Standards / Caution to Parents

Here’a bit of a note of caution about the films I review to parents sensitive to violence and foul language. I am a Christian, I am a pastor, and I am a home educator. To many, these imply that we are somehow detached from the real world outside our doors. This is not the case. If you, as a parent, plan to show these films to your children, please review them first to make sure they pass your family’s standards. In my blog, I suggest films that some would find offensive.

Violence and Death
As for my family’s standards, violence is generally not a problem. I believe that violence has always been part of the human experience. The Bible is an incredibly violent and graphic book filled with tales that would earn R-ratings. It is a critical part of the story when young David decapitates Goliath’s head and displays it to all the nation. We can’t censor reality, especially when it is important to the story.

I personally do not have a problem with depictions of actual violence and realistic depictions of the consequences of violence. Blood, guts and horrible circumstances are real, and we have to deal with them. Certain filtering programs and services remove violence, such as the scenes in “Gladiator” when Maximus was dominating and victorious, or an execution scene in “Schindler’s List” that is a key demonstration of the power of evil men. These are depictions of violence that are not gratuitous. Would the Bible not have us ponder the cruelty of the cross of Christ? No. Bloodshed and the torturous plight of the Savior are absolutely key to the story of redemption.

I am, however, opposed to any form of excessive gore and glorification of violence and believe that some films seek to demonstrate the horrors of war by taking it too far toward shocking graphic violence. I will caution viewers when I believe a film has gone too far.

I loathe foul language and cursing. I believe these are poor substitutes for better speech and indicate a lack of character and education. Despite what some claim, that a scientific experiment has proven otherwise, I do not look upon foul language as a virtue. But in war, under duress, and in extreme conditions, men revert to the base things. Some have called it “soldier talk” and its been common since time began. Off-color remarks, sexual innuendo, foul mouthed assaults, F-bombs and taking God’s name in vain are all very present in most war movies. This is, actually, a sadly accurate representation of the way military men talk. It is a knock against their character, poor discipline in my opinion, but unfortunately it is real. Thus, I will not alert people in my reviews about most foul language, unless I deem it to be over the top and gratuitous. If the defiling language is excessive, expect a bad review and an alert.

Nudity and Sexuality
I am generally opposed to all manner of sexual nudity in all film and art. I do not believe that sexual immorality or carnality ought to be seen in its raw ugliness. We all know it goes on. It, too, is part of real life just like violence and foul language. But we don’t need to depict it in film because of its base attractiveness to our sinful flesh. As a Christian, I believe such off-putting things like violence and foul language generally are not attractive nor do they stir up our imaginations to emulate or seek of similar activity for ourselves. Sexuality does. Its included in many films merely because people want to see it and it will boost sales. I believe this is the amateur way of film-making, the gratuitous and immature way of feeling like some sort of artsy pro, but only gives cheap thrills for both movie-makers and viewers.

Sexual immorality and sexual conduct can be shown in a mature manner where the viewer is left with no doubt about what happened. The filmmaker merely needs to utilize some discretion and skill, some maturity and some class. For example, there is a scene in Band of Brothers in which a door is flung open to a vigorous sexual encounter. It is brought upon the viewer with speed and surprise, there is no warning. It is a defiling moment that has caught many well-meaning people by surprise. This could have been completely avoided yet the act inside the bedroom communicated easily be acting, facial expressions, sounds and dialog. But instead, the director chose the cheap thrill. On the other hand, director Lewis Milestone handled a brutal rape quite well in the film Edge of Darkness. Merely by words and clothing, makeup and hair styling, we understood what had happened. Some will call me a prude, that is fine. Its basic decency in my opinion.

I will mention gross sexual content in films, and generally comment on them. However, it is up to parents to preview materials. I cannot stress personal responsibility enough when it pertains to our little ones. I will attempt to let readers know when there is inappropriate sexual content, but please make the assumption that foul language and violence are depicted in most of the war films I review.