What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Million Ways to Die in the West is a raunchy comedy from star-director-producer Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) that's guaranteed to appeal to teens, despite (or, frankly, because of) the extremely crude content. There's near-constant profanity, including crass terms for sex, genitalia, and sexual positions (as well as "f--k," "s--t," and all the other usual suspects). Although there's only one nude scene (a man's behind), there are tons of references to sex -- including prostitution, oral sex, and virginity -- throughout the movie. Characters drink, smoke, and do drugs (with some consequences shown for the latter). And as the title suggests, violence in the Wild West is the overarching theme of the story, so there are deaths due to gun and knife violence, random animal attacks, natural disasters, and more. Despite all of this, the movie does give its characters some redeeming qualities, and themes of friendship, real love, and believing in yourself run through the film.
  • Families can talk about gross-out humor and its role in movies. Who does that sort of comedy appeal to? When does it cross the line -- and who determines where that line falls?
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West has some positive messages, but do they get lost in the crude humor? Who's the intended audience for this movie? How can you tell?
  • Does this movie reinforce stereotypes, or does it make fun of them? Is it OK to make fun of a group if it's one of many targets? Why or why not?
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