I guess a few people won’t be watching any films featuring Samuel L Jackson then. He mentions his mother quite a lot…
Two words: Pulp Fiction. The Fs, GDs, MFs, and N-words fall down like hailstones in a storm. At that point it just becomes background noise. When Jules (Samuel L Jackson) called Vincent (John Travolta) the N-word when they were washing the blood off their hands, I had to do a double-take — “did I just hear what I think I heard?”. Again, background noise. Definitely not for kids, but great movie — nothing you could really even call nudity (you see Bruce Willis very briefly from the back) and only two fleeting sex scenes, one of which was a rape.
If you sought to shield yourself from hearing or reading any cursing whatsoever, you could not even read the passage from the Bible, Matthew 5:22 (DRV), “But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” That, too, is cursing. We were discouraged from using the word “fool” when I was growing up, for that very reason.
I must politely disagree:
(James 1:26) “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
(James 3:10) “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
(Matthew 5:11) “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
(Matthew 12:36) “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,”
(Colossians 3:8) “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Interesting article here about Jackson’s support of Tarantino writing as he did (with a warning that it contains profanities: https://www.indiewire.com/2019/03/samuel-l-jackson-defends-tarantino-n-word-only-allows-three-takes-1202050911/
This is key. There is a huge difference between the two. Swearing is not good but is not that big a deal, and I wouldn’t avoid a movie because of it (even though I personally don’t happen to enjoy the kinds of movies that would have a lot of swearing in the first place).
Taking God’s name in vain is a different matter. I tolerate an occasional OMG (maybe once per TV episode) but if it’s written into the script as a normal way characters speak, I don’t watch it.
Generally movies should entice us to become better in all aspects, according to the Gospel.
I do not see how seeing movies with poor language would help us in any way, except to normalize bad language.
Let’s not forget Jesus mentioned that we remain mindful of what we speak, because we will be judged from all we have said.
A little tip, it is far better to remain silent than to use poor language, every time.
Good article. I want to say that PF could not have been PF without that kind of language, but I have seen the safe-for-TV version of PF, where through some strange alchemy, they scrub out all the language and the dodgier situations, and I have to admit, the story holds together very well. So I just don’t know.
People regularly watch movies that portray all sorts of and behaviour - infidelity, drug use, crime and whatnot. At least some of them inspire us to become better people.by showing us how NOT to be.
I for one have never watched a mafia movie, for example, and gone ‘yeah, that movie really makes me want to go join the mob, and get up the violence and crime and whatnot that they do’. Quite the opposite.
Mileage varies of course, and some are more impressionable about such things, as I may be about others. Each person has to.discern for.themselves and do.their best to avoid what might lead them.personally to sin.
I think we should all discern.
But, in all things, we should pursue holiness, purity and love. We should avoid all sin, and try to be better. We should work to bring fruit for the kingdom of God and glorify God.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God. Hebrews 12:14
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat?
13 But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth.
14 Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace.
15 And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: - 2 Peter 3:11-15
If you have to ask…
Personally, I am ancient, but black and white movies and TV are cleaner and frankly, more interesting.
More and more I have not been wanting to hear anything unholy in my house. I think of the scripture, “Be holy for I am holy” and I just don’t want impurity invading my home because I am wanting to please my Lord and enjoy His presence in my life. I’m realizing more that God really does “inhabit the praises of his people,” so I’m wanting my home environment to be welcoming to his spirit, as I spend more time listening to music which brings his glory into my home. This has been a very gradual change in my life, not something that I force. This has to come from the heart.
Occasionally I’ll tolerate it, but I find myself more often just turning it off or watching other simpler programs not containing violence or bad language.
Humphrey Bogart movies are the best. Not many of today’s movies can match the quality of Casablanca.
You hear this a lot, the idea that “old stuff was better“ and in my humble opinion it’s a myth. I think it’s usually a mix of nostalgia (if the person is older, of course they’re going to partial to movies and music from their youth) and selection bias (the movies from 40 years ago seem disproportionately great because we’ve long since collectively forgotten about all the duds.)
Yes. Perhaps some remember the saying, “Why can’t life be more like the movies?” Hollywood listened but decided to make movies more like life. The result was a coarsening of society, not only in language but in permissible acts.
Eastwood made and continues to make movies that are life like. Can’t remember Clint ever dropping a gratuitous “F-bomb” in his flicks.
Exactly. If i remember correctly, watching movies wasn’t a prerequisite to get to heaven. if so…well i’m definitely not making it! But watching our tongue is and being conscientious in building our character and conscience are.
Right. Sometimes when you analyze older movies, they’re not exactly in line with church teaching either. I’ve heard arguments about Casablanca for example. I think this also applies to children’s movies. Just because someone slaps a label on a movie doesn’t make it so. Evil tries to infect the young ones too.
I am not completely opposed to all evil in any movie, even Saint’s movies show injustices and evil doers. However the main and overall theme of those movies is geared toward doing good and becoming a better person according to the teachings of the Church and the Holy Gospels.
A movie full of poor language, which has as their main theme violence, drug, sex or greed leaves little behind to help improve anyone.
Unsurprisingly violent movies do cause copycats see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Born_Killers_copycat_crimes
There is no surprises there, we inevitable become what we see, say and do repeatedly.
Satan always traps us first with the small almost innocent missteps, and makes sure we continuously progress further and further until it becomes an uncontrollable avalanche.
Is it a near occasion of sin for you? Are you exposing young children to it?
Fyi, Michelle Arnold, a staff apologist at Catholic Answers, answered a similar question, “Can a Catholic watch imperfect movies?” here:
Also, Steven Greydanus, a Catholic who founded the Catholic film review apostolate, Decent Film Reviews (http://decentfilms.com) wrote a theological analysis “What are Decent films?” here:
Good post. If we co-operate, the Holy Spirit will guide us on the narrow path.