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« Mannion Family Movie Night: The Odd Couple | Main | My beautiful deathbed conversion »


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Philip Shaw

"In order to make a movie for conservative Christians you have to make a movie that rejects the main reason for there being movies."

This is almost always the case, except that Christian films can sometimes be quiet violent if they deal with war, the "demonic" or hell (if they bother to have a budget for anything not laughable). The violence may pull some people in.

My guess is that people who see 200 movies a year are mostly single liberals, while churchgoing family people seldom see as many as 20 a year, so the market isn't really demanding many Christian movies, and the Christian audience is not very sophisticated.

"In order to make a movie for conservative Christians you have to make a movie that rejects the main reason for there being movies."

An astonishing proportion of movies are date movies. It absolutely ruins a movie for me if the Holocaust or WWII or practically anything I have interest in is used as a backdrop for an attractive couple getting to know one another and getting it on.

This goes way back. In the 19th c. in France, the drama, the ballet, and opera were above all social events where people went to flirt and hook up, and not only the female leads but the chorus girls were assumed to be available for the right man. This also seems to have been true in Austria and Russia, but less so in Germany and Britain. (I think. Maybe it was just more secretive).

One French theater director said in so many words that he ran a whorehouse. He couldn't pay anyone enough to live on, so he assumed that all of his players were earning a little on the side. (What the guys lived on I don't know; maybe he paid them, or maybe they had independent incomes and were in acting to score chicks, or maybe they were gamblers, con men, gigolos, and pimps.)

XIX c France was as bizarre as any other curiosity of anthropology. Adultery is everywhere in the world, but in France you had a strictly formalized and enforced marriage system and an equally strictly formalized and enforced adultery system. The separation was so strict that will I was reading up on the subject I asked myself if French husbands ever had sex with their wives.


As a Christian and film enthusiast, I think your observations are very, very spot-on. I would tack on that Christian films also cannot have an interesting or entertaining antagonist, since that might cause the audience to side with an evil character.


Since Bethany Hamilton and I share the same home state, I have a little perspective on her and on her family. From what I can tell in all the news stories about her, from the original shark attack up to now, neither she nor her family are much interested in proselytizing. Sure, her story's inspirational, but it is so in the same way that Aron Ralston's story is inspirational: beating the oddsmakers.

Sean Paul Kelley

When I was surfing in Nicaragua a few years ago there was a Christian surf camp outside the town of Popoyo I was staying. Popoyo is a wicked break, quite legendary in Nicaragua. Anyways, there is a real push to 'legitimize' alternative, extreme, sports and what not in the Christianist community. It's a part of their outreach. Which brings to mind a comment made by one of my surfing buddies in Nicaragua. Ruy said, "soy Catolico, pero Plutarcho Evangelico. I feel sorry for him, he has no life. No drinking, no love. Only church."

At that he poured another glass full of rum, drank it, grabbed his surfboard and paddled into the surf.


But in Fireproof the fact that the main character spends his days risking his life to save others doesn’t matter because he isn’t right with God. The fact that he is a hero is almost held against him, partly because his heroism has become a source of vanity and pride and he uses the dangers and demands of the job as an excuse for self-indulgence. But it’s also the case that his is a worldly success and a worldly fame. The message here is that it doesn’t matter how how wonderful you appear to be to other men and women, if you aren’t a shining light in God’s eyes.

Lance, you just explained American pop culture in a paragraph.

Think about every celebrity that has been brought down not because they fail at their jobs, but because they have clay feet.

Would America have been any worse off with a President Edwards, who actually might have kept his campaign promises? Meanwhile, the arguably most consistent moral man of the past thirty years as president was Bush the Younger. Anybody think being a personal saint is a good thing after him?

America needs an enema.


By the way, Hamilton is part of an evangelical church. She has numerous connections to the Billy Graham section of evangelicalism (her trip to Thailand was thru World Vision, the founder of which, Bob Pierce, is close friends with the Graham family).

I'm going to extend my presumption a bit and say her religious roots are probably Presbyterian-ish in nature, even if evangelical Presbyterian seems a weird thing to say.

Ralph H.

A fine, respectful Christian movie was Robert Duvall's "The Apostle." Conservative, Southern Christianity even, but a thoughtful film about faith, sin, and redemption.


My husband and I watched "The Apostle", and I dunno, maybe I was missing some finer points, but I found it to be a depressing example of Christianity.

The main character never *learned* anything from his experiences. He screwed up, ran, and basically set out to recreate the life he had before, only with a slightly different crowd. His faith never made him act any *different* than the way he always had, which was exactly what had gotten him into such trouble. The message of the movie, to me, seemed to be that you can act however you want, but as long as you have God's blessing and are busy spreading God's word, you aren't under any obligation to change your jerky qualities.

Sometimes I think that *is* conservative Christianity's message: God doesn't care if you're a jerk, as long as you're a jerk who can spout the right Bible verses. :P

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