Movies Archives

Debunking Global Warming Myths

A brand new film from the Cornwall Alliance for Stewardship of Creation entitled Not Evil Just Wrong takes a critical look at the claims made by global warming fearmongers and attempts to separate the facts from fiction. Which is worse: the (alleged) problem or the proposed solutions? Click the video below to see the trailer.

Hat tip: Chuck Colson

"Hollywood Produces What the Public Wants"

No.  No, they don’t.

A new three-year study of the Top 25 movies released in 2006-2008 earning the most money overseas shows that international moviegoers prefer clean movies with strong or very strong Christian, moral and/or redemptive content and values.

This study is significant because it matches our annual study of the Top 25 Movies at the Box Office in America and Canada and the top home video sales annually, and because Hollywood now makes more money overseas than it does in the United States.

The Movieguide® study found that 20 of the Top 25 movies overseas in 2006-2008, or 80%, contained strong or very strong Christian, moral, redemptive, and even biblical content, earning $8.39 billion out of $10.59 billion total, or 79.2% of the money among the Top 25.

That’s an average of $419.5 million per movie!

This is just another in a long line of studies showing the same thing.  OK, then, so why do they produce so much junk?

Sacred and Secular: Comparing two Heroes from Animation

Which movies and which individuals do I have in mind? I offer Roger Rabbit and Wall-E as a comparison and constrast between a secular and sacred (specifically Christian) Saints. I use the term ‘saint’ with a capitalized “S” normally to indicate a hero of the Christian tradition and faith. Roger Rabbit strike me for some odd reason as more a secular saint than secular hero, after all Roger represents virtues very much unlike those of Achilles, a more traditional hero. For reference, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a 1988 movie mixing 24-frame animation directed by Roger Zemeckis featuring Bob Hoskins and a zany (a term of art) Roger Rabbit in a mystery story featuring murder, possibly adultery and of course intrigue. Wall-E is a computer animated PIXAR film which is less easily classifiable. I commend both as wonderful examples of some of the best of animated cinema.

Back in the day, in the 90s and when WFRR came out, I became convinced that Roger was saint, and at that time I was pretty much a secular fellow so it might be considered at that point that perhaps Roger is a secular not sacred version of the saint. Why did I consider Roger to be a saint. It is one of his lines in the movie, “I just want to make people laugh.” And that is indeed his (and perhaps all of “toontown’s”) mission in the movie. Bob Hoskin’s character is quite the sourpuss. Underlying the entire narrative is the “want to make people laugh” as a them. Spreading joy and enjoyment is the highest virtue, the highest calling from Roger’s (and the Toon communities) point of view. And for this, I considered Roger a candidate as a, secular, saint.

Wall-E too is a saint, but in a very different way. He is a hero of circumstance as well, but that just confuses matters. That is to say that while he is the person (or more accurately the intelligence) that is in the right place at the right time, making the right decisions which turns the human race around and saves the species. However that is not what makes him a saint in a Christian sense. What, for me, makes me consider Wall-E a portrayal of a saint is that seems to me connects more with some of the real Christian Saints. Wall-E is filled, seemingly ontologically, of a transforming grace. Characters in this movie, and while its been a while since I’ve seen it but I think this includes all of them except perhaps our villain(s), are transformed by Wall-E. You can identify (and likely they would be able as well) the change in them catalyzed by Wall-E. You can identify their character development with a watermark, identified by a ‘before-I-met Wall-E” person vs the “after-I-met Wall-E” person. An example of this might be the incendental contact he makes with one of the ship dwellers in passing who shortly thereafter finds himself noticing and interacting differently with his neighbor.

And this I think is a identifying difference between my perception of this sort of secular and sacred saint. The secular saint by effort and calling effects change in people in a conscious fashion. This particular sacred saint on the other hand, unintentionally awakens a fullness (or perhaps in a lest loaded “Eastern Christian term, a turning to their teleos or purpose) in those he contacts.

What Would We Do Without Studies?

They spent money on this?

Sexual content on television is strongly associated with teen pregnancy, a new study from the RAND Corporation shows.

Researchers at the nonprofit organization found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years. It is the first study to demonstrate this association, RAND said.

Next week, RAND comes out with their study that gravity leads to falling.

The suggested remedy is equally obvious.

A central message from the study is that there needs to be more dialogue about sex in the media, particularly among parents and their children, said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND.

Although the Hollywood culture is certainly a major contributor to the oversexualization of the media (and they could do their part, but won’t, and will whine publicly and loudly if you suggest they do), parents still need to be the gatekeeper.

