goonies

Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment

It becomes immediately clear that the automaton tasked with watching The Goonies found his pelvic mechanism challenged by "the tennis girl":

A girl wears a very short tennis skirt throughout the film.

There are several brief glimpses of the tennis girl's underwear throughout the film. This is in no way portrayed sexually.

I like to picture him confusedly typing out that last sentence in bitter frustration. He's not merely reporting that the teenage girl isn't being sexualized -- he's goddamned astonished that each incidental glimpse of her underpants isn't being played up for optimal groin hammering. I swear it almost says "Why the fuck isn't it being portrayed sexually? Is there a director's cut?"

Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment

So he refocuses his robot envy on the children in the film who are legally permitted to kiss her:

A teen boy and girl kiss.

A preteen boy kisses a teen girl (she thinks he's the teen boy in the dark). She wonders afterward that [he] has braces.


It continues:

A man slips and falls, landing astride a log, hurting his groin.

Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment
Seen here.

That sentence actually appears twice in the Parent Guide under two different sections: "Violence and Gore" and "Frightening/Intense Scenes." This is because robots do not understand slapstick:

Men wrestle/knock heads/try to choke each other.

A boy is sometimes mildly injured by his own inventions. These incidents are played for gags.

Reading those sentences is like having a knock-knock joke explained to you by a mortician.

Finally we have this tidbit, which leaves absolutely no doubt that Sexual Frustration Bot's compassion circuits have malfunctioned:

The image of the retarded and physically deformed man may scare younger audiences.

Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment

That might as well say "The face of the circus human might inject terror into gentle child-persons."


Walt Disney Pictures

A huge camel Eaton plays dirty with Aladdin.

I can't even think of the scene this maniac is struggling to reference. It's like they typed up an excerpt from their dream journal by mistake.

Also, Jasmine's father says "Praise Allah!" when they're talking about her getting married.

This is listed under "Frightening/Intense Scenes."

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Tango & Cash

Warner Bros.

Tango and Cash are seen naked from behind walking into a shower.

Sexual Frustration Bot's processors were simply not built to endure such a powerful sensory overload as the combined nude mountain ranges of 1980s Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. He is politely warning us of dude butts in advance, so that we do not suffer the same fate.

Warner Bros.

While Cash is tied to a chair, a woman sits straddling his lap and moves suggestively. It is implied that she may be having sex with him while he is unable to do anything about it.

She might be having sex with him. We cannot know for certain.

In one scene, Cash appears to be having sex with Tango's sister, but she's really just massaging him.

You can actually hear the disappointment in that sentence. The Parent Guide for Tango & Cash is like a missive of betrayed erections had while watching the film.

The Three Musketeers

Walt Disney Pictures

First things first -- there are a whole lot of women in The Three Musketeers, and apparently almost all of them have breasts:

One long cleavage shot. The heroes have women falling all over them and most of the women are [about] to fall out of their costumes -- lots of heaving bosoms.

Walt Disney Pictures
"What was that? I couldn't hear you over all the heaving bosoms."

A woman takes a bath and appears nudes from the waist up, we see her bare back.

But don't you try to grab those breasts. They don't belong to you:

A man tries to grope a woman who pulls a knife on him, placing it at his private area.

In the background of all those heaving bosoms are a whole bunch of people getting horrifically murdered:

A man is whipped and then stabbed.

Several men are crushed by a falling chandelier.

The dungeon scenes are pretty intense with a man getting killed by spikes.

Walt Disney Pictures
"... wait, what happened to the bosoms?"

That sounds like the Dish Network synopsis of Hatred Porn 4: Swashbuckling Nudity Barons and Their Unstoppable Boners of Violence. It's like a Mad Lib confiscated from that kid in third grade who wore the same oversized Simpsons T-shirt every day and got sent home for masturbating in the coat room. I've seen The Three Musketeers more times than I've seen most of my relatives -- the most objectionable thing about that film is the fact that Bryan Adams teamed up with Rod Stewart and Sting to record the theme song, and only Sting thought to bring an instrument.

