Am I the only one who can’t find any uplifting entertainment anymore?

My wife and I used to love watching a new movie or a TV show after putting the kids to bed.  In addition, I love downloading TV shows to watch while on the airplane because I am constantly traveling for work.

This process has become increasingly frustrating.  I’ll become interested in a show and then, out of nowhere, there will be an extremely explicit and completely gratuitous sex scene or excessively bloody battle scene.  Or the actors, for no reason at all, will begin dropping F-bombs and S-bombs left and right.

I am actually a pretty grizzled veteran when it comes to this stuff.  I got baptized in my mid-30s, and I saw plenty of bad stuff in the movies before I joined the Church.  So it’s not as if I am a delicate flower who has never seen nudity or blood or heard bad language.  I can even understand the point that sometimes a movie is made better by explicit scenes.  If you really want to understand and feel what the Normandy invasion was about, then “Saving Private Ryan” with all of its violence is a good choice.  My feeling is that the violence in “Saving Private Ryan” is not gratuitous, whereas so many movies these days are filled with completely unnecessary garbage that is extraneous to the actual story.

Here is what I want:  stories about human being doing real things, having real romances, overcoming difficult problems, but without explicit sex scenes, bloody violence or any F-bombs or S-bombs.  Is that too much to ask?

I maintain it is not, and I think there are a lot of people who agree with me.  Even my friends outside the Church complain about all of the garbage in the entertainment world.

So, there are two purposes to this post.  The first is that Wheat & Tares has a podcast dedicated to discussing entertainment that promotes family values.  I have not listened to it yet, but I will download the first few episodes and let you know what I think.  You can find the podcast here.

The second purpose of this post is for readers to suggest some movies or TV shows that fulfill the requirements above.  Again, what I want are real stories without explicit sex scenes, bloody violence or swearing.  It would be a bonus if the movie promoted family values and faith, but I am not even insisting on that.  I just want to get through a movie or TV show without being disgusted.

Here are some of my favorites movies just to get the discussion started.  I watch so many movies and TV shows because of my travel schedule that this list could be very long, but here is a start.

Pride & Prejudice (the movie version or the BBC version — they are both good).

Downton Abbey

Poldark (BBC series)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Shenandoah (Jimmy Stewart movie from the 1960s)

Groundhog Day

Most movies made before 1965 or so on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I am a big fan of musicals and have watched all of the biggest musicals, from Fiddler on the Roof to Singin’ in the Rain.

As I said, this is just a start.  Please let me know some of your favorites in the comments below.





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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

20 thoughts on “Am I the only one who can’t find any uplifting entertainment anymore?

  1. VidAngel is an app that hasn’t yet been quashed by Hollywood that serves multiple awesome functions:

    1) It lets you purchase movies, apply filters, watch, then return the movie for a net outlay of $1.

    2) it lets you browse up front sanitized versions of the troubling content. I’m sometimes amazed at the content some people find troubling, but then I realize some people are trying to adjust content for their toddlers. You have to filter something, or they won’t let you watch. I usually tend to filter language. Filtering out scenes sometimes makes the plot hard to follow.

    And then there’s watching the movie itself. Sometimes watching a film without the objectionable content is like looking at a beautiful woman without makeup. Other times, it is like looking at an ugly cockroach without makeup.

    Anyway. VidAngel. Recommended.

  2. My husband says, “I can still find uplifting movies. Maybe he is the only one…”

    It is true that movie makers have found that movies that tug on family heartstrings will do well for them. The heartstrings might be hidden in unacceptable levels of sex and gore, but they are increasingly there.

  3. I’ve been watching Lark Rise to Camdleford lately on Amazon Prime and loving it. It’s got 4 seasons with about 10 episodes per season. Great values and good stories.

    Call the Midwife is a great drama. It is a bout midwives so a lot of birthing scenes but they are done tastefully.

    My husband and I really enjoyed Doc Martin but the last couple of seasons weren’t as good as the first few.

    Parenthood is my all time favorite series. There were some borderline scenes but they always cut away fairly quickly. Not one I would recommend for my kids. However great storylines and drama.

    I love most of your choices, too.

  4. There is a return to several broadcast tv channels with older movies and tv series. ME TV, GET TV, THIS, Antenna, Comet, Grit, and others provide a nice variety. Most of these are available via antenna and basic cable.

