Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Every R-rated movie I've ever seen

Recently, I was listening to this podcast discussion of the status of R-rated movies in Mormondom. Depending on who you ask, Mormons either are, or are not, "allowed" to see R-rated movies (see also: caffeine and two-piece bathing suits). Personally, I was brought up in a home where we didn't watch them, but by no means was this the absolute norm among my friends, even my Mormon ones. I think Orson Scott Card gives an excellent run-down of the R-rated movie debate among Mormons in this article.

The R-rated movie discussion has been hashed out in so many forums over the years that I am not going to get into that in this post. My own personal opinion, if you must know, is that it's not my business what movies anyone else (aside from my children) does or does not choose to watch. As for myself, there are plenty of PG-13 movies I stay away from because I tend to be sensitive to certain kinds of objectionable content in media, so you can guess how many R-rated movies I see.

Or can you? I got to thinking about it, and here are all the R-rated movies I can remember seeing. I'll start with the earliest and work forward. There are more of them than I thought.

Broken Arrow. I saw this movie at a (Mormon!) friend's house when I was in high school. Of course I'd had about a dozen lessons at church about having the courage to walk out of situations where friends were watching something I didn't want to, but those lessons never included the twist where it was the friend's (Mormon!) parents who put the video on in the first place. In any case, I remain unscarred by this experience. On the other hand, this was a stupid movie, so I'm sad that it has a place on this list. If an R-rated movie can ever be worth it, this one definitely was not, you know what I mean?

A Few Good Men. We watched this in high school civics class, though I can't say for sure that it was an unedited version. I still love that courtroom scene, by the way. Again, if an R-rated movie can ever be worth it, I think this one maybe kind of was.

Gosford Park & Mulholland Drive. Just kidding! These don't count. The story is that I did accidentally see a few minutes of each on separate occasions in Moscow when the Russian movie theaters printed erroneous showing schedules.

Kingdom of Heaven. I went to see this in Damascus, Syria. Wouldn't you? I believe that certain parts were edited out (you've got to love state-sponsored censorship) so maybe this one doesn't count as being R-rated after all. (Also in the Edited by Syria category: Shakespeare in Love, which is totally a PG movie at heart.)

Vera Drake. Good movie. I don't regret it.

United 93. I think everyone should consider watching this movie. This is another one I don't regret.

3.10 to Yuma. I recognized that this was a good movie, but the violence freaked me right the heck out. Just watch the old one, people. It's just as good if not quite as stylish and flashy (AND VIOLENT).

I've seen two R-rated documentaries, Touching the Void and One Day in September.

The only R-rated movie that I've seen twice is Slumdog Millionaire. As I write this, I am amazed to realize that movie even IS rated R.

The most recent R-rated movie that I've seen is 127 Hours. I was lucky enough to watch it with someone who knew just which parts to skip, or, as was more often the case, mute.

The funny thing is, if you talk to a Mormon who is conservative on the R-rated movie issue, if they allow for any R-rated movies, those "exceptions" will most likely be Schindler's List and The Passion of the Christ. Both of these are missing from my list. Interesting.

Are you all ready to judge me for my choices? Bring it on.

Or, you can tell me which R-rated movies you've seen, or which ones you regret, or which ones were worth it, or which ones call out to you every time you see them on the library shelf but no matter how hard you try you just can't justify the watching of it (Atonement, I'm talking to YOU).


Jill said...

I hated Atonement-not worth it, in my opinion. But I could list a thousand that were. Slumdog shouldn't have been R in the first place

Jill said...

Oh, I'm not finished with that comment. I think sometimes foreign movies get an R rating, when they really shouldn't. I show Spanish Rs to my students sometimes, because the worst thing that happens is a person getting shot or like one f word that I can easily skip.

Señora H-B said...

The King's Speech was worth every f-bomb to me. I loved that movie and am planning to add it to my collection.

I am less of a ratings person and more of a 'read the review and make the decision on a case-by-case basis'. Ratings seem so arbitrary to me. Also, I have no standards!

Jen said...

So, this issue might just be moot for me, since I don't enjoy watching movies---period. (About 90% of the time, I fall asleep...oy!)

