The Power of “R” Ratings: Video Stores and Ballot Boxes

For Latter-day Saints, the letter R can be one of your best friends.

It simplifies your decisions at the video store as well as the ballot box:

  • A movie with an R printed on it is bad. Even if you don’t know anything else about the movie, don’t watch it. A movie with any other rating — even if you don’t know anything about it — is good, as far as the appropriateness of its content.
  • A political candidate with an R printed by their name is good. Even if you don’t know anything else about the candidate, vote for him/her. A candidate with any other letter — even if you don’t know anything about her or him — is bad.

Piece of cake.

And one of the great things about this simple philosophy is that many of your Latter-day Saint friends will act the same way. You will be in good company. In fact, you can probably just assume, in all of your conversations, that all (good) Mormons act the same way. For example, if you are having a group of people from your ward over to watch a movie, you can assume that the movie will be appropriate as long as it is not rated R. Or when you start talking politics with your home teachers, you can simply assume that R is good and the other letters are bad.

Every now and then you will run into a Latter-day Saint, though, who will challenge your philosophy. Do not be alarmed. Here is what you can do:

Regarding movies, you might have people (like Orson Scott Card) tell you that certain R-rated movies (e.g., The Passion of Christ, Schindler’s List, Atonement, The Last of the Mohicans) might be OK for some adult Latter-day Saints to watch. These people are clearly deceived. Obviously, they are not following the counsel of the prophets, who have commanded us not to watch R-rated movies — ever! Go ahead and tell them that and they will probably leave you alone.

A few, however, might press you further. Someone might ask you what specific counsel you are referring to. This type of person is clearly a contentious person — every Latter-day Saint knows that it is a commandment not to watch R-rated movies. However, let them know that you are not guided by rumor. Tell them that in a May 1986 Ensign article, President Benson said not to watch R-rated movies (p. 43). This will be good enough for most members. However, a few dangerous Latter-day Saints will pressure you further. They might want to quibble about “context” — if they’re really contentious, then they already know about the statement and will make the audacious claim that it needs to be understood in proper context (a common appeal by those who wish to equivocate on the words of the prophets). They will make the ridiculous claim that President Benson’s words are good practical counsel, not a strict commandment, and that the important thing, quoting Benson, is to not “participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic.” Clearly, however, they are simply looking for a way to justify watching R-rated movies. We are unable to decide what is appropriate — that’s why we have living prophets, and they have spoken. The thinking has been done. Also, consider: If you give in and watch an R-rated movie, you’ll never be able to say, like Mormon American Idol contestant Brooke White, that you’ve never watched one.

The person who you really need to look out for is the person who says that the values that undergird movie ratings are not always the same as gospel values. They might even make the ridiculous claim that the Church has moved away from making recommendations on specific ratings for this very reason. They might say that the “spirit of the law” is more important than the letter, which is why this counsel has not been repeated much in the past 20 years. Or they might unnecessarily complicate things by talking about how the Church is an international Church and that different countries have different rating systems. If you encounter this person, run. Simply run away, just like Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife. You can’t reason with the devil.

Because most people don’t talk about politics, you might have an easier time avoiding Latter-day Saints who challenge your R-rated preference, especially if you live in Utah. However, even if you’re a Utahn, you’ll likely run into someone who will disagree with you. In fact, we know that the end must be near, because there was an article this week in the Deseret Morning News (a Church-owned newspaper!) by Doug Robinson that challenges your whole philosophy!

Robinson tries to rationalize not voting for the “R-rated” candidates in Utah by talking about how the Utah legislature does not have to worry about their constituents because they know they will be re-elected. Others will complicate this point further by saying that the Church does not officially endorse a certain political party. These people, once again, are clearly deceived. Everyone knows that the R-rated party is the party that (good) Mormons are a part of. It stands for religious values and the D-rated party stands for atrocious things such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Of course, the Church has to play their little PR game, but we all know that that’s all it is.

