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MOVIE GUIDELINES!--"Choose the Good & Eschew the Evil!"       DO 2451       7/88

       1. Why don't we collect recommended movie lists from all the different areas? You never know when someone might run across a movie either on a TV program or in a video shop or no telling where, & it would be good if they were able to look it up to see if we think it's okay or not, if it's approved or recommended. (Maria: So you think it would be all right for the local areas to do their own locally-recommended video lists?--In other words, what they can find in their own local area?) By all means, so they can enjoy whatever good movies they happen to run across themselves. A lot of places have English movies available.
       2. (Maria: Well, there's been some question about some of our people's judgement, because some lists have gone from one country to another, & the NO from the other country has seen some movies on the other country's list that he felt were quite trashy. In other words, he didn't really think too much of their judgement on some of the movies they recommended. So do you have any guidelines, like questions our people can ask themselves when they see a movie? Are there some specific guidelines or questions they could ask themselves to sort of help them in judging whether a movie's good or not?)
       3. Well, it all depends on what you want to see the movie for. A lot has to do with your mood. Do you just want something light & happy like a musical, something light & funny like a comedy?--In other words, you don't feel like getting into a deep & moving mental or emotional strain.--Or do you want something very deeply serious & sober & realistic, that teaches lessons, like something real-life that really strains your emotions & moves you to tears or inspires you, something really heavy?
       4. A lot depends on what you want & can take!--Whether you want something light, to just keep you awake a little longer when you're too tired to work, or whether you're in the mood for something deep & moving & heavy that teaches lessons & that has a real message about something serious. That's what the whole thing is all about!
       5. Normally, after a long hard day's work & plenty of emotional strain & responsibility & problems & whatnot already, I don't really care for anything that's very heavy. When I'm too tired to work, yet it's too early to go to sleep, I usually want something that's just light & entertaining & funny or musical. I like musicals quite a bit.--Of course a lot of them are pretty silly sometimes, but it just depends on whether you're in the mood for something silly or something serious. It depends on your purpose for viewing, don't you think? (Maria: Yes, but even within those two categories there are good ones & there are bad ones.)
       6. People who are more inclined to watch the sober & the serious stuff will probably think any of the comedies & light silly musicals, etc., might be trashy, because their tastes don't go along that line & that's not the purpose for which they watch movies. They want something deeply serious & sober that teaches real-life lessons & that sort of thing. Well, there's a time & a place for everything, just like Solomon said.--Ecc.3:1. So it often just depends on the time & the place.
       7. I don't think somebody who has a penchant for deeply sober, serious & emotional crying movies is going to always approve of light, funny, entertaining, amusing movies. They're sober-minded & serious & they want to see something that's really got a message & really moving & inspiring. In other words, they want a sermon.--Get it?
       8. Well, by the end of my day I don't want any sermons! A few of the real sober, serious, deeply moving inspiring movies that I have seen at the end of my day, I often watched them over my own personal protests, because I just wasn't in the mood for something so heavy. I just didn't want to have to think so hard & be moved, I just wanted something that I could take it or leave it, something light that didn't move my emotions except maybe tickle my funny bone & make me laugh!
       9. So it all depends on your personality & your mood! Some people wouldn't approve of some of the movies I watch at all. They're so super-serious & take themselves so seriously they can hardly think that laughing is very deeply spiritual!--And they can't even laugh at themselves, they're so super-sober! That kind of people I don't naturally get along with too well because I'm usually a pretty happy guy & funny & humorous & joke a lot. I think if I didn't, I probably wouldn't survive, because we have such tremendous burdens & responsibilities & real heavy stuff that we're working with all day long.
       10. Come nighttime, when I'm tired & almost ready to go to sleep, I don't care to prolong my suffering! So I think that may have something to do with some of the disapprovals of our choices. (Maria: Nobody was disapproving of our choices, it was disapproval of some of the locally-selected ones.) Well, I'd have to see them to know.
