By Jeff Holder, Managing Editor, with Tom Snyder, Editor
It’s not easy for parents, grandparents, and anyone that wants to protect children and teenagers from problematic elements in many movies these days.
One easy way that parents often erroneously think that a movie is okay for children or teenagers is if the cast has done family friendly material before or if a movie is based on a book or TV show that was initially aimed for children. While this SEEMS like a good idea, it really is not.
For instance, one of the big movies this summer is LAND OF THE LOST starring Will Ferrell, based on the 1970’s Saturday morning children’s TV show of the same name. It SEEMS like a movie to which you’d take the children. It has adventure, dinosaurs, and humorous gags. What could be wrong? Readers of MOVIEGUIDE® already know the answer. The movie is filled with terrible foul language, obscene content and is, in a word, despicable (see the review).
Then, there is the case of the new TRANSFORMERS sequel. You would think that a movie about giant robots produced by Stephen Spielberg would be fit for your young sons and daughters. Not so! Unlike such popular action movies like SPIDER-MAN 3, IRON MAN and even THE DARK KNIGHT, the movie contains a constant flow of juvenile sex jokes and foul language. Even some secular critics were annoyed by the wholly gratuitous obscene content put into this movie!
Another movie recently out was WHAT GOES UP featuring actress, pop star, and teen fashion designer Hilary Duff. You may remember her from her pop albums or as star of Disney Channel’s LIZZIE McGUIRE (think of it as the HANNA MONTANTA prequel). However, in this movie her opening line is the “f” word repeated four times as she has a fender bender. The movie is blasphemous with a clear anti-Christian theme. It would SEEM like a comedy starring Hilary Duff would be an okay thing, now wouldn’t it?
Zac Efron, of Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL fame hit the screens this Spring with 17 AGAIN, a movie filled with sexual innuendo that pushes the limits of its PG-13 MPAA rating. The MOVIEGUIDE® review lets you know what’s really in the movie.
Child stars from The Disney Channel are not the only ones who sometimes go slumming. Nickelodeon star Josh Peck also starred in WHAT GOES UP along with last year’s movie about drugs and the inner city, THE WACKNESS.
The point of all this is that you must be discerning and know what’s in a movie before you commit your dollars as well as the hearts of minds of your children or teenagers.
At the grocery store, you know you can’t trust everything that says it’s “natural” or “low in fat.” You have to read the label and know what’s actually in the food.
The same is true for movies. Just because there’s a star who has done family movies before or just because the movie is based on a children movie or even if MPAA thinks a 13 year should see and hear certain things, you simply cannot trust the MPAA ratings system.
You have to know before your children go. Ask a fellow parent whose judgment you trust if they have seen it. Ask around.
But, the sure fire way is to go to www.movieguide.org to check out the reviews of the latest movie releases from Hollywood. All reviews are free when the movie is new to the theaters. After that they are in our Internet Archive, which can be accessed for only $2 a month – a real help when you or your family is visiting Blockbuster or Netflix trying to decide if it’s okay to rent a certain movie.
Beware the company town labels from the MPAA. Don’t fall for Hollywood hype. Be wise – read the MOVIEGUIDE® label regularly and protect your children from the toxic culture that is destroying Christian civilization.