As my kids would say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious!"

Not Exactly A Documentary

From the website for Bill Maher’s new movie, "Religulous":

The documentary RELIGULOUS follows political humorist and author Bill Maher ("Real Time With Bill Maher," "Politically Incorrect") as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion.  Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent with and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey.

Well, no, he did not bring his "characteristic honesty" with him.

For a guy that has practically made a career out of regularly accusing the Bush administration of lying to get America into a war, comedian Bill Maher clearly isn’t opposed to telling fibs if it serves his financial interests.

Such was exposed by CNN Monday when Maher and the director of his new film "Religulous" admitted — without the slightest hint of remorse — they had lied to get people — including political and religious figures — to appear in the movie.

In fact, one evangelical pastor said that he thought he was participating in a PBS documentary and never would have agreed to the project if he had been told Maher was involved

The NewsBusters site has a transcript of the interview.  Calling it a comedy is one thing, but lying about it and passing it off as an honest documentary suggests that Maher may need to get some religion himself.

"Serious" Journalism

Would a documentary about Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, or Area 51 ever, ever get time on ABC’s Nightline?  You wouldn’t think so.  And yet, Bruce Burgess, who’s done all three, got his own segment on the nighttime news show.

Inconceivable?  Well, when you find out the topic of his most recent movie, it all makes sense.

Over a three day stretch, ABC devoted almost 15 minutes of air-time to a documentary filmmaker who asserts in his movie "Bloodline" that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a massive hoax perpetrated on humanity. Additionally, on Friday’s "Nightline," reporter Elizabeth Vargas left out any mention of the bizarre interests of the film’s director, Bruce Burgess. He’s directed and written documentaries on Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and a secretive look at a U.S. government’s supposed cover-up of the alien landings at Roswell.

Are you a conspiracy theorist concerned citizen looking for some face time on the mainstream media?  You, too, can grab the coattails of major news organization and soak in some of their reputation for yourself.  Simple; just trash Christianity.  Trashing Islam may get you killed, but trashing Christianity will get you an audience.

Those coattails are looking pretty tattered.

[tags]ABC News,Nightline,Elizabeth Vargas,Bruce Burgess,Bloodline,Christianity,religion,Bigfoot,Bermuda Triangle,Area 51,Islam,media[/tags]

"What the Public Wants"

That’s what many folks think that Hollywood produces, and it’s the excuse given when others lament what comes out of the movie industry.  The public wants it, and the movie houses’ job is to make money, so the produce what does it best.

If that’s so, it’s time for a change of direction in Hollywood.

Americans flock to movies with patriotic, moral content, according to a study that looked at thousands of movies released by Hollywood in recent years, but they avoid those with socialist and anti-capitalist themes in droves.

"Movies with very strong Judeo-Christian values, capitalist ideals, patriotism and pro-American attitudes do much better at the box office than movies promoting socialism, Marxism, left-wing political correctness and atheism," said Ted Baehr, publisher of MOVIDEGUIDE©: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment, and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry in Hollywood.

The article goes on to note that the type of movies that Baehr supports make a lot more money, on average, that the others, and this trend goes back at least as far as 2002.  If that’s the case, Hollywood would be making more of them; that’s what the public wants. 

This also goes back to the fact that G and PG rated films make more money than R and NC-17 ones.  Shouldn’t we be seeing more of the ones that bring in the cash?  Well, we’re not likely to see that.

[Baehr] said the results also show that there are two reasons Hollywood releases movies. The first is to entertain and make a profit, while the second is to "show you’re just as Hollywood PC as the next producer."

"If you’re making a movie like ‘Redacted,’ you’re cruising for a box office failure," he said.

He said such projects will only do filmmakers good "in the small inner circle of the elite system that is contrary to the values of faith and tolerance and grace."

The results show the "average movie-goer" has more common sense than the average person who considers himself among those "elite," he said. He also noted that those are only a portion of the Hollywood industry, because "there are a lot of good people, producers, writers and directors" in Hollywood.

I think, too, that the PC ones are as much for indoctrinating and influencing the culture as they are for ideology’s sake.  As such, the excuses for the Hollywood Left don’t hold water.

[tags]Hollywood,movies,Ted Baehr,MOVIEGUIDE[/tags]

Prince Caspian

The trailer is now available.

The movie opens May 16, 2008.

Hat tip: Tim Ellsworth

What if They Held a War Movie and Nobody Came?

Hollywood is finding out.

