How to Choose a Good Movie
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Have you ever been confused by a large array of movies about which you know nothing? How do you decide?
With 6-inch letters screaming the title and an impressive cast list, the larger-than-life movie poster beckons passersby into the theater at the local mall. One of your friends turns to you and asks if you've seen the big summer blockbuster.
"No, not yet," you reply. "Well, we've got time to kill," your friend announces to the group. "Let's go see it!"
The decision seems harmless enough. Everyone saunters up to the ticket window, then shuffles into the theater. A hush falls over the crowd as the previews begin. You may not realize it, but what you're about to see may affect you long after you leave the theater.
When we watch a movie, our brains participate in what we are seeing. The movie draws an emotional response from us and prompts both thoughts and feelings.
Knowing this, we must heed God's command to guard our minds by making informed choices before we buy a ticket or pick up a DVD. This doesn't mean we are limited to reruns of The Ten Commandments for the rest of our lives, but it does mean we need to put some thought and analysis into our decisions.
Read before you watch
If we plan ahead, we can start our analysis before we get to the theater or go to a video/DVD rental store.
• The Internet has a number of sites such as the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) that provide basic plot information about virtually every movie ever made, as well as links to the official Web sites for newer movies. While these sites are made to promote the film, they often contain extra, behind-the-scenes information that gives us more insight into the movie's message.
• Web sites such as PluggedInOnline.com, ScreenIt.com, MovieGuide.org and ChristianityToday.com/movies post reviews that may be helpful. Check the reviewer's values or biases, using the review site or other searches. If their values are similar to God's, then their reviews are likely to be good barometers for good, clean entertainment.
• Finally, check the movie's rating (G, PG, PG-13, etc.). The Classification and Ratings Administration (www.filmratings.com), which was founded in 1968, rates movies for violence, sexual content and profanity. While their standards have slid over the years, their ratings are a good way of determining the film's target audience.
On-the-spot decision making
If you're already at the theater or the video/DVD rental store, you can still do a simple analysis. Take a look at the promotional poster or DVD case and consider a few points:
• Glance at the graphics. If the images depict gratuitous violence or low moral standards, there's a good chance the film itself will follow suit.
• Who are the actors, directors and producers? If they have been involved with morally acceptable movies in the past, they might make similar productions again.
• Read the plot synopsis. Does the story line glorify the breaking of God's laws?
The final scene
What is the litmus test for a movie? If Jesus were one of your friends in the opening scenario, would He be willing to watch the movie with you? This question may seem trite; however, it's highly relevant.
God sees all, and will one day call us to account for everything we do. While He may not be sitting in the theater with us, He's very aware of what's in our hearts and minds. And He does send His holy angels to accompany us.
So plan ahead, choose wisely, watch carefully and make sure the movie you choose is worthy of the time and space in your mind! VT