Friday, June 23, 2006

Facing the Giants

I genuinely believe that the hype around the PG rating given Facing the Giants is just that -- hype meant to promote the film and get butts in seats -- not a decision by the MPAA to give this film a PG rating because of it's overtly Christian content as opposed to its hard hits during football game scenes and some delicate discussion in the film about sterility.

POINT: HYPE over this "warn the public about Christianity" rating accusation is getting this Indy film noticed. HYPE may get butts in seats and HYPE has resulted in over 15,000 email complaints to the MPAA.

So, I have to ask -- anti Christian discrimination or clever marketing at work?

"What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents," said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures.
Okay, now see, that wasn't very smart. But what does the other side say?

Joan Graves, chairman of the MPAA ratings board, contacted the Catholic League, admitting that she was the MPAA official who originally spoke to Fuhr. According to Graves, she told Fuhr that the PG rating was given to the movie, not for being overtly religious, but because of mature issues, e.g., depression, matters relating to pregnancy and sports-related violence.

In a statement Graves indicated the MPAA "has a long-standing policy not to comment to the press about individual films other than to give the rating and the rating reasons", but owing to the "misunderstanding that this film received a PG rating for its religious viewpoint", she felt obliged to respond. She added, "This film has a mature discussion about pregnancy, for example, as well as other elements that parents might want to be aware of. There are many religious films that have been submitted for rating, and they have garnered ratings from G to R, depending on the graphics and intensity of various elements in the film."

. . . the MPAA really did give Facing the Giants a PG rating solely religious religious content?

(cue Gomer Pyle) Shame. Shame. Shame.

Doctrine has no place in rating systems. If it did, where would it stop? Would it stop at rating a film like Bend it Like Beckam for having strong orthodox Sikh principles or would we also warn people that Mulan prays to ancestors, Hercules resurrects a dead woman, and Pocahontas thinks rocks have spirits?

Do we even stop at religion? After all, certain races and nationalities have beliefs, customs, and superstitions that may conflict with my religion. Maybe the MPAA should warn me that the poor black family in the film believes a baby's hernia came from allowing a woman on her menstrual cycle to hold that baby. And, since many people's political views are connected to their faith, maybe we should have ratings for films that express strong political views in opposition to mine, too?

Ain't gonna happen. Shouldn't. Wouldn't. Won't.

The whole rating "because of religion" thing is just silly which is why I don't believe the MPAA based the PG rating on Christian content. I have no doubt religious bias exists. I see it, hear it, and receive it.

Maybe my cockeyed optimism is in overdrive or I'm just overly naive. But why would the MPAA suddenly feel responsible for shielding us from religious diversity? If so, they would create the task of rating all films based on strong agnostic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Scientologist and Christian (among others too numerous to list) content in every film. That is an enormous self imposed task and I really doubt it's a giant that the MPAA wants to face.

But, I don't know anything.


ECHenry said...

Marry Ann,

Wow, interesting issue. Don't like religious bias, BUT I do know from hanging in the Christian camp, that many here don't like being suprised by finding gay and lesbian issues in films they go to see.

So... to be fair across the board, perhaps the MPAA should warn the public about overtly religious/alternate lifestyle content in a film. This knowledge will empower parents, who may want to protect their kids from what they deam as influences they want to protect their kids from.

Can see now you've got a cruisading bend about yourself, Marry Ann. Don't loose that. It's a good thing.

Sincerly, your biggest fan in the state of Washington, E.C.Henry

MaryAn Batchellor said...

I think I have to disagree.

Gay/lesbian issues deal with sexual orientation which is already addressed in the rating system and is why I believe this film got a PG rating.

Yeah, I'm a bit of a crusader when it comes to certain things -- kids and human rights mostly -- but I'm pretty sick of parents expecting society to raise their kids for them.

If I bring my kids up in a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or Scientologist home, it's my job to prepare them to live in a world of diverse faiths and not expect that world to protect me from all the other belief systems out there.

Anonymous said...

I think you should quit writing.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

And I defend your right to cower behind anonymity and announce what you think.

Anonymous said...

Does "three year hiatus" mean you got fired from your previous job and were seeking employment for three years?—Now, that's your cue to come up with a clever rebuttal because blogging is the only thing in your life with a purpose. Can't wait to see your response or are you going to be the "bigger person" and not respond at all? You must be so torn.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Is heckling people from behind a mask the only thing in your life with a purpose?

I'll give you the courtesy of this last reply. Don't expect future replies unless your posts amount to more than random pebbles of contempt thrown in my general direction.


I took three years off from a demanding full time career to write screenplays while I recovered from a diseased softball that was removed from my right breast. I have never been fired from a job but I've turned several down.

Now, go away, Ben. You are dead to me and this blog.

Anonymous said...

Good one.