I apologize for the couplet-title. I'm studying for the Miller Analogy Test and I'm thinking in analogous phrases.
In junior high my best friend was a Mafiaphile. While other young women (aka, me) fantasized about being a Bennet girl or at least living in 18th century England, Kate imagined the romance of being a Corleon matriarch. She also dragged me through the shadowy underground of R-rated movies. Growing up in white-bread Utah, I didn't realize that said shadowy underground mostly exists in minds of members of the Church, and that to other people such a rating didn't particularly influence movie-watching choices. Especially R-rated movies circa the 1980's. As Kate and I made our way each weekend through another gangster movie, I felt delightfully rebellious. And though my Italy-fever never reached my friend's near-obsession, I actually really enjoyed all of the contra-band.
Kate and I didn't stay BFF's. (I guess the label is misnomer.) My new peer group was very anti R-rated movies and, at the time, the Church issued the first edition of its youth pamphlet titled, "For the Strength of Youth" which carried a firm warning against viewing any movie rated R. The line in the sand was more than enough for me and some years passed without me watching any others.
Enter The Mistake. Despite his church-ish demeanor (at least around me), he had few qualms about such viewing. When I had been home from my mission just a month we had already seen Air Force One (actually cool and thought provoking), The Full Monty (hilarious) and The Rock (wrong on nearly every level). The irony, of course, is that of all the movies we saw together (what else did we do, after all?) the trashiest two were both rated PG-13. The first Austin Powers, during which I ultimately had to leave the room; and Titanic. Okay, okay, there are some awesome things about Titanic, but I thought it was highly overrated and plenty heavy on the Tit. Though I'm sure The Mistake was thinking about how artistic Kate Winslet was as she disrobed for her paramour.
Yes, yes, "trashy" is a relative word and certainly in the eye of the beholder. The other strange thing, to me, is that in Australia there is no "R" rating. Most movies in the US that get a PG-13 OR and R rating are labeled "M" for mature in Oz. Every member of the Church I knew went to a wide variety of "M" movies, several of which I knew to be rated "R"in the US. Oooo. . . .even "good" members of the Church.
Not long after returning from my mission, the Church issued a second edition of the Strength of Youth booklet, counseling specifically ONLY against pornography. The header scripture for the section is an excerpt from the 13th Article of Faith, "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." The new emphasis on the section is on the dangers of immersing yourself in media of any type that causes of a loss of the Spirit. And that is pretty much it.
There are a variety of opinions on this: some say that the standard is therefore stricter than ever. That there are plenty of even PG rated movies that can't make the cut here, and virtually none of the other movies with their seedier ratings are appropriate, just by virtue of all that can be allowed in movies that have those ratings. Others have gone just the opposite and say that now it doesn't matter what we watch, and that we should just exercise a particle of caution. My own view is more in the middle, though I've definitely gone to the side of more caution and with a reversion to the standard from my teenage yars.
In our married life, Plantboy and I have only rented R-rated movies on two ocassions. One was not a bad movie at all (and I'm still a little confused about the rating); the other was a bloodbath predicated by characters with bloodlust and covered with loads of bloody blood after most scenes. With Mel Gibson. I guess that image should be pretty clear.
We have never paid to go to the theatre to see one; though, admittedly, I've seen plenty of PG-13 and even PG movies that could not pass the 13th Article of Faith Litmus Test.
So it is with the background that I stood in line to buy tickets for The King's Speech last Friday night. I felt anxious. Naughty. Like a 14 year old boy trying to sneak into a porn film . . .
Okay, maybe not THAT bad, but I don't think I've ever paid, personally to see an over-17. The young man behind the counter hesitated, ever so briefly, when I told him what I wanted. No doubt, he was waiting for his computer screen to tell him that, yes, there were still seats available, but I thought he was going to ask for my ID, though I blow past the over 17 thing by more than double. He stared at me lazily, his mood clearly out of step with my shaking hands.
We are so conditioned.
The King's Speech is a movie about loyalty, bravery, war, true love, patriotism, friendship, family, overcoming, suffering . . . Along with such grand themes, every other aspect of what makes film making (and literature) interesting is also present--brilliant juxtaposition, careful characterization, mood and pacing. From the opening minute, you feel such an intense connection to the main character (it IS Mr. Darcy, after all), that you already begin rooting for him. The humanity of this story is truly remarkable.
The film is praising of virtue. It is Lovely. Of good report. Praiseworthy. I came away uplifted, and with a greater conviction to treat others with kindness, to understand their story. Do not miss this film, but seek after this thing as soon as you have opportunity.
So, in other news, I've been very busy. (And I don't just mean breaking commandments that don't actually exist.) I've discovered the graduate program I want to be a part of and am working on my application. My friend and I backed away from running the BIG race because we couldn't get enough support, but we are running a half-marathon at the end of July and I'm making a rather weak effort to train for that. Plantboy was in charge of last weekend's ward party; and, of course, that meant we were co-chairs. Church in general has kept us ridiculously busy. The novel-writing is progressing: slowly but surely. I have maybe 30 pages left to finish a 300 page manuscript. At that point, that is where YOU will come in. I will definitely be soliciting readers. I'm making my six year old a blanket out of granny squares.
Oh, and I un-closeted myself as a registered Democrat the other day on Facebook which generated a very interesting discussion with 65 comments. No, not all of them were mine. Sheesh, if I had that much to say I would just start a blog where I spend an unhealthy amount of time writing/thinking/discussing politics and religion. . . . wait a minute . . .