My main movie-watching these days comes in the form of 'Shaun the Sheep,' 'Cars,' and 'Walking with Dinosaurs.' (Thank you, Netflix!) When my kids are older, we'll cross that bridge, but for now, unless the entire family can watch the movie together, we just don't watch it. (Which, again, is easy for us, cause we're not movie-watchers.)

Side note: Has there been more LDS bikini-wearing lately? I've noticed a LOT of it in recent years.

JosephJ said...

I'm fairly strict with my movie ratings, but still have a smidge of rationalizing in my brain, so I'm probably with you in the less 'Rs' than fingers category (maybe fingers and toes for those edited for TV or airplane).

The only one I really feeling was "worth it" was when I watched Amistad with a Summer school international studies program. The rest I could have skipped and not missed anything.

And seriously, with Netflix, there's enough movies out there that I don't have to feel like I'm missing out by keeping strict. Currently I'm on a Have Gun--Will Travel kick, enjoying the classic western series. Every 25 minutes, I receive nice closure!

Liz Johnson said...

I can't stand the "R-rated movie" argument. I'm sorry, but I can decide what movies I watch, and I'm not outsourcing that judgment to the MPAA. Plus, growing up in Mexico, movies were rated AA, A, B, and C. They didn't correspond with the US ratings AT ALL. And since we got them 6+ months after the US release, we could never remember what they were rated in the first place. And our internet wasn't reliable enough to just look it up back then.

Personally, I don't like movies with gratuitous sex or violence, and those are often rated R (or PG-13). But there are plenty of R-rated films that are probably deservedly R because they deal with adult themes (like Schindler's List, Passion of the Christ, A Few Good Men, A Time To Kill, Shawshank Redemption... and plenty more, those are just off the top of my head) but are totally worth seeing, in my opinion. I just refuse to acknowledge that somehow the MPAA is in charge of making that decision for me.

Hmmph. Sorry. You got me on kind of a rage-y day.

Melody said...

I grew up in a house that any R rated movie was off limits PERIOD. That being said, the ones that I have later made an exception for I have liked. They include, A Few Good Men (I actually watched this one edited, so it hardly counts), The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Patriot. The Patriot was my least favorite because of the violence. And even then the violence wouldn't have bothered me as much if they just didn't show so much blood and gore. Oh, and I've also seen Gladiator edited, and I've seen parts of Double Jeopardy.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

The key to making intelligent movie decisions is to find a reliable reviewer (or two), who wade past the Hollywood hype and tell you the truth about a film.

I long ago ceased to depend on movie ratings. There's plenty of shocking violence and bad attitude and even graphic sex in some PG-13 movies.

If Hollywood thinks they need to throw in garbage to make a movie appeal to the masses, fine. But I wish they would release edited versions, or allow Clean-Flicks type businesses to edit them. It would be to Hollywood's advantage to market movies to a wider audience.

Jeremy Palmer said...

No R movies for me. I play it safe with PG-13 movies like the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents series.

On a more serious note, I have seen a 'number' of Rs. I don't know how many times I watched the Aliens movies as a kid.

I usually watch Rs myself and press mute when I know someone is about to engage in obscenities.

I love movies like the matrix but I just skip to the next chapter during the vulgar discussions or scenes.

I think Saving Private Ryan is important to see.

The last R I enjoyed was 127 hours. I just edited it whenever I could see an F-bomb coming. I only missed a few.

I have seen a few Rs I feel bad about. Pulp Fiction (pre-mish), Zombieland (more recently).

Not knowing who is even on the MPAA leads me to distrust them.

I prefer watching rated R movies at home so I can mute scenes or skip them. It's usually easy to tell when something less than appropriate is about to happen.

That said, I don't watch many movies at all these days.

Jessie said...

I'm surprised the Matrix and Last of the Mohicans haven't yet made the discussion. I'm not anti-R, but I am selective.

It makes me sad that a lot of Mormons will never see [the original, unedited] King's Speech and Slumdog Millionaire, just because of an arbitrary rating. Sure, there's a handful of F bombs in The King's Speech, but there are much much worse things in plenty of PG-13 movies. And the Matrix's R rating still makes no sense.

Christi and Clifton said...

