Guard Your Eyes and Heart

23 April 2016

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes... It shall not fasten its grip on me. - Psalm 101:3
Numerous films, television series and miniseries are vying for your attention and patronage each week. So how do you choose which ones to spend your hard earned dollars on and watch? Do you look at the ratings? Reviews? Family Guides? Or do you take a chance and see a film/show because your favorite actor is the star?

As a young person, I was in the habit of seeing a movie because of the high critical praise or because someone I admired was in the film. About 5 years ago, I felt convicted in my faith and decided I needed to better guard my eyes and heart against unnecessary crassness and ugliness and came up with three questions that I ask before seeing any film/t.v. series.

This post is not meant to judge anyone else or tell you what to (or not to) watch but I hope that those of you who are interested might find this post helpful.


Here are 3 Questions I ask myself before seeing any film/t.v. series:
  1. Does the film/t.v. series have any nudity, sex scenes and gratuitous violence?
  2. Does the film/t.v. series have a positive message?
  3. Would I be embarrassed to be seen watching the film/t.v. series?
There seems to be more and more nudity and sex scenes in t.v. series and blockbuster films nowadays. At one time, the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck could cause girls to swoon in their seats without having to show their backside or genitals. Women such as Joan Crawford and Greer Garson had men swooning without needing to flash a naked breast.
Nowadays, it seems that almost any blockbuster film has at least one sex scene or display of nudity. A woman at the doctor's office said that someone would be a bad parent for letting their kid see Deadpool (2016). Looking at the parents' guide on IMDb, I couldn't even read all the descriptions of the nudity/sexuality in the blockbuster without blushing. Despite all the wonderful things I heard about the film, there was no reason I could think of to "get a load of" Ryan Reynolds and I would be embarrassed to be seen watching the film. Similarly, I could not stomach watching Bridesmaids (2011) in the cinemas. Despite being with a friend, I had to get up and leave during the first prolonged sex scene that was supposed to be funny but for me it was extremely embarrassing and I didn't know where to look as it went on and on.
But are there times when nudity/sex scenes are appropriate? One of my favorite movies, Schindler's List starring Ralph Fiennes & Liam Neeson, has plenty of nudity and a sex scene. How do I justify watching it? Because, in answer to Q #2, I see it as a significant portrayal of the Holocaust and yes for those of you who are curious I fast forward through the one sex scene thanks to knowing exactly where the scene takes place in the film.
And what about violence? We all know that what happens in a film is fake and that decapitations and gore are the work of artists. Still, the violence and gore factor has increased tenfold since the times of  Jekyll & Hyde (1941), Psycho (1960), and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), three films that could always be counted upon to make me have nightmares and give me a fright. But it was incredible that in none of these films do you actually see any gore or explicit violence. In Psycho for instance the infamous shower scene is shot in such a way that no nudity or wounds are shown and in Jekyll & Hyde the infamous scene when Hyde murders Ivy does not show any actual strangulation.
Nowadays, movies are commonly rated for extended violence. Personally, the brutality and gore in the pilot of Game of Thrones turned me off (in addition to the number of sexual scenes) and yet I know many friends who love the series. I had to ask myself what good comes from watching the show and could not come up with any answers so shut it off. As much as I would love to see the stars who've been featured in the show, such as Charles Dance and Iain Glen, I don't believe seeing the show does my mind and heart any good.
And what about the upcoming and much talked about High-Rise starring Jeremy Irons (one of my favorite actors) that makes its US premiere on-demand starting 28 April? I was really hoping it would be okay to watch due to my respect for the leading man but unfortunately thanks to reading Parents' Guide on IMDb and UK reviews, I know this is one I will not be checking out. Aside from the orgy and numerous sexual scenes, the movie is rated R for violence and disturbing scenes. No thanks, I'll just go re-watch Die Hard and Brideshead Revisited.

Similarly, I changed my mind about The Night Manager after seeing the parental guide on IMDb. Sadly I will be passing on seeing the likes of Hugh Laurie, Tom Hollander, Olivia Colman and Natasha Little in this piece.
 
Everyone has to make their minds up on what they will tolerate. Might seem like a downer and you probably wonder if I watch anything but yes I do. Plenty but I am just more cautious nowadays about what I agree to watch because let's remember that nothing ever really gets wiped away from your heart and memory. If you want a more educated understanding about the next movie/t.v. show you watch, check out the IMDb Parental Guide.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. - Proverbs 4:23

2 comments:

  1. A very thoughtful approach. Thanks Joy!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Randy! Glad you liked it. Had a foggy brain when I wrote it but felt compelled.

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Thanks so much for sharing with me! Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated!
x Joy

 

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