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I received quite an education at the movies the other day. I saw "Spider-Man," and I came home convinced we have taken another step toward the end of Western civilization.

Before going, I read that the movie is rated "PG-13 for comic book violence." While I'm modern enough to know I wouldn't be seeing the likes of Elmer Fudd trying to perforate "that pesky wabbit" with birdshot, or the campy "Wham! Whack! Ker-pow!" of the 1960s Batman, it floored me to experience what is accepted today as "comic book violence."

"Spider-Man" is a barrage of rapid-fire unpleasantries -- armed robbery, murder, explosions with intent to kill, psychosis. The media has written about a touching scene where Spider-Man and his heartthrob share an upside-down kiss.

Unmentioned is that the kiss is the finale to a scene in which the young woman is almost gang-raped. Oh, and the kiss takes place in a sudden rainstorm; the lady's nearly transparent blouse is a nice added touch for young teens.

At the point where the demonic bad guy mocked the recently widowed Aunt May for seeking comfort in the Lord's Prayer, my family left the theater.

Remember the recent film, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"? It was rated "PG for some crude humor." About all you dealt with in that generally pleasant movie was a hairy green grouch passing gas. My error was to think the distance between "PG" and "PG-13" could not be that great, but it should be measured in light-years.

Typically, movie reviewers don't get that. None of the reviews I read could prepare a parent in any way for a movie like this.

The News might sponsor a group of parents to view movies and communicate whether they found films potentially harmful to their children. That information would be welcome.



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