A&M Records
"Seriously? Jesus, you guys could at least slap some fucking bongos or something."

But according to the IMDb Parents Guide, The Three Musketeers is the cinematic equivalent of a shoebox full of pornography and nails. It is as appropriate a gift for children as a paint-by-numbers kit where the only available colors are blood and semen.

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Predator 2

20th Century Fox

Some time-paradoxical calculotron sat down to record every single utterance of the word "fuck" in Predator 2, but hit their data ceiling at "around 69" and stopped counting:

Around 69 f-words (possibly more). A few s-word. Lots of other swearing as well.

They do allow for the possibility of more F-words, but you can go punch yourself in the motherfucking face if you think they're going to count any further than that.

20th Century Fox
"There's probably like two or three 'fucks' here, right? Let's say three."

Ichi the Killer

Media Blasters

I will be the first to admit that children have no business watching Ichi the Killer. The Parents Guide doesn't really need to go any further than this sentence:

A woman has her nipples and labia cut off, these are seen being pulled by a clamp briefly.

If you are a parent and you need more information than that before deciding whether or not to add Ichi the Killer to the Family Movie Night rotation, you are doing it wrong. But the heroes of the IMDb Parents Guide don't want to take that chance, so they detail several more examples of the movie's objectionable material to help inform your decision (be warned -- there is no line of decency that Ichi the Killer won't cross):

Men are seen topless.

Yep. Good luck trying to explain that scene to your children, if you can manage to get them to stop crying for long enough.

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The Monster Squad

TriStar Pictures

Most of the swearing comes from the mouths of the kids.

It doesn't help that one of the most bizarre concerns you could possibly level at a movie is phrased like a shape-shifting alien trying to blend in with human society.

A kid calls his friend "buttlove."

This is starting to read like a serial killer's enemies list. I'm pretty sure that last sentence was written in lipstick.

A teenage boy with binoculars checks out a teenage girl undressing (no nudity is seen, just underwear).

I'm beginning to think Sexual Frustration Bot must be the Parents Guide content editor. If not, I'd like to know the name of the champion who does hold that job, because I'd like to send him or her a handsome trophy for masterminding the publication of my favorite sentence in the history of the universe:

Frankenstein's monster accidentally takes a photo of a teenage girl next door undressing (no nudity is seen).

TriStar Pictures
"He then accidentally gets the film developed at Rite Aid and spends 20 minutes in the bathroom
making noises like a deaf person playing Pictionary."

Conan the Barbarian

Universal Pictures/20th Century Fox

It is insinuated that Conan has sex in one scene.

Universal Pictures/20th Century Fox
Because Conan is a master of subtlety.

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The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Paramount Pictures

According to the IMDb Parents Guide, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a journey into human madness:

SpongeBob brushes Squidward's back in a shower.

Patrick with no pants carries a flag with the stick between his bare buttocks.

If you remove the characters' names from those two sentences, they could easily be talking about Born on the Fourth of July.

Animated fish surround and attack Cyclops.

We see David Hasselhoff bare-chested, non-animated while wearing swim trunks. At one point he "flexes" his pectorals and they became unnaturally enlarged and mechanical-looking.


Paramount Pictures
Pictured: "flexing."

SpongeBob and Patrick are shot underwater by a man's very strong pectorals (please see Sex/Nudity for more information).

"I know it sounds crazy, but there's no time to explain. Refer back to section one of this treatise of lunacy to solve the mystery of that sentence."

Female fish wear bikini tops. Bare abdomens are shown.

That's like a riddle you'd find stapled to a dead body.

Short Circuit

TriStar Pictures

I can barely find the strength to comment on this hit parade:

We see the robots mixing a gin and tonic in the first few minutes of the movie.

There are a number of laser beams fired from the robots which destroy vehicles.

TriStar Pictures

In the opening scene, the viewer is led to believe the robots are destroying vehicles with actual people in them. We soon find out they were only mannequins and the whole thing was only a demonstration.

