Church Believes MPAA Gave Film 'R' Rating Due to Anti-Christian Bias
A church in Texas feels that the Motion Picture Association of America film rating board gave its new film a hard "R" rating not because the film is unsuitable for minors but because the board is anti-Christian.
The pastor of the church that sponsored My Son and footed the $25,000 production costs, Chuck Kitchens--who is also listed as an executive producer--told Fox News' Todd Starnes that he was surprised by the MPAA rating. "I was very shocked. It makes me sick at my stomach," he said.
Pastor Kitchens feels that members of the film board are against his film because they oppose its Christian message.
A group of people out there don’t necessarily like strong evangelical Christianity," Kitchens said to Fox. "People don’t like to hear that it’s this one way (to heaven) and nothing else. But if you are a Christian, that’s the message. That’s what Jesus said. That’s what you have to proclaim. People call us bigoted and then they go on the attack.
Pastor Kitchens, of the Retta Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas, told Breitbart by phone that the "R" rating really hurts the film because they rely on churches and word of mouth to distribute their film.
"Our churches try to discourage people from going to R-rated films," Kitchens said, "so how do we tell churches our film is OK?"
In an exclusive letter to Breitbart News that came with a reviewer's copy of the film, Kitchens elaborated on that shock and insisted that his film does not deserve an "R" rating.
The film, Pastor Kitchens explains, is a "Christian film produced by a church-owned film company, presenting a message of hope and redemption through Jesus Christ."
But on the rating, Kitchens says, "We do not believe this ratings is justified, in spite of the fact that there is 'some violence and drug use' in the film. None of it is gratuitous and all of it is essential to the message of the film."
Indeed, the Pastor is right as far as the lack of foul language goes. Upon viewing, we find the harshest curse word used in the film is "dangit."
As to the drug use, about 25 minutes into the movie the three young men the film revolves around host a party that gets a bit out of hand.
One scene shows a guy throwing up in the toilet, another shows scenes of drinking, more show a party-going couple in some heavy kissing. But there is one split-second close up scene of a kid lighting a bong. Apparently this one-second scene is what got this film an "R" rating for "drug use."
The party scene is no longer than ten minutes but it certainly is necessary to show the negative consequences that befall the characters and is not simply meant to glorify the act of throwing wild parties.
"Some violence," though, certainly describes the ending of the film. There is some gun play and depictions of loss of life.
Still, it does all seem to comport to Kitchens' claim that none of it is "gratuitous," especially the very brief "drug use."
As far as the film itself goes, the acting isn't all that bad. One of the main problems with many of these small indie films is often the poor acting. But this film starring Restin Burk, Kate Randall, and Michael Willbanks doesn't do too badly in that respect. Only one of the secondary cast needs to work on her acting chops. Most do well enough that it doesn't jar the viewer out of the film.
The story holds together well and the plot lines are not only believable, but, the big climax aside, in many respects quite realistic, even typical, of the experiences of so many people in this country today.
The characters are effective enough to the point where viewers will become invested in what happens to them and those viewers that stick with the film will find waiting for them an uplifting, yet tragic ending.
The message of "redemption and hope through Jesus," as Kitchens says, is well wrought, plausible and works without being overly preachy.
The film My Son debuted on September 20 at the Burelson theater in Burleson, Texas.