Some Latter-day Saints will challenge your view on this. They will say that it is not necessarily true that the Church’s values match the R-rated party. They will say that it is arguable that the Church’s values match other parties just as well or better, but that each individual needs to decide for him/herself. They might even make the incredible claim that Latter-day Saints should vote for the best person, regardless of party. Or — if they’re really dangerous — they might even suggest that the moderate values of many Latter-day Saints in Utah probably better match with the D-rated party! They might unnecessarily complicate things by saying that most D-rated political candidates in Utah are socially conservative and pro-life. These, however, are pernicious and seductive claims that will in time erode Utah’s values. Utah is one of the best states in the nation because we are the closest to believing the same things, in terms of religion and politics. If we suddenly have a bunch of D-rated politicians, it could ruin everything. Suddenly we would actually have political competitions in Utah. We would have to actually learn about the candidates, which would take away from our time in the scriptures. There would also probably be a lot of contention. And we all know who the author of contention is. Run away!

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30 Responses

  1. I realize after writing this that there might be some people who are not very familiar with the LDS Church that might not realize that my post is a satire. So, just to avoid any confusion…

  2. That post was pretty awesome.

    As a general rule for myself, I don’t watch anything Rated R just because I know it’ll be violent, or have a lot of swearing, or have nudity. Since I know I’m not supposed to be involved in that, the R rating is a nifty way for me to eliminate some bad choices off the bat. Sure, I lose out on some things that are probably good and worthwhile, and I don’t have a problem with members that make distrinctions between R movies that are worthwhile and ones that aren’t, but with all of the entertainment choices around me even with my quick and dirty elimination, I don’t have a huge incentive to change.

    The problem now is that a lot of PG-13 movies are really crossing the line. Juno is an example of one that I really feel horrible about taking my wife to go see. That definitely was to me an inappropriate movie and should have been rated R. I wish I had known more about it before going to see it. All I knew was that it was independent and funny. Well, it was, but it was also extremely crude.

    As for the other R, I recommend that everyone, and not just members of the church, take a test using the political compass. The compass expands the political terminology of left vs. right to include authoritarian vs. libertarian. You may be surprised where you fall. For example, a person I know very well that is a member of the church staunchly claims support of the Republican party, but the reality of their political compass shows them to be almost the completely balanced moderate. One political compass can be accessed at http://www.politicalcompass.org/index. The compass isn’t a perfect measure, but it’s a closer approximation than I think most people generally take the time to self-examine.

  3. The problem now is that a lot of PG-13 movies are really crossing the line. Juno is an example of one that I really feel horrible about taking my wife to go see. That definitely was to me an inappropriate movie and should have been rated R. I wish I had known more about it before going to see it. All I knew was that it was independent and funny. Well, it was, but it was also extremely crude.

    You’re kidding, right?

  4. No, I’m not. That was a rough movie, and I didn’t feel that it had much redeeming value besides a few laughs. It wasn’t just that the vocabulary in the movie was offensive, but the verbal treatment and context of certain themes was also very crude. Really regretted seeing it to be honest.

    Now, keep in mind, this is really getting to the heart of Dennis’ point – I didn’t worry too much about seeing Juno because it wasn’t R, and I lazily went in with a certain expectation because since it’s PG-13, it should be safe. That’s something I need to be more careful of, and it burned me with Juno.

    I had to ask myself – would I be comfortable with a 13 year old seeing that movie? For me the answer was no.

  5. Great points Dennis. I agree that we need to be constantly examining the assumptions we are resting on about what is “safe” and “right.” Some of my favorite movies are rated R. They are movies that I feel have helped me understand and love God’s children more and to see in a new way how I fit into God’s plan. This may have been beyond the scope of the filmmakers’ or the MPAA’s intentions, but that is the beauty of being an interpreting being.

    Like Rutkowskilves, I think that we need to be critical of our movie choices regardless of the rating. There are movies of all ratings (including G) that I would reject because they offend me. Granted, I find that what offends some other Mormons does not always offend me and some of what offends me does not seem to bother some Mormons–but that is the beauty of having agency. I can love watching Juno, Rutkowskilives can avoid it, and we can both be following our consciences (something I highly recommend). The point is that we should choose our movies, books, music, theater, games, etc. based not only on what is NOT in them, but also based on what they DO contain.

