I watched a movie over the weekend that was rated “R.” I thought it would probably be for some foul language mixed with violence. They also mentioned a bit of partial nudity which usually means a woman’s backside. Since I have one of those, I wasn’t too worried.
But the movie turned out to be a bit gory. I shut my eyes for a good portion of it. I wanted to quit, but I have this desperate need for closure, and since the movie ended up being a bit scary, I really needed the closure so I knew those bad guys weren’t out wandering the streets.
But the movie started with a home invasion, and after that scene, I knew it was going to be several days before I was truly okay. You see, I was housesitting that same weekend, in a place where the wind howls all night around the homes and the dogs have a fight at least once a day and the heater makes this awful metallic whining noise that is a bit creepy in the middle of the night.
So, each night, I had to make a friend come over and walk through the house with me, to ensure that I was alone and safe. I’m twenty-three. I shouldn’t be so easily frightened.
But that scene keeps replaying in my mind. Not only that one, but others from the movie as well. And it disturbs me, not because I’m afraid of someone invading the house I’m watching or the apartment I live in. Right now, the sun is out, I can see neighbors doing yard work, the dogs are mostly getting along, and I’m more concerned about lunch than about someone entering the front door and stabbing me.
What disturbs me is that there are people out there who are socio paths and do these things. And it disturbs me to have those images in my mind. It also unnerves me that people can write these scripts, and act the parts and then they walk away as though it’s no big deal. Not only that but we watch these movies, and we think it’s okay to watch a man and his wife be attacked for no reason, to watch their little girl be killed by two druggies. We find it somehow enjoyable to watch such things. In fact, we almost cheer the father on when he exacts vengeance on those who took his family from him! We cheer him on, despite the gruesome nature of the killings he performs in the memory of his loved ones.
This is gross.
How can we do that, how can our culture celebrate such things?
As a Christian, there’s a whole other dimension to it. How can I say that I’m thinking on what is pure and holy if I’m watching such atrocities while enjoying my Ben and Jerry’s and attempting a relaxing night after a long afternoon spent in the book of Ephesians and lexical studies? It’s ironic and it seems contradictory.
I’m always frustrated after a movie that’s rated R. There are only three in my memory that haven’t completely freaked me out. (Gladiator, The Patriot and Braveheart) Even those three were painful to watch at certain moments and they aren’t movies that I own. I can’t watch movies like the one this weekend because they actually frighten me, they don’t help me to meditate on good things and they actually take away my hope for humanity because there was nothing redemptive in the story. There was only blood and violence and destruction.
Those aren’t things I think a Christian (or any person) should spend their free time focusing on.
What do you think? Write off all movies that are R? Or try to sift through the ones with gratuitous violence and sex for the ones that do have meaning and weighty significance to their stories?