At the Movies

Monday, November 14, 2011

Since I primarily review movies and television series, and seem to open so many film-related posts of discussion, I thought I’d share a little bit about my reason for watching movies and my view on Hollywood’s constant bid to employ the filth they want to impress upon us in attempts to make culture assume that is the “norm.” Some of you may already have heard my opinion on this (or rather my “rant”) but if not, then I felt like it’d be a good exercise to let you know my rule as regards movies in general.

As a child, my parents guarded against any “adult” movies polluting my mind – PG13 ratings were out without a question and movies that merely required “parental guidance” (according to the MPAA) were still rented, viewed and “researched” with caution. Raised in a household where Christianity was at the forefront of the teaching and discussion, my parents were not about to let me see anything that might promote something we didn’t believe in, and so unless it was without too many blemishes, movies were pretty much limited to Veggie Tales, Anne of Green Gables and the Mary-Kate and Ashley direct-to-DVD movie collection. By the time I reached my teenage years and being such a romantic, I always wanted to see the latest romantic-comedy – movies that usually were always stamped with a PG13 rating. My mom often watched them and if they were appropriate – which more often than not, they weren’t, we’d watch it, if not, I’d contently put on The Parent Trap for the billionth time. As an older teen, things started to shift and for whatever reason we began “risking” movies: we’d read the synopsis, find something that sounded cute and rent it for the night. Some of the movies turned out to be genuine treasures (even with their faults), others turned out to be trash. 

The big difference in my situation when seeing the latest blockbuster that might have been pushing an R-rating was that I wasn’t seeing it with a group of my peers, but rather my parents who would talk with me about anything if I was bothered – and I knew that. Some of you might see this practice as “extreme,” but as I’ve reached adulthood I’ve been so disheartened to rent what sounds like an adorable movie, get done watching it and shake my head at the thought that thirteen-year-olds are about to watch that – and worse yet, that they comprehend it all.  Was I sheltered in that way as a girl? Yes, I was much protected. Do I regret it? No, I don’t because looking back, I didn’t need to fill my mind with the sick, twisted scenarios that Hollywood wants to encourage its audience towards. I remember being in the theater at a movie that was rated PG13 and being embarrassed that a girl – no older than ten, was watching the movie! It was not meant for her and what’s worse, she and her even younger brother comprehended everything – or they did if their reaction was anything to judge by.

In recent years I've developed the mind-set that families should either make the decision to watch movies – with discretion and “accept” the flaws that are in them or watch nothing because you aren’t going to find something that has nothing disagreeable in it. True maybe the movie won’t be running rampant with profanity but perhaps it will be a conviction a character has that isn’t yours or maybe the children are disrespectful whereas you hold your children to a higher standard. I look for the good in a screenplay and sometimes I find that, sometimes I am too disgusted that finding the good in something is next to impossible. Because of how I was raised – to know right and wrong, now as a young adult, I am not going to be influenced or swayed when I see the latest movie star do something that I recognize as wrong. Seeing a group of girls my age engage in immoral activities isn’t going to undo my convictions just because I see my favorite movie star embody a character who does. What I do understand is that, sadly, many girls will let something on-screen influence their life… Unfortunately, today’s society is very much about teen idols and many pre-teen girls look up to any number of Hollywood starlets. Whether they have no parental guidance or their parents simply enjoy using the movie theater as a “baby-sitter,” the scenario is terrible because those girls are going to copy their idol – at first it might be merely a fashion trend, but after that, what else will they think is “okay” because they saw the person they idolize do so.

Below I am listing how I “format” my reviews in order to give you a better idea of my reviewing style:
  • Usually I begin with what led up to my seeing something or my first impressions of the movie – this is normally only about a three or four-line paragraph.
  • The second thing I write about is the film or miniseries synopsis. (If it is a TV show, I give the plot outline for the first episode.) Also included in this two or three paragraph section are the names of the cast members – and marked like (this) which are listed behind their movie monikers.
  • Next I discuss the pros and cons of the production – I share my thoughts on anything from the casting to the script and whatever else captures my fancy. You may also notice that I tend to write longer reviews and that I nearly always talk in length about the characters in the story. The reason for the latter subject is because I feel that characters are important to the outcome and structure of a story, so even though they are fictitious I often want to talk about what their behavior might suggest.
  •  Lastly you will notice a smaller paragraph at the footnote which has the MPAA rating of the film in bold text followed by a brief overview of the content. I share whether the movie has a lot of profanity, violence and/or sexual material. The movie will either be rated G, PG or PG13. Generally speaking, I steer clear of R-rated films. Television shows are different than movies, their rating system is determined by a different scale. They are usually rated “TVPG,” “TV14” or “TVMA.” The first is self-explanatory while the second generally equals a “PG13” rating and the last is more like an R-rating and sometimes even a step beyond that. 
Ultimately what is “right” for your families entertainment is up to the individual, but whatever your rules are as regards movies and television, maybe the best are these prerequisites: pop a gigantic bowl of popcorn, plop in front of the TV and let yourself be swept into another world and after that, there is only one thing left to say… enjoy the show! 

