Saturday, March 04, 2006

Good (?) Morning from an Oscar Grouch

This morning I woke to nasty comments on my Oscar picks post. I would have thought this was a post that would be less than controversial. The anonymous reader objects to the fact that “All of the movies mentioned are rated ‘R.’” Well, I’m not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, so I’m afraid I have no control over that. He or she says Catholics should “consider the implications and consequences before "voting" with their ten bucks and then spending two hours subjecting themselves to story, sound and images of an industry and people that HATE Jesus Christ.” Well, since I know many people that work in this industry, including my brother, I’m afraid I’m a bit offended by such a narrow-minded statement. As I’m sure will be the many committed Christians who offer their talents to that industry. “I will not spend my money or time watching this garbage,” he or she goes on to say. Then, DON’T, I say.

Now, that’s OK as far as it goes. Film is a form of art that speaks to me. I can critically evaluate what I see. Indeed, I can draw positive value—yes, even Christian value—from honest, well-made films, even if the subject matter is controversial. But this is not true for everyone. Some people can only see what’s wrong with something. So, one doesn’t have to buy a ticket. Not that I don’t think it’s unfortunate that so many good films—and not so good ones—have an “R” rating these days. But one could hardly make a film such as Munich or Crash, engaging as they do the morality of violence and racism, without risking an “R” rating. These are powerful films which can prompt serious and beneficial Christian moral reflection. But, again, one does not have to watch them.

OK, that’s my Hollywood defense, insofar as it is one.

As from where my anonymous commentor goes from there, let me say that this is far more offensive than an “R” rating, and he or she should consider that:

“If I am missing something, so be it. But why are you guys stopping at "R" rated movies? There may be some great X rated movies that you are missing.
Or perhaps not.
I mean the USCCB gave "BBM" an "O" rating. But I guess you thought you were sophisticated enough to watch homosexual cowboys and not be sullied by the experience.

Is this what passes as priestly formation these days?”

Yes, the shocking truth is that men in priestly formation do, from time to time, see movies. Had I seen “BBM,” I have no worries that it would cause me to love gay people any more, or any less. Munich didn’t make me want to assassinate anybody. And Crash didn’t turn me into a racist bigot. What these movies did do is make me think. To reflect on the harm that violence, hatred and bigotry can cause, and on the ways that it can poison our souls. This is the kind of reflection I daresay my anonymous commentor could benefit from.

I give his or her comments an “O” rating.


Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Omis at "Higher Plane" offered the following comment in response to the comment mentioned:

Jimmy Akin's most recent post is about being scrupulous with tv and movies, and he makes good points:

The key to understanding what is not okay for you to watch is figuring out when you will be tempted to sin due to the content that you are exposed to. That's the reason it becomes immoral to watch something...

For example: The Bible recounts stories in which it mentions people who burn their children to the pagan god Moloch.

Now: If you are a recovering Moloch-worshipper and could be tempted to burn your children to Moloch if you read those passages then you should not read them...

If your favorite TV programs or movies you want to see contain material that make it likely that you will go out and commit a sexually immoral act then you shouldn't watch them.

Read the rest:

Mark's et al are fine in their cinema picks.

4:04 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I liked you comments about movies so much the last few days, that I mentioned your blog in the latest post on my own blog :-)

5:07 PM  
Blogger SecretAgentMan said...

I'm shocked to my foundations to learn that seminarians watch movies. You probably go to sports events and barbecues as well, you soft-living modernists!

I have clutched in my hand passages from the Church Fathers who damn sporting events and movies. And what St. Lawrence thinks about barbecues I can only shudder to imagine. Do you need further proof?

You should all be kneeling in stone cells, eating thin gruel once a day, and casting pained and utterly pious gazes at the ceiling.

Only then will you be ready to take the message of otherworldly misery to the people, worthy of the epitaph "Servant of God, and Hated Every Minute of It."

10:57 PM  
Blogger Talmida said...

*snickers at secretagentman's comment*

Yeah, what he said!!

Personally, I don't trust the USCCB ratings. They'll tell you whether there is sex or vulgar language, but tend to miss the bigger moral issues.

I imagine a bored priest chain-smoking in a dark room with a checklist: breast, thigh, breast, buttock, s-word, f-word, bra, kissing...

11:06 AM  

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