Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wall Street Journal: What Christians Watch

Dutiful listener & reader Adrian forwards this article from the Wall Street Journal, entitled "What Christians Watch." It has a good summary of the place of Fireproof (our coverage and our review ) in the larger scope of the "Christian" movie market, but I take issue with a couple of points. The mention of the failure of Billy: The Early Years fails to include the fact that Billy: The Early Years was hurt by a lack of publicity of any kind. The article mentions the huge push that Fireproof got, but fails to mention that Billy: The Early Years , and the recently released T.D. Jakes movie Not Easily Broken , got almost nothing. No movie, no matter how good, is going to make much money at theaters if it doesn't gets lots of publicity. It should be noted that the work that Provident Films did to promote Fireproof was much more successful than their efforts on the latest Veggie-Tales (our coverage) movie. When talking about what makes certain movies a success and others failures, Fireproof succeeds not because, as the article states, it is an "altar call" movie. Rather, Fireproof addresses serious issues that many people, including Christians, can relate to. In fact, the "altar call" aspect of Fireproof is so minor that I felt it was only included so that the hard-core Christian audience would accept the film. The Kendricks understand that their core audience does not like ambigious endings, which is why excellent films like Second Chance (our coverage) often get over-looked. They are, however, good enough filmmakers not to make this the be all and end all of the film. Cameron's conversion comes at the midway point of the story, and it doesn't solve all his problems at once. In this way the film actually offers a much more nuanced and mature view of Christianity than Facing the Giants (our coverage) . The article also fails to mention that aside from the personal life of its star, The Nativity Story (review ) was a boring movie that brought very little new or interesting things to a story that everybody knows. Its bad filmmaking is what really killed it, and, long after Keisha Castle-Hughes is forgotten, that is what will keep it from being a "Christmas Classic" like its makers hoped it would be. However, this may be the right analysis of End of the Spear (review) . For such an excellent movie to be largely ignored speaks to the prejudice that hampers many conservative Christians. The movie is among the finest we've ever reviewed, and its stars sexuality does nothing to diminish his powerful portrayal of such a hero of faith. The movie does bring up some more ambiguous points that may also work to keep it from becoming a true Christian classic. The article also fails to mention that for all their bad-effects, the Left Behind (coverage ) are bionafied Christian movie successes and continue to be popular, as evidenced by 2 sequels. Finally, Joe Eszterhas is quoted saying "And we live in an era of remakes, but 'Ben Hur' and 'The Ten Commandments' aren't being remade. Imagine the parting of the Red Sea with digital effects!" Well, Mr. Eszterhas, I don't have to imagine. I could watch Ben Kingsley part the Red Sea with digital effects in 1996's Moses , I could watch Dougray Scott do it in 2006's The Ten Commandments or I could watch Christian Slater's animated visage do in in 2007's The Ten Commandments (our coverage of the Ten Commandments frenzy here) . Hardly a shortage of re-makes here. Or what about the animated re-make of Ben-Hur , starring Chuck himself reprising his second most famous role? (original article at the Wall Street Journal) Subscribe to the SuperCandid Podcast, the number 1 podcast for Christian movies SuperCandid - The SuperCandid Podcast - The SuperCandid Podcast Subscribe to the SuperCandid Blog Follow SuperCandid on Twitter!

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