Just like food labeling


Our Mission

The purpose of kids-in-mind.com is to provide parents and other adults with objective and complete information about a film's content so that they can decide, based on their own value system, whether they should watch a movie with or without their kids.

It's like a food labeling system which tells you what a food item contains. That's it. We make no judgments about what is good or bad or anything else. Indeed, we do not "condemn," "critique" or "criticize" movies. And we don't "praise" or "recommend" movies either. We advance no "beliefs" and we do not "preach" anything. We are not affiliated with any political party, any cultural or religious group, or any ideology. The only thing we advocate is responsible, engaged parenting.

If one reads our reviews one will often find many instances where our descriptions are so detailed they seem absurd. But we'd rather err on the side of comprehensiveness. It's up to parents to decide which details are useful to them and their family, and which ones they consider fatuous.

Parents should seek out sites like ours and make decisions based on objective information about content. Our position is that no organization should be involved in arbitrating who should or shouldn't see a film (especially one as closely involved with Hollywood as the MPAA). What we'd like to see is many independent organizations like ours distributing ratings to media outlets and theater chains. And allow the marketplace work. Consumers will choose the ratings system that serves them best in making a decision, according to their own values and priorities -- we freely admit that we think our ratings are hard to improve upon, but the consumer should be allowed the final decision.

The fact is, however, that while the current system does not serve consumers well, it works perfectly for the filmmakers, the studios and the theater chains. It is based on a cozy relationship between the MPAA, the film industry, and the theater chains. It is a malleable system that can be altered at will to accommodate changes in the market. For instance, the rating of choice right now is PG-13. A movie with a PG-13 rating is just easier to market: parents like it better than the more adult R-rating, and kids like it better than the more juvenile PG rating; plus, a PG-13 rating is merely a "cautionary" rating, as opposed to the more restrictive R rating (although, of course, anybody, of any age, can watch any R-rated movie as long as he's accompanied by an "adult guardian"; in some locales any 17-year-old will do).

So, in order to accommodate the marketing demands of studios and theaters, the MPAA has been slowly but surely changing its criteria so that a PG-13 movie today contains far more violence, sexual content and profanity than a few years ago (for example, it used to be that one F-word would garner a film an R rating; now it takes 3 or more F-words).

Our History

We came up with the idea for Kids-In-Mind after we went into a video store and watched as a customer was trying to get one of the clerks to explain exactly why a film was rated PG-13. Of course the clerk couldn't. She realized that the MPAA ratings were simply too vague, and that most parents would not agree on what they'd consider offensive material. Some are upset by profanity and nudity, but seem indifferent to violent scenes, while others think that kids will hear all sorts of obscenity at the playground in any case, and so don't mind them listening to actors spewing expletives. We never doubted that Kids-In-Mind would be a hit with parents and other concerned adults. We were surprised, however, to receive support from an unexpected quarter -- the MPAA itself. Apparently, filmmakers will sometimes screen one version of their film for the MPAA's ratings board and then release a slightly different version in theaters. So, the MPAA got into the habit of comparing our Kids-In-Mind with their own notes. Since we were the first to come up with this concept (we started publishing Kids-In-Mind on AOL in 1992, as part of our Critics Inc. site) we have the largest database of parents' reviews available anywhere, enabling parents to check out the content of innumerable videos. Several newspapers, magazines and web sites have tried to emulate our reviews, with varying degrees of success, but none has generated the same amount of trust and loyalty our Kids-In-Mind reviews have.

Our Company

Critics Inc. is a for-profit company that was established in 1992 as an online entertainment magazine exclusively available on the America Online and Delphi networks. Since 1998, Critics Inc. has moved its properties to the web and in addition to kids-in-mind.com, publishes two other movie-related websites:

Critics.com is a unique, prominent review hub that provides movie ratings determined by a survey of notable critical opinion. Each critics' ratecard illustrates the national critical consensus in one glance and provides links for readers who want to explore individual reviews further.

MediaScreen.com is a leading online guide to DVDs, that originally started covering laserdiscs in 1993. It became the one and only destination for home-theater fanatics on AOL and its popularity continues on the web. While MediaScreen.com does cover prominent Hollywood features, it also specializes in covering art, foreign and obscure titles.

Our websites have been featured and praised by many American and international press and other media outlets. A partial list includes TIME, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Fresno Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Cincinnati Enquirer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, BBC World Service, and several local radio and TV stations, websites, magazines and newspapers.

Kids-in-mind.com is extraordinarily popular, registering millions of accesses every month (it is the first site listed on Google when you search for "movie ratings," even above the MPAA's own official site).

Contact Us

Call: 614.408.3865

Our Staff

Patty Inglish [Critic]
Anna Sturgeon [Critic]
Renee Phillips [Critic]
Teressa L. Elliott [Contributing Critic]
Paul Brenner [Contributing Critic]
S. Damien Segal [Contributing Critic]
Lori Pearson [Communications Director]
Bob Marlowe [Senior Editor]
Aris T. Christofides [Publisher/Editor]

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