For reasons which now escape me, I looked at an advertisement for “Fred Claus” in my alt-weekly paper, and in the corner I saw a little dove. Why, I thought, is my soap company stamping approval on crappy movies made by Jen Aniston’s rebound?
Turns out the Dove Foundation has little to do with soap; this Christian (oops, I’m sorry, Judeo-Christian) media-rating group is there to help parents who feel that the MPAA’s rating scheme, while helpful, is not prudish or detailed enough. It’s not enough to know why parental guidance is suggested, I need a list of every salacious thing that makes Fred Claus or Bee Movie a potential occasion for sin. First, let’s review a sampling of their simple 0-5 scale:
Sex: 0: none
1: on-screen acts of romance
2: infidelity; implied pre-marital sex or secondary lead characters with consequences
3: inappropriate sexual relations without consequences
4-5: graphic sexual activity is heard and/or seen
Language: 0: none
1: few utterances of mild crude language
2: few utterances of mild obscenity
3: crude and obscene language used throughout the story
4-5: any Biblical profanity (GD, Jesus, Jesus Christ) and any uses of gross sexual language
Nudity: 0: none
1: baby’s behind; shirtless men, low cut shirts, short skirts seen occasionally on women
2: rear nudity that is not suggestive such as skinny dipping from a distance; cleavage
3: sexually suggestive and revealing clothing or underwear is common throughout
4-5: frontal nudity
Other: Lead characters that exhibit disrespect for authority, lying, cheating, stealing, illegal activity, witchcraft or sorcery
1: mild-moderate with consequences
2: moderate poor behavior
3: moderate-heavy behavior with no consequences
4-5: extreme portrayals, condoned or excused
A score greater than 2 in any category means no dove for you!
Not only is the Dove Foundation more prudish than the MPAA, but they’re also more consistent and transparent, providing a rundown in each catagory of exactly where filmmakers went wrong. For example, Fred Claus contains:
Drugs: You see Frosty’s Tavern but a sign says eggnog is served.
Nudity: Cleavage; some sumo wrestlers are briefly seen.
Other: A lady gives birth but it is not graphic; a man accepts donations under false pretenses; a character lies to his girlfriend; the shredding of a Christmas wish list; elves abandon their posts for a time.
Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is not without sin:
Drugs: A lady has a drink in a glass which looks like apple juice.
Other: A joke about B-Gandhi, B-Columbus, and B-Jesus which the filmmakers could have done without.
But don’t be fooled, these Christians are no sticks-in-the-muds! Just like all Americans, they enjoy a good joke or a sophisticated plot device as much as anyone, provided it doesn’t conflict with their values in any way, or even reinforce their values but in too graphic a way. Other than that, rock on, Hollywood!
It also has scenes such as a teddy bear being opened up and the stuffing popping out. However, it is quite humorous to hear “Jingle Bells” played as a dirge! (Nightmare Before Christmas, 3D)
Bees shouldn’t be able to fly! Their bodies are too big for their wings, and yet…This is a cute film which kids will love. It has a few lines for the adults too. Who wouldn’t love a newspaper headline which reads: “Frisbee Hits Hive!” *** (Bee Movie)
This film is consistently funny and should propel Steve Carell further up the Hollywood ladder of success. He plays Dan Burns, a widower raising three daughters. The daughters alone set up some potentially humorous moments as one is seventeen and pushing her father to let her drive. The middle daughter believes she is in love with a boy and that her father simply doesn’t understand that it is the “real” thing. This sets up a great scene as the boy comes to visit, and when Dan answers the door, the boy explains he is there to see Dan’s daughter. When Dan learns it is the middle daughter and not the oldest, he says, “Come back in two years!” and closes the door. (Dan in Real Life)
Christmas carols (secular, of course) played in a non-jolly way? Zany! Benign newspaper headlines? What will they think of next! And what about kids these days? Don’t tell me, I’ll tell you!
All right, so they wants to rates the movies. Fine with me, but why is this niche group pandering creeping into the mainstream ads? Who gave this moral watchdog group the patina of legitimacy? Whose fault is this?
In 1991 The Dove Foundation began promoting family-friendly entertainment. Our standards and criteria are based on Judeo/Christian values, free from the pressure of commercial interests. We believe in a positive approach of commending high-quality, wholesome movies rather than condemning filmmakers for not meeting those standards.
In the summer of 1990 a group of fathers began looking for a way to identify movies that were compatible with their families’ values — The Dove Foundation was born…(2005) Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment began to include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove approved DVDs.
Fox, I should have known. The same empire that gave us Married With Children back in the 80′s and Family Guy today in television and Farm Sluts, What Happened in Vegas…. and The Transporter on screen is concerned about your family’s values. God damn, those guys are good at playing all possible sides. Sex and violence sells, and getting panties wadded up over sex and violence sells. Two, two, two profitable markets in one!
***The assertion that bees can’t fly is only true if you use the linearized hydrodynamic equations and assume fixed wings; if you use the non-linearized ones with the proper assumptions about the wings, they can in fact fly.