Certainly the NC-17 replacing the X is necessary. In the minds of moviegoers the X means pornography and films like "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" and "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" are not pornographic.
But the truth is this is to placate filmmakers, not benefit audiences.More important to the average moviegoer is the announcement that for the first time the MPAA will explain R ratings. Previously the rating board has declined to say why a rating is given, but now an R rating will have the additional information that it's for violence or sex or profanity or whatever.
In my opinion, however, the board shouldn't stop there. It should also explain PG and especially PG-13 ratings. After all, an awful lot of PG-13 movies look more like R's anyway.
Still, these are steps in the right direction toward cleaning up the rating system and as such should be applauded.
-Christopher Hicks, Deseret News movie critic