       11. (Maria: Do you remember "Time Bandits"?) Yes, I didn't think it was a very good movie, it was kind of silly. It was about a bunch of dwarves for one thing. That one dwarf was leading his band of little dwarfs or kids or something, & they go back & forth between this time & that time, blah blah, & I would say it was pretty trashy, silly, really ridiculous. About the only thing I can say for it, it wasn't anything really harmful, it wasn't anything bad, & the good won out in the end & all that sort of thing.
       12. Actually as I recall at the end, it had a moral, a lesson, believe it or not! They asked this man who sort of represented God, "Why didn't you kill all the evil & kill this other guy who is perpetrating evil?"--A guy who was representing the Devil, of course. Now that I recall it, I thought that was quite a good moral at the end. He said, "Because that was to give you a choice & to test you!"--Which was really a pretty good explanation. But to put that heavy lesson in at the very end of all this foolishness seemed almost inappropriate for that type of movie, it seemed inconsistent.
       13. But it had that very heavy lesson at the end, & I don't even know if most people got it! They might not have realised that it was an analogy, virtually a parable, that he was teaching that heavy lesson at the very end. Maybe the people who recommended it got the point, & maybe the person who thought it was trashy just didn't even see the point at all! (Maria: Or maybe they just didn't watch the end of it.) Yes, exactly. (Maria: If something is silly & trashy when it starts out, then you might not want to watch the whole thing.
       14. (But within those two categories--the light entertaining, & the sober & serious lesson movies--there are good & bad ones.) Yes, of course. (Maria: So how do you decide what's good & what's bad? What kind of guidelines should we give the Family? Some of them don't seem to be able to really discern what's good & what's bad.)
       15. The major thing is that most movies have some kind of a struggle portrayed between good & evil, there's almost always the good guys & the bad guys, & I would say one of the most important things is that they should show that good always wins in the end. To show a movie where the evil is victorious, I think is very depressing. (Maria: It's a triumph for the Devil when they do that, it's bringing out his power, almost like a worship of him instead of worshipping the Lord.)--Yes.--Unless of course the movie is an {\ul exposé} of the evil of the System & makes a favourable point in that respect.

       16. Another exception to that--& this occasionally is the case--is where the "bad" guys are the "good" guys. Maybe they're criminals who are rebels who, in a sense, pull one over on the System.--And you're really thankful that they get away with it because you felt like they ought to!
       17. In other words, the Systemites are the ones who are usually portrayed as the good guys, but occasionally you run across a movie where the System is portrayed as the evil, & the typical stereotyped bad guys are the ones who get away with beating the System. I've seen a few movies like that with a surprise ending where the criminals get away with the cash & you're actually sympathetic with them, you're glad they did, where the System was evil & repressive or depressive or whatever.
       18. Of course, those are kind of rare because usually the System makes the movies or has to approve of them, & they don't normally approve of very much self-critique! That's why you seldom ever find in movies anything that's against their particular set of mores & morals & ideas of what's right & wrong. So it's a rare movie that challenges their particular set system, their certain types of so-called morality which is not true morality, & is even against God's laws.--A lot of System rules which we don't approve of either!
       19. [DELETED] You'll seldom find that the System approves of movies where their usual System norm is violated.--Like the old codger marrying the young girl, that's against the System rules, or the young teenage boy finally winds up with the older woman. That's taboo, that's a no-no!
       20. --Or, as in "Savage Loosed," the son finally winds up with his mother! That is really a taboo, & it's amazing that one ever got through! If it hadn't had such an outstanding actor willing to play it, George C. Scott, I don't think they would have gotten away with it. But because he was willing to play it, in a way they could hardly refuse it. I don't even know who the producer was, I don't think it was one of the great producers or anything, & not too many people have even heard about it. A lot of countries & places wouldn't even play it, I think it was banned a lot of places.
       21. In it, this family of three, father, mother & son are stranded on a desert island, & they manage to make it & have all their needs supplied in every other way--housing & food & clothing, etc.--except the boy's sexual needs. At first the father's furious about the boy's desire for his mother & her desire to have sympathy for him & help him, he's furiously, almost insanely jealous, & I think he even tries to kill the boy & almost kills the mother!
