Friday, January 14, 2011

The nasty sting of the Green Hornet

It's Friday night, and my 14 year old is in his room doing what he has been doing a lot for the past couple of years--sulking because I won't let him go see the latest, cool guy movie of the week.  Tonight's main feature:  The Green Hornet.  Neither one of us are too surprised by this.  It is rated PG-13, which just 10 years ago has content that would easily give it an R rating, and usually raises many red flags with regard to language and sexual content.  Since this one was written by and stars Seth Rogan, I didn't have high hopes anyway.

Before we go see ANY movie, I always read the review from Focus on the Family at http://www.pluggedin.com/.  I highly recommend this, as it breaks down each movie into categories such as violence, drug/alcohol use, etc.  Everyone in my family knows this is a requirement before considering any movie.  Its not just the kids, but for me and my husband as well.  I can't stand gratuitous bad language throughout, and he doesn't need to see any movie with nudity, period.  Movies are also iffy for the boys if there is name-calling like idiot and stupid.  I learned early on in parenting that they parrot just about anything they hear, especially the bad stuff, and since they aren't allowed to call other people idiot or stupid, why would I want to put that in their brains to have to later struggle not to say.  Anyway...the Green Hornet.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s, sandwiched between two superhero loving brothers, so I was familiar with Spiderman, the Hulk, Superman, Super Friends, and my personal favorite, Aquaman (I was a beach girl).  I knew about the Brown Hornet from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, but didn't know much about the Green Hornet.  Just this week there was a marathon on SyFy of the TV show from the 60s, so I was able to watch a few episodes and find out his story and issues.  I actually enjoyed what I saw.  The Green Hornet was a rich kid named Britt whose father had died and left him the local newspaper that the dad had published.  He was like a vigilante hero who was considered an outlaw, and captured the bad guys using karate kicks with the help of his Asian sidekick.  It was all 60s modern and fun, and not as quite as silly as shows like Batman and Robin.  Britt ended the show with a different pretty girl at the end of each episode I saw, and was portrayed as a ladies man and partier, but this was all implied and happened off screen.  Knowing today's movie atmosphere, especially when combined with Seth Rogan, I could see this twisted in all kinds of ways.  Here's how tonight's movie chose to portray Britt/Green Hornet (according to Plugged In Online):

Sexual Content:

Britt is a womanizer, and one of the first things we see him do is make out with a lady in (and on) several of his father's cars. (It's a fast-motion montage played for laughs.) He later wakes up with this same-said woman in his hide-a-bed and can't remember her name. Bikini-clad girls frolic in his pool, and partying females cavort with him at a wild shindig.

He leers at and makes rough, crude come-ons to Lenore, his administrative assistant at the Sentinel. She puts up with it for a while, but when Britt tries to kiss her she tells him if he makes a pass at her or ogles her any more, she'll slap him with a sexual harassment suit. She likes Kato, however, and the two of them have a chaste date. (To make Britt angry, Kato later suggests with hand motions that the two got intimate.)

Women wear tight-fitting, revealing clothing. Kato draws erotic pictures. "Kato, you are a pervert," Britt tells him. One man visits a prostitute. Britt and others make loads of crude references to male and female body parts. A "kiss my a‑‑" slam evolves into a semi-graphic tirade. There are a few joking "partner" references to Britt and Kato's relationship. Britt describes a certain food as an "orgasm in your mouth."

Crude or Profane Language

Characters say the s-word nearly 40 times. Crude references to private body parts are common. Jesus' name is abused once, and God's name is taken in vain about 10 times (including once with "d‑‑n"). Other bad words include "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch," "h‑‑‑" and "d‑‑k."

And these are just two of the categories.  Once again, I have to wonder why in the world this is necessary.  This movie could be just as fun, just as engaging, and make just as much money without all the crud.  Seriously, an orgasm in your mouth?  Really?  Way too many people I know think I am naive and too restrictive for saying no to this.  Naive to think that keeping my young teenage boy from this will do any good, and is just taking away his fun and will make him much more likely to rebel as soon as he can.  So am I supposed to just go along with the crowd of unprotective, uninformed parents who let their kids do whatever, with no restrictions, just to avoid conflict or not wanting to seem like a mean parent?  Won't he feel left out on Sunday morning when all the boys in his small group at church are talking about how fun and cool it was?  It would make my job as a parent so much easier if there were masses of parents saying, "No!  This is not what we do and not what we stand for and not what I want swimming around in your subconscious".  But even if they don't, I will continue to stand with my few like minded parent-friends.  They'd be easy to find tonight--a few feet away from their oppressed kids, preparing to fight the good fight yet again tomorrow.

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