Tuesday, July 4, 2006

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS -- RATED R? Apparently the MPAA has inspired a bit of a furor via its PG rating for Facing the Giants, a low-budget film about a football coach's faith in God produced by two pastors at a Baptist church in Georgia.

The MPAA -- never a terribly forthcoming entity -- is a bit all over the place as to the explanation behind the rating. (Religion? Football violence? Depression? Infertility?) I haven't seen the movie, but according to Terry Mattingly, the director of something called the the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, "overt Christian messages are woven throughout" the movie, including "waves of answered prayers, a medical miracle, a mysterious silver-haired mystic who delivers a message from God and a bench-warmer who kicks a 51-yard field goal to win the big game when his handicapped father pulls himself out of a wheelchair and stands under the goal post to inspire his son's faith. There's a prayer-driven gust of wind in there, too."

But Mattingly identifies a discussion between the coach and one of his players as the likely culprit for the PG rating. That conversation ends with the following statement by the coach: "Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it'll change your life. You'll never be the same."

Let's set aside the actual content of the film, as (1) it hasn't been released yet and (2) for some reason I can't get sound on the preview. But if you assume for the sake of argument that it's the evangelical Christian themes that won the film its rating, what do you think of the idea of religious content moving a film from "G" land into the realm of "PG"?

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