35 thoughts on “Judging Movies Based Solely On Their Rating”

  1. Happy 300th!

    You know, I’d never thought about it but fundies do place a lot of trust in the MPAA as a moral and spiritual guide. Never mind that I’ve seen G-rated kids’ movies with messages vastly more harmful than some R-rated dramas. I guess this is just one more example of the fundy habit of judging strictly by one shallow, external criterion. There will never be enough babies to stop them throwing out the bath water.

  2. Looking at films that I watched growing up I now see that some of them have gone from G to PG or PG-13 because they contain people smoking. Do I have to retroactively repent?

  3. Just remember. we must make an exception if it is a work of inspirational torture-porn like The Passion of Mel Gibson. In that case, it is only rated R because “Hell-e-wood” hates Jesus.

  4. In all fairness, I don’t think fundies liked the G-rated “Princess and the Frog” because of the voodoo and occult themes aimed at children.

  5. The Passion of the Christ received no special exceptions from most fundies I know. Why? Because, even worse than being perceived as a product of Hollywood (which it isn’t), it’s Catholic. I was at BJ when it came out and heard several Bible Conference speakers roundly condemn it without having seen it. One speaker even referenced himself, encouraging us to listen to his recent sermon “The Catholic Agenda Behind The Passion.”

  6. @Jordan, my alma mater DID make an exception for The Passion. Somehow going to see any other movie at the theater was an “appearace of evil” and to be avoided, but going to see The Passion was totally ok. Still haven’t figured that one out. My point: it depends on your own little branch of fundamentalism if seeing The Passion was ok.

  7. Happy big 300!!! Holy schnikey’s that’s quite a few.

    And as young as I am, I’m starting to realize those few kid movies, Disney mind you, that I’ve seen recently, are actually quite…shady? Such as things said in G-rated movies that are quite…offensive to others. Strange really. Or maybe I am.

    And…I don’t know what else to say.

  8. “it depends on your own little branch of fundamentalism if seeing The Passion was ok.”

    True. My parents were cool with it–it was the first movie they had gone to since Raiders of the Lost Ark, actually–but reaction differed widely. The general air I got about it from the BJUniverse, though, was negative.

  9. Sometimes the MPAA seems in thrall to the fundies. The Golden Compass should have been PG rather than PG-13 but it’s anti-religious message probably got it bumped up a notch.

    Passion of the Christ on the other hand was little more than a snuff film and should have been rated NC-17 but was not because it’s about Jesus.

  10. When I was a kid movies did not have ratings. Didn’t matter anyway. ALL movies were evil because we were not to support the wicked life styles of Hollywood actors. Giving money to see a movie at the local movie house was just plain sin.

  11. I went to college at a fairly conservative, but not completely Fundy college that still maintained the “no movie” rule. Why? Because the elderly supporters of the college wanted the rule to remain in place, and the institution needed their monetary support.

    However, this was never admitted. Instead we’d have to listen to a stupid, rambling chapel message each year on why, while the movie theater wasn’t exactly a “sin” according to the Bible, it still was “not a good idea” for a Christian to be attending, and so on. . .

  12. What about books?
    Some of the themes in the Bible include adult topics such as incest, prostitution, murder, warfare, abuse, passion, greed. These are at least PG-13, yet every fundy parent makes sure that their children have a Bible before the child can read. I know that most fundy churches are careful about what they do in church, but to state that a movie is evil just because of its rating misses the point. The Bible is very clear that evil comes from within and not from what we see and hear.
    PG, PG-13, R, NC-17. As a parent, I give counsel to my children as necessary. Some things in the movies, my kids are not ready to handle, but by the time they leave home, I hope that they will be ready to handle what is considered “normal”. Preparing for warfare, one trains physically, and mentally for the events and activities of combat with the hope that it will preserve their life. I am training my children to handle the events and activities of life. Movies are an excellent tool to vicariously expose my kids to events and activities in a safe “training” environment. It is my goal that if they are confronted in real life with these issues, they will be able to react in a manner that will preserve their conscience before God and man.

