I spotted this ad on Grooveshark (source URL):
Aah, a family having a night in with popcorn and movies, deciding what to watch on Netflix. Hmm, kids, is this a No Strings Attached night, or are we feeling some Paranormal Activity 2?
Here are all the covers I can pick out (Google Images look-alike search helped on a few), right-to-left and top-to-bottom, and information about each (source: IMDB):
- Mad Men (TV series, AMC) - drama
- Kick-Ass - Action, adventure, comedy - Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children
- No Strings Attached - Comedy, romance - Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material
- True Grit - Adventure, drama, western - Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images
- Killers - Action, comedy, romance, thriller - Rated PG-13 for violent action, sexual material and language
- The Vampire Diaries (TV series, The CW) - Drama, fantasy, horror, romance
- Iron Man 2 - Action, adventure, sci-fi - Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language
- Something w/ Spongebob Squarepants (TV series, Nickelodeon) - Animation, comedy, family, fantasy - Rated TV-Y
- The Office (TV series, NBC) - Comedy, drama, romance - Rated TV-14
- Sons of Anarchy (TV series, FX) - Crime, drama - Rated TV-MA
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Crime, drama, mystery, thriller - Rated R for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
- Hot Tub Time Machine - Adventure, comedy, sci-fi - Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language
- Glee (TV series, Fox) - Comedy, drama, musical
- Limitless - Mystery, sci-fi, thriller - Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language
- The Fighter - Drama, biography, sport - Rated R for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality
- Super Troopers - Comedy, crime, mystery - Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
- The Expendables - Action, adventure, thriller - Rated R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language
- Office Space - Comedy, crime - Rated R for language and brief sexuality
- Take Me Home Tonight - Comedy, drama, romance - Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use
- Paranormal Activity 2 - Horror - Rated R for some language and brief violent material
- Friday Night Lights (TV series, NBC) - Drama, sport
- How I Met Your Mother (TV series, CBS) - Comedy, romance
- Original Sin - Drama, mystery, romance, thriller - Rated R for strong sexual content and some violence (edited version)
OK, so we've got a cover with prominent breasts, two implying sex pretty strongly, three with guns. Just the title of one contains an expletive frowned on in some (many? most?) young households. And those are the superficial things!
I identified 15 movies. Out of those, 11 (70%) are rated R. 15 (100%) are rated PG-13 or higher. I imagine most of the content of the TV series would be rated similarly. We've got sex, violence, and drugs in many of them, including rape and torture in a few. "Disturbing images" and horror in several.
I recognize not everyone is as uptight as I am, and there's some room for arguing you shouldn't let letter grades from the MPAA define your standards. But I think we can all agree that very few parents, in their right minds, would watch Paranormal Activity, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or Original Sin with kids that young.
How did this happen? Did Netflix just auto-update the screen to show their latest, most popular titles, not thinking of the young family context of the photo?
I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this - the absurd amount of time I spent on it (about 30 minutes) is surprising - but ultimately I think it's just disbelief that Netflix could be this stupid. Or perhaps shock, if this content really is standard fare in young American families? The stats on ratings and content turned out even worse than I would have guessed before I started counting.
Oh, well. At least I learned Google Images has a decent hit rate for searches on little pieces of movie posters.