Robert has a post up at his blog about movie nights for youth groups, and what to show at them. It's a great question, and one I have struggled with over and over again for movie nights, long charter bus rides, and Disciple Now sleepovers.
What are some entertaining and appropriate choices for movie night? It's a fine line to walk. I would never dream of exposing my students to crap like Facing The Giants, but is it ever okay to show Pulp Fiction? I have a friend who has, and shows stuff like that to his group all the time. I don't think I'd be comfortable with that, but what would I be comfortable with?
Is there a level of acceptable profanity? Does it matter which words are used? Even the S-word is commonly used in PG films, but on a bus full of Middle and High School students, you can't hear the movie for all the "ohhhh!"'s and "what!?"'s every time they say it. PG-13 films (appropriate for 13 year olds?) are even allowed a certain quota of F-words. And those things sneak up on you. You might remember what you're watching as a perfectly acceptable family flick, that you've watched a million times before. But when you watch it with students, you notice language, content and situations you would have never even blinked at before. It's like watching it with your parents, or grandparents.
Maybe it's just an indicator about how hypocritical we all are in our church/home lives. We're all watching these movies at home, but when we watch them together on a bus, we're like Baptists running into each other at the liquor store. Sooo appalled.
The point is - you can only watch The Princess Bride and Labyrinth so many times. Actually - I'm pretty sure Bowie's - ahem - "hose-pipe syndrome" in that flick is offensive enough. And I'm not sure how many cartoon or computer animated features my High Schoolers will endure before there's a mutiny, and I'm left standing on the side of the road, while the bus pulls away showing Seasons 1-5 of Family Guy and the Flight of the Conchords DVD. Oh - and until there's a complete REVOLUTION in the way "Christian" or "Inspirational" films are made - I'll not be showing any of that drivel.
So what are some really good movies that you'd consider appropriate for a youth group movie night, or, let's sayyyy - a 16 hour charter bus trip to Glorieta, NM June 22-28, 2008?