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Thumbs Up for Mindless Fare

  • Christianity Today Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2009 24 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Thumbs Up for Mindless Fare
Some time ago, we asked readers what they thought about watching "mindless entertainment," watching movies just for the sheer entertainment value. There were a few naysayers in response, but for the most part, readers saw nothing wrong with the idea. Here are some of their replies:

Absolutely it's OK to go to the movies for mindless amusement! I'm all for a good movie with a message, but in this hectic life, sometimes you just need to laugh, laugh, laugh at stupid stuff and let your brain rest. I can't always take my "day of rest," but sometimes that 2 hours of turning my brain off is more refreshing!
—Connie Novak

Even the Bible says laughter is good medicine. Sometimes it is relaxing and good for the mind, body, and soul to watch a "mindless and funny" movie. The word I believe here is BALANCE.
—Linda Phelps

I've watched mindless popcorn movies. My son and I used to make it special treat to see fare such as Creature From the Black Lagoon, Eegah, and Plan Nine From Outer Space. It was one way that my son and I spent time together (before he grew up and moved away). We would sit there, MST 3K style, and rip these movies apart. It was much fun! I see nothing morally wrong with this style of entertainment, as long as there is nothing objectionable in the movie.
—Jennifer Shell

Naturally, I like seeing films with meaning to them, but sometimes, I just only want to laugh or be manipulated into caring for these cornball characters, like Indiana Jones or Iron Man.
—Jim Badger

Of course simple mindless entertainment is wrong. Anything fun is sinful and worldly. God doesn't want us to have fun. Entertainment is self focused—what makes me happy or what makes me feel good. That shouldn't be the focus. We should be about removing all fun from out lives and convincing others to join us in our funless Christian ways. :-(
—The Jacksons

Is going to the movies a responsible use of time and money? I'm sure there are better ways I could spend my time and money, but there are also much worse ways. And, if this is a way I can overcome my social anxieties and socialize with my friends, then I don't think it is that bad; as long as we are wise in what or at least how we watch films.
—Kristy Self

Life is hard enough. I go to the movies for mindless escape most of the time as a break much as I would go on a fun amusement park ride. I get tired of critics dissing movies that were meant to be fun because there was "poor character development" and I get tired of seeing glowing reviews only to have a movie bejust asdepressingas the pains and difficultiesof real life that I see everyday.
—Todd Saurman

Well, I have sat through two hours of mindless sermons before, so at least a mindless movie can be entertaining!
—Joseph Spicocori

It seems on the surface that there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with "decompressing" from the stress of our lives by watching a movie that makes no more demand on us than that we simply sit and watch. The only thing that has ever worried me is something that an Oxford don said—something to the effect that what we think of as recreation is not really "re-creative." Is what I'm doing helping me to become more whole, or less?Am I more like Jesus, or less as a result?Is a hike through the San Gabriels with a Christian brother a better use of my time and still fun?If I allow "mindless" things into my life to a sufficient degree, will I become mindless myself? I'm still answering the questions, and often they lead to more questions than answers.At least I'm still thinking, so I haven't yet succumbed to mindlessness.
—Al Negron

I have five grandchildren and these "popcorn" movies are a real issue for me. Jesus reminds us to guard what goes into our minds. So, knowing that, I wonder how many "popcorn" deaths it takes to dehumanize a human being or trivialize anything that we need to guard within ourselves. As a young boy, I watched such movies as Godzilla, Sahara, Flying Tigers, Sherlock Holmes, and others that all seemed to sharetwo themes: Good vs. Bad, and the horrible loss of human life. I guess I'm answering my own question as I'm writing: If any movie or show begins to erase those boundaries that God created, that's not good and I must act decisively.
—Kevin Duke

If a Christian is going to criticize another for watching a "mindless" movie, then they better not get caught singing "mindlessly" to another Praise & Worship CD, or "mindlessly" supporting a Christian political candidate without fully acknowledging their inconsistencies and/or hypocrisies, or "mindlessly" spouting off another Bible verse to keep someone else in their place while actually serving their ego rather than their neighbor. Many people do mindless things to pass the time, escape from life's sufferings for a bit—or even lazily "do" things (i.e., act judgmentally) to give the appearance of being "responsible" and "loving."
—Conrad Pinoni

Mindless entertainment is needed! After a stressful week of intense study or work, who doesn't want to just relax?Most people who go to see the movies want escapism.We want to forget about the stress of the week, shut off the brain, and be entertained! I think that's a good thing.
—Michelle Calder

I think it's okay to watch popcorn movies whose only "redeeming" feature is that it's entertaining. As long as one doesn't go overboard in this kind of entertainment—everything in moderation, as the saying goes.
—Christine Eustaquio

I go to movies to be entertained.The world is enough realism for me.
—Cathy Franklin

God made us in his image, to be creative and enjoy the fruits of our Creation. I do not believe that our minds have to be "turned on" all the time. We certainly have to be discerning all the time, filtering everything through the Scriptures to be able to discern truth and falsehoods. We also need to be stewards of our time in all things we do, whether it is reading, adventuring, playing, studying, relaxing or working. As with all things, this is an individual choice and the answer must be sought by each individual seeking the guidance of the Spirit in prayer and study of God's Word.
—Lee Swetnika

I think that there are times that we need to mentally "check out" and enjoy something that doesn't require a heck of a lot of cerebral activity.Transformers was given a 1.5-star rating from CT Movies, and it was one of the funniest, most exciting films I saw last year. In fact, there aren't many movies that I would recommend to my 60-year old father, but I told him he needed to watch Transformers, and he really enjoyed it.
—Zach W. Lorton

Mindless popcorn movies? I think of it sort of like actual popcorn—lots of people enjoy it, and almost no one makes a steady diet of it.I suspect many reviewers feel the need to look down their noses at some movies because they cannot find a "critical" thing to praise about it; no potential Oscars, etc.I think such films meet a desire we have to just sit back and enjoy. Sometimes we grow tired of working for it; we just want someone to crank it up and make us something we enjoy, without having to wonder if we will be looked down upon because we did not choose the film with all (or some of) the critical elements needed to garner an Oscar nod.So, yes to mindless popcorn, in moderation.
—Steve Orr

With the amount of stupid television, going to Disney or other amusement parks, or just plain sitting around, harmless stupid movies are not worth getting upset over.Is fishing or watching a bad NFL game that much more edifying?
—Jerry Koleski

These are face-paced and stressful times.Sometimes a mindless popcorn movie is just right for a bit of stress relief. If it makes us laugh, isn't too stupid, or filled with gratuitous filth, I think it can be a good thing.
—Mary J Garrett

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