During the nearly 20 years of its existence the movie ratings board has rated more than 8,000 movies, a milestone it hit the week of April 4.

And 47 percent of those 8,000 movies received R ratings.Variety, the show-biz trade paper, reports that R-rated films have continued to increase in number each year despite the introduction of the PG-13 some 31/2 years ago, a new rating intended to catch movies that are too harsh for PGs but not quite on an R level but which often received Rs before the PG-13 came into being.

One wonders what the percentage of Rs would be had the PG-13 not come along.

The Classification and Ratings Administration, which rates the movies under the auspices of the Motion Picture Association of America, has given out 3,721 R ratings, 252 PG-13 ratings, 2,779 PG ratings and 910 G ratings.

The board has also labeled 342 films with X ratings, but only one in the past two years. (The porno film industry stopped submitting films to the ratings board nearly a decade ago.)

Likewise every other category except R has slipped in numbers each year.

It's apparent that moviemakers continue to throw objectionable material into their films without much regard to whether it is important to the subject matter. And it is equally apparent that the trend is not on a decline.

Wouldn't it be nice if writers and directors took a lesson from the so-called "Golden Age" of movies, not to make films any less realistically, but to let creativity govern their choices in what to display openly on the screen?

Literal explicitness has replaced inventiveness; special effects and makeup have overwhelmed cleverness.

Too bad Hollywood doesn't put as much thought and work into stimulating the mind of the audience as it does visceral stimulation.