DR. WALLACE: As the owner of a chain of movie theaters that have been in business for 20 years, I would like to address the issue concerning R-rated films that was raised in a recent column. The rating system is not law and does not ban children under 17.
A film is rated R when it contains subject matter that may not be suitable for a younger audience, such as nudity, drug use, sex, violence, and even strong language. The rating system is simply a guide for parents to determine if a film is appropriate for their children. We've had parents purchase tickets for an R-rated film and give them to their children, who then enter the theater on their own. After the movie ends, the parents pick them up.
It's not up to the theaters to judge who watches their films. In the past, I've angered parents by suggesting that their children shouldn't see a certain R-rated film. Now I figure, if parents have given their kids permission to see a film, it's not my place to object. If the parents approve, then we allow the children into the theater.
Many times parents simply use us as baby-sitters. They drop the kids off and leave, regardless of what film is showing. But often a parent will ask why a particular film is R-rated. If told that it's filled with extreme violence, they'll buy the ticket for their child and say, "He can see it, just so long as it doesn't contain sex and nudity."
The bottom line is that it is still the parents' responsibility to screen the films their children see. I don't want you to think all parents are liberals about this. Many won't allow their children to see R-rated films. Some see the film first, then decide if their children can see it.
To aid parents, we have a synopsis of our current film posted in front of the theater, which tells why the film has a particular rating. We also will take phone calls from people and tell them why a film is rated R. — Rick, Reno, Nev.
RICK: Thanks for the information. It will help caring parents make wise choices when it comes to their children viewing films at your theaters.
KEEP THE ATHLETIC PROGRAM
DR. WALLACE: Should a public high school provide an interscholastic athletic program or an arts program (music, drama, art), if it can only afford one? Our high school district might have to cut one of these programs if an upcoming bond issue fails. Our family is split on this subject and we'd all like your opinion. Don't cop out and say something like, "With good planning and lots of sacrifice, your school district can provide both, even if the bond issue fails." — Lisa, Somewhere in Texas.
LISA: With good planning and lots of sacrifice...oops, sorry about that. What a difficult decision you're asking me to make! I'd hate to be in the position of having to choose one valuable program over another, but if I had to do so, I would, reluctantly, choose interscholastic athletics, because it involves more students. But I can't claim to be completely objective. I participated in athletics in high school and college and coached high school basketball.
Let's hope the bond issue doesn't fail!
STOP SEEING HIM NOW
DR. WALLACE: I've been dating a guy for about a month. He is terribly handsome, but at times he is super aggressive and that scares me. He doesn't know the meaning of "stop" or "no." I like him and know several girls who would like to be going out with him. What can I do to cool his aggression? — Nameless, Birmingham, Ala,
NAMELESS: Forget about how the guy looks or the fact that other girls would like to go out with him. Your instincts are warning you to stop seeing him. Making you feel scared is wrong! The best way to end this unnecessary feeling is through total separation from the one who's causing it!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.