The public isn’t going to Hollywood’s antiwar movies – and it’s not just the hicks if you look at the amazingly-consistent comments on beneath the article: “Hollywood is casualty of war as movie-goers shun Iraq films.” It’s everybody and his brother from Tacoma to Tallahassee, not to mention a large number from abroad. As of last Saturday night, the Agence France Presse report had over 500 comments and counting.

The article itself, not surprisingly anonymously written, is filled with the usual shopworn explanations for the audience’s disinterest. For Lew Harris of, it’s the canard that movies are escapism only. Serious films are just too heavy for the great unwashed. For Gitesh Pandya of, it’s that audiences don’t want to pay for what they already see for free on television (Iraq). Veteran television producer Steve Bocho says it’s hard to gain audience interest in a “hugely unpopular war.”

These liberal folks just can’t believe that anyone disagrees with them. You’d almost expect to hear, “But everyone I know thinks like me.” But, as the comments note, there is another explanation.

The audience members themselves – that is the Breitbart commenters – are having none of this nonsense. The third one down, “Extremely Bored,” puts it this way: “Let me correct this point – I am not weary of war news at all. I am shunning these movies – and many others- because I am tired of Hollywood’s anti-American stance on absolutely everything. However we got into the war, and whatever mistakes were made up to this point, we are one country. We need to win and we need to remain tough against terrorism. It doesn’t benefit anyone to do otherwise. I will go see a movie that reflects that point.”

He is echoed almost immediately by commenter “Lee”: “The real answer – the obvious one that liberals can’t bring themselves to accept – is that most Americans are tired of liberal spinmeisters trashing their country, our soldiers, and our way of life. The Redfords of the world sit in their ivory towers and try to tell us how to think and react based on their own prejudices …”

And so it goes down the page… hundreds, soon thousands.

The problem here is that the Left finds whatever fits their narrative and blows it out of proportion, as I have noted before with the movie “Redacted”. Brian De Palma found a horrifying incident, but then he calls it “the reality” of what’s happening in Iraq, and by extension (i.e. by not showing the positive things happening in Iraq) he and all these writers and directors paint a horrendously proportioned and one-sided picture of the war.

Essentially, all this anti-Americanism does not interest the public. Further, it plays into the hands of our enemies. We are producing their propaganda films for them! (But don’t question their patriotism.)

One other thing this exposes is the canard that Hollywood is a strictly money-making machine, and they only produce what the public wants. You hear this excuse trotted out when someone complains about the excessive and gratuitous sex and violence. But these anti-war movies are not making nearly the money others do, yet they keep making them. Flop after flop hits the theaters, even with big stars in them. If this explanation of Hollywood’s subject matter were true, they’d stop hitting their heads on this particular wall, and they’d also make more G and PG movies.

Truth is, they know the influence they have, and will, in many cases, take the loss to get their views out there, dressed up and made up to look respectable. But it’s still just a pig with lipstick, and the American people are not buying the propaganda this time.

[tags]Hollywood,war movie,Iraq war,Lew Harris,Gitesh Pandya,Steve Bocho,Robert Redford,Brian De Palma,Redacted,movie ratings[/tags]

“The Golden Compass”, Lacking a Moral One

The movie, “The Golden Compass”, is essentially a moral compass that points south instead of north. As mentioned here before, author Philip Pullman, from who’s books “His Dark Materials” the movie comes from, is distinctly anti-religious. As such, the movie, while it is marketed to the same crowd as The Chronicles of Narnia, seeks to deconstruct religion in the eyes of the kids.

Not content with the subtleties of allegory, Pullman’s movie involved the church directly, and depicts it as willing to kidnap and experiment on children in trying to determine if a particular substance is actually Original Sin. He blurs the idea of a daemon as simply the human soul that manifests itself, in some of the universes in his story, as an animal that stays with the human. Ultimately, in the trilogy, the God figure is killed. Christians will immediately see the difference and the problem with one character’s goal of establishing a Republic of Heaven to rival God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Even though it sounds like the anti-religious themes are being downplayed in the movie, the movie inevitably spurs book sales, which is where the real issues are. I would ask Christians not to put this movie on their holiday schedule. While the controversy will no doubt increase some ticket sales, I’m hoping that the dollars withheld by others will more than offset that.

(Information on this can be found at Wikipedia here and here. A review of the books from a Christian who really wanted to like it can be found at Journeyman. The original press release by the Catholic League can be found here.)

[tags]Philip Pullman,His Dark Materials,The Golden Compass,Christianity,The Catholic League[/tags]

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