Is Hollywood a health risk? So many films include scenes, ideas, and events that, at most, are slightly necessary to the story but that, arguably do nothing more than degrade society and the laws established within it. A very interesting question to debate. This hot topic issue is being debated by several of us over at Filmplicity today (June 29th).
Here is my take on this hot-button issue, add your comments:
Morality in Movies: Who’s Responsible for What?
There is no denying the fact that movies have a message! Whether that message is as simple as “You are not alone.” or as complex as “the effects of the thermodynamics and its relationship to global warming.” Sometimes the message is deliberate and intended, other times it is not.
But in regards to that message, the question here is “Does the filmmaker have a moral responsibility?” The answer, simply put, is “YES.”
*Side note: They share that responsibility with makers of all other media as well.
What are we referring to when it comes to a moral responsibility? In a nutshell, having a moral responsibility refers to the obligation of the movie maker to the varied peoples of society to respectfully portray issues in a way that, hopefully, neither threatens our way of life, nor encourages horrific acts to occur off screen.
The moral responsibility of filmmakers is one that is understood and is automatically accepted once the hat of “producer,” “director,” “writer,” “actor,” “editor,” etc is placed on one’s head. Having the right balance in anything is important, and movies need to contain the right amount of balance between artistic expression, story, emotion, and shocking scenes/events in making their point in their films.
It is, however, a very slippery slope and a hard line to establish when it comes to what should and shouldn’t be promoted/included in films. Filmmakers continue to push the envelope as time goes on in order to satisfy the ever-wanting eye of the moviegoers. From more explosions, more guns, and more daring heists, to more murders, more nudity, more profanity, and more degradation.
Several movies being made force the audience members to cheer on ethical evils as it were. For example:
In films like Superbad and The Hangover, comedy tends to either make the issue of teenage drinking a more tolerable pill to swallow, OR promote the idea that even if situations get out of hand, drinking in excess won’t effect you in the long run.
Does it make for entertainment? Well, yes. People pay good money to watch a lot of these films. They enjoy them as a way to laugh/criticize/realize the state of humanity without experiencing it themselves. Do people go out and commit crimes after watching such movies? Very few that we know of. But the possible moral effects and ramifications of such things should be considered. Filmmakers that push the boundaries by showing a brutal rape scene as opposed to implying it for the story’s sake, or filmmakers that refuse to include consequences for evil actions, should take a step back and analyze what they are truly trying to say/promote through their chosen canvas of art expression.
Ultimately, I am all for freedom of speech and what-not, but filmmakers have a moral and ethical responsibility in the messages (either implied or inferred) that stream from the screen of their movie to the eyes and minds of viewers everywhere. And viewers must do their research and heed ratings and parental advisories on films, and also remember that movies are “for entertainment purposes only!” Much like staged reality tv shows. (MTV has a moral responsibility and obligation to ban these shows from the air!!) 😀
In the end, it’s a two-way street. I, for one, remember cringing seeing parents taking their young children to watch Watchmen and Resident Evil: Afterlife in theaters! (Parenting is a WHOLE other issue that won’t be discussed here!) haha. In public speaking, it is taught to always remember who your audience is, what your message is, and what not to say. Filmmakers moral responsibility starts there instead of letting the MPAA choose their audience for them. However, filmWATCHERS have a big moral responsibility to themselves as well.
Let’s hear from you! What are your thoughts on this highly debated hot button issue? Do Filmmakers have a moral responsibility? Yes or No? and why? Read more of what others had to say at the Morality Bites Blogothon by clicking the picture below!
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
Thank you to Ronan and Julian from Filmplicity and DirtyWithClass for the invite to participate in The Morality Bites Blogothon event!