       22. But finally he wakes up to the facts as the mother pleads for the boy, & how there's no other possible chance for the boy, they're all possibly just going to die there, & so he finally relents & has mercy & gives his wife to the boy. It's a very emotional, moving movie, & you're deliberately led to have sympathy for the boy & you are led to understand her sympathy for him & the father's final yielding.
       23. Now that is a sample of a real anti-System movie! How much more anti-System can you get than that? Yet it had a real moral to it, that love is literally more important than law! That was the whole moral to the movie, that love was more important than law, & it was a prime example of it.

       24. So I don't know that there are any specific set standard rules or laws by which you can go, because I watch a lot of movies that are light entertainment to just, in a sense, pass the time & keep me awake & help me not to go to sleep too soon when I'm too tired to do anything else. I'm in the mood to just take my mind off of all my burdens, responsibilities, problems & work.--When I want to play! But some people carry their high morality & their narrow-minded sense of values into their play area & they can never let down & just relax & play & do something silly & foolish just to relax! Let's face it, sex is kind of silly & foolish, & it is certainly play, & at the same time it's sometimes pretty hard work. But I mean you're certainly playing, in a sense!
       25. There are some people who are so moral--just take the System in general--they even consider sex evil! They're so moral & self-righteous, they can't even let down their hair & enjoy sex! They view it as just a sort of necessary evil that they have to put up with, & they try their best to hide it & not admit that they participate in it or approve of it.
       26. So an awful lot depends on your particular set of mores & morals. (Maria: And also your needs. Because a lot of our Family does have a problem with being foolish, a really shallow kind of foolishness, so they probably need more of the sober & serious. And our young people pick up on movies, they just pick up everything! So, in some ways, we have to really try to be very very careful & selective.
       27. (Talking about anti-System movies, that movie "Friends" is another one.) Yes, there's another one that's very anti-System, but certainly understandable for us.--In fact, its message is something which we virtually advocate, that love is more important than law! (Maria: The two young people that love each other get together & have a baby.) Yes, the two teenagers go out & live on their own & make it on their own & have a baby. I'm sure that wasn't what you might call a System-made movie, that was quite a rebel movie, quite revolutionary & not of the usual run-of-the-mill System movies in which the System always wins in the end.

       28. (Maria: As you said, the exception to the good always winning can be these anti-System movies, & also the historical movies that just show history the way it was, & of course, for the time being, in the short term, they often show that the good did not win, like "Lady Jane" for example.) That was a really inspiring movie in which the System won, but the System was wrong. It moved me to tears! The two young people were so strong in their faith that they died rather than deny their faith, & they went to the chopping block!
       29. Another one like that was "The Fugitive" with Henry Fonda, in which he played the renegade priest in this country which was apparently trying to stamp out Christianity. They were shooting all the priests & destroying all the churches, but he defied them & he secretly reopened a church & secretly carried on services, etc. Although we're not particularly crazy about Catholicism, at least it was an example of someone who was willing to defy an anti-Christ system & suffer persecution & finally martyrdom. It was supposed to be a true story.
       30. And it also showed the difference between two different kinds of criminals.--The real rat who collaborated with the anti-Christ system & was an informer, & yet he was a thief & a robber & a cutthroat & all the rest.--It compared him to another criminal who was also a robber & a thief & a murderer, but he tried to help the priest. The other one did his best to trap the priest & get him caught. (Maria: Sort of like the two thieves on the cross!) Yes. So it was rather anti-System, in a sense, & it also showed people who were willing to suffer persecution for their faith.--Very inspiring!
       31. It's the youngest I've ever seen Henry Fonda! He was so young I almost didn't recognise him. It was almost strange to find him acting on the side of the church, particularly Catholicism, & on the side of faith. At the end it shows a rather amazing twist of events with this colonel or sergeant or whoever he was, who was the major persecutor, like the Apostle Paul. He even officiates at the priest's execution, his death. I think he puts the final bullet in his brain as they usually do at those rifle executions where they're shot up against the wall. The officer in charge is usually responsible to go up, & with his pistol, put a final bullet in the brain of the criminal to make sure he's dead.
