Morally Justifiable

Couple weeks ago I went through my DVD collection and pulled out all my Rated R movies.  These movies were put into a box, leaving only the lesser rated movies.   The purpose was to clean out any movies which did not uplift or teach a valuable and morally justifiable lesson.
After reviewing the films remaining and those removed, I quickly found that the R rating was no watermark for judging a movie’s content.  Some movies I put back on the shelf.  Some for the lessons or historical perspective or moral object lessons provided… Rob Roy, Saving Private Ryan…. among others.
And then I looked at the rest that remained… Films rated PG-13 and such “Safe” movies.  Many were light minded, vapid, or every bit as deserving of an R rating due to content and language.   Many had no historical lessons or held any moral justification. Many I felt were more spiritually damaging than some which had been culled.
I didn’t have time to finish the filtering… but will do so later.  But my goal is to leave movies which have a purpose.  Talking about this with my Bride, we determined that the deciding factor would be “What lessons do we want to our sons learning?”  Movies, like literature often carry lessons for life.  These can shape one’s views and opinions which can effect future moral decisions. Don’t try to tell me that Film is a weak medium and has no effect on Character.  Film is visual literature and literature helps mold Character one way or another.
Take a look at the films in your homes.  What lessons are you getting from them?  How is that R Rating matching the lessons you want to share with your prodigy?
My Grandfather served in World War II. Saving Private Ryan, while a work of fiction, gives a very realistic interpretation of some of the things my Grandfather experienced or witnessed.  The story it’s self walks through a series of some things that had actually happened in that war.  And while no documentary feature, I feel it is a good example of that era in history.  It also tells of of the moral of service and sacrifice and duty to causes higher than one’s self.  That’s just an example of a rated R movie that is probably worth keeping.  I’m keeping it.
Mormons as a whole try to avoid R rated movies in general.  But I tell you what… I’d rather my kids watch The Patriot or The Last Samurai than Dumb and Dumber or Twilight.

25 thoughts on “Morally Justifiable”

  1. More often than not, many of the modern “safe” for kids movies involve potty humor and other things that I do not want my kids learning. I don’t pay attention to ratings anymore. Its all about content.

  2. In nearly every case, I’ve found what you say to be true. PG-13 movies are marketed at adolescents and I haven’t found even ONE that was fit to watch.
    R Ratings, on the other hand, can have excellent messages. I’d much rather take a chance on an R-rated movie.
    My hat’s off to to you for taking a stand. I’m a Christian, and I admire some of the ways LDS behave, morally speaking.

    1. The Lord of the Rings / Hobbit franchise? Seems fairly adolescent compliant, I would let a 13 year old go to a theater alone to watch it. In general though you are right, most PG-13 movies push it too much for me to take the rating seriously as a tool to help me figure out what my child should be able to watch without my presence.
      Which comes back to the problem…there never will be such a rating system. It comes back to us as parents. I would much rather let my child watch some R Rated movies that further certain values and ideas in an admittadly vivid and visceral way than certain G rated moves that espouse wishful thinking and statism.

      1. Within the set of “everything” there can be “many” things in the subset of “litte in life is inherently good or bad” to be black and white.

  3. Kudos to you and Mrs. Ogre for taking the high ground vis a vis content. Many years ago I began to forego the movie theatres for lack of anything worth actually spending my money to watch. Not long after that I cancelled my movie channel subscriptions and went with basic cable for much the same reason. My son was able to watch some of the trash that we avoided but he had to do it elsewhere as he understood that the “glass teat” ( thank you Harlan Ellison ) wasn’t going to deliver that stuff at home.

  4. +1. But maybe keep Dumb and Dumber in your own closet, right next to your pair of briefs that you’ve owned since the 90’s. Because you just can’t make yourself throw it out.

    Kick his ass, Sea Bass!

