Slumdog Millionaire, or “I thought we didn’t see R-rated movies”

A fellow on Cougarboard, one of my favorite hangouts, asks why so many of his brethren on the site seem to have seen Slumdog Millionaire, which is an R-rated movie.  For those not in the know, LDS (Mormons) have been admonished not to go see movies rated R.  It’s not a commandment.  But it is a piece of counsel.

There’s a good deal of debate about it, whether it’s okay to go or not, and lots of self-justification, which is the guilty person’s way of letting everyone know it’s not his fault he’s betraying himself.  There hasn’t been much thoughtful comment.

As the father of 8 and a member of one of the more movie-savvy families on earth, here’s what I said:

Through this movie, I’m going to invite some strangers over to my house to hang out with me, and give me their philosophy on life, for a couple of hours.  What are the chances that I would actually do that if these people were physically there?  Are the people in the film, the things they do, the kinds of people they are, the sort of people I want to tell my kids I like to be around?

Most “kiddie” comedies are out.  I don’t like those kinds of unserious, flatulent, irresponsible people and I don’t want my kids to think I do.  Most R movies are out, because the sorts of things that make them R are the things I can’t condone.  But some R movies are not like that.  The Matrix series featured mainly people I WOULD like and DO like, people doing their best against horrific odds, and especially against the almost-omnipotent System.  Same with V for Vendetta, though it wasn’t as much fun.

Thus Norbit is out, and Saving Private Ryan is – on an edited basis, and with the TV guardian stripping out the language – in.  I have something like 60 movies in my Netflix queue, from old silent movies to Herbie to Dr. Who episodes (the Tom Baker Dr. Who).  There’s no shortage of stuff to see, and even great stuff.

I think I’d like to see Slumdog, but I probably won’t.  I’d probably enjoy it, but I wouldn’t be able to watch it with the family, so likely it won’t happen.  I don’t watch movies to escape from anything – my life is plenty interesting – I watch them to spend time with my family (and yes, we do pause them and talk about what’s going on, etc.).  The people in the movie therefore need to be people I want to invite to join us.

Leave a Reply