Food for Thought: What's So Bad About Rated "R" Movies?

I was only 6 when I got hooked on movies. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was all it took. I quickly graduated from Disney to the violent, sensational visions of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. My parents were concerned. Where was I headed? Even the advertisements themselves sometimes seemed inappropriate fodder for a little kid, with their sexy stars and in-your-face firearms. They knew that these Saturday matinees were breadcrumbs leading me into treacherous woods.

R-rated movies were off-limits—they were full of corrupting influence. But as I got older, I started testing the waters, seeing a few "R" flicks that had been widely acclaimed (well, I guess I can't count my first R-film—Predator. That was an inexcusable decision. I loved it.) I began to question whether the rating on the movie was really what should determine its value or not. I walked away from some of those films—Witness, Dangerous Liaisons, Apocalypse Now, and Blade Runner, to name a few—deeply moved by the stories, my mind preoccupied by something far more significant than a glimpse of nudity or the bloody aftermath of a gunshot. Their themes were honorable, their lessons worthwhile, and the people in them were memorable characters with strengths and weaknesses that I could sometimes understand. Clearly, there were other works that were merely indulgent, crass entertainment. Learning to discern the difference between what is "worthy of praise" (Philippians 4:8) and what is inappropriate became to me a crucial factor in developing a Christian perspective on the arts.

In the mail I receive from readers, I find many to have a definite list of no-no's that automatically disqualify a movie from relevance. ...

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