Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the rated r clause

its really more like a loop hole. a loop hole that i created myself and surprisingly feel very little guilt about.
a little history. i NEVER watched rated r movies until i got married. then all i watched was rated r movies. msof was all about the rambo, die hard, and terminator movies. i just gave in. it bothered me at first, but you really do become desensitized to all the violence. i became unaware of what the rating was on any movie-i just saw what i wanted to see.
in 2006(i am so bad with dates, i cant believe i remember the year)my perspective started to change. i was becoming very senstive to the things i was seeing on the screen. the violence was just too much and the sex? dont even go there. i just couldnt deal and i decided to go back to my old rule. no rated r movies. i cleaned out my dvd collection and passed them on and put my friends on notice. they were all supportive. maybe a few playful jabs, but nothing really mean.
it was really a rough transition for gbf. we really liked the same movies that none of our other friends liked. we went to see american beauty(loved it)with 3 other friends and they HATED it. they were pissed that they even wasted 2 hours on it, but gbf and i loved it and couldnt stop talking about it. lets face it, most pg-13 movies are chick flicks and gbf is definitely NOT interested in those.
i have broken the rule a few times. for the most part, i regret it. like going to see sex in the city. what a waste. i used to love the show and i just really wanted to see how it translated onto the silver screen. not good. i also learned that you cant trust your most trusted friends when they describe a movie. gbf really wanted me to see forgetting sarah marshall . he kept telling me how great it was and how he really couldnt see why it was rated r. he said there was only 1 pretty tame sex scene and it really didnt take away from how great the movie was. i finally saw the movie and all i can say he was right and he was wrong. he was right- i liked the movie. it was really funny and very smart despite some of the stupidity. where he was wrong was that there was NOT one tame sex scene, there were a few, but the real kicker was the full frontal male nudity in the first 10 minutes. it was not fleeting either. i guess full frontal male nudity just doesnt register the same for a gay guy.
so i have broken the rule a few times,but the loop hole i mentioned above is this: if i have already seen it, i will watch it again. when american beauty comes on tv, i watch it. i know when to avert my eyes or take a potty break. i know its pathetic and truly stomping to death even the spirit of the law.


  1. I reject the "no R movie" rule in its absoluteness, and follow the "be mindful of what you're consuming and how it makes you feel" counsel currently given. There are some good R films, and there are some crappy, stupid and destructive PG and G films, but that doesn't mean I go whole hog on R films. I pay closer attention to an R and why it's R than I do a PG/13 or G, but I'm not going to base my viewing choice solely on the rating.

    For me, I am less concerned about violence than sex/nudity, especially if the former is in context (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, The Patriot, Braveheart, etc.). With sex things, there's still some distinction for context, but that's going to depend a lot on where my head's at. At no point am I doing something gratuitous and designed to be sexually exciting, but, if my head's in a good space, and the nudity is brief, obscured, and essential for the moment (things like that), I can avert my gaze a little and not rewind, freeze-frame and zoom. But, if that's going to be a challenge, I'm not going there. And I'm not going there unless there's a particular reason I want to see the film that has nothing to do with the naughty bits.

    But this reminds me of a story from way back when I was YSA. A bunch of us got together and decided to rent a video to go watch at the house of the bishop (whose daughter was one of us), so we picked out two films, one Disney, and the other All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin on my recommendation. I didn't remember any bad scenes at all.

    Well, the friend went into the other room as the film started, putting popcorn together and stuff, and managed to come out just in time for the bathroom scene (if you're familiar with the film, you'll know it's not only quite funny, but both tasteful and necessary to the story). She was upset by this, and I assured her that this would be all there was to worry about, and she went back into the kitchen. She came out again in time for the (relatively clothed) bedroom scene, flipped out and ejected the movie. And we watched Disney with no further complaints. I still recommend the film, and I think it holds up pretty well, with lines like "I want to M you."

  2. I agree with blainn.

    Hannah is one of those girls who also will not watch R-rated movies, as I've said before it's one of the faults I'm able to look past, but it still drives me crazy! I have my own filter for the R-rated movies I will watch and the ones I won't. The type I will watch are the same type already mentioned: Saving Private Ryan, A Few Good Men, Gladiator, The Last of the Mohicans, The Last Samurai, The Road. I usually avoid sex and nudity(let's face it, we all know what happens...) and R-rated horror flicks. I think you have to think about why it's Rated-R before rejecting it altogether.