    Likewise, some alphabet soup in Utah politics would be welcome, especially for the reasons you list. I am definitely D-rated in Utah, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find my candidates in other parties were I to live in a less conservative state. I would be more than happy to vote for a candidate of any party if I feel she or he can represent me well and serve honestly. Besides, any free market loving Republican has to agree that a little competition can only make us better.

  6. Haha fabulous post, Dennis. I recently saw the movie “There Will Be Blood,” which, despite the title, had very little blood at all. The movie received an R rating despite the fact that it had zero nudity, nearly zero swearing (definitely no F words), and one violent scene. Compare that with, say, Austin Powers, which is PG-13 and consists of one giant blatant sexual innuendo after another.

    Ditto on the politics part. Many times has someone on BYU campus overheard me criticizing the GOP and turned around to stare in disbelief. Many times I’ve heard people remark that Harry Reid certainly can’t be a member in good standing due to his status in the Democratic Party. A funny story: during my Freshman year, I went to a lecture put on by PSA called “Can good Democrats be good Mormons?” Thanks to the fantastic Democrat debater, the topic quickly turned into a discussion of whether a good Republican could be a good Mormon. It was hilarious. Neither party has a monopoly on Mormon principles.

  7. Rutkowski:

    I took the political compass test a while back — I definitely would recommend for Mormons to do so because, like you suggest, many would be surprised. I think a good example of this, in Utah, is the educational voucher system that was overturned by the voters — in every county. Here is an area where many Latter-day Saints are quite moderate, or even slightly liberal. Also, the official LDS position on abortion is also fairly moderate.

    Also, I don’t have a problem with someone who, as a general rule, does not see R-rated movies. The problem comes when thinking that such is a hard-line commandment and when it keeps people from thinking anything that is not R is fine (like you address). Funny thing, though, about Juno — I was really close to seeing that a while back without having any idea about its appropriateness (same position as you). So I’m guilty here too. It’s very much a cultural socialization that is difficult to shake without turning into a prude who only sees G and PG movies (which also would be a very big problem, in my opinion)

    Brady:

    I like your point that even G-rated movies can be offensive — and destructive to our children, I would add. This is an important point in our Disney-loving Mormon culture. Most Disney cartoons are filled with all kinds of problematic values. Ever notice how there is almost never a (human) mother who is not a villain? What subtle message does this send to our children? Also, these movies teach our daughters that they essentially need to wait for Prince Charming to come and sweep them off their feet and then they will be “happily ever after.” This is an outright lie! Now I of course am speaking as an idealist here (I don’t have kids yet) — I’m sure my kids will be watching plenty of Disney films. But it would be a mistake for me to see these films as wonderful family-friendly films. Rather, it would be important for me as a parent to discuss some of the (problematic) values in these films with my children.

    Ryan:

    Your Austin Powers comment is a good one. Those movies are worse, at least for me, than probably almost all of the rated R movies that I might be tempted to watch. And yet, we have Latter-day Saint youth and young adults who have this film on their shelf and yet resist (often begrudgingly) seeing any R-rated movies.

  8. Thanks for clearing things up. What a relief, I will no longer have to think when I chose movies and vote!

    I am awaiting your lettering system for beverages, quantity of children, college football, and jello.

  9. The political compass test is interesting. While it’s not very accurate (understandably since it is designed for less politically literate users), I do like how it reminds us that there are more than two ends of the political spectrum. Our American two-party system tends to inaccurately and unfortunately dichotomize politics. European multiparty systems provide a better forum for political discussion.

    Dennis, check your thinkinginamarrowbone email.

