Principles for deciding which movies to see

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psaulm119

Puritan Board Freshman
Pardon me for starting another flame war.... ahem...discussion about movies and the Christian life.;) I didn't quite find what I was looking for in previous threads (although I found a lot of food for thought) and so I'm taking the oppportunity to start this one.

My wife and I have recently had our first child and we are starting to question our movie-watching habits. We don't have cable TV, but we do rent DVDs and go see movies (esp. if they are on a big-screen cinema).

OK. We are wondering what movies we should be cutting out. Neither of us wants to tell her that she should do as we say, but not as we do. Which leads me to one principle that I think makes sense--we will not watch any DVDs that we would want to keep her from, as well. Personally, I would not have a problem with a young child watching The Passion, especially since it would be sandwiched around comments about what the violence in that movie brought about. I'd rather see the Passion of Our Lord than Disney's Pocohantas, believe it or not.

I'm not necessarily asking for a debate as to how many movies might be appropriate for a Christian. Some very well might say 2 or 3 a year, others might say quite a few more. But what principles do you folks use when determining whether to see a movie or not?

I agree that our chief end is to glorify God, and that it is shameful even to discuss what the heathen do in secret (Eph 5:12) But does this mean that we cannot view a movie unless its purpose is to do this? I'm not necessarily saying yea or nay here, but this does seem a bit extreme. Extreme or not--is this a biblical approach? If Paul was OK with someone who ate meat offered up to Ares (as long as it did not lead a weaker brother astray), does this mean that its ok with our watching a classic Bogart mystery thriller (which I'm hoping I won't have to give up), even if it has some smoking and drinking in it, provided that nobody in our family actually smokes and drinks?

.01 for your thoughts.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
The Passion is not a movie I would see let alone allow my child to see. in my opinion it's completely Romanized to the point of being of no benefit. Let alone the entire 2nd commandment issue.:worms:

If Paul was OK with someone who ate meat offered up to Ares (as long as it did not lead a weaker brother astray), does this mean that its ok with our watching a classic Bogart mystery thriller

I personally do not think these two things relate. While this is an issue I am also currently struggeling with have you considered this;

Phil 4:8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

After dwelling on that, what is the answer to your question?
 

psaulm119

Puritan Board Freshman
While we were taking this question up in prayer, we were led to consider a couple of ideas. One, that equally if not more important that what we watch, is how much time we spend in front of the TV. Like I said, we don't have cable but we do rent DVDs and the last few weeks, we've spent much more time watching than we should. Another point was that perhaps I was asking the wrong question. Instead of "What movies should I avoid?" perhaps I should (also) consider, "What movies should I bring into my home, when I do choose to watch tv?" I have bookmarked the thread on Christian movies in this forum, and I'll have a look at that. By way of illustration, I didn't stop listening to secular music, because I decided that it was sinful. I (for all practical purposes) stopped listening to it, because I wanted to glorify the Lord through the music that I listened to, and have grown to love music that praises Him much more than that raunchy stuff I used to listen to.:judge:
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by psaulm119
does this mean that its ok with our watching a classic Bogart mystery thriller (which I'm hoping I won't have to give up), even if it has some smoking and drinking in it

It never dawned on me that a Bogart movie could be a problem, although I suppose it possibly could be. My feeling is that most movies prior to the sixties (and a good number during and after) are okay to watch and some are down-right edifying.

Movies can inspire and instruct us or they can debase and destroy us. I think your approach of basing a movie on whether you'd want your child to watch it will be helpfu in making a decision on whether to watch a particular movie.

I'm interested in hearing more discussion.

That's my penny's worth and that's about all it's worth!
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I would agree with Adam that The Passion is not a movie for children or adults to see because it is a Roman Catholic, 2nd-commandment-breaking movie, issues of violence for young viewers aside.

