Movie Monday: Super Bummer Weekend

28


JudyMoodyandtheNOTBummerSummer.jpgIt was a middling weekend at the box office—both in terms of the offerings moviegoers might hope to find there and the returns those films generated.

Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams’ much-hyped sci-fi thriller Super 8 generated a modest $37 million in its weekend debut, a number that Hollywood pundits are labeling neither super nor sour. From Plugged In’s perspective, though, this popcorn muncher sullied its latter-day Goonies meets E.T. premise—just what is trapped in that train anyway?—with a cast of kids barely in their teens dishing profanity and modeling quite a bit of other questionable behavior as well. A bummer, one might say.

And speaking of bummers, despite a title that suggests otherwise, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, struggled to capitalize, it seems, on the popularity of the books about her. Judy clocked in at No. 7, with revenue of $6.3 million. And it’s too bad more folks didn’t decide to check out Judy’s anachronistic adventures (there’s nary a text message to be seen anywhere), because it’s easily the most family friendly offering at the multiplex right now. To hear more about what inspired Judy’s creator, Megan McDonald, check out our interview with her here.

Elsewhere on the box office roster, heavyweights from previous weeks continued to duke it out for supremacy. X-Men: First Class notched a No. 2 showing, adding another $25 million to its cume. At No. 3: The Hangover Part II. The foul R-rated comedy made another $18.5 million, plowing through the $200 million mark in the process, and passing Fast Five to become the biggest theatrical draw so far in 2011. Two other holdovers, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides rounded out the Top 5.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

I LOVED "Super 8".  It was very well acted, very well written and very well directed by one of the best directors of our time, and had a marketing campaign that messed with your mind, in a good way.  I am usually not a fan of movies where stuff jumps out at you when you least expect it to but, with "Super 8", the adrenaline rush that comes with being scared actually felt good.  Of all the movies that I have seen in 2011, "Super 8" is my #1 pick.  JJ Abrams knows what makes a good movic tic and I applaud him for that.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  JessicaFOTF:

Thanks for the lively discussion, everyone! We appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts on the topic of profanity. However, we're going to wrap up this  conversation, in keeping with our posting guidelines regarding ongoing debate.  We'd welcome your thoughts on other aspects of this blog, as well as on our  other threads. Thanks for understanding!JessicaFOTF Moderator

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  The Reviewer:

First, when I wrote this I meant that there is no such thing as necessary cursing at all, but since we're talking about movies I added the "in the case of movies" part. And in the case of movies people argue that profanity can add emotion, tension, amusement, etc. Also they argue that it is realistic (and it is), but in my view if you are a talented enough movie maker there are other ways to depict stress, fear, etc. in a character. Second, in my opinion there is no way to curse intelligently. Profanity makes people sound foolish. It just does. For example, when I hear a professor curse it just lowers my opinion of them because apparently they have not learned how to express themselves better. Third, there is no purpose to swearing except to shock, anger, or insult and speaking from a Christian perspective why would anybody want to achieve effectiveness in those areas?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Amy :

I agree.  My husband did fall asleep during the Judy Moody movie and I couldn't wait to get out of there.  We had children with 9,10,12 and 14 with us, who were all disappointed and thoroughly disgusted.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Amy :

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer may have been the most family friendly movie offering at the multiplex currently, but it was not friendly to our pocket book, because the movie was a true bummer and NOT worth the money.   As Christians we always filter every movie through pluggedin.com for our children 9, 10 and 14.  As a mother I'm seen as un-cool and over-protective.  This time I just proved it.  It may have actually been more tolerable to sit through the swear words and violence of Green Lantern, then to sit through 1 hour and 45 minutes of embarrasing insults to our intelligence.  Lanterntimalphadog2 is wise to wait until it comes out on video.  I wish we would have done the same.  We want a refund.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Eh:

Hey, 1. You KNOW you were sneaky around your parents about one thing as a kid (watching something you weren't supposed to or whatever) 2. it's some kind of ying and yang thing. Sometimes the worst offenders are the kids of devout Christians and the most holy people are from bad familes.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Anon:

/* Style Definitions */

table.MsoNormalTable

{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";

mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;

mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;

mso-style-noshow:yes;

mso-style-priority:99;

mso-style-qformat:yes;

mso-style-parent:"";

mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

mso-para-margin:0in;

mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;

text-indent:.5in;

line-height:115%;

mso-pagination:widow-orphan;

font-size:11.0pt;

font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";

mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;

mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";

mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;

mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;

mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

I think the problem is we have different understandings of the definition of "profanity." I don't think "using a word outside of original meaning" has anything to do with the concept of profanity, or is abusive in any way. In fact, that is the natural course of language. Language is not static by any means, language develops and grows as new words and terms are introduced, old slang is phased out, and words take on new connotations and eventually even new definitions as time goes by. To me, language "abuse" is when a word or phrase does not say what the speaker actually meant to say (malapropisms, "benevolent" instead of "belligerent," etc.). Right now, the s-word does mean "I messed up and/or feel frustrated." When used in the manner you describe, that is its definition. You cannot separate language from culture as culture defines language. And, random aside, by your definition of language abuse, “cool” or “sweet” are just as blatant offenses to the English language as the s-word.Now, this is a completely separate issue from “abusive language,” which is language not so much abused as language used to abuse another. It’s the difference between building a shoddy hammer and using a hammer to hurt someone. This is what I consider to be profanity: using language that has a high risk of being culturally unacceptable in such a way that it is offensive to another. Profane words are simply words that have been culturally marked as having an extreme level of offensive potential in such a way that in saying them in any situation you tend to indicate your willingness to provoke offense or disparage another. Profanity, to me, has nothing to do with the literal dictionary definition of the word in question.Anyways, intelligent swearing. Honestly, I’m not sure how to discuss this without presenting examples, which of course would be completely inappropriate to print here. If you are genuinely curious what I mean, google the poem I mentioned, Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse.” It is a somewhat comical poem discussing parent-child relationships. Please be warned, it has two f-words. However, it uses them with a full understanding of both their literal, connotative, and historical value in such a way that the poem, in fact, could not function without them. I cannot really go into any more detail here, and fully understand if you have no wish to read it.Honestly, the idea of a word being inherently unintelligent is a bit silly to me. The general level of intelligence a word conveys is defined only by the way it is used, and even swear words can be used in a highly intelligent manner if you fully understand the cultural weight of the word and exactly what it conveys. Yes, most people don’t, but that doesn’t mean people can’t. And not to say that intelligent cursing isn’t offensive. Only that its offensiveness is well-calculated.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  AndStuff:

That I can certainly agree with!

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

I live in Illinois, near a large city.

And it's pretty much impossible to swear "intelligently" when all profanity is words that are being abused, used completely outside of their original meaning. How often does the s-word refer to its actual meaning, and how often does it just mean "I messed up and feel frustrated"? A word that isn't intelligent to begin with cannot be used "intelligently".

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  kate:

I found your last sentence amusing

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Chris:

Kids curse. A lot. I volunteer at the YMCA tween nights and those kids know a WIDE range of curses. It's like being in South Park (compunded by the fact that I live in CO). Although the 12+ are the worst offenders (because they want to be "cool") the 11- do it every now and then. When I was in Middle School people cursed every chance they got (when adults weren't around). I would bet anything that most of the kids of the parents here curse (not often like a sailor but sometimes), but would undergo waterboarding before admitting it.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Anon:

/* Style Definitions */

table.MsoNormalTable

{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";

mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;

mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;

mso-style-noshow:yes;

mso-style-priority:99;

mso-style-qformat:yes;

mso-style-parent:"";

mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

mso-para-margin:0in;

mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;

text-indent:.5in;

line-height:115%;

mso-pagination:widow-orphan;

font-size:11.0pt;

font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";

mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;

mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";

mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;

mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;

mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Well, what is a “necessary curse?” From many Christians’ perspective, there is no such thing as necessary swearing. However, to me a “necessary curse” is one in which to have the character not swear would be a betrayal of the character. If the character doesn’t swear in that situation, the character is no longer the character the film or novel or whatever has been attempting to portray, thus damaging the character and the work as a whole. In such a situation, I consider swearing necessary, and the movies I watch have such situations quite often. There are points, of course, when some movies, in an effort to be edgy or adult, throw in a ludicrous amount of swearing to the point the movie comes off more as a cartoonish exaggeration than an honest portrayal of a character. One of my favorite movies, “Falling Down,” has around 60 f-words. A lot of them are quite unnecessary and actually break the illusion of the film by betraying the characters in such a way that they use this sort of language in situations their characters really would not. But then “District 9” has about 200 f-words, and I didn’t even really notice because they seamlessly fit the characters and the situations in which the characters found themselves. Swearing has very little to do with intelligence. While a lot of less-than-mature-or-aware individuals tend to swear often, I’ve heard quite intelligent people swear as well, and often in quite an intelligent manner. That is, they fully understand the purpose of swearing and the purpose of the particular naughty word in question, and use the word in such a way that it achieves a perfectly calculated effect that actually improves the effectiveness of their communication at that instant (Philip Larkin’s poem “This Be the Verse” comes to mind). Whether or not that swearing was moral, of course, is a completely different question. Anyways, “Super 8.” I have not seen the movie, so I cannot say whether or not the swearing fits my criterion as “necessary.” However, I have encountered many young kids in the 11-13 range that do swear quite often, and have no problem imagining children in the situations depicted in “Super 8” using the s-word. If it's not too personal, YetAnotherTeen, I'm wondering where do you live?  Because, considering that pretty much every non-Christian teen I know swears regularly (I’m from Salem, Oregon for the record), I find it really unlikely that there is a place in which swearing is that uncommon. Not to doubt your honesty or the validity of your experience. I’m merely curious.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  The Reviewer:

