3D: Summer Semester 2: The Guardian

David Lichty is back with the second of seven film and theology classes. This time: what then shall we watch? David looks at how to know what is good, wise, and helpful to watch for the Christian. Spoiler alert: it’s complicated. Jump in!

The Promised Handouts:

Brief Class Outline:

  1. Recap
  2. Protection: Person-specific, not content-specific. Respect your own conscience.
  3. Broad areas to watch out for:
    • Violence. If it takes you out of the movie, it’s a waste of your time.
    • Sex. People often complain that this represents misplaced priorities, but we are wired to respond differently to sex than to violence.
    • Language. Especially at ages when we’re quoting stuff we find “cool,” or if we’re picking up linguistic patterns we’d rather not.
  4. How to Know Before You Walk In: Or, the MPAA is Useless – See handouts below.
  5. Stronger and Weaker Brothers

Verses about the Stronger and Weaker Brother

  • Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil…
    Romans 14:1-4, 13-16 NASB
  • We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
    Romans 15:1-2 ESV
  • And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!”
    Luke 17:1 ESV
  • “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
    1 Corinthians 10:23-33 ESV

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What does this passage say to the believer who has been invited to see a movie by a non-believer?
  • What does it say to the stronger brother who is picking movies to watch with a weaker brother in mind?
  • Have you been okay watching something which some others seem to reject?
  • What do you think when others watch things you would reject?
  • How do you feel about those others? About yourself?

How can we know what we’re getting into?

BBFC ClassificationsInternet Movie Database
The BBFC classifications are useful because the context of the events is factored into their ratings system. For instance:

BEE MOVIE (2007) is an animated film with bees as the central characters. The film contains no material likely to offend or harm and is suitable for all audiences. The hero, Barry B. Benson, leaves the hive and has a number of adventures. As part of his journey he is subjected to numerous comic attempts on his life, but there is never any real doubt that he will be okay.

How is our MPAA rating system different from the BBFC and the IMDb?

Let’s look at the same movie in the three different systems:

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (2009)

  • MPAA Rating: “PG-13 for Frightening Sequences Including Some Violence”

Oh my. How informative. The BBFC, on the other hand, cites all of the factors, and even specifies what took the film past their PG and into the “12” rating. You not only know THAT it’s a “12,” but even how “12” it is (which in this case is not-very-“12”).

  • BBFC: “The work was passed ’12’ for moderate threat. […] Although the majority of the film can be comfortably contained at ‘PG’, there is one quite scary sequence in which Harry [spoiler removed]. The scene has the potential to upset younger or more sensitive children and was considered best placed at ’12’.”
    (Note: This was a partial quote of the review. For the full text, including spoilers, click here and choose “Insight.”

The IMDb can be more detailed, but it’s user generated. It is posted by verified users, but not checked and edited.

  • IMDb: Sex & Nudity: Characters are seen flirting with and kissing each other in some scenes.
    Violence & Gore: A Death Eater attacks London; a bridge is destroyed, everyone gets off the bridge before it collapses. Throughout, the Death Eaters are destructing things, by smashing windows, walls. and burning buildings; however, nobody is physically harmed by these actions. […] Poisoned wine causes its victim to have seizure. However, he is immediately saved by the ingenuity of the hero.
    Frightening/Intense Scenes
    [spoiler removed] may be intense for some viewers.
    (Note: This was a partial quote of the review. For the full text, including spoilers, click here.

Want to see the clips in video form? Click here.

“This Film Is Not Yet Rated” is not currently available for purchase.

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Credits:
The 3D Podcast is ©2016 Redeeming Culture. This class was recorded at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN during the summer of 2016.
The theme song is adapted from “Hero” by Doctor Vox, and is released under a CC-BY Creative Commons license. See here for more information: youtu.be/qNuC01Z3lrs
Audio clips from This Film Is Not Yet Rated are © 2006 Netflix/BBC Films/IFC Films. All clips are used here for review and critique purposes only.

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