dadcrafting Movies

  by Andrew Wolgemuth

Are you familiar with the MPAA? It’s an organization that falls into that broad category of “stuff you’ve seen a million times, but don’t really have any idea what it is.” The MPPA is the Motion Picture Association of America … the group that rates movies.

MPAA Green Screen

See their name in the middle of that familiar green screen? Pretty vanilla as far as memorable branding goes. Which may well explain why that name resides in the I think I’ve heard of that before… portion of your brain.

Anyway, it’s interesting to me that their ratings are centered on the concerns of parents. Here’s how they summarize the aims of their various film ratings:

MPAA Film Ratings

(Basically keep eliminating family members as you descend the ranking scale?)

I certainly don’t envy their task. G Rating – “Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.” Nothing?!? Good luck with that. PG-13 Rating – “Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers” … but once they hit 13, they’re good to go.

Ambiguous targets for amorphous goals that the MPAA can really only be approximately accurate in achieving.

So, when dadcraft touches on movies, we’re not going to venture into that space. What’s appropriate for you and your family is so personal that our guess at “this should be fine for your six-year-old” just isn’t that helpful. We’ll leave it to the MPAA and other groups to help you make that call.

What will we will aim to do, however, is highlight:

  1. what we loved about the movie (and perhaps some dadcraft happening within the film)
  2. what can be learned from the movie // how do the main characters grow (or not)?
  3. what can be talked about from the movie // questions to ask about the movie

For movies (along with other art forms, of course) shape us. They influence our dreams and our nightmares. They can make us more empathetic and understanding. They show us what’s possible and what’s beautiful … and what’s ugly. They present goodness and evil, right and wrong. They do a lot more than just buy us an hour or so of other-generated entertainment for our kids. For these reasons, it’s worth reflecting on what we watch and considering what lessons are lived out on the big/little/tablet screen.


Here’s a list (that will continue to grow) of movies that we’ve written about.

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