  10. i feel like i should share my personal experience regarding movies. sorry if this gets long.

    i have been to both extremes. in high school and the first couple years of college, i avoided all R-rated movies without considering their content. later, during a mild bout of rebellion, i watched many R-rated movies without considering their content. neither was a good choice for me.

    with the first standard, i was being blindly obedient–which is not always a bad thing–but it led me to become a little sheltered, a little self-righteous, and a little hypocritical. i allowed myself to see PG-13 movies that were EXTREMELY embarrassing and to avoid R movies that might have been uplifting and insightful.

    with the second “standard,” i was being blindly disobedient. i did not care whether the films i saw were “virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy” and therefore saw a lot of trash. i wasted a lot of time and now have words and images in my head that i wish were not there. however, i also saw a lot of good movies during that time. some of my favorites, actually.

    my goal now is to be more discriminating in everything i do. i’m trying not to watch movies based on ratings or reviews, but based on my conscience as you suggest. IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. just as following the word of wisdom or paying tithing are trials for some, watching quality movies is one of mine. i’m convinced the Lord wants to know what i will do with my agency when faced with this particular temptation. it’s sometimes i will probably always struggle with because, dangit, i like movies!

    my point is, i don’t think exercising agency was meant to be an easy thing. we are here to choose for ourselves, to learn to make good choices, and to sometimes make difficult choices. that may be why we are not specifically commanded in these aspects of life. they are hard choices, and choosing wisely requires effort on our part. are we willing to put forth that effort to do choose the right?

  11. IMO…a good/appropriate movie or a good politician has nothing to do w/ ratings or parties but everything to do w/ message and content. I have seen R movies that are really quite provoking, enlightening, and make me want to be a better person…a personal example is the movie Last Samurai (it just tasted good to me…so to speak). On the flip side mormon movies like “Singles Ward” offend me deeply (w/ the exception of the movie “Charly”).

    I don’t think anyone needs to agree completely on either movies or politicians b cuz what matters is the desires and intent of the heart…if you watch a movie or vote for a politician w/ real proper intent and the movie or politician properly satisfies that intent then who am I to say what is right for you?

    Ppl just need to trust the Lord and themselves in making these decisions but also remembering that God can give different answers to different ppl as situations are oftentimes circumstantial.

  12. Jen,

    Very good points. Sometime I need to write a post on the issue of radical freedom, ala Alma 29.

  13. […] Posts Science is Not Based on FaithThe Power of “R” Ratings: Video Stores and Ballot BoxesWhy I hate the theory of evolution.Manifesto Against Mormon Lingo (Including the “Bloggernacle” […]

  14. Dennis,

    I appreciate your comment about Disney. I’m currently having a big struggle keeping my 3 young girls out of the total immersion school of Disney Princesses. Fortunately for me they like Batman (the Adam West variety) and Peanuts as well. The thing is, I can’t think of a Disney princess who dresses in a way that I’d like my girls to immitate. Several also are heroines in a story in which a blatant disregard for parental authority leads to the fulfilment of their deepest desires. There are other objections as well. I’m not claiming perfection as a parent, but at ages 4, 3, and 1, I don’t want to indoctrinate my kids against me for the sake of popular culture or a pretty dress.

  15. Adam,

    I think that Disney princesses can be seen as the rebellious 80s punk rocking wolf in the sheep’s clothing of the princess.

    This analogy takes on new meaning if you watch the music video “We’re Not Going to Take It” by Twisted Sister (in which we see an interesting blend of punk-rocking cross-dressing and teenage rebellion). :)

  16. Pulling this topic in a different direction, I think it’s much of the type of thinking satirized by Dennis’ post that pushes people into thinking that they “don’t belong” within the Mormon fold. “Good mormons” don’t watch R-rated movies. “Good mormons” vote Republican. The mormon culture’s definition of “good mormon” is often a very narrow sampling of what actually is “good.”

  17. Janell,

    Very true. I’ve seen this happen a number of times. And it hurts not only the individuals who leave, but the entire Church.

  18. Adam and Dennis,

    Just because I’m curious, are you against the Disney Princesses “franchise” (I don’t know what else to call it, so I’m referring to the whole enchilada), the original films these princesses starred in, or both?