    1. When I was a little kid, I read the Bible on purpose to find out about stuff I wasn’t supposed to know about : P

  13. @JimE

    I too have often wondered what different books of the Bible would be rated. If the Passion was any clue, then no one could hear the Gospel until at least 17 years of age. Wow, I would love to see the ratings on sermons too. It would be nice to know beforehand if a church is rated F…for fundy.

  14. The other thing about this, at least in the Fundy circles I was brought up in, was that the ratings system changed once you rented videos. I mean, going to the theater was a no-no, you just didn’t go to the movies at all, no matter what it was. However, renting from the local video store was just fine. We saw some PG and over movies when we were kids. In fact, I remember a movie night at the pastor’s house, and we watched Poltergeist! I mean really, that was pretty hardcore for a bunch of kids. It gave me nightmares as a little kid, actually.

    The one thing that always confused me and caused me to question the adults was the rule. We weren’t supposed to go to the theater, so as to “avoid the appearance of evil”. Someone from the church might see you in line and could jump to a wrong conclusion on what you were seeing. However, nobody say “no” to the video store. Everybody did that, and never said anything bad about it. What bothered me, was that how is that any less “evil” than the theater? Somebody could still jump to conclusions on what you’re renting. Plus, most video stores at the time had a porn section in the back. Who’s to say you weren’t renting porno? I just never understood why one (theater) was bad and the other (rental) was acceptable.

  15. Short Answer: Old Time fundamentalist preachers used to preach against theaters before home videos were invented.

    As the technology changed so did the general ethos of fundamentalism toward watching movies. What did not change, however, was the fact that “Bro. Roloff used to preach against the movie house.”

    So a compromise was silently reached. We’ll stick t o the ‘old paths’ about preaching against the theater just like our daddies did but we’ll stay silent about movie rental stores since televisions are so ubiquitous that we don’t dare preach against them all together.

    There are exceptions. I still know of a few folks who preach against owning a TV at all. And I know of a few fundies who have dropped preaching against the theater.

  16. “I still know of a few folks who preach against owning a TV at all.”

    Yep. There’s the old sermon example describing Uncle Harry who sits in the corner, cussing and taking off his clothes. You wouldn’t allow that, now would you?

    No, wait. That’s the TV. How dare you allow Uncle Harry, I mean, the TV, in your home!

  17. JimE,

    Not all fundy parents make their kids read the Bible. (Though most do.)

    My parents gave me a Picture Bible (A comic book of the major bible stories). It keeps the gore and violence, but there is absolutely no sex whatsoever. My parents were good at keeping all stories about sex away from me until I knew what it was. They didn’t push me to read the unadulterated OT until I was 12 or 13.

    Maybe renting videos are okay because it’s possible to fast forward through or mute “objectionable” parts. Darrell did a post a while back about the Mute Button.

  18. Let’s shake this up a little. The vast array of fundy preachers have no problem at condemning Helly-wood and the hell-a-vision but ironically will not say much or anything at all about the computer/internet. How many men get behind the pulpit and blast away about movies and TV but then go home and watch skin flicks. Please don’t say the number is small either. It’s more prevalent than we think it is. Most of your porn addicts will say the internet/computer was their problem and not the movies/TV. There are many men out there that are secret viewers and their families and congregations have no idea of that man’s other life with pornography. How many marriages have been destroyed with online affairs? I’m not saying to get rid of our computers/internet. I just think we need to be realistic in our lives. Sin comes in many forms and Satan uses it to his advantage. Brethren, please let us all be vigilant and looking out for one another – and by all means…PRAY!

    1. Sorry for the “lateness” of this response – discovered this post in my “random” section… anyways…

      The Internet was ALWAYS preached against in the IFB sector I was in… They managed to squeeze it into almost every sermon, it seemed like. In fact, one of the schools I went to did not allow ANY internet access at the school until last year. The church also had no form of internet as well.

  19. Come on, “Thief in the Night” should have warranted at least a PG-13 rating. . At least, it scared me that bad when I saw it as a first grader (It had been out a little while by then, but that was the first time I saw it.)

  20. @Darrell: “We’ll stick t o the ‘old paths’ about preaching against the theater just like our daddies did”

    Which brings up another topic for discussion – the fact that Baptist claim the longest unbroken line to Christ (Trail of Blood anyone?), yet the “church fathers” all lived in the 20th century.

