Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Are Christian Movies So Bad?

Believe me, I have personal experience in this area. But son Dallas, a director of who runs our film company in Los Angeles, has really thought it through. I humbly submit that his comments on the subject are worth your time.


C.J. Darlington said...

I linked to the piece on my Twitter and FB pages, and several others have as well. Good stuff.

sweetthang said...

Hi Jerry, I'm enrolled in your writing course and am finding it very helpful.

Thank you for posting "Why are Christian Movies so bad?" It deals with some questions I have been asking myself. Your son made the comment that "there are two primary things that can foster someone becoming a better artist: one, seeing and being inspired by hundreds of great films, and two, getting a great artistic education. For better or worse, many parents won’t allow their kids to see some of the great films (because of questionable content)..." This statement addresses my frustration completely. I grew up very sheltered from "harmful" movies and books. Just today I was lamenting to my husband about how my very limited amount of "life experience" has hampered my ability to connect with a manistream or even a less conservative Christian audience. I grew up in the 1980's, but never experienced such movies as E.T., Star Wars, or anything else that was the going thing. My limited book collection included the "Little House" series and "Anne of Green Gables". I read them over and over. To say the least, my exposure to culture, art, and life outside the church was very limited. Now as an adult attempting to become a writer I feel disassociated at best. Is it too late for me to learn how to relate? What steps should I take? I also have two very imaginative sons ages 8 and 10 who have previously been pretty "protected". I want to keep them safe and at the same time equip them to live in the real world. As a person who understands "hedges" in a Christian's life, I would love to hear more of your perspective on this subject.

Jerry Jenkins said...

I sense your frustration. I was not allowed to go to movies at all as a child, and I didn't really introduce Dallas to movies until he was in junior high.

Let me urge him to respond here.

Dallas Jenkins said...

Speaking just about movies, you should search for the "American Film Institute's Top 100 Films of all time," and just go through them one at a time. If any of them strike you as okay for your children, then watch them with your kids. Also, you should get a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. It's not for your kids, but it's something that will keep you updated on what the mainstream pop culture is talking about and passionate about.

I also think we really need to reevaluate what our standards are in watching films. Is bad language as big a deal as we make it? Do we refuse to watch anything we might disagree with instead of studying it and learning about how we can address similar issues from a different perspective?

Things to think about.

Great questions!

sweetthang said...

Thank you both so much for responding to my concerns. I wasn't just wondering about movies themselves, but I feel like the idea could apply to movies, books or even art.

Your suggestions and thoughts on this make a lot of sense. I had been thinking along these lines myself, but I have been conditioned to feel guilty about what I watch. I agree we need to know what is going on in the world to make an impact on it. This helps so much. I will start watching those movies immediately, and will read some books I have been wishy washy about as well. Thank you so much.

Leigh Davis said...

Having seen the Left Behind series, the Apocalypse series (Apocalypse, Revelation, Tribulation and Judgement), I would hardly call these movies 'bad'. Although one of the actors in Revelation kinda bit, (character David Nid) but he was killed early on, biggie. I've been seeing a major improvement over time, in Christian movies. One movie (Road to Redemption, with Pat Hingle) was good...even funny with one of the mob guys being a Partridge Family fan! And the court scenes in Judgement were worthy of an L.A. Law episode!

You wanna talk about your bad movies,....hollywood cranks 'em out like there's no tomorrow! Some go down the tubes, deservedly so, but some, like TITANIC, get a major build up and even bigger box office, despite some of the worst writing this side of a grade school history assignment. Having seen both Titanic and the much maligned 'Pearl Harbor', I have no idea what that movie got the bad press it did. It had better dialogue, I can tell you that much!

In fact, as your movies (movies based on LB series) Christian movies are attracting some A list names, just because it's something off the beaten path from SEX, violence, and more F-sharps than a piano with only one working key.

Bottom line; the "WORST" Christian movie you can name is likely BETTER, by far, than some of hollywood's so called 'best'.

Dallas Jenkins said...

If you thought that the writing in the movies you mentioned was better than the writing in Titanic, and that the stars in the movies were A-list, then we'll simply have to agree to disagree.

Leigh Davis said...

Hi Dallas;

We'll have to disagree here, as I wasn't really thinking in terms of HOLLYWOOD's A-list, as that list changes with the wind. Only that the actors, who've done the hollywood deal see some REAL VALUE in the movies like what you and Cloud Ten produce.

Be careful about looking to Hollywood's definition and 'SUCCESS', or who defines that success. The closer to try to parrot that, the more you'll be suseptible to their manipulations. Next thing you know, you're preaching their message....a whole mass of nothing, for the most part.

Dallas Jenkins said...

Leigh, I haven't said anything about parroting Hollywood's definition of success, but it's always important to learn from the best when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, whether they're Christians or not. If I confuse that with the message, then I'm obviously going down a wrong path, but my main point is that we Christians need to do better.

That said, you might really appreciate, which is the daily video blog I did from the set of my latest film. It'll give you an inside, behind the scenes look at a Christian movie being made with the kind of actors you're describing--talented and successful people who see and love the value of movies with a faith-based message.