  19. Bryan,

    I’m a little easier on some princesses than others. I prefer Sleeping Beauty to Ariel, for example (I know this sounds really wierd). I also think some of the original movies have some value, inasmuch as several of them are adaptations of treasured cultural stories. I’m not always a fan of the way these adaptations are done.

    What I’m against mainly is the iconization of the Disney interpretation of these stories/characters. Who dares to create a new animated version of Beauty and the Beast? What about Cinderalla or Snow White? In some cases, the princesses as they are today are not much like the princesses from the original movies. I once watched some grown women in my family taking a DVD quiz to discover which princess they were most like. In almost every case, the potential answers to each question were nearly identical, with the major distinguishing features being hair, eye, and favorite color. Not only were these women diverted by this activity, they received the results with elation when they turned out like the princess they wanted, and in some cases surprisingly bitter disappointment when they did not.

    Now, in fairness, I doubt that the princess quiz had much lasting effect on any of these people, but my daughters were watching it, and they are far more impressionable.

    I despise the way that the princesses have been turned into a franchise as you aptly put it. They’re like the Bratz dolls, only their evil is less obvious and therefore more sinister. They are held up to our children as role models, but what they stand for is largely undefined. Their values seem to include picking a favorite color, giving coy looks to everyone, and following your dreams, aka doing whatever you want regardless of consequences. I’m all for being anxiously engaged and striving for something better, but how is “better” defined by the princesses? Too often, it’s shown only as leaving everything you have, including your family, in pursuit of adventure or an unrealistic love story.

  20. Adam, thanks for sharing your feelings about the Disney Princesses thing. While I do not share your rather bold denunciations of everything it is and stands for, my wife and I do prefer that our children not get swept up in the silliness and commercialism of it all. (Bratz is another matter, though.)

    I do think it is important to distinguish the original films these “Princesses” appeared in from the marketing machine built up around them that has kicked into gear over the last 15-20 years. “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella,” for instance, are magnificent movies of incredible artistry and storytelling economy. It’s popular in some circles to pooh-pooh them for their simple archetypes of good versus evil, but I disagree.

    Some people see innocence and simplicity and call it ignorance or naivete. I see something else, however.

  21. Bryan,

    Please let me clarify. I’m not utterly anti-princess. I’m sorry if you got that impression. For instance, I agree with you on the point about innocence and simplicity, as well as the artistry that went into some of the movies.

    The thing I have a problem with is my children taking these characters and making idols out of them. For example, I think The Little Mermaid is a story with plenty of value, but I don’t want my little girls looking at the Disney version of this and taking cues for how to dress, respond to parental authority, or spend leisure time. I’m particularly sensitive to this movie because one of my daughters tends to idolize Ariel. On the other hand, I do want my children to value determination, risk taking, and trusting their feelings.

    With most of the movies it’s a mixed bag, and I think little children come away more with the good than the bad, but I don’t think these movies should constitute the substance of my kids’ media diet.

    I would love my daughters to be as gentle as Cinderella, as faithful as Belle, and as kind-hearted and brave as Jasmine, but when kids see a person as good, they tend to see the whole person as good. Thank goodness there is that good vs. evil simplicity, but the complexites of individual characters are hard for kids to sort out. Ariel may be a devoted friend, but she’s also headstrong and impulsive.

    As I said in my first comment about this, it’s the total immersion in princess land that I think is damaging, and that’s what the franchise does. My girls like princesses, and that in itself is fine. What I don’t like is when they have to have one of the Disney princesses on everything they own and make decisions by asking questions like, “what would Aurora do?”

    Fortunately, my kids haven’t gotten that far.

    You may remember me calling the evil of it “less obvious” than Bratz (which are blatantly evil). Because of the subtlety, younger children may not pick it up, but if they grow up with these things as their guide, they will become more and more saturated with every nuance. I’m trying to nip this in the bud not by banning Princess movies or even toys, but by keeping it to a healthy limit and mixing in plenty of alternative material. I’m concerned that my kids will become so intricately involved with the Princess franchise that they will become like it, or that they will take it as an escape to dealing with real life and so become shallow and vulnerable.