       32. But he was so moved by the priest's faith & martyrdom & his willingness to die rather than deny his faith, this major persecutor turns to the faith & takes his place as a priest! So it's kind of an Apostle Paul story in a way. That was certainly a picture that was anti that kind of System at least. It shows that not all law & not all governments are righteous.
       33. There are so many different points on which you have to judge a movie. And like you said, what kind of an audience is it for?--Are they adults who've had a hard day & lots of heavy sober serious responsibilities & are themselves extremely sober & serious & with an extremely sober, serious job full of problems & responsibilities & heavy burdens all day long who need something light to cheer them up & to help them forget about their problems?
       34. --Or are they a bunch of silly kids who are just naturally inclined to be silly & ridiculous & foolish, & who need something really sober & serious to sober'm up & make them realise the seriousness of life? So your particular audience has a lot to do with whether it's a movie that's good for them or not.
       35. There are just so many points on which to judge a movie, not just the movie itself per se, but the audience as well, who you're going to show it to.--Those who are already heavily burdened with serious & sober problems & responsibilities, etc., to simply kind of relieve them & lighten their load or cheer'm up or make them laugh, get their mind off their problems?--Or is it to a bunch of silly kids that need to be sobered up? So I think you need to consider all those aspects before you can really judge a movie. Adults who are spiritually mature, those in leadership, people who are serious already, they may need something light.
       36. (Maria: Whether it's sad or happy, whether it's entertaining or serious, if it's a good movie, it should leave you with some kind of good feeling that you were edified by it in some way or learned an important lesson or at least that you're happy.) Yes, I wrote something about that in the "Happy Ending" Letter (No.802), I said it's important that it has a happy ending.
       37. You might say the fact that those two young people in "Lady Jane" went to their deaths, to the chopping block, was an unhappy ending. But on the other hand, you were proud of them that they stuck to their faith & refused to deny their faith, you were thankful that they preferred death to denial! So in a sense it may not seem like a happy ending, but it was. It was the only right ending!
       38. The same thing with the Priest who went to the firing squad. It may have seemed like a defeat for the good & a triumph of evil, but actually the good did triumph in the end because he willingly died for his faith & was such an example that it converted his main persecutor & made him volunteer to take his place! So although on the surface it didn't look like a happy ending, it was the only ending that was good. It was a triumph of good over evil.
       39. Who would have thought of Jesus' death on the Cross as a happy ending? But it was the only ending, it saved Mankind, & without that there would have been no resurrection, no truly happy ending, no Salvation, no Heaven! So sometimes the ending has to seem to be sad, bad or even evil, in order that good might triumph!
       40. Actually it's a triumph for the good when a martyr dies for his faith. It's a defeat for evil when the martyr refuses to deny his faith, even if he goes to his death. So there are a lot of different ways to judge happy endings too!
       41. In both of those movies, it left you with a very good feeling, you were deeply moved, inspired, thrilled that they were willing to die for their faith! So I call that a good ending, a happy ending, when it inspires you & it feels like it ended right, that's the only way it could have ended! So there are a lot of different ways of judging a happy ending too!
       42. A good movie's end should give you the feeling that that's the best way it could have ended.--Even though it may have looked like a defeat, a seeming defeat, out of that God gets some of his greatest victories, as we've often said. So the escape of the victimised is not always necessarily the best & the happiest ending. Sometimes firm conviction & dying for your faith is far better. To the Lord, that's the happiest ending of all, for someone to be willing to lay down his life for his faith. They get the greatest crown, the martyrs. They're obviously greatly honoured in Heaven, those who died for their faith!
       43. So there are different ways of judging happy endings too. It should leave you with a good feeling that that's the way it should have ended, the only way it could have ended--right! You would have been real disappointed if they'd denied their faith, but you were inspired, & although sad, you were made happy by the fact that they were willing to go to their death still loyal to the Lord.
       44. So praise the Lord, it takes all kinds of yardsticks to measure movies by--the audience, the purpose, the real lesson to be learned from the movie, & it should always, in some sense, be a triumph for good & defeat of the evil!
