Narrow focus draws 'PG' rating for Baptist-backed film
What is the PG rating?
The Motion Picture Association of America is crystal clear when it describes why its "PG" rating exists _ it's a warning flag.A movie titled "Facing the Giants" has earned a PG rating. This came as a surprise to the moviemakers as this movie is "squeaky clean". So what is it that would be dangerous enough to caution parents about letting their children see it?
"The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance," states the online explanation of the rating system. "There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. ... The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw."
Disagreements are a given. The Christian moviemakers behind a low-budget film called "Facing the Giants" were stunned when the MPAA pinned a PG rating on their gentle movie about a burned-out, depressed football coach whose life _ on and off the field _ takes a miraculous turn for the better.Yep, that's it. Just too much for Hollywood to let it go by.
"What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents," said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures. Provident plans to open the film next fall in 380 theaters nationwide with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films, which has worked with indie movies like "The Squid and the Whale."
Which "thematic elements" earned this squeaky-clean movie its PG?
"Facing the Giants" is too evangelistic.
The movie includes 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.Too blunt and too dangerous for liberal, amoral Hollywood.
But the scene that caught the MPAA's attention may have been the chat between football coach Grant Taylor _ played by Alex Kendrick _ and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.
The boy replies: "You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? ... Well, I ain't trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that."
The coach replies: "Matt, nobody's forcing anything on you. 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."
That kind of talk may be too blunt for some moviegoers, said Kendrick, but that's the way real people actually talk in Christian high schools in Georgia. Sherwood Baptist isn't going to apologize for making the kinds of movies that it wants to make.