The issues of what principles should guide us with respect to:

* how much time we spend watching movies; and
* what kind of movies we watch

are very important in the life of a 21st century American Christian family, and I think they have been well-discussed in the threads which you may seen already:

http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=8326

http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=8119

You will find a variety of views and practical applications on this Board relating to movies. I think everyone would look to the Phil. 4.8 principle that Adam appropriately cited.

My own view, as noted in one of the threads, is that movies per se are lawful recreation when taken in moderation and for purposes of edification. There are few movies that lack any objectionable content and most movies have occasion to portray sin in some manner. The classic B&W movies of yesteryear are more likely to be wholesome than today's movies. Chariots of Fire, Luther, Gods and Generals, and Henry V, for example, rank very high on my list of appropriate movies. I also enjoy Hitchcock movies, Bogart in African Queen and Casablanca and Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and a lot of other movies that show characters wrestling with moral issues. I enjoy Braveheart and The Patriot for historical, patriotic drama. I enjoy The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix for fantasy-action allegory. The Mask of Zorro and The Man in the Iron Mask are great movies of action-adventure and redemption. Singin' in the Rain, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are some great old color classics. I could go on with specific examples, but I find something greatly redeeming and edifying in each of the above. That's my :2cents:
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
I would agree with Adam that The Passion is not a movie for children or adults to see because it is a Roman Catholic, 2nd-commandment-breaking movie, issues of violence for young viewers aside.

The issues of what principles should guide us with respect to:

* how much time we spend watching movies; and
* what kind of movies we watch

are very important in the life of a 21st century American Christian family, and I think they have been well-discussed in the threads which you may seen already:

http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=8326

http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=8119

You will find a variety of views and practical applications on this Board relating to movies. I think everyone would look to the Phil. 4.8 principle that Adam appropriately cited.

My own view, as noted in one of the threads, is that movies per se are lawful recreation when taken in moderation and for purposes of edification. There are few movies that lack any objectionable content and most movies have occasion to portray sin in some manner. The classic B&W movies of yesteryear are more likely to be wholesome than today's movies. Chariots of Fire, Luther, Gods and Generals, and Henry V, for example, rank very high on my list of appropriate movies. I also enjoy Hitchcock movies, Bogart in African Queen and Casablanca and Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and a lot of other movies that show characters wrestling with moral issues. I enjoy Braveheart and The Patriot for historical, patriotic drama. I enjoy The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix for fantasy-action allegory. The Mask of Zorro and The Man in the Iron Mask are great movies of action-adventure and redemption. Singin' in the Rain, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are some great old color classics. I could go on with specific examples, but I find something greatly redeeming and edifying in each of the above. That's my :2cents:

Thanks for the links, Andrew. I like most of the movies you mentioned, especially Braveheart and It's a Wonderful Life and Gods and Generals is great too.

I heard something weird about The Wizard of Oz yesterday on a Christian radio station. They said that the person who made the movie was trying to teach the viewing audience the tenets of Eastern Religions. Have you heard anything like that?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Ivan
I heard something weird about The Wizard of Oz yesterday on a Christian radio station. They said that the person who made the movie was trying to teach the viewing audience the tenets of Eastern Religions. Have you heard anything like that?

Do you mean Frank L. Baum or Richard Thorpe/King Vidor?

Baum said it was not an allegorical story and I don't see much in the way of Eastern religion in the movie: there was a Wicked Witch of the East :) but it is the Witch of the North who is portrayed as good. A story like this -- as with such things, whether C.S. Lewis' Narnia or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or even Mary Poppins -- needs a Christian critique and parents should guide their children in understanding what is Biblical and what is not. But I think such stories have a place in our reading and viewing as Christians.

Here is an article which looks at some different interpretations of the movie as well as general background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz

[Edited on 22-1-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
[Do you mean Frank L. Baum or Richard Thorpe/King Vidor?

It was Baum. As it so happened I had NPR on (no, I don't make it a habit of listening to NPR, just channel-switching). There was a lady on who wrote a book entitled There's No Place Like Ohm or something like that. She was making those claims.

Weird.

