Pitch Perfect is the first teen comedy to hit the big screens in quite some time. With a rating of PG-13, it is sure to attract the attention of high school students, especially girls. It is the story of girl who decides to join her college’s all-female a cappella group, and in so doing, realizes that, with an edgier look and more recent songs, the group has the chance to win the national competition.
The movie has been out for several weeks now, which means that countless Christian parents have been approached by their teens about whether they will be allowed to see the movie or not.
Should they be allowed to see Pitch Perfect?
According to Common Sense Media (whose review is featured on Fandango), this movie is a “teen-friendly musical comedy” that is “OK for kids 14+.” With a name like “Common Sense Media” and a section called “What Parents Need to Know” on their website, it’s easy to believe that they know what they’re talking about and are using, well, common sense when they decide which ages a movie is appropriate for.
After seeing the film, I am disappointed (but not surprised).
The movie definitely delivers in the humor department, but mostly in ways that should make any Jesus-follower blush. As a woman long past the age of 14, I could only think of how movies similar to this helped distort my perception of sexuality, beauty, love, college, friendship, and parent-child relationships when I was entering my teen years.
To name just a few of the problems: a female college student in the girls’ showers with a male student; a large party with the ubiquitous “red Solo cups” in every student’s hand, including freshmen; freshmen portrayed as drunk; foul language at every turn, including women calling each other derogatory names like “slut”; songs from many different eras that promote drug use, drinking, and casual sex; unnecessary immodesty; and so on.
When I was a teen, I absolutely hated it when my mom would go online, read reviews, and say I couldn’t see a movie because of these types of things. I thought they wouldn’t have any effect on me, and I just wanted a good laugh.
Looking back, I can see how instances of these things in media desensitized me to what truly grieves God. Rather than learning to fall more in love with Jesus and that which pleases Him, I was filling my heart and mind with images that taught me to love things that God hates. And I was giggling the whole time.
At Axis, we believe that although we do not know what it's like to be parents of teenagers, we are still close enough in age to remember what it's like to BE teenagers. We remember what it's like to have our parents say, "No" to a movie or to hanging out with a certain set of friends, and like I said earlier -- I hated it when my mom would go online, read reviews, and say that I couldn't see a movie. But looking back, I am thankful for my mom's persistence and involvement in my life.
That is the purpose of this blog -- to encourage parents to be ACTIVELY involved in their teen's life. As a parent, you are the primary influence on your child's faith, and the way they will turn out.* That means being constantly involved in the cultural dialogue of current movies, music, magazines, books, and other media sources. It means not only being aware of what's out there, but also prepared to have real and meaningful conversations with your kids about the content presented. It's not enough to say, "NO!" As recent teenagers, we hated to just hear "NO!" But if you walk through a movie or song with your student, showing them why you are taking a stand, they still might not like that they can't see a movie or two -- but they will respect you. And more importantly, you are helping them become wise.
Pitch Perfect is simply another movie with the same junk that characterizes most movies these days. But it is also another opportunity to teach teenagers how to be wise and discerning -- which may be the biggest responsibility of parents in the first place.
What do you think? You may comment below...
*good parents do not necessarily equal good kids. But if we do our part as parents, there is a good chance that we will save the next generation and end up changing our culture a long the way.