I am a little extreme. I am very sensitive to things I watch. I was scarred by a nasty R rated movie in 8th grade that I thought was PG13. So I just decided that I was not going to watch PG13 movies and I didn't in highschool and college. And I hated telling people because they would immediately launch into why they watch PG13 or R movies and I DIDN'T CARE. People can watch whatever they want-why would I care??? I just did what I did because I knew myself and what movies did to me. Anyway, that was my thinking behind one extreme.

Bridget said...

I should have put this in the original post - here is an enlightening, numbers-based analysis of movie ratings.

Here's another article about some misapplied movie ratings by the MPAA.

I plan on seeing The King's Speech. What's funny about the edited re-release they did recently is that they replaced the f-bombs with sh**. Somehow, that is almost MORE offensive to me.

On the subject of the MPAA being so annoyingly arbitrary - I totally agree. Did you know that a movie can have up to 4 non-sexual-sense f-bombs and still get a PG-13? If it has five, well then, that's an R. And if the f-bomb is used in a sexual sense even once, it's an automatic R, unless it's Julia Roberts saying it, in which case it can still be PG-13 (as in My Best Friend's Wedding).

So yes, the ratings system is retarded and broken and I hate hate hate it when people are smug about not watching R-rated movies...and then think that gives them an automatic green light to go see any and every PG-13 movie without regard for its content. Hmph.

LAST OF THE MOHICANS!!!! I do not believe that is rated R. If it is, well, I've seen it MANY times. Awesome, awesome movie. I've also seen Gladiator, now that I think about it, but it was on TV in Jordan so maybe it was edited? That's another great one.

Jen said...

Another thought from the girl who doesn't like watching movies...

I do find it funny that we let the MPAA make viewing decisions for us... Movies like 'Glory,' for instance, make enough of an impact that BYU requires all American Heritage students to view it (an edited version, I believe).

(Also? Did I hear somewhere that 'The Matrix' had its rating changed to PG-13? Or did I make that up?)

What's the most sad to me is that most of these stories could probably be told at a [air quotes] PG-13 [air quotes] level. Further, it's clear that the $$ is NOT in the r-rating.

Jessie said...

According to IMDB, The Matrix is still rated R (the consensus is because it was released shortly after Columbine when the nation was very sensitive to trench coats and guns).

Jessie said...

Amelie! Okay, done hijacking your comments now :)

Steven said...

Didn't you see Heathers? And isn't that rated R? I wish I had never seen that.

I don't regret watching Slumdog Millionaire or Black Swan... and maybe a couple more.

Crys said...

Gladiator got me to relax in grace's birth....totally worth it for me!!!! Movie choices are a great topic because they are so personal. For the most part violence in history or fictional history for me is totally tolerable but violence just for violence bugs. Like the oil drinking scene still bugs me from James Bond. Adult situations like forced prostitution in slum dog are real and worthwhile for me. Sex depiction like in love letters (pg 13) with movement are oh so traumatic. Swear in movies bugs me but somehow I have this exception for European stuff, especially Irish (Billy Elliot) where the f bomb was dropped a million times didn't phase me. So totally personal and situational for me. Great topic Bridget!

Susanne said...

Interesting topic! I don't like movies much, but I did see The Passion of the Christ because a friend wanted to see it and asked me to go with her.

The Bible isn't a movie, but with all the violence and sexual scenes, I'd say it's R rated...I guess it's different since it's read so we have to come up with our own visuals instead of relying on Hollywood.

I think adults should be able to choose for themselves what is worth watching. I sometimes think, "Would I watch this if God were sitting here on the couch with me?" Not that it always stops me. :) I don't take orders from a church or board telling me what is permissible.

robin said...

ah, your posts are the best.

first of all, i love jeremy's comment. funny funny...

it is so funny that you posted this, because i was having an inner battle today with this very subject! i want to see a rated r movie so badly and it is SO ingrained in me NOT TO that at age 32 it feels like i did when i was 11 and terrified of asking my mom if i could start shaving my legs!

anyway, on to r rated movies:

i saw misery at a slumber party when i was in middle school. and when the mom of my friend found out that we watched it she called all the moms and apologized. yeah, misery stays with you when you're 12.

the exorcist. another one watched at a friend's house. i had put on some lotion while watching that movie and to this day whenever i smell that particular lotion i think of watching that movie and that feeling of knowing that i shouldn't be watching it...

jerry maguire. why was this movie "so incredible". it was stupid. and deserved the r.

saving private ryan. changed me.

i started slumdog millionaire on an airplane last month and we landed before i got to finish it and i am DYING! i must rent it and finish it.

i've seen lots of r's edited, but that doesn't count. worst one? crash. i did not enjoy that movie at all. lame.

i want to see 127 hours! and king's speech!

grease and moulin rouge are two movies i think should be rated r. they are horrible.

and this comment is going on and on and on and on... i'll shut up now.