[Edited on 1-22-2005 by Ivan]
 

Authorised

Puritan Board Freshman
We actually watched parts of this movie in US History to draw parallels to the Populist party, which was popular during this time.

I don't think it has anything to do with religion. If anything, its political allegory.
 

cultureshock

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by psaulm119
Neither of us wants to tell her that she should do as we say, but not as we do. Which leads me to one principle that I think makes sense--we will not watch any DVDs that we would want to keep her from, as well.

I'm not sure if this is necessary. Personally, I think it could be beneficial to watch movies that I will not let my children see, even as a means of teaching them about maturity. The lesson would be that the world of reality and mature issues extends beyond what we parents, as their guardians and protectors, allow them to see. Otherwise, the whole family "dumbs down" its viewing choices around the youngest member of the family. The potential dangers could be that the child comes to believe that the family revolves around him/her or that he/she maintains a naive perspective of maturity. Since his/her parents, who are to be the model of maturity to their child, watch kids' movies, the child may perceive such movies to portray the full extent of mature issues. For example, I would not let a five year old child see the Lord of the Rings movies, but I would still watch it myself, and tell the child why. Sometimes movies depict horrific violence for a very moral purpose. I would not let children see such violent movies due to the violence, but I might watch them myself. In my own experience, as I have matured, I have been able to watch movies in a different light, which I would not be able to handle as a young teenager.

Brian
 

psaulm119

Puritan Board Freshman
Re: not letting children see violent movies such as LOTR and The Passion

Honestly the only child we have is still only 4 months old, so perhaps I might see things differently when she is old enough to comprehend what is going on, on the screen. But I really don't see what is wrong with letting a child watch a battle between Orcs and dwarves and elves, or seeing Jesus whipped and crucified for our sins. I think a lot has to do with the overall context. I certainly wouldn't object to any parent who let their 7-year old watch the Lord of the Rings. By the same token, I wouldn't let a child of mine watch the horror "Freddie" or Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, because that violence is in a different context--glorifying violence, rather than portraying it as an evil brought on by wicked men (which is my understanding of the context of the violence of LOTR and The Passion).


In light of this, I would surely not dumb down anything. I'm not talking about watching only cartoons or Sesame Street or whatever one might feel is appropriate for young kids. Perhaps my view of what is appropriate for kids is a bit wider than other posters on this thread. Like I said, this very well might change when I actually step up to the plate and observe my daughter's reaction to such movies.

[Edited on 22-1-2005 by psaulm119]
 

psaulm119

Puritan Board Freshman
Re: the good old days of Hollywood

I gotta say, one of the reasons why I started watching old Hitchcock and Bogart classics is that I got tired of seeing body parts, hearing incredibly crude language, and fornication being promoted as the price for seeing a good thriller. I can handle the black and white--actually it kind of adds to teh suspense.

But there is another side to this coin. The fact is, in many of these classics there is much more consumption of alcohol going on that in modern movies; in many of these films, there is someone smoking a cigarette or cigar in pretty much every scene. At least in many of the modern movies we see, there is precious little of that. Now I realize that quite a few of the ones that Huguenot said were not film de noire, but Hitchcock and Bogart sure fit into this category. Discernment is always appropriate.
 

bond-servant

Puritan Board Sophomore
Sounds silly, but before renting one, I actually contemplate "If Jesus appeared in flesh in the room with me, would I be embarrassed to be watching the movie?"
or
"Would Jesus spend His time watching that move?"

Unfortunately, usually the answer for any movie is usually, "No- He wouldn't be watching, He'd be about His Father's business, and so should I.." LOL

Guess I haven't quite got all the kinks worked out yet :bigsmile:
 

psaulm119

Puritan Board Freshman
Looking at Beth's info, I see she has 100 posts, and is a Sophomore, while I'm still a punky Freshman at 99 posts. Here's to promotion on merit alone! :scholar:
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by psaulm119
That star looks really good under my name. How many more senseless posts do I need to become a junior?

you're right...i want my star too...

hence this post!;)
 
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