Christians are often divided on questions about movies, television, and video games. Where do we draw the line between good entertainment, worthy of our attention, and bad media we should avoid? What about movies or shows with excessive violence or sexuality? How do we discern which video games to play (or allow our kids to play)? Brandon and Fr. Blake offer several general principles while also discussing specific films, TV shows, books, games, and more.
- The Monsters and the Critics: And Other Essays by J.R.R. Tolkien
I liked this episode and Pope Emeritus’ comment that he would watch children’smovies. Can’t go wrong with that attitude! I have a friend who has a sign on her TV that reads: would Jesus watch this program with you?
This was excellent … my kiddos are all grown now … gosh I wished I could have presented these topics To them differently than I did …
This was an excellent discussion. I am used to only watching movies that are on the “good list”. Someone else has done that delicate work before me. For me to make that discernment, I’d have to expose myself to possible impurity. I know others who have done that work for me. I’d rather not wade into that delicate task. I often invite people to read up first on a movie, not only for the purpose seeing if has good acting or a good story, but if it has explicit sensual or violent scenes that might effect me, or others. I sometimes watch movies with those scenes edited out. Much better. I loved the story about Pope Benedict XVI. But I also like to invite people not to watch movies alone, but always in family, or with friends. It’s a communal affair.
Just finished watching the episode on authentic fantasy vs. bad fantasy in books, movies, & video games. Excellent time spent. In fact I forwarded it to my daughters, daughters-in-law, friends and one of my sisters.
Thank you for the episode. I have found over time how my interest for particular movies and books have changed, for the better. Also with so many options available of what to read, watch or listen to there really is no need for waste time on things that are not good for our soul.
My youngest of 3 children is now 18. I wish that I had had this concern and insight when the kids were younger.
I have recommended your Podcast to others.
My grandsons 12 and 14 have begun watching The Umbrella Academy with their parents. I think it is too dark and immoral. What do you think? Have you heard of this series? They tell me it is simple fantasy which is enjoyable.
Haven’t hear of it before, sorry! But maybe Fr. Blake or others have?
I am curious how your zero tolerance policy for nudity applies to other visual arts. How is one to approach paintings and sculptures that depict nudity? This has long been controversial, just look to Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. I personally don’t know where the line should be drawn. While I agree that it is best to keep the mind free of any image that can be used for temptation, I also see a lot of value in the beauty of these historical works. Any insights?
I think a proper distinction is between paintings and sculptures which *depict* nudity in abstract representations (i.e., they don’t involve a real flesh-and-blood person exposing his or her body) and nudity in film or television, which always involves an actual flesh-and-blood person exposing themselves.
In my mind, this same distinction is important when comparing sex or nudity described in *books* versus sex or nudity *depicted* on screen. The former doesn’t require actual human beings to participate in sexually immoral acts (although, it’s worth adding, gratuitous descriptions of sex even in books can trigger immoral thoughts, so we need to be discerning even with what we read.)
Hope that helps!
If it’s flesh and blood that’s the problem then wouldn’t nudity in videogames and animation be permissible in some situations?
And going in the other direction you do need flesh and blood people for more classical art to be used as models. By this standard wouldn’t be impossible for a catholic to go to art school without sinning gravely since it’s necessary to practice drawing the human form with nude models?
Great episode!! You can never say too much about Tolkien in my humble opinion ! 😅
As a children’s librarian and a parent myself, I want to caution all parents that just because something is on a kid’s channel, that DOES NOT mean it’s spiritually good for your child to watch. A lot of stuff has so many agendas these days, but I would also caution against things that have too many jump cuts or fast-pacing. Those don’t lead your kids to beauty or wonder, but instead hurts the attention span that they need to process and enjoy beauty. Anything insipid, anything that you yourself as a parent can’t stand, anything with an anti-Christian agenda, don’t even let your kid near it, books or movies. There are so many good books and movies out there for kids (though I am in full favor of limiting screen time) that there’s no need to waste their time (or yours) on anything less than quality. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox before I slip and fall.
Thank you both for another excellent show…paying attention to the quality of language is perhaps another criteria we can and should use to determine whether a given movie helps or corrups our moral sensibilities. My oldest son and I have been bonding over father-son movie nights about once a week. We’re currently watching the Last Dance, a ten series documentary that chronicles the rise of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan to fame and excellence. Focus, discipline, hardwork, etc. are the means by which the Bulls become 6x basketball champions. Prior to that my son recommended that we watch Dolemite Is My Name, a movie which features Eddie Murphy and supposedly won the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy. Disgusted by obsenties and nude scene, I couldn’t watch it. I realize we have different levels of tolerance for vulgarity, but having a moral compass that helps us regulate what we consume by way of images (still or motion), words (spoken or written) is really important. Once again great show and thanks for all those tools of discernment…
Thank you for this important discussion. Got a lot from it and will check your previous links on ideas for good books, movies, art to consider. Some excellent ideas and suggestions to help us all to be transformed through the good, true and beautiful. Today’s reading: “…Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing, and perfect.” Rom. 12: 1-2
We are here only a limited time, our lives are short. Why waste it on junk when there is so much truly great and worthwhile to discover and grow from. Our souls yearn for healthy food!