       45. (Maria: One way to judge whether a movie is bad is if it puts doubts in your mind about any matters of faith or belief, sort of like "Jesus Christ Superstar," which in some ways looked like it was promoting Jesus, but wasn't!) That was a message of the Devil produced by the [EDITED: "ACs"], absolutely! It was made to belittle & make fun of Jesus! But a lot of Christians are so dumb they didn't see it. So there are quite a few movies that are made, even about Jesus, that are made in the long run to vilify & pooh-pooh & make fun of & ridicule & cast doubts, etc. (Maria: Seeming to look good on the outside or on the surface.)--Yes.
       46. Thank God for the truly great classics on the Bible, many of them made by Cecile B. DeMille, whose father read the Bible to him when he was young. "The Ten Commandments", "King of Kings" & things like that really glorified the Word & the Truth & the Bible characters, & ended in real victories for what was right, & defeat of wrong, & they taught great lessons.--Lots of those, including "Quo Vadis" & "The Robe" & many of those classics that showed people who were really willing to die for their faith & suffer for their faith. I think those were truly inspiring, & all our young people should see them.

       47. I think the choice of movies for young people--children & teenagers--is extremely serious & should be taken very soberly, & the adults should make sure that it's the right kind of movie to really portray the right things in the right light & with a good lesson application at the end that will stick with them. (Maria: And if the teens or kids can't get it on their own, the adult watching it with them should really bring it out, like you do.) Yes, explain the lesson & make an application that brings out the genuine lesson.
       48. I've gotten some pretty good lessons out of some movies which other people may not have even seen the lesson of at all! (Maria: You've gotten some good lessons out of things like "Star Trek!") "Star Trek" usually has some kind of lesson to teach, or some kind of moral to teach, & I think that's probably why God blessed it. I'm sure the writer, Rodenberry, must have had some kind of real good motive in making those, not just for entertainment. But each one teaches some kind of lesson, & though it's not always brought out too clearly, if you're spiritual enough, you'll recognise it.
       49. I'm even surprised sometimes at how spiritual the lessons are, what spiritual insight they have. They're not always right, I don't always agree with their doctrine, but nevertheless they usually have some kind of moral lesson to teach. Of course, sometimes you have to wade through an awful lot of garbage to find the jewel of the lesson!
       50. But nevertheless we have this tool of motion pictures, videos, etc., & if you select the right ammunition you can really hit the mark a lot of times, particularly with young people. You have to be more careful with them than anyone, especially children & teenagers. (Maria: Just because a movie has a good lesson or a good ending at the end, it's not worth it if you have to go through too much preaching of the Devil's doctrine.) Too much garbage! (Maria: Yes, or bringing out his triumphs through the movie, & then suddenly have a good ending. What's going to last in your mind & make an impression on you & what you're going to remember is all that came before, not just the one little half-second lesson at the end.)

       51. One thing that mitigates against any movie, & there's a lot of it now, is a lot of bad language in the movie. We don't mind so much the sexual references, we're oriented to sex & we don't consider that nudity & sex are necessarily anything against a movie, except homosexuality, Sodomy, which God hates!--And there's a lot of it in movies now. I would avoid any movie or series that even tolerates Sodomy, like that series "Dynasty"!
       52. "Dynasty" promotes it! Its heroes are all Sodomites from the head of the family on down!--All of its heroes are homos. Oh, it's sickening! (Maria: It's got a lot of other bad things in it too.) Yes, a lot of other horror. It doesn't teach any real good lessons at all. (Maria: It's just a tool of the Enemy to weaken people spiritually.)--To corrupt their morals & everything else. In fact, its primary heroine is a woman who is deceitful, cruel & unprincipled, totally without conscience, & yet she's the star of the show!--Unscrupulous, greedy, self-indulgent, she's the star! And the other, the head of the family, the head of the dynasty, is a former homo & his son is a homo & he has homo friends, ugh! It's just so icky, so sickening, I couldn't stand to watch it! Horrible!
       53. I don't like any movie that portrays & glorifies sin as something that's good & not evil. Of course, a lot depends on your ideas of sin. If you're like the churches, & you consider any kind of sex at all as evil, even good sex or artistic sex, then, of course, a lot of movies would offend you. In many of these latest movies you can hardly escape some bad language. I don't consider "hell" or "damn" or that sort of thing as bad language, but I really hate to hear them say "Jesus Christ" all the time. So many of these [EDITED: "AC"] movies now use Jesus Christ as a curse word & as cursing.