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  1. Rissi, your upbringing sounds very much like mine. I did the Wilderness Family and those old classic Disney (like the Million Dollar Duck) a million times. Now...things are different. We still have standards, but we also try to find positive things in any situation.

    Like "The King's Speech." It's rated "R", but my family looked past the language and found a gem of a film...and I am so glad we did.

  2. Given that we often share the same thoughts on movies, that doesn't surprise me, Ella. =)

    We rented a lot of old movies for a period of time, but nowadays, I rarely rent any. I have the movie collection of Deanna Durbin and have several Shirley Temple movies on VHS, but rarely do I watch them. (We also have a couple Jimmy Stewart movies - my dad gets a kick out of the movie, Harvey.

    I think I saw Million Dollar Duck once but don't remember a lot about it.

    We saw The King's Speech too and while I did think it was excellent (Colin totally deserved his Oscar), it was one of those hyped-up movies that wasn't quite up to par with my raised expectations. Usually that doesn't sway my opinion one way or another - if everyone is bashing something, it doesn't affect what I think of it or vice versa. Still it was a wonderful film... I actually wrote a review of it, but everyone else has posted about it, so I never did get mine published.

  3. My parents have always been rather protective of what my siblings and I watch, but they will let us see many movies. They usually only let us watch PG-13 movies if, say, they're guy movies. :P But that's alright with me, I'm glad I'm not filling my mind with...*stuff*.

    I like the way you do your reviews :)

  4. (Drat, Blogger ate my comment.)

    I also grew up in a very conservative family -- and in doing so, learned to have standards. Even when I wandered for a time into secular entertainment and watched stuff I shouldn't have, I still knew it was inappropriate and had lines I would not cross. I'm more conservative as I get older, though -- and less tolerant of anything inappropriate in movies. If the goodness doesn't outweigh the offensive, I generally don't care for it.

  5. You grew up watching some the same movies I did.
    I like how you review movies because it gives me insight on a movie,but it doesn't spoil it.

  6. Trinka - I tend to like comedies or romances better than most genres but I do like a good thriller. The Jason Bourne trilogy is among my favorite "guy" set of movies and I love Taken starring Liam Neeson. And, I agree with you, Trinka; we do have to be careful in what we watch.

    Thanks for your encouragement. =)

    Charity - I'll confess... even if a movie has a lot in it, if I like the cast or the movie has an adorable plot, I like it. When I saw Just Go with It, I laughed so hard, but I know I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much without ClearPlay. Anytime I come across a wholesome well-told story, I am delighted by it. It is partially the reason why I so enjoy Hallmark's movies - yes, they might not have the best acting or production, but their stories are so sweet! I am definitely a conservative movie-watcher but that doesn't mean that I cannot find the good in movies and find them entertaining.

    Is Blogger giving you trouble!? That is totally not acceptable! ;D

    Ella - I still like all of those movies, but I rarely take the time to watch them. One series I am still collecting and watch is Five Mile Creek, it's sappy, but I still love it. =)

    Thank you so much! I appreciate your encouragement. =)

  7. I like that your parents were selective and discussed things with you. Bravo!

    I hope to be the same type of parent.

    Great post.

  8. I love how you review movies as well! Just stumbled upon your blog and it is always so lovely to meet another lover of period drama films!!!! Love this! and I totally get the sheltered parent approach to viewing movies. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and then the Waltons and movies and shows from the 1930s-40s and 50's or some classic period drama films. But looking back I'm actually glad they did that and would probably do something similar if I ever have kiddies. There is too much filth and innuendos even in the "kids' and 'tweens' shows these days. It's really unbelievable!

    Anyways, I look forward to reading more from you :)

  9. I think we all have guilty pleasure movies, or films we like in spite of their faults. I wouldn't own "Water for Elephants" otherwise. ;)

  10. Juju - me, too! I have no regrets that my parents chose to be so selective. I think it is an excellent practice for parents to implement. Still to this day, I enjoy talking about things with my mom and because of how I was raised, I think I am definitely more aware of just how important parent's are in setting boundaries for their children - entertainment is so filled with filth that it's disheartening even for someone like me who has no children. Glad you enjoyed this!

    Thanks bunches for following me! I always enjoying reading your comments. =)

    Jeanine - thank you!

    I have to chuckle at myself because I've as yet to review many costume dramas and yet - I Love them! I did review a couple and the reaction was good, so I should post some "new" ones. =)

    I watched a lot of Little House and The Waltons too. They were basically wholesome, but I remember watching one of the latter show's episode and being surprised at one of the mature topics. You are so right in saying that there is too much innuendo in movies/shows that are targeted towards teens and pre-teens. It is a sad scenario!

    Thanks bunches for visiting my blog! I look forward to your future visits - and hope that you share your thoughts again. =)

    Charity - totally agree with you. ;D As long as the viewer is able to recognize the "wrong" in movies, I see no lasting harm.

    Oooh! And I still have to see Water for Elephants! Perhaps in the next couple of weeks I'll get it rented! I was SO excited that my local video store isn't closing - that makes it so much easier to rent the new releases!


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