General Question

rockfan's avatar

What's your opinion on violence in movies that involve children?

Asked by rockfan (7422points) 2 months ago from iPhone

Minor Spoiler for “It”

Recently saw the new iteration of “It” and while I really liked it, I couldn’t help but think that the movie crossed the line with some of the violence, especially how they depict Georgie’s death. Your thoughts?

Also, is it hard for you to watch movies that depict children in peril?

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38 Answers

Muad_Dib's avatar

I mean… it’s a story about a demon clown that eats children. What exactly were you expecting?

janbb's avatar

I know to avoid them because they will upset me but that is pretty much true for me for all movies with graphic violence.

rockfan's avatar

@Muad_Dib

The “what were you expecting?” argument” has never made sense to me. I obviously realize that the movie is about a demon clown eating children, but that doesn’t mean that they need to show a 5 year old graphically getting his arm cut off and bleeding everywhere. I think it’s unnecessary

ragingloli's avatar

@rockfan
To be fair, the “think of the children” argument has never made sense to me, either.

rockfan's avatar

But my argument isn’t “think of the children”. The “think of the children” argument is a logical fallacy that appeals to emotion. All I’m saying is that showing a 5 year olds arm getting hacked off is uneccessary. I realize that people are going to disagree with me and that’s ok

SergeantQueen's avatar

It’s unnecessary if you’re not a huge fan of gore.
For those who are huge fans of it, watching something graphic like that is their thing. I don’t think they are really focusing on the age and the morality of a 5 year old getting their arm cut off vs. an adult. (It’s the same thing either way really.)
It’s obviously a fake movie, and so most people don’t consider whether those things are necessary or not because most of us know that in movies, it’s done for entertainment, and that it is wrong to do that in real life.
Plus, as I said earlier, many people love all that crazy, hardcore gore. And what you’re talking about isn’t even that crazy or hardcore, compared to other movies.

The fans of gore I’m talking about above aren’t the same people that like real gore. Like the stuff you can find online, snuff videos and such

Mariah's avatar

No art is “necessary.”

Bad things happen to good people. I appreciate that we have some media that doesn’t gloss over this fact.

Not that It is a shining example of what I mean, but I think my point still stands.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@rockfan – “Necessary” has nothing to do with it. It’s a horror movie based on a horror novel. The novel is by an author known for graphic depictions of violence, gore, and various other perversions.

Be glad you didn’t get the preteen gangbang scene.

seawulf575's avatar

Violence in movies has been going on since the beginning of movies. Violence (overt violence) against children didn’t really start until much later. Movies are supposed to entertain us. Apparently there is a fairly large contingent that believes violence and violence against children is entertaining, whether it is something like a war movie, a gangster movie, or a horror movie. I recognize movies are not reality. But the part I do get offended at is when a movie star makes his/her millions on violent movies and then speaks out against gun violence. It shows immense hypocrisy.

rockfan's avatar

It’s ridiculous in my opinion to think that a person who stars in FICTIONAL violent movies is a hypocrite for criticizing gun violence that happens in real life.

Sylvester Stallone is the most anti-gun person in Hollywood, but I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all for him to be in violent movies. “Immense hypocrisy” would be if he illegally owned machine guns and used them irresponsibly.

seawulf575's avatar

While your example of Stallone would be hypocrisy as well, it would be real life examples on both sides. He would be speaking out in real life and doing the exact opposite in real life. The point of the question was how movies impacted us. In many of his movies he does own an illegal gun or uses an illegal gun and is considered the hero. If he did those same things in real life, he would be keeping in step with his movies. When any of these stars or producers/directors make movies in which guns are used frequently and with great effect by the heroes, making a solid story for all watchers that guns are good as long as you are using them against the bad guys (please note I didn’t say legally), then turn around and start spouting off about how guns are bad and people shouldn’t own them, That is hypocrisy. They inundate society with images of guns being good and get rich doing it then tell society that guns are bad and people shouldn’t own them. But, of course, if they made movies that represent their views, pretty much all action movies would have to go away. Picture it: In a movie now where some woman is being pursued through her house by the bad guy and she gets a gun and kills him, saving herself and her family, that story would not end the same. While being pursued by the bad guy, she manages to call 911. If she gets the actual operator, it is still 10 minutes before a cop shows up. And he doesn’t bust down the door right away. The bad guy, meanwhile has killed the heroine and her family and has moved on to the next victim. Somehow that just wouldn’t play the same.

rockfan's avatar

Based on your logic, any actor who’s played a murderer shouldn’t speak out against killing people.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Are we having difficulty separating fiction from reality?

ucme's avatar

Horror stories & children have always been inseparable & always will be, plays on those childhood fears kids have had for generations. Fear of being lost, fear of being alone, fear of the dark etc
Aside from this the only point you raise is the explicit violence shown to child characters, all about impact the viewer doesn’t expect it thinks they won’t go there & BAM…hits you like a train. A good horror film/story can’t afford to pussy foot around otherwise it just won’t work.