I was reading the Super 8 review because I was bored (not ever planning on seeing it). I read the language outline and conclusion which made me ponder how/ why a writer would script profanity at all, let alone for 13 year olds. Then this argument reminded me that middle schoolers in the real world are more foul (and perverse) than even high schoolers. There is this immaturity factor that you have to add into the mix. I'm a college freshman now, but looking back to middle school a few years ago I remember hearing things that I still don't know what they are. And I'm talking about small town Appalachia not an L.A. suburb. Even the "good" kids got in on the cursing action. I may have been the only survivor (I have never cursed). It is unfortunate that profanity is so prevalent. I'm mean it's like people can't think of anything more intelligent to say. And in the case of movies I have never heard a necessary curse.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  yuppie_word:

I was home schooled my entire life and had hardly any interaction with public schools or the kids who went there, so I can't speak for them. But many of the people--some of whom are dual-credit students still in high school--at the community college I attend swear on a fairly regular basis. Swear words also come up fairly frequently in conversation among the people I work with (who range in age from high-school/college students to middle aged adults.) So I can't say if younger kids say those words regularly, but it is definitely a common occurrence among the general public.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  AndStuff:

I don't like it, but I was homeschooled and practically lived at my church during my highschool years and I still heard cuss words thrown around (mostly by the public school kids in youth group and mostly whispered, it was more outloud if we weren't in the church setting). I think sometimes it was said because they thought it sounded cool or something. I also watched a few shows that had it.  I don't hear it so much now, I suppose I live in a different part of the country that is more conservative?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

I've been to public schools and not heard such talk, despite listening for it. It's seriously not so common as people make it out to be.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  andy3193:

I agree with Kate. Cussing is prominent in kids and just because you don't hang out with kids that cus doesnt mean it doesnt happen all the time. Just ask any school teacher in middle school and high school and they will tell you the same. Its dissapointing but it is very "real." Go to a public school anywhere and just listen to how the kids talk.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  kate:

You make it sound like cussing is the most outlandish thing ever. My brother works with kids at the YMCA and two days ago he told me how shocked he was that a 7-year old was spitting out f-words.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

And I can say, with equal sincerity, that that's not how they act. Not one kid I know talks like that, the only people I've ever heard using such language are once coming home from a baseball game (and that was an adult), and in the movies. It's not "real", it's only accepted among certain people because they continue to regard it as "no big deal, they'll grow out of it".

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  andy3193:

Okay I'm 18 and I attended public schools and was not sheltered in the world. So i'm gonna have to say that kids in middle school cus all the time. Nothing is off limits, I heard every word in the book when i when i went to middle school and most of the kids there used profanity on a regular basis. So I promise you that it is very real and Super 8 was accurate in there portrayal of how kids talk.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Brian1131:

I have to respectfully disagree with you. I dont mean real as in cool or being hip but that it is a fact that when kids hear bad language at pre-teen/teenage years they will spout off some of those words because its new and exciting and they dont fully understand the meaning sometimes. But many kids still say those words. I think it does add some qualities to some movies, good and bad. This film reminded my of the classic 80's movie "Stand By Me" which is a great movie with a message about friendship but contains spicy language throughout mostly said by young boys because that is what the filmmakers remember when they were that age and growing up. I think sometimes it adds legitimacy to a film but there are times when I get tired of hearing the strong language. This isnt one of them.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  yuppie_word:

I don't think that is true at all. Judy Moody failed to bring in the crowds because, like Brian 1131 said, it doesn't even make an effort to attract anyone over the age of about 10 or so. The trailers made it look like little more than a bland, stupid kid-pic, and the reviews confirmed this. The family-friendly rating didn't hurt it at all, and audiences are hardly tired of kid friendly movies. If you'll remember, 6 of the top 10 highest grossing movies of last year were rated PG or lower, and Toy Story 3, which is rated G, was number one. The majority of those films were actually good, high-quality movies which earned their money and were relatively clean to boot. You can't compare Judy Moody to something like Toy Story or How to Train Your Dragon.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

First off, being "real" (AKA worldly) is not what we, as Christians, are supposed to be surrounded with. Second, it's not "real". Not every kid swears, not every kid even knows how to, I didn't even know of the existence of the s/f words until 14, and didn't even know what they were until a year or two later (thanks to some graffiti in the alley net to our church). Using vulgar words isn't "real", it isn't beneficial, and it adds nothing to the movie in atmosphere, scripting, or overall enjoyment factor.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Brian1131:

I dont think you can really say Judy Moody is really a family film. I think that film will only appeal to kids under the age of ten. Mom and dad would probably be asleep watching that film. It's no Up or Toy Story 3. And the profanity in Super 8 is real. When kids are in their younger teens they swear because they think it makes them sound cool. They know its bad but when your 13 or 14 you do it because it simply sounds cool and more grown up. If JJ Abrams is trying to capture a time and place for a movie he does it well because when we were all 13 year old boys riding bicycles around town we would say bad words as we made amateur movies and went swimming at the pond. One day those boys will grow out of that.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  kate:

I don't think the world dislikes family friendly movies, Judy Moody WAS a bummer and it targeted a very narrow audience that its performance is hardly surprising. I saw Super 8 too and I liked it, very intriguing...the cussing didn't bother me either, I don't even think I noticed.