       54. So if there's too much bad language, especially if there's a lot of foul-mouth vile terms with really dirty sexual inferences, etc., what is really foul, we don't want our kids to get used to hearing that stuff & then become inclined to use it, so I wouldn't approve of movies that have that.
       55. We saw one recently, "Semi-Tough." It was anti-cult as well, a tough guy's movie about football & these foul-mouthed creatures, creeps, who were the heroes, ugh! Sickening movie! But sometimes we adults have to wade through some of the filth to at least see part of the movie to find out just exactly what it's like & what the content & motive & language, etc., is. But for God's sake, try not to show such trash to your kids or teenagers, lest you give them the idea that it's all right to use that kind of language.
       56. If you do happen to run across some kind of language that you don't approve of during the movie, you should make it very clear that you don't approve of it, & you don't ever want to hear them using those words or expressions.
       57. (Maria: There are some series & movies too that are basically good, they have good morals & good lessons in the end, but they're full of deceitfulness & lying.--And everybody just laughs about it.) Nowadays lying is approved of & even glorified! If you get away with it, they portray it as a great thing, you were really smart to deceive your parents or to deceive somebody else. It's approved of & laughed at & even applauded. I think that's very very bad, that type of stuff. Even some of the most seemingly innocent movies, like some of these family type movies with lots of children in them have a lot of that now.
       58. I also think movies of typical American families, showing the way their children behave--or misbehave--are horrible dandy bad examples because their children are disobedient, defiant, rebellious, fighting & feuding & hating each other, calling each other names & constantly trying to triumph over each other.--As well as using bad language & manifesting total rebellion! They're horrible examples! Most of these American movies with American children in them are very bad examples!
       59. (Maria: And the crazy thing about it is, they hold them up as some of the best examples of American life, because they are, they're some of the better samples of American life.--Which shows how bad it is! Even their best are very bad! But they expect you to look up to them as a super sample of American life, like that series "Family Ties."
       60. (They're supposed to be a good sweet family, who love each other & have good kids. But my goodness, you'd hate to look to them & follow their example!--They lie all the time, they're full of deceitfulness & are always trying to get away with as much as they can. Even though they supposedly repent in the end & all forgive each other, the dirtywork & damage has been done & they had so much fun doing it!) Yes, & the audience had so much enjoyment watching it & laughing about it all!
       61. That kind of stuff is certainly not a good example for our children. Our adults might be able to take it & laugh, knowing it's bad & being able to sort out the good from the evil, but children are not always that perceptive & not always able to distinguish the difference. (Maria: Even with what used to be a fairly good series like "Love Boat," although in the end the principles & good lessons are brought out, there's so much lying & deceit through it. When we used to watch those with Techi when she was little, because of all that lying, she started lying, & we couldn't figure out why! Then finally it dawned on us that it was because she was watching "Loveboat," where lying was so accepted & everyone laughed every time somebody got away with something or was deceptive! It's too bad.) Yes.
       62. That show finally got to where it was showing tolerance & forgiveness--even though it was in a condescending manner--for homos. That's when I just about got fed up with "Love Boat"! Apparently the Sodomites have got a lot of influence & power in getting their propaganda into the movies nowadays. They're even having a lot of influence in the laws of the land! The Sodomites are taking over. [DELETED] This is the thing that defeated [EDITED: "nations"] even as far back as the Bible times, defeated Israel & the kingdoms & the kings in those days, Sodomy. The Devil has sure got a tool in that stuff, sickening!
       63. So if you're going to show any series or movies like that to your kids, you'd better comb through them real thoroughly & make sure it's all right, that it's going to leave the kind of taste in their mouth that you want & uphold the kind of morals that you advocate, & teach the kind of lesson that they need to learn, & is not leading them in the wrong direction. (Maria: And if it doesn't teach that & they do happen to see it, you'd better really explain it!) Amen!

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