Father Stu is coming…but will you see a rated R movie?

Not many movies draw me into the theaters. I saw both Dune and Ghostbusters: Afterlife in the theaters, and both were an absolute hit, but pretty much everything else seems either dull, done before, or intent on pushing “The Message.”

In case it wasn’t obvious what “The Message” references

But I was surprised to see Father Stu, a movie based on the true story of a boxer who suffered some horrible injuries and eventually turned himself around an became a Catholic Priest. It stars Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson, and yet the questions on every reviewer’s posts seems to be “Will this be Mel Gibson’s redeeming movie?”

Sheesh, seriously? From the same crowd that defended the likes of Harvey Weinstein for years. I just want to know if he made a good movie.

Well, apparently my bishop thinks so. Our church received a letter today encouraging everyone to watch the movie, saying its an accurate portrayal of the events. The one caution is that the movie is rated “R” and has some coarse language and violence. One of our parishioners commented that maybe we shouldn’t be promoting an “R” rated film.

I immediately asked “Wasn’t The Passion rated R?”

“Oh yeah, but that was different.”

Which brings me to my point: Life is rated “R”. Get over it.

I’ve talked before about how Christian movie ratings are flawed at best, and typically have huge biases based on the person authoring the rating. They aren’t consistent, and thus I don’t see any reason to believe them. But more importantly, as an adult, I get tired of having people tell me I shouldn’t see an “R” rated film because its “R” rated and being “R” rated is bad because…reasons.

Life is R rated. Life throws lots of crazy problems at you. Sometimes its violence. Sometimes its sexual sins. Plenty of people curse and swear. That’s the world we live in. But just because a movie depicts this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t watch it. Father Stu follows a man who wasn’t anywhere close to perfect, but then chose to become better. He’s a guy that laughs at adult jokes, rides a motorcycle and drinks a lot. He’s not perfect. He’s like many of us. And that makes him relatable to us, and his story gives us hope that even our sinful nature can be overcome.

I’ll take a story of a flawed person becoming better over any bland story about someone who doesn’t have any problems doing the right thing.

So yeah, I’ll be seeing Father Stu in theaters. If Hollywood says it won’t win an Academy Award, well, then even more reason to see it.

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