    1. I hate Dumb and Dumber… I don’t know why we had it.
      Why are you so concerned about my underwear?

  5. Dumb and dumber is just plain dumb. My kids are grown and gone but I still don’t watch garbage.

    1. Lighten up Harp, just having fun with it. Life’s too short to live without a sense of humor… Stop listening to Sean Hannity for a week and you’ll feel much better.

  6. My wife and don’t own a TV, we do watch an occasional movie on the computer and even set up a projector from time to time. If something is going to make the cut and be worth keeping it has to be edifying on some level. I can appreciate junk food from time to time, but we don’t keep much in the house. Perhaps in stead of trying to pick the ones to loose go through with an eye as to which make the cut and deserve to stay.

  7. Movies are supposed to be entertaining, but I do agree they affect character growth. I was raised on westerns and action movies, and they definitely had an influence (Wolverines!!). My problem is that I only remember the good/fun parts, and don’t remember the rough stuff till we get to it in the movie. This often leads to some dirty looks from my bride.

    Example: I sat down the other night to watch The Boondock Saints with my thirteen year old the other night. We made it to the nudie bar part and called it done. I hadn’t remembered that part, or quite how prolific they were with f*#@. However one could argue that there are good lessons to be learned from that movie. Sticking with your brother, standing up for what’s right, etc…

    Sometimes I really suck as a parent.

    Kudos to you and the Missus

  8. What about sci-fi? Much of it is rated R but there isn’t much of a moral story or anything to really learn from…but they do have excellent story.

  9. I’m looking across to my DVD shelf and offer the following:
    Two Bogart boxed sets. The Bogie and Bacall scenes might be a tad racy for kids … heck, I’m 58 and get hot and bothered when Bacall gives her “you know how to whistle” scene.
    The Thin Man series.
    Two Sherlock Holmes sets: Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett. (Do NOT get me started on Robert Downey)
    Hum, most of my films seem to fall between 1939 (Stagecoach) and 1969 (True Grit).

  10. With some exceptions, the people of Hollywood, and the entertainment industry overall, just aren’t my kind. I’ve chosen to rarely watch movies and spend my time and money elsewhere.

    Try going without TV / movies for a month. You’ll be astonished and your kids won’t miss it. Mine don’t miss TV and movies and in the words of my oldest, we wind up “doing a lot more cool stuff”.

    As a sci-fi fan, Firefly was the last TV show I really enjoyed.

    Years ago, this quote resonated with me……ironically enough from a TV show

    Crewman Elizabeth Cutler: They don’t have movies where you come from, do they?
    Dr. Phlox: Well, we had something similar a few hundred years ago, but they lost their appeal when people discovered their real lives were more interesting.

      1. +1 for no tv – only Internet I have is my work phone. It cut down on a lot of my wasted time (world of Warcraft and world of tanks) both were massive time sinks and I’m glad I made the change. I’ve since taken up metal smashing (blacksmithing but lower skill) and I’ve added another reloading press to my bench.

  11. What are some PG-13 movies you guys like that have some lesson or virtue to it that I can put in front of a group of teenagers? I like the teenagers coming over to my house instead of my kids going elsewhere. But I want to be in charge of choosing the title.

  12. I would like to see a cable TV channel that only shows or commissions programming that has a positive effect on civilization as a whole.

    I’ll bet it shocks the hollywierd idiots by making money hand over fist.

  13. There is a channel like that, it’s called pbs and it hemorrhages money.

    The proper answer is choice, as most of you discovered. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it. Just don’t expect Hollywood to do anything other than cater to the masses. The masses watch honey boo-boo and swamp people. They truly care about what the khardashians are doing. As long as people keep watching it Hollywood will continue to make more.

    1. Nope. PBS is simply a mouthpiece for the political left and statists. They add educational programming once in a while to sugar-coat it.

      I have a slightly different opinion of what constitutes advancing civilization than they do.

    2. And don’t assume hollywood has a clue about what people really want to watch.

      All of their crap is colored by their own prejudice about what Americans are like. Lowest common denominator programming drives people with brains and money away, and gets a majority of only the idiots that remain.

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