Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keep your stones to yourself

I got an email the other day from a friend saying, "I don't know your position on rated-R films but we're going to see The Fighter if you want to come."

Well, my position on Mark Wahlberg films is generally "Yes, please." But my position on R films . . .

Is a little more ambiguous.

I guess I could sum it up as generally "no." Generally.

My overarching criteria for any movie is: Is it uplifting?

I can only define that for myself. I think I've seen five rated-R movies since Kenny and I started dating and only one of them was one that in hindsight didn't really fit the bill. The five are Slumdog Millionaire, Once, Up in the Air, The King's Speech, and This is Spinal Tap.

Up in the Air with George Clooney was a really well-made film and I enjoyed it, but I don't think I walked away a better person for having seen it, or having learned something about the wider world, or having some sort of transformative experience, or even really being uplifted.

Surprisingly, I got a little more out of Spinal Tap which we watched because Kenny owns it and said it was grandfathered in from his pre-rated R ban.

So to define uplifting for me and ME only . . .

Simply put, it enlarges my spirit. It challenges me to think and find a new piece of joy. It affirms that ultimately, people are good and that the human spirit will triumph when it chooses to.

For that reason, there are R-rated films I watch that fit that bill and lots of PG-13 films I skip because they don't. Ergo, I saw The King's Speech and I will be skipping The Dilemma. I'm really picky about R-rated films. I don't even like the stuff that's edited for TV. I couldn't make it through Wedding Crashers or The Forty Year Old Virgin when they were on cable. 

If I think an R-rated movie might pass the "uplifting" test, I check Kids in Mind to see why it got the R-rating. If it's for sex or nudity, it's out. (My brother convinced me to see Up in the Air anyway and granted, there was brief nudity but that was still about a hundred times more than I was interested in seeing. It was like living next to Kristina P's naked neighbors for three seconds) If it's for violence above a "5", it's out. If it's language, I'll probably put up with it unless there's an excessive taking of the Lord's name in vain, in which case, I skip it. The other guideline I use is recommendations from trusted friends and family members. They know how I am and don't point me wrong. Except my brother with that one scene, but he's a heathen.

I can guarantee you that I have good friends reading this right now who are shaking their heads and realizing that they never knew this about me and it's one of the oddest things they've ever heard. I have other friends who are at this very moment scandalized I would watch an "R" film at all.

I guess that's why it comes down to using your judgment and being honest with yourself about what feels right. Believe me, I watch a lot of brainless fluff that has zero socially redeeming value at all, but it's also fluff that doesn't shove images in my brain I can't get out again. I've just figured out what works for me and I stick to it.

Anyway, I don't know how someone who "confesses" to watching the occasional rated-R flick manages to come off sounding like a complete prude, but I guess . . . congratulations to me.

This weekend's movie: True Grit. I hear very good things so I'm looking forward to it.

On to The Mormon Bachelor. You're watching, right? My thoughts on this week: I think Rick Buck is a genuine guy. I like the Washington DC girl, Andrea, the best so far. Not sure how connected they were but she's my first choice. The biggest surprise to me was Samantha because I thought I wouldn't like her (her intro video was too much for me) but I found I liked her way more than I thought I would. And I think the coolest date so far was the horseback riding, but the cleverest date was the geocaching. If you're not watching, go watch. It's a very entertaining three minutes of your day.


Melissa Bastow said...

Generally I regret watching anything R-rated after it's over. Well, I guess actually I feel that way after watching a lot of PG-13 movies too. And some PG movies. And watching Disney's Ponyo - that kind of horrid just never washes out of the brain, you know?

Melinda said...

I generally regret any r-rated movie I watch, and I haven't watched one in a really long time (there's a few on your list I REALLY wanted to see), but there's some PG-13 I REALLY wished I hadn't, like you said those images don't get out once they're put there.

I HAVE been watching The Mormon Bachelor and Rick Buck is definitely growing on me, in fact I like him more and more each date, BUT I don't feel like he's made a big connection with any of them. Who knows, maybe the second dates will make a big difference?

wesley's mom (sue) said...

My husband and I saw The King's Speech recently. I would rather my kids watch that movie 10 times in a row than any one of those foul PG-13 things Will Ferrell makes. Anyone seen The Other Guys? I turned it off because I was offended. I think the system for rating movies is seriously flawed.

MommyJ said...

There are quite a few PG13 movies that we've turned off because they were just too trashy. And, a handful of R movies that we've watched and loved. The Patriot, with Mel Gibson is one of my favorites, as is Shawshank Redemption, and Schindler's List. Oh, and The Pianist. These movies are thought provoking, insightful... I don't regret seeing any of them for a single second. You know, there are a few movies that are rated R because they are based on true stories. And well, lets be real. World War II WAS rated R. But I still think we can be better for knowing about it. I think we have to be wise about our decisions. Go to Common Sense Media, or Kids in Mind and just make smart choices.

I haven't heard anything about The King's Speech. It's good?

Kristina P. said...

So, you would totally watch "Predator vs. Alien" right? It had a really great message about skinning your teammate alive.

And sadly, my naked neighbors have been MIA. Which is one reason we are trying to move.

Kimberly said...

I don't trust the rating system, myself, though I avoid Rated R for the most part. Unless people I trust convince me otherwise, which has happened, and a few times even been worthwhile. I've learned who has similar tastes and moral guidelines to me, and I follow their lead a bit.

And The Mormon Bachelor is AWESOME. Loving it.

DeNae said...

I don't watch the Mormon Bachelor and won't unless he shows up on Law and Order.

I get antsy in movies (even, dare I say it?, the temple) so we hardly ever go.

However, as long as we have teenagers around who are still operating under the misapprehension that every rule that applies to them applies to us as well (which of course means they haven't considered the whole question of how they got here in the first place) we avoid R-rated movies on the basis that it's one less explanation we have to offer our young, prudish jailers.

That Girl said...

I'm all about ClearPlay. AWESOME.

Susan said...

I judge movies on the same criteria you do. But I never watch R rated, though you probably know I saw plenty in college. Bryan has never seen an R rated movie, and so really, how can I watch them? He'd probably throw me out of the house. It makes it an easy decision.

Agree with DeNae's justifications, except I definitely don't get antsy in movies. I LOVE movies.

Anonymous said...

I gave up The Office and 30 Rock this year. I still miss them. I still think they have the best comedy writers around. But I finally decided not to watch things that I don't let my 13-year-old or 10-year-old watch. (Well, there *are* things I protect them from but think are okay for me, so I should clarify that I'm trying not to watch things I think are too offensive for my kids.) I'll be thrilled if ClearPlay starts doing those shows. (I don't have ClearPlay, but I'd get one for that.)

Kazzy said...

Person by person and movie by movie. That is my stand. Too many people go to see a movie they know nothing about, and to me that is sometimes more of a waste of precious time than seeing a movie that might be rough but has redeeming qualities.

Carolyn V. said...

I'm finding that a lot of rated pg-13 are worse than some of the R rated movies out there. I think if I watched an R rated movie it would have to be really good. That being said, I really want to see the King's English. =)

LisAway said...

"Two thumbs up!"