Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's Bugging Hollywood?

I was surfing the web looking at movie previews. It seems that once again, Christianity has raised the ire of Hollywood, and the film-makers are making it known.

I didn't have to look far either. On one website alone, in less than 10 minutes, I found 2 films with insane looking, or flamboyant "men of the cloth" representations, and 1 documentary, called Protagonist, a documentary about extremism, featuring 1 former "ex-gay minister" (by the way, the other "extremists" in the film are an ex-criminal, an ex-terrorist, and an ex-martial arts expert), who will obviously be pushing one of the main agendas of the film.

The funny thing is, I wasn't even looking for this. I just clicked on a couple of movies that looked interesting. Some of these films actually seem pretty cool. I want to see Protagonist.

My only question is, why is Hollywood being so hypocritical?

There is a film that came out in 1991 called At Play In The Fields of The Lord. I rented it several years ago, because it looked like an interesting movie, set in the Amazon Jungle, a story about Christian missionaries and their struggles and adventures trying to convert the indigenous people. I had high hopes for the movie; the cast includes John Lithgow, Kathy Bates, Daryll Hannah (who is cool again since she played Elle Driver in Kill Bill), and a few other note-worthy actors. I lost interest when I saw that EVERY "Christian" character in the movie seemed to be completely insane (Kathy Bates loses her mind halfway through the movie after spending the firt half speaking in King James English. I remember one disturbing scene of her naked and covered in mud... yikes), or utterly depraved and completely lost. the only "balanced" folks in the movie seemed to be anyone who wasn't a Christian. This didn't anger me as much as make me laugh. I actually thought, up until that point, that Kathy Bates was a great actress. Obviously, she didn't research the part very well and came up with a caricature she conjured up in her mind of who a Christian missionary wife is. This movie was "Reefer Madness" in reverse.

And this is how I feel every time I see a depiction of a Christian in a movie; or at least a typical Hollywood depiction of a Christian.

Okay Hollywood. I get it. Christians suck. We've done a lot of stupid and pretty bad things. There's The Crusades, bombing abortion clinics, Jimmy Swagart, The Moral Majority, WWJD bracelets... I understand your angst.

But Hollywood, I do have 2 requests.

First, in an age where authenticity rules the day, can you be consistent? If you're going to give us a believable Batman in Batman Begins, and a real James Bond in Casino Royale, can you give us at least a few more Christians who aren't snake-handlers, or unbalanced evangelists? Is there any way you could give us at least one Christian character who doesn't speak King James English and wear a polyester suit?

Second, would you use the same concern you have for our Muslim, Hindi, and Jewish brothers and sisters when you talk about or depict us? Can you please stop being so hypocritical?

Just a thought.


Fayola said...

Yeah, I still can't believe it when they fall back on the weird televangelist schtick and the even stranger casting out demons scenes, as if mayhem just breaks out in churches across America like that on the regular.

But do I think they'll ever get it right? Apart from the biopics in which faith is the central tenet of the subject overcoming something (a la Walk the Line, and they watered it over), no, probably not.

But there is hope: Bruce Almighty, Nightcrawler in the X-Men film, Narnia, Lord of the Rings -- wait, these are all sci-fi or fantasy...

Marquito said...

True about the sci-fi. And that's something else I was thinking of. When there IS a good story about faith, God, or good and evil, it's usually masked in a brilliant story-line, where even most Christians don't get it unless somebody puts together a marketing campaign targeting churches to tell them "this movie has a good message".

Fayola said...

Yeah, the marketing part bothers me too...though can't quite put my finger on why. There's just something odd (to me, at least) about renting out theaters and rallying the troops to support a film. I mean, it's good that people show up, especially if the film's worth it, and the movie makes money but...I dunno...maybe it's the us-and-them mentality that I don't like. I think Bella was a good example of what faith can look like in a film but still...

Victor said...

You, know what it is, right? The liberal-jew-run-media. Cartman 08!