To Edit, Or Not To Edit

When picking out a movie to watch, for myself, I choose the movie based off of who wrote it, directed it, stars in it or recommended it. Since I was 13 I have never chosen to watch a movie based off of the MPAA rating. I go with what looks good to me.

While living in Utah, there was an interesting case going on about the distributors right to edit movies. Not the director or the producer or the writer. The guy selling them or renting them to you. They would cut out swear words, nudity and violence. The companies that were/still are doing this aren’t my focus. If there is a market for an item or need, people will and should use it. My question is this –

If you use these edited movies/stores, why? I am torn between my thoughts on it.

On the one hand I don’t believe that anyone has the right to alter or re-edit another persons work without their consent. They made their product, put it out there, you can take it or leave it. I understand following the advice and council of avoiding ‘R’ rated movies. And for everyone who can and does, why do they want edited movies to watch? If you are being sincere in your following of that council, you shouldn’t have been seeking these movies out in the first place. It is very similar to censoring art that offends you.

Another Tyler Perry screening

But on the other hand, there are some great movies with strong messages; and because of one or two words or 2 or 3 minutes it has been rated ‘R’. Movies that move or inspire you. Shows that portray an historical event. There are quite a few war movies that are amazing, but ‘R’ because of the violence. I have seen great, funny, hysterical movies, but because of some language I can’t share it with my younger kids. I’m looking at you John Hughes.

Unless someone edited those moments out for me. And that is where I become torn. I used to stand firmly in the censorship and editing is wrong. If any art makes you uncomfortable or disgusted, move along. There are millions of other options, go find one that suits you. But after having kids, I tend to waffle. I believe that there is a place for adult entertainment. Not the kind with poles and dollar bills. Just subject matter that after you have lived for long enough you are able to understand it and not have it affect you in the way some people think video games make serial killers.

The real monkey wrench in the whole debate over editing is that most movies filmed are required under contract to shoot additional scenes for the TV version and airlines to show on flights to a general audience. If they don’t want their work edited by someone else, why not release the TV or airline version? There is an obvious market for it.

I still wonder at my waffling on the subject. I think every kid in jr high and high school should see Saving Private Ryan, but if edited for content so younger kids (13+) could watch it, the impact and point of the violence in the opening scene loses its meaning and turns it into a mere action clip reel. Not the living hell our soldiers went through. I also respect that a lot of people just don’t like hearing certain words in movies, and when they hear those words it takes them completely out of the movie. What one person’s (or couple’s) idea of realistic language is is completely different from another.

Yeah PC family stock image!

Living in this digital age doesn’t help either. Only a decade or two ago the thought of editing a movie on your own was a daunting task. With digital music and video, once you buy it, do you have the right to alter it for your own needs or taste? I cut the big swear words out of Christmas Vacation for my mom. Why? Because it is a family tradition that we watch it on Thanksgiving night to get ready for Christmas. And with all of the new little grand kids, it was getting to be a real pain in the butt to remember when to mute the bricks or rocks debate and Danny Kaye and the description of Mr. Griswold’s boss. It took me 20 minutes to do it and the whole family enjoys it now. Is that wrong, or simply a solution for me in this instance that not everyone agrees with? It’s the only edited anything I own now.

Now I turn it to you, what do you think – To edit, or not to edit?

Other Mormon posts found HERE.

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