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Movies and Family Values

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Got a call last night for "the lady of the house." It was a survey, I guess, but it started with a long speech about how movies these days do not teach family values. The woman said, "Even movies that are meant for children are marginally acceptable or completely questionable." She continued to say that producers automatically reject movie scripts that are family-oriented because they think no one will go see them, and not going to the movies is an option but not a good one.

Then she asked if I agreed, and I said, "No." She started another mini-speech and asked me the same question again.

I told her, "I believe family values should be taught by parents, not by movies. They are for entertainment and don't always have to teach some kind of lesson... I think there are plenty of good children's movies out there, that are not in the least questionable." And then I thought, if my daughter wants more stories, she can read books!

I guess I was kind of snarky but I was tired of the lectures... I kept thinking she was talking about The Simpsons Movie that is coming out, and Star Wars, Harry Potter, and others that we watch with our daughter. But she was also talking about Pixar and Disney movies, etc.

Good children's movies, IMO, have bits in it for the parents, too, that the kids don't even understand. And I think NOT seeing the movie IS an option, a good option.

How do you feel about this? Are there no appropriate family movies out there? Is this really an issue?
post #2 of 14
Yes, there are family appropriate movies out there.

Then there are parents who drag their kids to see the ones that aren't.
post #3 of 14
Surveys should not ask leading questions like that. Did you ask what organisation she was from?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
She told me who was conducting the survey at the beginning, but I had never heard of it and don't remember it - could have been any made-up name, you know?

Yeah, I didn't appreciate the little lecture before asking the questions...

HA, and at the end she told me, "This survey is for families who feel movies are not appropriate these days... I won't take any more of your time." LOL, that's not a survey.

But we are very liberal and wanted to have a reality check about this here!
post #5 of 14
Wow...talk about attempting to falsify your results.

IMO movies for children today still have some family values to them. Togetherness, encouragement, and honesty are still displayed in movies. I.e. the last children's movie I saw was "Happy Feet". Mumble had friends that stuck by him when he needed them, they encouraged him to get Gloria's attention as well as how lack of encouragement can separate a family. Honesty was thrown in there too (i.e. about leader penguins and the one with the plastic ties wrapped around).
post #6 of 14
I think the moral of the story doesn't have to be hammered into your skull (or repeated over and over and over again) for the movie, novel, television show or what-have-you to have a moral or impart some core values. Even at the most basic level, in movies we typically see the good guys win and the bad guys lose, and any good novel or film has characters who mature and grow throughout the course of it (unless the point of the novel/film is the tragedy of a person not maturing and growing).

Take Star Wars, for example. We see Luke Skywalker mature from an inexperienced youth caught up in events beyond his control, into a powerful Jedi master who is very much in control of his life. And the values? Loyalty, friendship, self-discipline, trust, integrity ... Yeah, nothin' to learn there.

"Family movie" doesn't have to mean syrupy sweet or excessively moral-driven. A "family movie" is simply a movie the whole family can watch. When I was a little kid, we had family movie nights all the time, and believe me, we didn't watch all Disney movies all the time. The movies we watched had sex, violence, swearing and drug use, but we always talked about it afterwards and discussed what we had seen and what it meant to us. Nowadays it seems that when people say "family movie," what they actually mean is "movie I can use to babysit my kid while I go do something else." It means someone else out there has preapproved this movie for your childrens' virgin eyes, and you don't have to think about whether or not it's actually appropriate for your children. (Even though what I might consider appropriate could be vastly different from what you might consider appropriate. Actually, given how liberal-minded I am, it's probably very different.)

Star Wars can be a family movie. Harry Potter can be a family movie. Heck, I watched Pet Semetary with my family. What makes it a family movie isn't the movie -- it's the family.
post #7 of 14
I get the impression that the people doing this "survey" are of the same ilk as those who want governments have things like smoking, alcohol, strip clubs and any other perceived vice done away with. There is a group in the Cincinnati area called Citizens for Community Values who are supposedly wanting to have tatoos and tatoo parlors banned.
post #8 of 14
That's why you should always take survey results with a grain of salt.

This said, I think "family value" is often a buzz-word used by religious groups to justify imposing their views of what good values are.

Also, I agree that it's not up to the movies to raise children. Parents should encourage their children to discuss what they think about movies so they can learn to be intelligent and critical viewers. That's a much better defense against the bad values put forth by some movies than censorship.
post #9 of 14
I hate the term "family values". Because it's a term that tries to be inclusive and really all it does is shove most of the families I know out in the cold.

"Family" movies are always going to have issues. When Snow White came out people freaked out because the witch was too scary.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
HA, and at the end she told me, "This survey is for families who feel movies are not appropriate these days... I won't take any more of your time." LOL, that's not a survey.

But we are very liberal and wanted to have a reality check about this here!
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
That's why you should always take survey results with a grain of salt.

This said, I think "family value" is often a buzz-word used by religious groups to justify imposing their views of what good values are.

Also, I agree that it's not up to the movies to raise children. Parents should encourage their children to discuss what they think about movies so they can learn to be intelligent and critical viewers. That's a much better defense against the bad values put forth by some movies than censorship.
Mariep - my sentiments exactly. This is a perfect example of why one should not always believe surveys and statistics. They (IMO) are often slanted to reveal what the person/group wants revealed.
post #11 of 14
That wasn't a survey, it was proselytizing and propaganda, and you were way more polite than I could have been!

It is a good question. Personally... there are lots of things that many would deem have too much violence, eroticness(?), language, etc that have fantastic morals and values, and a whole lot of filth that is supposedly kid-friendly that has horrible morals and values.

Have you ever noticed that hardly any Disney movies have any kind of family structure for the main character and if they do it's always the parents standing in the way of the main character's happiness? I do NOT mean the perfect Mommy, Daddy, Baby sort of family either-- I mean any kind of family. Finding Nemo is the best counterexample I can think of, but other than that... I don't know really what it even means, but it seems odd that a good majority of my heroes growing up were orphans (by which again, I mean parentless but not adopted) or had parents whose only plot function was to stand in the way.

Anyway. We should be a lot more worried about how much TV and movies children watch than we are about the content of it!
post #12 of 14
In any kids movie, there is going to be some adult humor in it that the kids don't even pick up on. I mean, they have to entertain the adults too...they are the ones taking the kids to the movies. I personally prefer kids movies to regular movies because I get that warm fuzzy feeling. I agree that you weren't participating in a survey, it was more propaganda for their own cause. And, sometimes people have to think about what their kids watch, but kids movies today really aren't that bad.
post #13 of 14
Just to add... I thought of at least one kids movie that teaches many valuable lessons... Matilda.
Teaches kids that reading is fun, that grown-ups aren't always right, and that it's important to stand up for yourself and for your friends.

In kids movies in general, one thing that worries me is that they often promote the idea that the only way to be happy (especially for women) is to find true love... and of course in order to be loved, you have to be beautiful.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
Just to add... I thought of at least one kids movie that teaches many valuable lessons... Matilda.
Teaches kids that reading is fun, that grown-ups aren't always right, and that it's important to stand up for yourself and for your friends.
:
Matilda is still one of my very favourite movies of all time! It's one of those kid's movies I can watch again and again...I also cry at the end each time..
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