Strive to be a Fuddy Duddy

Sometimes I feel like an old fuddy duddy. I shake my head at the excessive violence, gore, and sex in movies and on TV shows, and the sensationalism of the evening news. I wonder about the moral compass of our youth. Goodness, when did I turn into my grandparents? Am I becoming out of date, out of fashion and obsolete? That can’t be! I’m too young.

Yet, my concern about the content of TV and movies has me re-watching films from my younger days, and retreating into re-runs of the Carol Burnett Show. Were times really simpler then? Perhaps.

But I think the real truth is that times haven’t changed as much as I have.

I’m different now. I no longer want to have a bunch of sex, violence, and bloody gore thrust in my face. Trust me, my imagination’s good enough!

I try to pay attention to what I fill my head with, from the books I read, to the music I listen to, and yes, all the way, to TV and movies. Okay, okay, I’m far from perfect. I still have my guilty pleasure movies and “trashy” TV shows that I like to watch.

But all of this does give me pause. What are we filling our heads with?

Are we so embroiled in the negativity of the news, militant websites, or angry social media posts that only continue to enflame our anger and negative attitudes. Yes, there’s a time to be angry on occasion, but are we so consumed that we’ve lost our joy? Have we forgotten all of the positive things in this world? Have we forgotten how to be kind?

We’re so busy finding the dividing line, looking for a way to tear each other down, instead of building each other up.

To me, it really does make a difference what you fill your head with. You may not even notice your own negativity or anger. It almost becomes habit.

So, call me a fuddy duddy and call me old-fashioned because I don’t want to jump on the latest binge-watching trend.

Again, I’m far from perfect, and have my media weaknesses in spades. But I certainly strive to be aware when my viewing or listening choices cause more anger, depression or negative thoughts.

At this time more than ever, we need to be filled with compassion and kindness for one another. To find ways to agree to disagree and build each other up.

How about you? Do you have tips for kindness and positivity? Do you think the media influences you more than you realize?

 

 

Let’s Go to the Movies…Or Not

This week’s post is purely my own opinion about the state of Hollywood movies these days, so some of you may disagree with my thoughts. That’s fine. I welcome varying opinions and ideas.

My husband and I enjoy watching movies and go to see them frequently.  Anything we miss on the big screen, we will usually see on pay-per-view.  If you’ve been to our house, you’ll see a half-way decent DVD collection as well.

Unfortunately, this past weekend we went to see a movie… and ended up walking out of it.  It reached a point where the violence and carnage were just too much.  We didn’t need to see all of that graphic detail. What was the point?  Just for shock value? 

Plus, we didn’t care about the characters. There wasn’t anything truly redeeming or heroic about the main character that made me care if he reached his goal.

It seems like we are at the point in movies where the filmmakers don’t trust their audience to use their imagination or be able to discern what’s really going on with the story, unless it’s shoved down our throat.  Every violent, awful detail is now shown, up close and in your face.  

And there are some movies where you cannot distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. Everyone is out for themselves or for revenge, and there’s nothing redeeming about any of the characters.

This sparked a discussion between my husband and myself about “growing older” and our “changing tastes” in movies.  Well, in this area, I’m glad to grow older.  I’m sorry we wasted our money on the movie this weekend, only to walk out of it.

Now my husband understands why I tend to watch certain movies over and over again. Most of the new stuff stinks.

Of course, I blame my film crit professor from the University of Texas (Hook ‘Em Horns) for my analysis of movies and watching them again and again.

It was because of his class that I became a fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies (pre-“Psycho”).  Hitchcock was a master of suspense by allowing the audience to use their imagination.  Sometimes your own imagination is scarier than what you are bombarded with in some of today’s films.

Take “Rear Window.” When Raymond Burr’s character is climbing up the stairs to Jimmy Stewart’s apartment. The audience hears the outside door slam,  the sound of the footsteps as he climbs, the pause outside the door, Jimmy Stewart’s face and his feeling of being trapped with no where to go are all evident, just from the sound of heavy, slow footsteps, and a bead of sweat coming down Stewart’s temple. The audience is scared right along with Jimmy!  Yes, there’s a “fight” scene, but it’s tame compared to today’s fight scenes.

It’s still a wonderfully, suspenseful scene with zero blood and gore.

I hope there’s more of a demand for cleaner movies — still fun, still suspenseful, still romantic — without gratuitous violence, nudity or crudeness.  Truly, it can be done.  The group who made “Facing the Giants,” and “Courageous” among others is trying to do this.  They don’t have the top-notch actors (I don’t mean to offend there), and Hollywood money backing them up yet, but at least the stories they’re telling are appealing and life affirming.

At some point, we have to quit paying to see the overly violent, made with the jerky camera (why this is suddenly so popular, I’ll never know) film, and let’s get back to stories about characters we care about.

Will Hollywood listen? Well, I’m not the audience demographic that they make movies for. I can only hope my children and the younger generation are really thinking about what they’re filling their minds with and where they’re spending their money. I guess that would be my prayer…. that we all pay closer attention to what we fill our minds with.

Oh, Jimmy Stewart, we sure could use you now!

Friendship and the movie "The Four Seasons"

I’m dating myself, but one of my favorite movies is “The Four Seasons” from 1981 with Alan Alda, Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno and more. The movie is about three couples, all in their 40s with college-aged kids, who vacation together and share their lives together.

My favorite line in the movie, which strikes me every time I hear it, comes towards the end, where Carol Burnett’s character, Kate, says “I don’t want to be one of two people alone in the world at the end of my life. I want to have friends.”

Isn’t that how we all feel? We don’t want to be alone, we want to have friends…meaningful friends.

I grew up as the daughter of an Air Force officer. If you know anything about the military life, you know we moved around a lot. So, there were friends who came and went, like the seasons. And thankfully, there were other friends, who despite the years and the distance, have remained close, lifelong friends.

We all have seasons with friendships. In high school, you never imagine life without your friends that you met then. Some of us are still close with those high school friends. But more often than not, I would guess, we did not maintain most of those relationships.

College might be a different story. I would think that a lot of us maintain at least some of the friends we had in college. My husband’s freshman class from Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets is one great example. More on that unit in an upcoming blog post.

Other friends we meet through church, or when we’re going through similar circumstances, like mommy groups and school functions.

Our church encourages “Life Groups,” which are meant to be a safe place to go deeper with friendship and truly fellowship together in faith and life.

But how do you maintain friendships when that season in time has passed? Do you even want to?

What is that special bond that brings friends together and holds them together?

I know we need to be intentional with friendships….with any relationship.

I need to be intentional, because it would be way too easy to focus just on my husband and not make an effort with outside friends.

But as the movie says, “I don’t want to be one of two people alone in the world at the end of my life. I want to have friends.”

Do you agree?