Categories
Life

A Few Thoughts on R-Rated Movies

A friend and co-worker asked me today if I had any thoughts on R-rated movies. Since I have an opinion on everything, I gave my opinion to him. I probably don’t think about this as much as I should, and with a baby in the house, we simply don’t have the time to watch as many movies as we used to. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what I told him:

  1. The first thing I research is the amount of sexual activity, innuendo, or nudity that a movie has. I want to keep that to a minimum, or have it non-existent, to honor God, keep my mind and body pure, and honor my wife. If an unexpected racy or sexual scene pops on the screen, I do my best to literally close my eyes or look at my wife (she looks at me too).
  2. I do not mind vulgar language, so long as it is not an extreme amount of taking the Lord’s name in vain. That really bothers me. Now, vulgar language doesn’t need to be in a movie to make it good, but sometimes without it the reality of the movie would be lost (e.g. Training Day or Saving Private Ryan).
  3. Violence normally isn’t a factor for me when picking a movie. I am not the kind of person who will watch The Dark Knight and then want to go out and beat the pulp out of somebody. That said, I’m not going to see a horror-filled, blood-bath flick. Neither will my wife, thankfully.
  4. There are some R-rated films with particular actors that I know will be raunchy, embarrassing, or just plain bad stories. Some of those include actors are Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Will Farrell, and anybody who has been in Hangover or Hangover 2 (yes, they did make a sequel). These men have been in good PG and PG-13 movies, but for some reason, when the rating turns ‘R,’ the movies are not worthy my $9 or $1.20 at a RedBox. There are other actors I’m sure who immediately turn me away. These three just happened to be on the top of my mind.
  5. Above all, if the movie is about a good story, it will probably make a good movie even if it’s R-rated. The Shawshank Redemption is a beautiful, moving, passionate, emotion-jarring story. It draws you in. On the other hand, Step Brothers is not a story that (most normal) people want to be engaged in.

So I don’t just reject a movie because it’s R-rated. It basically comes down to this: every story, whether good or bad, R-rated or G-rated, points to the ultimate story, the story of God and his redemption in the world. We attribute this to the common grace of God, for he even uses non-Christian filmmakers and actors to point to his story. Every story, then, is a faint picture of good, evil, guilt, redemption, restoration, forgiveness, judgment, heaven, hell, and a thousand other biblical themes. Every story points us to the story that we all want to be apart of, even if we don’t believe it’s true. Every story is a reflection of human brokenness and the need for a Savior. Some movies just do a better job than others of telling it.

There’s a few raw thoughts. What about you? Do you watch R-rated movies? If so, do you have any “filters”? If you don’t watch them, why not?

Categories
Life

William Wallace: The Christ Figure

Many films have a “Christ figure,” that is, a character who is savior-like. This person is usually larger-than-life and often fights for a cause, atones for wrongdoing,  redeems hurting and broken people, or even sacrifices his own life for the good of others.

In the movie Braveheart we see William Wallace do all those and more. Wallace battled for the nation of Scotland to be freed from its slavery to England. He was executed for his beliefs and actions. His preached a new kind of freedom to the people of Scotland. And his sacrificial death helped usher in that freedom.  He was an inspiration and example to his people.

In the last post, I wrote about the depravity of mankind.  The reality of life is that there are major problems in my own life and in the lives around me.  In theater and film, it’s characters like William Wallace that come to the rescue to solve those problems.

As mighty as Wallace might seem, however, ultimately he and other “Christ figures” fall short of the true Christ. Wallace — a real person, remember — could not forgive sin, empower the souls of men, or free the Scottish people from slavery to sin (or even another nation for that matter).  Nevertheless, Christ figures like Wallace leave us longing for the true Christ. Characters like Wallace make us say, “I will follow that man!”  Yet at the end of the film, Wallace is executed, never to live again.

But Jesus is the God-man who said, “Follow me.” He preached a new kind of freedom for men’s souls. He was executed for his beliefs and actions even though he was sinless. His sacrificial death actually purchased the freedom he spoke of. But he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave. He was not only an inspiration and example to his people: he was, and is, Lord and Savior.

To be continued.

Categories
Theology

Christianity and Arts and Entertainment

On May 2nd, I will be giving a Sunday School lesson on Christian worldview intersecting the world of entertainment.  In the days leading up to that, I want to focus some time on that very issue.  To start us off, here something I read on Justin Taylor’s blog today about Adam Young of Owl City fame (he wrote and sings the “Fireflies” song on pop radio).

I admit I hadn’t heard of Adam Young and Owl City. His song “Fireflies” (from the album Ocean Eyes) is a big pop hit. (Video below.)

It turns out that Adam is a mature Christian. An encouraging excerpt from an interview with CT:

When did you become a Christian?

I grew up in a Christian home, with the most wonderful parents a kid could ever ask for. I came to know the Lord in middle school after hearing a testimony at church. From then on, I’ve just wanted to serve Christ in every way I know how, music being the only thing I’ve ever considered myself any “good” at. I guess my whole message or goal of this whole operation is to bring glory to Jesus Christ by all that I do and say, not just as it relates to Owl City, but in all areas of my life.

Do you want to be thought of as a “Christian musician”?

It’s up to you, honestly. It’s not my place say what people should think of me as. Actions should speak for that. I follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, so any definition that arises from that fact is all right with me. The same goes for Owl City. I am a Christian in a band. Is it a Christian band then? That’s up to those who ask that question.