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.

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  • 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 …

    Great job!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

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