Number 5 shoots the belt buckle off of Stephanie's ex-boyfriend and his jeans drop exposing his boxers.

Jesus' name is called out a few times.

Apparently Short Circuit is about drunken robots blowing up cars full of mannequins and using their sophisticated laser technology to rape adult men. They may or may not attend an evangelical church.

TriStar Pictures
This photograph makes it difficult to dismiss any one of those assumptions.

Ben, a stereotypical "foreign" character with a loose grasp on English words, phrases, and social protocols, mentions that he is sporting a "tremendous woody" during a scene where Newton is describing a meeting with Stephanie.

I suspect Ben might be responsible for a few of these Parents Guides.

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Space Jam

Warner Bros.

A cartoon has his pants pulled down and we see cartoon buttocks.


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Warner Bros.

Batman ambushes a group of thugs by crashing through a window, a breach of standards of practices for animation at the time.

Because a history of the policies governing animated feature production is going to be the final deciding factor in whether a parent rips Mask of the Phantasm out of the VCR and casts it through the living room window into a waiting bonfire of Dungeons & Dragons books and GWAR CDs.

A person becomes a murder victim when a statue is deliberately pushed above him.

Batman steps on a defeated thug, implying the protagonist uses excessive force.

Bruce Wayne is struck by a baseball bat.


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Jurassic Park

Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

A T-Rex attacks children, they are all right, though.


Back to the Future

Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

The Parents Guide for Back to the Future was evidently written by one of the characters from the film (specifically from the part that takes place during the Eisenhower administration):

The members of the band playing at the dance are seen smoking outside of the high school and it's implied they're smoking "reefers."

A "XXX" cinema is seen in the background of a small town twice.

That's right -- twice.

A van crashes into a small structure with people in it. We don't know if they had died.

The fate of the Libyan terrorists has long weighed on our minds. Even as we delight in the time-hopping adventures of Marty and Doc, IMDb Parents Guide will not allow us to ignore our conscience.

Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment
"Never mind me, Marty! Go check on the terrorists!"

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Paramount Pictures

If IMDb Parents Guides were the Olympics, The Wolf of Wall Street would win every event, because it would be the only country allowed to compete. It's like an insane robot trying to write an episode of Red Shoe Diaries.

A man is shown lying nude on his stomach while a woman straddles his bare buttocks and places a burning candle in his anus; the woman then drips hot wax on his back and he yells. His buttocks are seen.

I like that we have to describe exactly how much of the buttock is visible during the anal candle scene, as if there is some specific exposed-buttcheek-to-asshole-candle ratio that would decide whether this sequence is appropriate for children.

Paramount Pictures

Several fully nude women are seen on a boat (bare breasts, buttocks, and shaved/unshaved pubic regions are visible).

A man snorts cocaine out of a woman's anus and smacks her bare buttocks; we see the woman's buttocks.

A woman walks in on a gay orgy and witnesses many men having sex in various positions; thrusting, bare chests, abdomens, bare buttocks, and legs are seen. (Two men's genitals are briefly seen from a distance.)

If you took one of Kevin Spacey's journals from Se7en and managed to decode its feverishly scribbled spider language, it would look exactly like the IMDb Parents Guide for The Wolf of Wall Street. Whoever wrote this had to pause each scene and rewind it several times to get all the details right, like they were playing nudity bingo.

Paramount Pictures
"I win!"

A man and a woman have sex; we see him thrusting on top of her, with her bare breasts, vagina, and buttocks visible, while his bare buttocks, back, and legs are seen.

His legs are seen.

We hear that a seagull flew into the engine of a plane and we see the plane explode midair.

A very intoxicated man flies a helicopter and nearly crashes it in his backyard.

Two men smoke crack and behave erratically.

Evidently at some point The Wolf of Wall Street becomes a crossover episode of The A-Team and Miami Vice.

Paramount Pictures
Probably right around this scene.

Read Tom's novel Stitches and follow him on Twitter and Tumblr, where only 40 percent of his buttocks is visible at any given time.

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