    Having said that, I once again reference my agreement with your point about innocence.

    It’s a complex issue, but I think the things that everybody else is thrusting on my kids deserve my scrutiny. If I read too much into it, it’s only because I care about them.

    As a side note, too much of any one character or set of characters makes me concerned for the state of my kids’ imaginations. I don’t want their vision limited because someone else’s creativity is so readily available. I’ve read comments from elementary school teachers to the effect that young kids are so steeped in TV, movie, and toy characters that they are literally incapable of imagining anything outside of the contexts those characters provide. If you ask them to pretend something, they can’t do it without bringing one of these characters into it. They can’t create their own identity or imagine something for themselves. I’ll be honest. That idea terrifies me.

  22. I grew up watching The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast all the time (like little kids do, and yeah, I’m only 21). I can say that my mom had way more influence on how I behaved and dressed than these movies. How you critique media to your children influences how they think about it. My mom pointing out when someone was immodest defined how I wanted to dress, and think that’s the same for a lot of kids.

  23. Fortunately, Kelsy, you’re right. That’s the reason why I’m so careful about what and how often I let my girls watch. I tried to make clear that I think these movies can be good in moderation – or at least not harmful – but I don’t think it’s healthy for parents to limit kids movie watching to Disney movies, especially when they watch movies every day, which I also think is dangerous.

    I’m as careful to teach my girls about modesty and other values as your mother was, but the influence of these characters and films is more subtle and more powerful than you may be giving it credit for. As you suggest, letting movies do your teaching for you is both lazy and spiritually perilous.

    Incidentally, I’m only 27 and grew up on Disney, too, so we’re coming from more or less the same place on this.

  24. Bryan,

    It’s popular in some circles to pooh-pooh them for their simple archetypes of good versus evil, but I disagree.

    Some people see innocence and simplicity and call it ignorance or naivete. I see something else, however.

    I agree and disagree. In some cases you’re right. But certainly something can be “innocent’ or “simple” and not be good. It’s certainly possible, for example, to have too innocent and simple views about the world which renders one to be not very helpful or compassionate. The reality is that the world is complex, and unfortunately many Latter-day Saints are very stifled in terms of how they could help others because they grew up on Disney reality. One problem in this regard is the just world phenomenon, in which one mistakenly believes that the world is just. This way, whenever anything bad happens to someone, it must have been because of something they did. Conversely, the best people live in giant palaces and wear fancy clothes and ride horseback into the sunset.

    In addition, there are many subtle archetypes of “good” and “evil” that are not only naive but blatant distortions of the real world. For instance, how many older women (who are not animals or dishes) can you name who are redeemable characters in Disney movies? Of the two or three you can name, how many are major characters? Answer: Zero. This is indeed a naive picture of the world, and it paints a subtle message about what it means to be an older woman. It means to be out of sight and not valued. It certainly means to be unhappy, because the princesses, though they live happily ever after, never become old. Why can’t Disney produce movies that show the realities of being of old age and enduring to the end?

    I will say, though, that Kelsy is definitely right concerning parents and the role they play in talking with their children about the values of media. In addition, children have agency — they are not blank slates who are passively affected by everything they see. They choose to attend to and value certain things and ignore or devalue other things. Nonetheless, Adam is also right concerning how often the values that are being taught are very subtle — having seduced Mom and Dad already, I would add.

  25. Many of the early Disney animated films were adaptations of classic fairy tale stories, so in those cases I believe the blame for oversimplified characters and broad characterizations of good and evil rests primarily with the source.

    We should also consider how cinema has matured over the years, and how audiences today have become more cynical and critical of flawlessly good characters and unambiguously happy endings. Not to cast too much of a rosy glow on the past, but our forebears managed to deal with sending young men off to fight world wars, pull through a recession, and enjoy movies like “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Bambi.”