Great insights, although I disagree with some of the commentary regarding nudity. Tolerance for nudity and the human body varies widely across cultures and is heavily influenced by it. Think of the public sauna or banya cultures in the Finnland and across western and eastern Europe, here nudity isn’t sexualized at all even across genders. I think this adds some more complexity to the zero tolerance policy for some people/cultures.
I get why you’re going zero-tolerance on nudity – our culture is hypersexualized, pornography is a huge problem, you want to draw a hard line. But I think you’re going too far in the other direction.
I’ll start with the deeper layers of Tolkien’s mythology. Nudity is in Children of Hurin twice, when Turin chases Saeros and when he finds Nienor naked in the rain. I know you said nudity on the page is different, but suppose one day a film adaptation of Children of Hurin were made (with Amazon doing the Second Age now, this is not impossible). Would you really want to say these scenes should be left out, or would it be better to say they should be shot in a tasteful and understated way and the camera shouldn’t linger any longer than needed? What about an adaptation of Chaucer?
The Mission is a deeply Catholic film and has nudity, mainly the topless native women but also briefly in the scene where Rodrigo kills his brother early on. Do you really want to say Catholics shouldn’t watch one of the greatest spiritual movies Hollywood ever made? Braveheart, which you mentioned positively, also has nudity (and is a good example of how to film it right, I think).
Lastly, keep in mind that a lot of classical paintings or sculptures of nudes done by Catholics used real people as models. So it’s not so simple as drawing a distinction between an artistic depiction and a flesh-and-blood person.
To say that people shouldn’t watch an utterly sex-saturated show like Game of Thrones is probably wise. To say any nudity or sex at all in a movie or show, regardless of story context or how it is shot, makes it off-limits is too strict. There are plenty of grey areas, though certainly we should be cautious. Protestants criticized Catholics for being too tolerant of nudity in their art in the Reformation.
I love this podcast and both you gentleman your hearts are so joyous and beautiful that being said I think your thoughts are a bit extreme. We should be able to watch our kids but also trust em enough to know right vs. Wrong. One day our kids are going to be in the real word and we can not hold a leash like a dog! I am single mom whom only wishes i can be there for my kid 24/7 the world does not work like that. Also personally I am not immoral or the devil is w me i just like as a writer to write horror/scifi. I can not see myself writing anything else i am very close to my faith but i am also a broken soul finally realizing how to love myself so there will be no mushy writing for me. My son wants to be an fx artist. He since a very young age has the intellegence to know all that gore and make up is not real and i think there are many kids that get that we need to give them credit. But not only that loves just understand how it all works you call that wrong bc its horror etc. But theres more to makeup then horror. Just like he knows ghosts are just lost souls that need a bit more prayer to find the light. Like many hes spoken to through his clairvoyance spiritual gift they are kids whom were never told what the light was and there was a heaven. It also keeps him close to his angels when he needs their guidance. Am i going to tell my kid that is wrong bc the church thinks so no because i believe hes using it for good. It is okay to protect but not kill their moral fibers of consciousness. Kids grow up and make their own failures and need to work that out and by the grace of God will! There is an awesome show out there right now and its being critized by folks whom will not give it a chance bc its about witches etc but at the core its about being different is okay, being good friends, finding out where one belongs and stuff teens need in their morality. So am i going to have my son stop watching it you might say yes bc of what it is on the outside but is that right? Thats like judging a book by its cover and i know fr blake loves to read so until you read it weather you enjoy it or not you still read it to find out not judge right? Then why judge our children or already say they are wrong…
I agree anno and i love both you guys too fr blake you are a panic in the best ways! But i do remember learning very early in my faith that a difference opinion is what makes us human.
Anno are you talking about the owl house btw it rocks and i agree its a little crazy witchy on the outside on the inside is a great story about a teen whose lost and finding her way. Which lets face it is every teenager. I know Luz I was Luz in the sense i was gay and catholic but i am proud it now as an adult and raising my daughter faithfully and proudly to be anything she wants to be. That is what God wants for us to not judge and love one another.
Ps. I still love your podcast brandon and fr. Blake and pray God blesses you always and keeps you.