Value

I posted this to my Intro to DMA blog back in Fall 2009. I felt like it needed to be reposted here… 🙂

Have you ever noticed that in some films there is a message, intentional or unintentional, that value is dependent upon certain things? For instance…

You’re valuable…

  • if you’re beautiful (think every Disney Princess movie)
  • if you’re strong
  • if you’re clever (MacGyver. etc.)
  • if you become famous
  • if you succeed
  • if you get married or get in a relationship

But then there are other movies where you absolutely fall in love with the people and they are valuable whether they succeed or not, though they may not be beautiful, clever, famous, successful, married, or even in a relationship. Their value doesn’t come from them HAVING something. It comes from them BEING something.

And in a sense, I feel like a lot of Christian-esque films are even MORE guilty of making “you’re valuable IF” statements than “world-esque.” We just have a different list. Continue reading

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To Save a Life Review

To Save A Life didn’t suck.

That surprised me a lot. An awful lot. They took the usual Christian movie route but dodged all the potholes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I think we’re heading in the right direction. Finally. On the other hand, it cost twice what Fireproof cost and made 1/11th as much money (though it turned a profit nonetheless). To Save a Life was honest, truthful, and (in my opinion) not preachy. It was preachy when it was appropriate to be so, and selectively preachy at that.

CHRISTIAN MOVIE POTHOLES DODGED

Perfect Christians
Jake Taylor starts out as a non-Christian who becomes a Christian after he stops being a jerk.
The youth pastor doesn’t have all the answers
The senior pastor is a jerk, and his kid was “played by Satan” according to some fellow moviegoers.

Easy Evangelism
(From TVTropes) “Any story where a character is converted unnaturally easily to whatever the writer is trying to teach.”
Jake doesn’t become a Christian overnight. He’s just… exploring Christianity. It just so happens that he meets our lovely youth pastor, who tells him to “just visit church” and then manipulates him into coming: “It’s inconvenient for you to come to church? It’s inconvenient for me to pick up drunk kids from parties…” I approved of that moment. Continue reading

Controlling God

I wrote this paper for my Intro to Digital Media Arts class. The paper is confusing. So is that class. This paper has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to look good on this screen. I have split long paragraphs to increase readability. Also, sorry it’s so long and “scholarly-looking.” Enjoy!

Christians are optimists. We’re insane optimists. We worship a Guy Who got brutally murdered on a Friday and Who we believe came back to life that Sunday morning. We believe in the impossible, for sure. We honestly believe some kid with a slingshot took out a dude who was big enough and strong enough to eat the toughest modern “ultimate fighter” for lunch. We go through life thanking God when parking spots just happen to miraculously open up in front of us.

So it’s not too much of a stretch for us to think that God will work some miracles, and not the least bit of a stretch for us to write stories about Him doing it. Because we think God needs Public Relations agents, (not witnesses), we attempt to help God do what He refuses to do for Himself. When we can “control” God (and, in our fiction, we can), we tend to make Him Nice. We tend to make Him the way we want Him to be.

The first time I saw an Alex Kendrick film (director of Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof), I was in love. Flywheel wasn’t cinematically ugly or excessively preachy like so many of the other Christian abominations that I had seen; Flywheel’s message was just “Come to Jesus and everything will get better.” It showed a God consistent with what I had heard preached, so surely it was a good Christian film, and the plot seemed reasonably believable. It was exactly the kind of films I had always dreamed that maybe, someday, I could make, too. I even tried to get an opportunity to work with them before I considered Huntington University.

Continue reading