  21. “My parents gave me a Picture Bible (A comic book of the major bible stories). It keeps the gore and violence, but there is absolutely no sex whatsoever.”

    Ah yes, the Garden of Eden, land of strategically placed trees. I still maintain that’s how the producers of Home Improvement got their idea for Wilson.

  22. “Ah yes, the Garden of Eden, land of strategically placed trees.”

    Not to mention Eve’s extremely long hair. Long enough to simulate a jumper.

    Yeah, A Thief in the Night and the other movies in that series didn’t just scare me as a kid–which I suppose was their aim, since one elementary school friend of mine was “finally saved” after watching them–but deeply disturbed me. As hokey as they are now they’re still rather competently made, which makes them that much scarier. But I suppose if you’re trying to scare little kids to Jesus it’s okay. Jaws, on the other hand, is not.

  23. I haven’t gone to a movie theater in over 3 years! Just earning more jewels for my crown. Actually I can’t stand the popcorn chomping, talking and cells phones in the theater. Everytime I went I felt like strangling someone. So I built my own theater in my basement.

  24. The Book of Genesis would make a great HBO series if it was well produced and stayed true to the Bible. But it would not be appropriate for children.

  25. Oh, but this is a straw man! Fundies know movie ratings aren’t inspired! Take BJU for example.

    It just so happens that BJU students are forbidden from watching movies have a rating above G. However, at the student orientation meeting at the beginning of each school year, the administration gets up and attempts to explain the philosophy behind the rules. This particular rule is used as a prime example. It goes something like this:

    Rules are based on different principles–some are Biblical and some are merely practical. In this case, the biblical principle is (allegedly) “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” However, because the university cannot evaluate each movie individually, they have to pick an objective standard, and the G rating seems to be the best candidate for that purpose. It is fully understood that some G-rated movies may be unacceptable and that some PG-rated movies may be acceptable (by the Biblical principle). However, for the sake of institutional policy and enforcement, the rule is simply stated “G-rated movies only.”

    See? Perfectly reasonable, right? Right?!

    Unfortunately for them, most students see right through this smokescreen. The idea is that if they can portray the policy as being sound, practical, and reasonable, you’ll probably just forget the fact THAT YOU ARE STILL BANNED FROM WATCHING ANYTHING BUT G-RATED MOVIES.

    Haha! So you’re pretty much screwed for the rest of the year anyway! But hey, at least you’ll sleep better at night knowing that someone has carefully thought out a rational explanation for your forced external holiness.

  26. I HATED having to explain this whole philosophy to my students at the Fundy Christian school where I taught. They were allowed to see movies or whatever but I was not, and inevitably one of them would bring that point up during the year. Our conversation would go something like this:

    “Miss, you can’t go see movies, right?”

    “That’s right.”

    “How come?”

    “Well [sigh], the idea is that since there are R-rated movies playing in the theater as well, I might actually go to one of those instead of the PG or PG-13 movie I was going to see. And if there’s something bad in the movie, I can’t turn it off like I could a DVD.”

    “But you’re still allowed to rent movies from Blockbuster.”

    “Yes, yes I am.”

    usually there was a long pause here as the children processed.

    “Miss, that’s a retarded rule.”

    What could I say? They were right; it was retarded. I generally used this time as an opportunity to show them that sometimes we obey rules that don’t make any sense, but we obey them because God wants us to obey our authorities.

    They never seemed to notice my authorities – i.e., bosses at work or pastors inchurch – don’t really have authority over what I do in my own free time.

  27. I love the logic of saying “What would an unsaved person say if they saw you in a movie house.” I say, probably nothing. Then I was thinking as I sat in the mall– is that guy in here to have lustful thoughts in front of Victoria’s Secret? Is that girl going to buy a mini skirt, or worse yet britches? Is that guy headed to the food court to engage in gluttony? Makes me wonder–What does the world think of a Christian that goes to the mall?

    1. They’re most likely thinking, “Who is that weirdo in the suit? Where’d he get all those kids, and why are the girls all wearing long denim jumpers? His wife looks like she’s ready to pop!” 😈

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