    Could we use more nuance in contemporary storytelling? Absolutely. I believe that Pixar is going to be the major force behind any kind of cultural change in storytelling that takes place at Disney. That studio has thrown one curve ball after another at the company. A movie about rats? How can you make that concept appealing to people? How about a movie about a garbage-compacting robot with hardly any dialogue in it for the first 40 minutes? Then there’s next year’s “Up,” about a geriatric superhero. How do you sell merchandise for that?

    So change is coming, albeit slowly. You can never please everybody, so someone’s always going to take issue with this thing or that. And Disney’s a great big easy target.

    But a story is a story is a story. My children segue from pretend play to reality and back again several times a day, and understand the difference between the two. Older generations did the same. So I wonder what happened – what trigger was pulled – that caused us to fear that our kids would be unable to differentiate between a simplified story and real life. Should I burn all my Dr. Seuss books for confusing my childrens’ moral sense? That “Hop on Pop” book in particular encourages elder abuse, for one.

  26. Bryan,

    Have you ever read the original fairy tales? The Disney movies usually share little more than the title.

    Granted many old fairy tales are not ones I’d want to read to my future children, especially ones with overt anti-semitism. However, many original versions have great value in that they go beyond mere entertainment. Folktales can show us truths about ourselves and the world. They do so by challenging our conceptions of the world not catering to them.

  27. So you’d prefer the Disney version of “Cinderella” to include depictions of the stepsisters cutting off their heels and toes, and later getting their eyes poked out by birds? :)

    It’s true the Disney versions have been simplified and sanitized for young audiences. However, I don’t see how this robs them of potentially having the same effect as you mentioned folktales can have.

    Note that I’m not justifying Disney’s media efforts wholesale. In my opinion, with the exception of 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch,” the company has yet to produce anything remotely delightful in this century. (I regard Pixar as another entity entirely, both before and after the buyout.) So I want to be careful about which Disney products I’m appearing to defend. Would that they could be more like last year’s “Persepolis” (not a Disney film, I hasten to add) and less like “Home on the Range.”

  28. Bryan,

    I think You misunderstood me. I don’t care to argue about how Disney should have made movies. Nor am I trying to argue against your defence of Disney in whole.

    However, I think it’s wrong to blame the ills of Disney movies on the folktales they’re based on. Even the best material can be botched. It’s more then possible to botch Shakesphere; BYU performances do it all the time.

  29. You have almost exactly described my sentiments on the general Mormon population. According to this hilarious post and sadly, to many well-intentioned but weak-minded saints I would be considered the “bad” Mormon who decides to vote for candidates based on qualifications (which is usually the ‘D’ rated ones) and see movies based on merit (which often includes ‘R’ rated films).

    It’s just nice to know that there are other saints out there that have learned to use that mushy thing inside their skulls rather than rigidly following the letter of the law without regard for much else.

    I am a Mormon film critic that sees over a hundred films a year. Frankly, the MPAA system is so incredibly useless that I’ve found myself generally more comfortable watching ‘R’ rated films than ‘PG-13.’

  30. Instead of all this talk of what’s worse- a really bad PG-13 or an R with good content- why can’t we wholeheartedly support those who want to avoid both?

    I’ve never regretted NOT seeing a movie. My life is not less rich if I miss a movie. But I have regretting seeing a movie many times.

    Juno being one of those.

    Can’t we support everyone in their every attempt to be good?

    This may be a case where the law is adapted to the weakest of the saints. I might be able to see a “good content” R movie and be fine. But someone else might not. And I wouldn’t want to lead them down that path.

    My plea is help me. There’s worst, worse, bad, and good, better, and best. Whatever my choice is help me take it the highest level you can. If I want bad and you can’t talk me into best- talk me into better.

    Best choices- go running, drink water, forgive, tell the truth. Of all the choices we have today for how to spend our time I doubt we could ever find a Pg-13 or an R movie on the best list. Or maybe any movie, really.

    If you can be an example to me and/or help me choose a higher choice- you are a true friend. I don’t always listen. But I pretty much always appreciate it.

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