Bridget said...

Yes, I did see Heathers, but it was on TV so I'm sure it was edited. It still freaked me out, though. That's the thing about a TRUE "R," a movie I wouldn't see no matter what the MPAA told it was rated - it's the kind of movie where you can't edit out the R-ness. The feel about that movie was just horrific, even if it did enrich my language with the phrase, "What's your damage?"

Amelie is another movie that calls out to me from the library shelf...

Robin, I also think Grease is somewhat traumatizing. John Travolta, *shudder*.

Moulin Rouge - I haven't seen the whole thing, but the parts that I have seen have confused me. It's like a movie all about sex...that never shows any sex. It goes about it very obliquely, so I guess that's a time where it's the "themes" (or whatever the MPAA calls it) that give it a certain rating.

Susanne, just to clarify, the "rule" about no R-rated movies was actually more like guidance, directed toward Mormon youth (Mormon boys, specifically) and was somehow extrapolated by individuals to apply to everyone, everywhere. In recent years, the guidance has taken the form of "use your own best judgment." Seeing an R-rated movie has never been a reason (as far as I am aware!) for someone to get into real difficulties at church, in and of itself. It's not Mormon canon, that's what I'm trying to say. :)

Tyler Ball said...

*This is Amanda* My brain seems broken right now, and I can't think of any that we haven't mentioned. Hear hear to the comments about the MPAA being arbitrary and to people being able to make choices for themselves. Rated R movies I love- Amelie, Shawshank Redemption, Bottle Rocket (another movie that should NOT be rated R), The King's Speech, Billy Elliot, Memento (which has one bad scene that if you know where it is, you can skip it) and "Glorious" by Eddie Izzard.

Myrna said...

I am with Liz on this--I grew up in Canada, where the rating system is different from the US. So...which rating system do you follow? And in Australia, where some of the words the US deem as swear words are just ordinary words--many Australian LDS are proud of "The Castle" which is not rated R in Australia but is in the US. When we moved to the US, "The Matrix" was rated R (later it was changed) and kids at school either treated David and Nancy quite badly because they had seen it--or asked to borrow our copy that lacked the R on the cover! And I have to agree with Senora H-B about "The King's Speech". Fabulous film.

AmandaStretch said...

A little late to the discussion here, but everyone is so spot on about arbitrary MPAA ratings that only mean anything in the States. I actually saw my first R-rated movie in Scotland - Troy - because it was U-15 there (between PG-13 and R, I guess) and our options for the evening were a pub crawl or the movies, since we'd already checked out of our hostel. We'd been in the UK for long enough that I don't think any of us even knew what it was rated in the States, and no one of us were horribly damaged by it.

While I haven't always been perfectly discerning, I do choose what to watch based on research and reviews and take it case by case. Amelie is one of my favorite movies ever (you can FF when she's sitting on the hill overlooking Paris), but I'll be fine if I pretend the Austin Powers never existed and that I've never seen them. It comes down to whether the content is gratuitous/for shock value or important to the story. They NEVER take that kind of thing into account when rating a film, which is why some people will never see such wonderful films like Glory or The King's Speech.

Cait said...

I watch R-rated movies, and I watch them often, and I'm not ashamed of it. Most of my favorite movies are R.

In Egypt, all the wives were debating movies to watch, and Sarah and I were pushing for Amelie (easily one of my top three favorite movies, and I think the orgasm scene is hilarious). One of the other wives, was adamantly against watching it because it's rated R (even though there is only that one scene which is very easily skipped), and we ended up watching Date Night, which was so crude I left. I was more than a little annoyed. People are so dogmatic and self-righteous about the movies issue!

I liked Atonement, but didn't love it, by the way.

Emma said...

Billy Elliot is set in Northern England which is totally different from Ireleand (although they do like a good sweary word too).


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