Tara McNamara, editor of KidsPickFlicks.com, guests on our Fandango Freshly Popped Blog with her take on movie adaptations of books.
Amongst the many superhero movies flooding the cineplex, something is a little more super about Captain America: The First Avenger.
Unlike the other flawed personalities who gain powers through happenstance, Steve Rogers is selected to be transformed into the military's secret weapon because he's already a super guy. Rogers stands up to bullies, puts others' needs before his own, and doesn't curse. In fact, director Joe Johnston keeps the entire movie a profanity-free zone.
Such a small omission is actually a great consideration, especially because lately curse words are used as an in-road to reach teenagers. Studios have deduced that teen boys are the tastemakers of moviegoers: Entice them and older men, and younger boys and teen girls tend to follow. Foul language functions as an attempt to connect with teens and a method to secure the "cool" yet accessible rating of PG-13.
I can't say my language doesn't occasionally contain a curse word or two, especially when I'm driving on the 405 freeway, but few foul words slip through my lips in front of my kids. As a parent critic, I bristle at every S-, B-, and F-word uttered during a film. It's not cute when kids cuss and I believe kids are more likely to use expletives when they hear them in movies. What bothers me more is that it feels so unnecessary to include cursing in a movie.
A recent KidsPickFlicks.com poll reveals that, in fact, most kids don't appreciate profanity. Two-thirds of respondents in our poll "How Do You Feel About Bad Words in Movies?" said they "hate it." Another 19% said they "don't even notice." Only 15% say they "like it."
Summit Entertainment and Marvel Studios are among the studios most plugged into what teens find cool. Summit's Twilight series keeps the language fairly clean. Marvel's Avengers films are increasingly becoming free of swear words. These are some of the most successful teen movies on the planet. When a curse word is finally uttered in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, one of the most successful teen movies ever made, it cuts through the scene with emotional importance. As a parent, my wish is that more filmmakers would use Mrs. Weasley's lone curse word as a template for gauging when inappropriate language is actually appropriate.
What do you think? Is there a time when profanity in movies for kids is acceptable? Does it bother you when foul language is used or do you even notice? Do you think children are more likely to curse if they hear it in films?
To read what kids think about Captain America: The First Avenger and other movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com.