Arts & Entertainment
PG-13? More like R! Movie ratings and how to judge what's appropriate. Have you heard of Deseret News’ new Family Media Guide? I LOVE it. You can look up a movie and see what the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it, and then see what it’s really rated according to people who have seen it.
Not surprisingly, a lot of movies rated PG-13 have been rated R by viewers, and quite a few movies rated R are only considered PG-13. The best example and a really hot topic right now is The King’s Speech (which has 12 nods for this weekend’s Oscars). It’s been rated R by the MPAA, but the majority of viewers on the Family Media Guide have rated it PG-13 and even PG.
Interesting. I haven’t seen it myself, but I know a lot of members that have, absolutely loved it, and were not offended at all by its content.
I think the website is great and I know I’ll be using it to judge which movies I put in my Netflix queue. (Wish I would have known about it before the last movie I rented that had my little bro blushing, a lot. Oops.) Right now it’s only in the beta stage, but the website will soon feature ratings for books, music, TV shows, and other media.
(We recognize that this post and poll relate only to U.S. movie ratings. For international readers, how do you apply the traditional "no rated-R movies" policy to your rating system?)
Ashley Evanson is the Online Editor at LDS Living. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and loves looking at design blogs, wishing she could be as hip as the people she reads about. Her favorite color is light tan.
Have you ever watched a TV show that was more than entertainment for you?
Last Friday morning as I walked into work, I heard a familiar strain playing over the lobby speakers. It was a slow, melancholy piano strain—the one that played in all those poignant or heart-wrenching scenes in the legendary show Lost.
Hearing it made me remember just how much I loved the show—which always makes me want to talk about it.
I know some people who were disappointed with the show’s finale, but it spoke to me of eternity and of just how important the most difficult, or most wayward, or most frustrating parts of our lives are. The show wasn’t so much about the plot—being stranded on a weird, mystical island—as much as it was about how the people grew and became better through the way they reacted to trials. All of them were tragically flawed, which made it all the more inspiring when they made a good (albeit difficult) decision to forget themselves. It was about all the most important things in life: love, sacrifice, and redemption.
Thinking about Lost made me think of The West Wing, my second favorite show of all-time. The same rules that applied to Lost apply here—all very flawed people, all really trying to make their way and do the right thing.
During the first years of our marriage, my husband and I would watch an episode each evening from the DVDs (the show had been cancelled by that point). Oddly, it gave us an opportunity to talk and discuss—we would always pause several times during the show to discuss an issue or dilemma, and what we though about it, or how we would handle it. The dialogue was always clever, but more importantly, after each show, it made me want to be more involved and really understand the background of certain issues—be they political, interpersonal, or religious.
Concert pianist Josh Wright is getting ready to offer a new look at classic Christian hymns.
If you haven’t heard of Josh Wright yet, it’s time to listen up. His performances of classic songs are astounding, but this talented young concert pianist has also started work on a CD of hymn arrangements—nothing new, I know, but he manages to bring something new to the game.
Listen (and watch) his arrangement of “All Creatures of Our God and King.” I challenge you not to get a little misty eyed (though pictures of cute otters and sprawling landscapes always catch my breath a little):
Not only does he compose beautiful arrangements of hymns alone, but he has taken a fresh look at hymns by combining them with classical piano pieces. I scoured the internet looking for some examples, but these tracks are not yet available online. Still, Wright has identified his favorite as a combination between “Clair de Lune” and “O Stor Gud/How Great Thou Art.” I don't know about you, but I’ll be watching for that one.
To get a taste, check out this video of him performing “Clair de Lune”:
For all you pianists out there, his video site, joshwrighttv.com, also has various technique and famous song tips.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw the book title I Sit All Amazed was, “Wait, isn’t it supposed to be I stand all amazed, like the hymn?” Nope. The author, Steve Mikita, knew what he was doing when he titled the book. Here’s why:
Steve was born with a disability called spinal muscular atrophy. I would give you the Wikipedia definition, but I think I’ll refrain because we’d all be scratching our heads afterward. Essentially, it’s a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Clear as mud? Good. Steve has lived his whole life—more than 50 years—in a wheel chair. He has never walked, ridden a bicycle, or driven a car—all things you and I would consider normal and even mundane.
I read a lot of books and enjoy doing so. However, the books that touch me as deeply as this book did are few and far between. And this book reached deeply, and didn’t just touch, but grabbed my heart.
Chapter three, “We Do Not Doubt Our Mothers Knew It,” was my favorite part of the book. You may recognize the chapter title from Alma 56 and the story of Helaman’s stripling warriors—an appropriate theme for this chapter. And yes, I know, odd, that I would single out a favorite chapter, but I did. It only took me three hours to read the book, but I spent about 40 minutes reading this chapter over and over. Throughout the chapter, Steve shares tender memories of his mother encouraging, teaching, and reminding him that he has not brought you this far to fail. My eyes welled up with tears as I read how Steve’s mother entered his room three or four times a night to turn him from side to side, because he couldn’t do that himself. She did it all, everyday, without complaining. He was her son, and she viewed the service she gave to him as a gift and a privilege.
When I was in college (BYU in the mid 90’s) the big thing to do on the weekend was to watch improv shows. There were several rival improv groups attempting to dominate the scene. (Actually, I don’t really know if they were rivals or not, it’s just more fun to re-imagine them as warring improv troops—go with me here.) We Mormon kids were on the hunt for entertainment and at that time, improv was it. Well, improv and acapella. We loved ourselves some acapella groups.
I think these improv groups were so popular because 1. they were funny and 2. it was something else to do on a weekend that wasn’t a movie. Plus it was clean—we could trust it.
Finding “clean” comedy can be hard to do. Or should I say, finding comedy that is clean AND funny can be hard to do. Too often I find myself saying "so and so is really funny, but just watch out for (insert warning of any potentially inappropriate content)". Comedy is one of those fields that too often crosses the line. When it doesn’t, we Mormons sure like to spread the word. (If only I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me “Brain Regan is really funny…and so clean!”)
I've been thinking about all this because a couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to a show done by The Left Field comedy group. The group is compromised of several “graduates” of Humor U, BYU’s stand-up comedy group on campus (improv is SO 90s). The show I attended was fresh, creative, hysterical…and yes, it was clean too. (You may recognize their most famous member Stephen Jones as he starred in the viral 2 million+ hits You Tube video, Study Like a Scholar, Scholar.) FYI - The group was filming a DVD of their stand-up so look for that sometime this summer.