Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Watch Your Mouth

Some interesting conversation on the radio program tonight. It began with a simple question: "Have you seen Avatar? What did you think?"

It seems like everyone is talking about it. It's been a trending topic on Twitter for over a month, blog everywhere are raving about it, and it's the fastest movie to reach the $1 billion mark.

BUT does it live up to the hype?

The lifelines lit up with people anxious to give their opinion. Those who had seen it LOVED it. Some people aren't interested in the Sci-Fi genre and so they had zero desire to see it. A handful of people were upset we would even be talking about the movie, seeing as how Focus On The Family lambasted it in their review. (Language being one of their major gripes)

Which brings up an interesting question... What turns you off a movie?

Is it language?
Sex and nudity?
Maybe it's excessive violence?

I understand we need to be careful what we watch when it comes to movies (Phil 4:8), but I don't think we can expect someone who holds a different set of beliefs to make a film with Christian morals and values.

Maybe it's because I worked in a warehouse with some more "raw" coworkers throughout high school, but language doesn't really bother me. When you're dodging bullets in the Middle East, or when you lose your job, you'll probably drop the occasional f-bomb. In fact, I would expect some language in those situations.

I haven't actually heard much about the story in Avatar. Most people rave about the special effects, and how visually stunning the movie is. Some people mentioned similarities to Pocahontas or Dances With Wolves, but no one really raved about the story. (I do remember watching Dances With Wolves in school and our teacher fast forwarding through the sex scenes.)

How do you decide which movies are appropriate and which are not? Does the quality of the story have any bearing on your decision?

P.S. - Some fantastic movies are rated "R" (Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, Gladiator, The Passion Of The Christ, The Matrix and The Green Mile) so I don't think you can use the MPAA rating as a guide.


  1. I think we as christians have become so fixated on silly things like language that we fail to look at whether or not the movie tells a good story. We promote chicken s*** as if it's chicken salad just because it's "clean?" Whatever happened to judging a movie based on it's character development, story, over-arching themes?

  2. If you use the Phil 4:8 as a filter, than you'd probably be left with nothing to watch.

    For me, the story and the characters have to be significantly more interesting than the junk. If it's more junk than story - I stay away.


  3. I'm all about the story. Do you need violence and language to make the story? Not necessarily. Toy Story and Up are a couple of my favourite movies. But if a movie like Saving Private Ryan didn't have language and violence, I wouldn't give it the time of day.

  4. "I don't think we can expect someone who holds a different set of beliefs to make a film with Christian morals and values. "

    this is an excellent point, AJ, and one i'm learning with some people in my life. i cannot expect those who do not embrace what i believe to live by my beliefs.

    i have not yet seen Avatar, but i do have one problem with the movie, and that is the choice of fonts. but again, as a graphic designer, i cannot expect the rest of the world to live by my standards {which definitely do not include Papyrus... or Comic Sans or...oh wait, i digress..}

    thanks for the post!

  5. As far as forgiving or excusing a movie's shortcomings such as excessive language, nudity and violence is just the kind of thing that makes us "of" the world.
    We as Christians are the ones who need to be set apart, be the examples.
    Of course those who hold different values are going to live their lives, do their jobs, raise families different than us.
    But as Christians we are told in John 2:15 to be IN the world but not OF the world.
    As the first comment stated: we as Christians have gotten so caught up in things like language that we miss the fact that it might have a good story....I think this is the exact kind of thing that Satan wants us to think.
    We bend our Christian morals to mould to the worlds value systems.
    We become just like "everyone else" when we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2)
    We need to be so careful what we allow into our hearts and minds.