seawulf575's avatar

@rockfan, no, by my logic, if an actor plays a roll romanticizing murder then yes, he shouldn’t speak out against killing people. For example, it would seem extremely hypocritical to me if Michael C Hall suddenly went nuts speaking out against murder and torture after having been Dexter for years. What that tells me is that he doesn’t mind spewing a story that glorifies what he claims to be against. He doesn’t mind making a character that kills and tortures and cuts up bodies a hero, but gets offended when people emulate that? There are only a few options here: The actors/producers/directors are really that stupid to not know the impact their work can have on society. That might apply to some but not all. OR They are basically whores who will do anything for a buck but will warn others not to do what they do. And that makes them hypocrites. Now…if one of these guys/gals did NOT make violent movies and wanted to speak out, I fully support their right to free speech and would not think them hypocrites. Or, if they make violent movies but remain silent on the topics of those movies in the real world, I’m okay with that as well.

rockfan's avatar

So Charlize Theron shouldn’t speak out against violence? Anthony Hopkins shouldn’t either? Or Liam Neeson? Brad Pitt? Leonardo DiCaprio?

seawulf575's avatar

@rockfan I would suggest either they stop making movies that advocate and aggrandize violence or stop speaking out against it. Or be considered a whore. You can’t make money advertising something and publicly speak out against it without being a hypocrite or a whore.

Muad_Dib's avatar

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while.

seawulf575's avatar

Okay @Muad_Dib let me take it out of the movies. If you were against guns, but owned a gun shop and sold guns, how would that seem to you? Same thing. You are making money on something that you profess to be against. It would make you a huge hypocrite. No difference at all. Except in the movies they romanticize the actual violence. So maybe the difference is that they advertise gun violence instead of selling guns.

ragingloli's avatar

No, the difference is that the violence is not real.
And to correct your “gun shop” example, I am not selling real guns, I am selling water pistols.

seawulf575's avatar

True, the violence is not real. But did that stop them from influencing actual, real life crime. James Holmes was influenced by The Dark Knight Rises. An Illinois couple tried robbing a bank using the details outlined in The Town. Kyle Shaw tried blowing up a Starbucks after seeing Fight Club. A 13 year old in Iowa started biting his classmates after seeing Twilight. A 17 year old named Andrew Conley tried killing his brother because he felt inspired by Dexter. Dylan Kleibold was inspired to shoot up Columbine HS by the movie Natural Born Killers. The Matrix has inspired many cases of violence including sniper shootings in Washington DC. It is so prevalent that the legal eagles created the term “The Matrix Defense” to describe it. a 24 year old Belgian donned the Scream mask and cloak to kill a girl that rejected him romantically. He stabbed her 30 times. The list goes on and on. Do a little research and you can find the same story played out again and again. Someone gets inspired by the violence in a movie and they try to emulate it in real life. So to claim the Hollywood violence is not real is a cop out. Advertising is a potent way to promote things. Congress banned cigarette ads on TV and radio in 1971 because they recognized the negative influence it was having on our society. So should the cigarette companies pull the same defense? It’s just a picture or an ad, it isn’t real. The person smoking isn’t influence by our ads. Sorry. It doesn’t fly. And trying to be cute by changing guns to water pistols is also a really weak way to avoid the logic.

rockfan's avatar

It can be debated wether violence in movies actually influenced them to do violence. These are highly disturbed people, so it’s very likely that they would have done heinous crimes even without watching violent movies.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@seawulf575 -

Yes, some mentally deranged people copy what happens in fictional stories because they’re not creative enough to come up with their own methods.

However, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, because it’s demonstrably true that while censorship in media has become less stringent, and extreme violence in movies easier to see, overall violent crime has decreased. A lot.

So no, violent movies aren’t causing criminal behaviour any more than violent video games or violent music do. This has been studied by every friggin’ psych major since Tipper Gore had The Mentors’ “Golden Showers” lyrics read out loud to Congress. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’re too young to have an opinion on the matter anyway.

seawulf575's avatar

@rockfan so the results are the same. You don’t really believe that everyone is normal and mentally healthy in this country, right? So when you advertise violence, you are influencing the disturbed people as well. Shoot, according to Obama and Hillary, it was a simple YouTube video that cause the attack on Benghazi. Movies do influence, just as surely and far more subtly than straight advertising. So when some actor/actress/director/producer cranks out a movie that glorifies violence, it is sending a message loud and clear that it is a good thing. For those same people to then come out and say that same violence is a bad thing is hypocritical.

seawulf575's avatar

@Muad_Dib at no time have I stated that movies (or songs, or lyrics or anything else) have CAUSED criminal behavior. What I have stated is that they have influenced people to act in a way that isn’t legal or right. I’m not going to debate that these people aren’t disturbed…they are. But what you are missing (or avoiding) is that there are a lot of disturbed people in this world. And movies and other media influence them. There is a certain Chicken/Egg thing with movies. Sometimes they open a door to behaviors that aren’t healthy and other times it is the behaviors that are appearing that are inspiration for the movies. But either way, movies make the violence appealing to some that might otherwise not had the outlet. And let’s face it: Movies have shown tons of gun violence, making it normal fodder. When every movie shows someone pulling out a gun and blasting away, it becomes the new normal. So when gun violence starts happening, is it really any surprise? The advertising has said it was okay. And following up with that, if the stars/directors/producers are really dead-set against guns, then why do they keep making movies that glorify them?

