Youth Culture Window

Good Boys

good-boys

Another (Super) Bad Movie from Seth Rogen
David R Smith

Sex toys. More F-bombs than GoodFellas. A misunderstanding of nymphomania. More sex toys. Drugs and alcohol. Plush purple sex swings. Ongoing tweenage discussions of genitalia. Sex dolls. Porn. And of course, a few more sex toys.

How’s that for a plot summary of Hollywood’s hottest new comedy about three kids?

Yes, kids.

A Celebration of the Loss of Innocence
On Friday, August 16th, a movie was released that blurs multiple lines of morality and sensibility.

It hit #1 at the box office.

Good Boys follows three very young boys (Stranger Things, anyone?) – Jacob Tremblay (Max), Brady Noon (Thor), and Keith L. Williams (Lucas) – as they blunder their way from one problem to another preparing for their very first “kissing party.” In case you struggle to grasp any semblance of plot from the movie’s official trailer, here’s how Universal Studios describes their latest offering:

Invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max asks his best friends Lucas and Thor for some much-needed help on how to pucker up. When they hit a dead end, Max decides to use his father’s drone to spy on the teenage girls next door. When the boys lose the drone, they skip school and hatch a plan to retrieve it before Max’s dad can figure out what happened.

There are not one, but two, red band trailers promoting this movie; those who view them will be verbally and visually assaulted by obscene amounts of profanity and indecency. No exaggeration of vulgarity is required; in Good Boys, moviegoers will watch 12-year-old boys:

  • crudely handle a sex doll.
  • frolic back and forth in a sex swing.
  • drop more expletives than balls in Time Square.
  • view a gangbang porn scene on a laptop.
  • and play with actual sex toys.

But what else do you expect from the guys (read “Seth Rogen”) who brought you Superbad, Sausage Party, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno?

In advance of the movie’s release, the “Bean Bag Boys” as they’re called in the film have been making all the rounds doing promo work. When Jacob Tremblay dropped by to speak with Jimmy Fallon, the host warned his crowd, “It is rated R. I will say this, it’s rated R.” The young child boisterously offered his agreement by shouting, “Oh, it’s very rated R!”

Being that the movie is rated R, the challenge for the movie was to turn out audiences older than the movie’s very young protagonists, and it mostly did during their opening weekend.

Mostly.

7% of the audience was younger than age 18.

The Bad News on Good Boys
Each spring, I write a two-part article discussing all the films being released during the summer so parents can get a preview of each movie’s appropriateness. In part two of this year’s article, I wrote the following line about Good Boys: “it should definitely be avoided…even though it stars a bunch of teens.” With the release of additional trailers and more behind-the-scenes content across the last few months, I must confess, my counsel was as helpful as saying, “It’s probably not a good idea to lick cobras.” Please allow me to adjust my original critique from a more informed position.

    1. We should call the film what it is: exploitation of kids for the entertainment of adults.
      Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m not an official film critic, but after reading reviews of Good Boys, I’m beginning to think that job requires the same amount of training to be a host on The View. Ironically, some reviews have simultaneously called the film “raunchy” and “surprisingly sweet”/“undeniably sweet.” How is that even possible? The “experts” may try to spin a lofted narrative about “coming of age” or “decisions and their consequences,” or maybe even “the beauty of friendship,” but those failed attempts are so disingenuous it borders on professional malfeasance. Saying Good Boys is about “learning the lessons of life” is the educational equivalent of saying, “Sure, you can learn about human anatomy by watching porn.” If you think my definition is overly harsh, contemplate this: the three boys know what a gangbang is…yet don’t know how to kiss.

Indicting, no?

    1. Adults – grown men and women – are responsible for this content.
      Moviegoers will watch young kids get into shenanigans way past their understanding in Good Boys, but make no mistake about it: the sex-laced story, the abhorrent dialogue, and the tainting of young characters were all designed by adults.

Did the adult screenwriter have an F-bomb quota to reach?
Did the adult director ever have to say, “No, no. Swing the anal beads like this.”
Did the adult set designer wince, at all, while positioning a sex doll to be fondled by kids?

Even the actors’ parents bear culpability. TMZ reported that Jacob Tremblay, the movie’s central character, earned $900,000 for his role in Good Boys. The writer makes $900K sound like a ton of cash; it merely caused me to wonder what price tag I would attach to my son’s integrity. I’m not sure there are enough zeros in the world….

But is this really surprising when young actors are offered surprisingly raunchy roles?

Look, maybe those young boys don’t know any better. Fine. But if there’s not a single adult in their lives to model a standard of decency, may God help them. Sadly, this is the one part of the film that is actually a sobering reality. Most moms and dads aren’t the ones who dialogue with their kids about God’s design for sex and intimacy. Most kids turn to their peers or their screens to discover it for themselves. Any guess what answers they find there?

    1. We should be abjectly broken by this film’s premise and content.
      I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this film pimps the morality of three boys (and several other very young supporting characters) in order to make money. That there is a demand for this kind of entertainment media should give us pause. No, really, think about that statement. Productions like these rob us of any self-deluding notions of virtue we might like to boast about.

To what length are we willing to go to be entertained? Have our consciences been so seared that we cannot recognize depravity when we see it?

This sort of film should draw tears. Instead, it’ll draw crowds.

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David R. Smith

David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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