  3. while i agree with you both, i am concerned about splitting hairs to the point of being flat out disobedient. there is absolutely no comparison between a movie like sex and the city and private ryan. one is a complete waste and the other a valuable piece of cinematic excellence. if private ryan came out today, i would break the rated r rule for it. the last of the mohicans was rated r? loved that movie. another one that i would currently break the rule for. all those gross horror movies are out. i never watched them even back in the day. junk like saw will never be seen by me.

  4. Disobeying what? What rule? There is no rule that says "Never watch an R-rated film. Go to lds.org and type "R-rated" into the search box, and you will not find such a rule listed. It's not in the Handbook either. It's not a rule -- it's an example of Cultural Mormon Pharisaism run amok. The problem with the Pharisees isn't that they were all wrong -- they weren't. The problem was that they went beyond what the Law required. They wanted to wrap the Law up in layers so that they wouldn't even come close to breaking it. And they felt smug and arrogant about their superior purity over those who didn't follow their version of the Law.

    Pres. Benson told Young Men that they should not watch R-rated films. And there are a number of talks you can find that will say that many/most R-rated films are bad, even produced with satanic influences. But they will acknowledge at least a few exceptions to that, and at no point do they tell adults that they must not violate the MPAAs judgment regarding what films they should see. The MPAA is not run under priesthood authority, and never intended the standards they use to determine what kind of films Mormon adults should be able to see.

    So stop passing responsibility for your choices off on mythical rules and the judgment of uninspired people. And stop manufacturing sins where they don't exist. It sounds like you're making good choices with regard to R-rated films.

  5. bossy blain in the house! ;-P
    havent subsequent prophets continued to advise not to watch rated r movies? couldnt we compare this to the more recent "no multiple piercings or tatoos" counsel from President Hinckley? or never be alone with the member of the opposite sex that is not your spouse? maybe not COMMANDMENTS per se, but wise counsel that we are expected to follow.
    i think you are right about one thing:there have been a few times that i thought seeing an r movie was sinful. i felt bad about it, but after a short period of time had passed, i realized i was overreacting and responding to the culture as opposed to doctrine.

  6. No. They haven't. Nobody ever said "no adult should ever watch an R-rated film." Check it and see.

    Wise counsel? Yeah. Expected to follow? I'm not sure. And I'm not sure I'm worried about that expectation. If we're expected to follow it, then it's not counsel -- it's a commandment, or a rule, or policy. At most, it's a guideline to which exceptions should be exceptional, which is totally compatible with what I've said and done.

    But it's not a commandment, rule or policy. Not even for the youth. Feel free to cite sources to the contrary if you know of any.

  7. this was the first thing that came up when i googled "lds rated r"


    he made some of the same points that you did, blain. let me know what you think of it.

  8. Yes, The Last of The Mohicans is Rated-R. It's the example I use all the time, sure it's old, but I'm pretty sure it's only rated-R because you see two scalpings, a make-out that lasts about 60 sec. and something that is supposed to look like a human heart that has been cut out. I use this as an example because there are PG-13 movies now that are more violent and racy, but they're ok because the MPAA says they're PG-13.

    A lot of people are ok watching rated-R movies on basic cable because they think they're "edited" to below rated-R. I thought that too, until Hannah and I watched "The Last Samurai"(one of my favorites) on TV and I realized they didn't cut a single part out of the whole movie!

    I think it's another "letter of the law" vs. "spirit of the law" type of thing. It's up to you what you're going to do, but I think GAs saying "No rated-R movies" is just a way to warn against watching films that give you unclean thoughts, using an established, easily-defined group of film. You could also argue that it is probably the best way to be, even though personally I think you're missing out on some great film, if you never watch an R-rated movie, you'll probably be pretty sure to avoid those unclean thoughts.

    Now I'm just trying to convince Hannah to let me be her R-rated movie filter, so she can avoid the movies she doesn't want to see while not being completely deprived of modern classics like "Gladiator" and "Saving Private Ryan" in their entirety.

  9. Well, I read that article when he published it, and, on re-reading it, it's pretty clear that I remembered more of his points when I was writing than I did remembering the article, in some parallels that are odd in their details. I almost feel like I plagiarized my previous comments for not citing his making those points first, but I honestly forgot this article. Odd, because I was talking about Scott and his writing with my daughter on Monday and again today.

    I do think Scott made excellent points in this article, though. Thanks for asking.