Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Watch or Not to Watch …

The mystery of movies ...

I have never considered myself a true “movie buff”. I like some movies, for various reasons (mainly if they tell a good story), and I have watched almost every Oscar ceremony live for the past 15 or 20 years of my life. I am seriously picky about what I watch, though, and would not watch almost anything because “it’s hip”, or “in” or because “of great special effects”.

But I very rarely recognize lines from movies, as so many hundreds of people do. This renders me socially inept at many gatherings. And I can totally forget 50% or more of a movie I even loved (“Good Will Hunting” comes to mind) over time. I forget names of actors and confuse directors, too.

But I love going to see a good movie, and I can appreciate it (luckily, still) as art.

One thing that always puzzled me was the relativism and subjectivity of the rating system, though. Why are people so concerned with “how the movie was rated” before they take their kids, or even themselves, to the movie is beyond me. And truthfully, I think that a bit retrograde and limiting.

I have always been of the opinion that folks just stunt their (and their children’s) intellectual growth by limiting themselves based on simply the ratings. After all, we do not rate D.H. Lawrence. Nor James Joyce. Nor Hemingway – as we shouldn’t.

To support my confusion of ratings, I was shocked to find out that “The King’s Speech” was rated R, whereas “True Grit” was a PG-13. And seeing them both, I could not understand why. And then, I thought … “what would I do if I had a kid?”. Would I take them to a movie where they hear 10 seconds of “f*ck, sh*t, t*ts, b*lls”, things they would hear at the mall on a Sunday anyway?! Or would I take them to a movie where they show human fingers being severed from the hand and people killing people or talking about killing people throughout the 2 hours?!

I have no hesitation to answer: the former! “The King’s Speech” is not only a well done movie, but also it also offers great many a lessons about responsibility, duty, perseverance, pride, loyalty, and humanity and last but not least, it’s history – some of which kids nowadays need an incredible amount more of. “True Grit” is beautifully done as well, but do our kids really need more exposure to killings and death?!

So, my humble take: take your kids to an R rated movie sometimes, folks! It won’t hurt! I promise.

On another note, what in the world is an “appropriate audience”?! I think most of us are peeved by the “mandatory previews” that you cannot fast forward through at the movie theater. And they start by saying that “This preview has been approved for appropriate audiences”. What exactly is an “appropriate audience”?! Who decides that?! And isn’t’ that a big assumption?! I think based on my view of R rated movies alone some parents, for instance, might consider me less than appropriate, don’t you think?! And if I am not appropriate – what happens? I leave the room or you stop the previews now?!

It’s all a mystery, indeed.

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