Muad_Dib's avatar

There is no chicken/egg thing. Violence and crazy people have been around way longer than film has.

If you’d like to discuss the kinds of violent absurdity the average citizen in Medieval England thought was hilarious entertainment to do to their own neighbors, having never even seen a performance that wasn’t a morality play, we can do that.

And again, people tell stories because they are entertaining, or are meant to inform, enlighten, or persuade. It’s a method of communication and an art form. You’re not meant to take Scarface as an instruction manual. Scarface isn’t the “good guy” in his story, and no one is “glorifying” the things he does.

If you need to avoid watching films because you’re afraid you’ll be compelled to copy the actions you see, PLEASE don’t go to the movies. But most of us can separate fantasy from reality, and know the difference between Charlie Chaplain and Adolf Hitler without getting confused by the moustache.

Muad_Dib's avatar

You’re really not going to persuade me to believe that actors and filmmakers are responsible for the actions of crazy people, so you might as well give it up now. Just saying.

seawulf575's avatar

And yet I already listed quite a few examples of those that cannot separate fiction from reality. And there are tons more. As I mentioned to Rockfan, Obama and Hillary told us it was an obscure YouTube video that caused a spontaneous attack on the Benghazi embassy. That is the power of movies, apparently. Yet those that make the movies don’t care what messages they send. You bring up Scarface as a movie. You are partially correct that he isn’t a good guy and that they aren’t glorifying him. Yet only partially correct. He was a poor kid that chose a violent path and made millions. That looks appealing to poor kids. Of course in the end he dies, but they figure they won’t make those mistakes. That same story plays out over and over again in Hollywood. And sometimes it is glorified. I mentioned Dexter. Here we have the hero of the series who is a serial killer that hunts, tortures, kills, and dismembers people. That ran for what…8 seasons? 9? And as I have mentioned, it was the basis of several acts of violence in reality.
So you are correct that most of us can tell the difference between reality and fantasy. But so many cannot. So let me ask the tough question: How many people have to die because some nut job was inspired by Hollywood before we actually think it might be a problem? Aurora CO was 14 dead and 70 injured. Columbine was 13 dead and 24 injured. Gee, that’s 27 dead and 94 injured just because a couple unstable people were inspired by movies. And that is only two incidents. So please…set a number. Oh wait! Now it is not gun violence but mental instability? So then let me back things up….why do actors/directors/producers then spout off about gun violence? It can’t be both ways. You can’t push gun control (which doesn’t work anyway) as a means to end gun violence but blame the acts of gun violence on mental instability. If you try, you are putting a whole lot of effort into the wrong thing.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Well, that’s it, kids. No more movies because some dude on the internet thinks we should never do anything that might give a crazy person a bad idea.

ragingloli's avatar

Take Schindler’s List for example.
It has Nazis in it, and some idiot, somewhere in the world, will possibly be inspired to become a Nazi, so it is now hypocritical for Spielberg to be against Nazis.
Not to mention every single actor in the movie that played a Nazi, is now a hypocrite if he speaks out against Nazis.

seawulf575's avatar

@Muad_Dib Yep, that’s it. OR, you could just admit that I have a very valid point and that the Hollywood types that speak out against what they advertise are hypocritical morons. But what am I thinking? You would never come close to saying you might be a little wrong. Carry on.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli True, Schindler’s List does have Nazis in it. But they are not depicted as the heroes. Quite the opposite. And Schindler, who is the hero, put himself and his family at great risk to save others. And he didn’t use violence or a gun. So while you might want to try stretching what I am saying, you are either purposely or inadvertently missing the point.

ragingloli's avatar

” But they are not depicted as the heroes”
Neither was Scarface.
You still twisted it to suit your viewpoint.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m not wrong, you’ve proved nothing, and you have no point.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli one slight difference…they made a movie about Scarface. He was the hero, the central character, of the movie. Yes, he ended up getting killed, but look at what was put out in the movie: He is a poor kid that got into dealing drugs and got fabulously wealthy off it. Now, compare that to Schindler’s List. Schindler is the hero of that movie. He did nothing but save people from murder. He didn’t promote violence and, in fact, stood against it, even though it cost him everything. So look at the two movies, look at what Hollywood portrays. In one case, they are portraying the success of drug dealing and abuse of women and murder. In the other they are portraying care for your fellow human. Now, in which case would the actors coming out against gun violence be hypocritical? Both made tons of money. Both were hits. But in one, they made violence look like a good thing when done to advance yourself. In the other, they made violence look like something that was to be resisted, but not with more violence. Hollywood has made good movies. But my contention is that when you glamorize someone like the movie Scarface does, those that made the movie are hypocrites if they later speak out against the same violence they promoted with the movie.

seawulf575's avatar

@Muad_Dib thank you for making my point.

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