  5. I like BBC shows. I watched Doc Martin this year. Also I like, Midsommer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Foyle’s War, The Bletchley Circle (there are sadly only 2 seasons of this excellent drama), The Crimson Field (sadly cancelled after 1 series), Anzac Girls (about the Australian and New Zealand nurses during WW1, Mercy Street (a Masterpiece Theater show, about a hospital during the Civil War), The IT Crowd (a comedy, but the 3rd season has some really bad language, the rest is fairly clean), Mansfield Park, Sense & Senablity (both versions 1995 & 2008), North & South, Wives & Daughters, Daniel Deronda, Piorot (all of them!), Death Comes to Pemberly (Mr. Darcy and Lizzy after P&P), Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Sherlock (with Cumberbatch and Freeman), Arthur & George, Doctor Thorne, John Adams (the HBO miniseries), Ballykissangel, Monarch of the Glen, Little Dorrit,

    Movies: How to Steal A Million, Arranged (about a Jewish and Muslim girl waiting for their arranged marriages and the friendship they form), That Touch of Mink, The Sting, To Catch A Thief, To Kill A Mockingbird, Hello Dolly (on Netlflix now!), What’s Up Doc?, The Russians Are Coming..

    Most are from Netflix, a few are from Amazon Prime. Happy viewing!

  6. One of the funniest movies ever, ‘The Wrong Box’, starring a young Michael Caine with cameos in several parts by Peter Sellers. It involves a tontine and there is a scene as the credits roll that shows how various members of the tontine died, which is actually very funny, but may rub some people wrong. Watching it as a double feature with ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is a treat. Sadly for the future fortunes of Hollywood there are thousands of movies made when plot was born important than shock value. Possibly the people who make movies nowadays fail to realize how nasty they are.

  7. A couple of series from the 80s that were really good
    “Voyagers” with Jon Eric Hexum and Meeno Pluce. It is really good at teaching history. I liked it as a kid and an adult.
    Steven Speilberg “Amazing Stories.” I like it as a kid and more as an adult. The stories are all different, but all very good. Most are short but very entertaining. There are some big name actors in this series.

    There are a lot of great classic movies out there. Look up some of them.

  8. By the way, I think finding entertainment today is easier because we have access to more older films and tv series. A generation ago our options were much more limited. So, I guess it is all how you look at it. Poor entertainment was produced then as well, but it has fallen by the wayside and been forgotten in the mean time. The same thing will happen to today’s low quality entertainment.

  9. I highly recommend “Poldark” PBS Masterpiece. I watch it online after they post it on their website because they normally air it on Sunday. Great British production, pretty epic for man and some romance for women. My husband is a big fine of the series. You can watch the first season on Amazon Prime. Not sure if they have it on Hulu. Right now they are on S2E3. I got rid of cable years ago, so I do all my watching online, Netflix, Feeln (lot of Hallmark movies), Hulu, prime. I’m about to try the vidangel thing. It’s been s good experience watching only wholesome movies even if you have to do your homework.

  10. Has anyone else noticed somewhat of a trend here? Britain is a fraction of the size of the U.S. (in many ways), but may indeed produce the lion’s share of good programming in English.

  11. If I may diverge into other audio entertainment recommendations… is the Project Gutenberg of free audio books, public domain books, read by amateurs.

    All Old Time Radio (Amos and Andy, Green Hornet, The Shadow, etc.) at least up through the 50’s, is now public domain, and downloadable free, or you can purchase in sets and collections, pre-arranged, for reasonable fees.

    Some older movies are also now in public domain, and supposedly downloadable free or low fee, and I’ve seen some for sale as $1 DVDs at dollar stores. I would imagine silent films are all now public domain.

    For commercial movies via Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, I’d recommend going through the Oscar winners for Best Picture, year by year, starting as far back as you can and going forward. And maybe all movies that were nominated for Best Picture. I would suppose Wikipedia has a list by year, or some other web site does.

    Bollywood movies (almost all musicals, or usually movies with musical numbers randomly thrown in) ) were all family rated up until maybe 15 years ago, but even since then most have still been clean movies. I don’t know if they have a rating system or not. About 15 years ago some Bollywood films started having very explicit dance moves that made the Tango seem tame.

    Most Bollywood movies have English subtitles. I’ve seen a couple decent comedies.

    You can sometimes buy inexpensive dvds of Bollywood movies at Indian/Pakistani grocery stores, or ask them where the Indian video store is in town. You can also borrow Indian/Bollywood movies in DVD format at some public libraries. Indianapolis’ public library has them.

    I would think you could also get Brazilian Portuguese movies from Amazon.

    I’ve bought a few comedies in Spanish at Mexican grocery stores in town. A funny one was “Tonta, tonta, pero no tanto.”


    The fact that that beautiful, uplifting, family-friendly AND family centered film was a near flop while VidAngel was all over the Mormon press . . . I can’t like VidAngel.

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