One of the most popular forms of entertainment for retirees is going to the movies, especially on Senior Discount Day. The two key seasons for movie releases are the summer months and December. If you’re planning to see a film over the holidays, you should familiarize yourself with the new rating system for retirees.
If the movie you’ll be seeing is rated B, make sure you go to the bathroom just before you take your seat. You should also refrain from drinking any liquids for at least three hours prior to show time. A B rating indicates either an extremely long feature (2½ hours plus) or lots of scenes with beverages being consumed. Enough said.
A rating of H alerts you to be sure your hearing aid has fresh batteries and the volume is set to the maximum. Films given an H either are filled with soft-spoken dialogue or have a cacophony of sounds that overlap. Either way, it’s hard to keep up if you miss even one line. Be sure to adjust your aid to the setting that filters out background noise.
To better enjoy a feature that carries a D rating, wear your distance glasses. It was shot in what the cinematographer calls the “artistic style.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one person’s “artistic” is another person’s eyestrain. Most scenes will be either darkly lit or out of focus, much like highways appear at night at our age. My distance glasses have become my cinematic essential, especially for a D flic. My typical challenge is remembering to bring them into the theater from the car.
If you’re catching a movie rated I and you’re not up on pop culture, bring a younger friend to act as an interpreter. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble keeping up with the lingo and the visual jokes. If you’re as pop savvy as I am, but the person you usually bring along with you (read: husband) is out of touch (read: totally clueless), you might want to attend an I film alone. Or else sit in the back of the theater so you won’t disturb others as you patiently explain (and re-explain) what’s going on.
The S rating stands for “snoozefest,” which you’ll be at risk of having if you don’t drink at least 16 ounces of a caffeinated beverage before the previews finish running. You’re probably wondering why you’d even go to see a feature that’s an S. Sometimes we’re not the masters of our own destiny. Drink up! Just be sure to hit the bathroom when you’ve finishing gulping.
Warning: R does not stand for Retiree-friendly. It means Restricted, aka Raunchy, and no one under 17 can attend without a parent. R is not as bad as NC-17, which is almost porn and cannot be attended by anyone 17 or under, period. The retiree equivalent is the NC-80 flic, which cannot be attended by anyone 80 or older. NC-80 was set up to prevent the elderly from having a coronary in the middle of especially graphic sex scenes. Apparently the rating board never heard what goes on in The Villages in Florida.
The commonly-seen PG indicates that a movie is relatively innocent. Retirees have the GP rating, which stands for grandparent. GP features are ideal for an outing with your grandchildren. You won’t long for a 5-second delay on the dialogue. You won’t need to keep one hand at the ready to cover young eyes. Best of all, the story line will be entertaining enough to keep you awake (and bathroom free) for about an hour and a half. (Films longer than that have a GP-X rating, for “extended.”)
Speaking of X, our final rating for retirees is the new X. The old X was replaced by the NC-17, a trademark controlled by the Motion Picture Association of America. The new X is loosely controlled by AARP. The X still stands for “explicit,” but what’s shown is not graphic sexual content. It’s close-ups of bunions, wrinkles and sagging body parts. If you see enough of this in your real life and don’t care to see more of it in the theater, avoid an X-rated flic like you do caffeine after 3 pm.
There you have it, a comprehensive guide to movie ratings for retirees. Refer to it when selecting your holiday season entertainment. Be sure to collect the appropriate movie-viewing tools. Or, you could just stay home and turn on the TV. The snacks are less expensive, and the line to the bathroom is shorter.