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June 26, 2006

Comments

Just Me

Although I HAVE NOT seen it - and despite all my jokes - NBK seems to have been a radically offensive movie. There are many movies that are in really bad taste and reflect a general erosion of civility in our culture - something I mourn. Then there are the movies that glorify "bad" guys, like Bonnie & Clyde. I'm sure there are other categories of films that are a bad influence, but am stumped for now.

Just Me

P.S. I thought that all babies were capable of thinking like that - it's the fact that the baby had John Travolta's voice that offended me!

deborah

Sorry to nitpick, but Bruce Willis did the voice.

deborah

This may open myself up to all kinds of critical stuff, but I thought that Pulp Fiction was an example of a bad influence. It glorified violent people as having honor among thieves.

Bill

I think you have a point there, Deb. Pulp Fiction was well done, but I would be hard-pressed to argue that it's not a bad influence.

ken

(John Travolta was the main male love interest in Look Who's Talking)

ken

I would argue that anything by Michael Moore would fit this category. I don't necessarily disagree with everything he says, but I think that he greatly manipulates the truth to fit his version of reality.

Ken

I would also include anything featuring Barney the purple dinosaur.

ken

Crude humor aside, American Pie does have some redeeming qualities. The main charactor is obsessed with the beautiful exchange student(ES) and wants to have sex with her (that's not the redeeming part). In the end he ends up actually falling in love with the nerdy band girl (BG)and when presented with the opportunity to have sex with the ES, chooses not to because he has fallen for the other one. I believe he actually ends up marrying the BG who is his first and only.
Granted you have to wade thru a lot of garbage but it is there.

Bill

At the risk of going down a road I don't want to go down, I would agree that OVER-manipulating the truth is dishonest and harmful.

I think that every film or documentary is going to come from a perspective. A lot of movies set out to make a statement and I don't think any of them can be completely objective. When a movie is made, so many elements (editing, lighting, underscore, etc.) are combined to "manipulate" the audience. Of course, manipulate has a negative connotation. I'm sure most filmmakers like to think they are influencing, not manipulating. It's kind of a fine line that's not always easy to identify.

Bill

Ken,

Aren't you going to argue with me about Sin City?

By the way, I mean no disrespect by listing a movie that others have appreciated.

Andrew Seely

I have to disagree that a movie has to have some sort of "redemptive" quality to it to make it good.

In reference to Kids, I think the point, is that, that is how life is sometimes. Everything craps out. It's myopic in scope the whole movie takes place in the course of a day or so. For those characters in those days life sucks. I think the movie does a good job at conveying that. I think one of the faults of hollywood is that people need some sort of hope to make them feel better by the end of a movie.

Case in point, Dodgeball. If you watch the "orginal" ending. They lose. They get their asses kicked and that's how the movie ends. I think that brings a realism to the point that many people were not willing to deal with.

I will agree that there are many movies that are not for all people. People have different levels of tolerance when it comes to different issues. But sometimes it takes a powerful movie or image or line of thought to convey a message. Requiem for a Dream is a prime example. I would hugely disclaimer that movie as not for everyone, but when viewed can be one of the best portrays of addiction and therefore (in my opinion) one of the all time best anti-drug movies.

But I think you see my point, and we don't have to agree, but I wanted to share my thoughts.

ken

I could go either way on that one. I thought cinematically it was a really cool movie. Contentwise, yes it was violent, probably to the point of being gratuitous. It isn't a movie that I would die on. I don't have strong feelings one way or the other.

Valerie

I agree with you regarding Kids. I thought it was sickening and sad, but that was the point. People live that way and it wasn't being glorified, it told a story that wasn't redemptive, but teaches the audience nonetheless.

deborah

I agree with Andrew that movies don't always have to have a positive/happy ending to be accepted by the audience.

The original ending of Thelma and Louise had them fine and driving away on the canyon floor. It drew such sharp complaints from test audiences that they cut that end.

ken

I agree with Andrew. Having a happy ending can be more detrimental than some of the garbage in say American Pie. Between our movies and sitcoms, we have created this false sense that everything should be wrapped up in a neat little package at the end of the day.
You know what? That ain't life. That may actually contribute to the suicide rate far more than the lyrics of, say, Marilyn Manson.
False hope in a hopeless situation can be worse than the situation.
That's something that seems to be the theme of evangelism. We preach that God is the solution as if you are miraculously healed and made happy by accepting him. That all hurt will....go awayyyyyy...
We don't point out the fact that we, as Christians, still have bad days, get sick, don't always have enough to eat, etc. We create a false sense of hope that, if not corrected, can lead that same person into guilt or away from God.
(ok. That one ought to get me a lot of criticism. My turn to be in the hot seat. Bring it on. lol.)

ken

That's because by the end of the movie most of us wanted them to die just so they couldn't make a sequel. (jkg.)

Valerie

I meant to say, I agree with you ANDREW

deborah

So the current theme is we all agree with Andrew!

Bill who?

Bill

I never said movies had to have a happy ending! I also wouldn't say they have to have a "redemptive" quality per se.

My stance is that good art should portray something truthfully. This includes what I'm calling "telling the whole truth," which I should probably define better.

Basically, if a movie causes us to lose hope, like I think a movie like Kids does, then I believe I can make a moral judgement about it. In other words, a movie can be "good" cinematically, but bad morally.

Another thing I should say is that a movie can portray something we might consider to be "immoral" and yet have a positive effect overall.

I don't know if I'm helping myself much here, but I'm enjoying the conversation nonetheless.

Andrew Seely

Bill, sorry to steal all the thunder in this conversation.

Thanks to everyone else for adding to the hot air in my head.


Yes, the idea that a movie can cause us to lose hope is a tricky issue. We want to be able to find something in the movie that at least sparks discussion or thought. I think in those movies where we "lose hope" that sometimes we have to dig harder to find things to talk about and to find the redemptive quality. Yes, we (I) sometimes are guilty of digging too hard to find something but I do think it is there. I see that as how God's fingerprint ends up on everything in the world, sometimes it's just really really really hard to find.

Just a point of reference:
I don't know if many of you read my "review"/"thoughts" about Brokeback Mountian, when it came out but in case you want to, you can find it here.

I got both praise and crap for it. But it is what it is and that's that.

Bill

"...God's fingerprint ends up on everything in the world, sometimes it's just really really really hard to find."

That's an interesting thought. I think of God as being everywhere and I think of him as speaking through many things, but I don't know if I can totally agree with your statement.

Perhaps, if you can see that fingerprint, it is in the crafstmanship of a movie or some other less readily noticeable aspect.

I have to think about this some more, but I think that it doesn't change the fact that some movies tip the scale toward being destructive instead of useful. That's not to say no one should watch them, though.

Bill

I said it on your blog and I'll say it here, too. That was a good review, Andrew.

Bill

Just me,

I remember thinking that Natural Born Killers did a good job of showing the destructive nature of sensationalist journalism. You may be right, however, if you think the level of violence was too obscene.

My post about classic movies hasn't been posted yet, so I'll make this comment here. I'm not a big fan of the classics, but one of the things some of them were good at was knowing what not to show. Some of that was probably related to cultural mores of the time, but some of it was just good filmmaking.

Just Me

I may NOT be right - it's just when a students says I definitely should NOT see a movie, I worry about it.
Related to the classics - not only did they know what NOT to show, but I think they were more titillating because of it. Alfred Hitchcock, for example, is a lot more scary than any "horror" movie today. Adam, Bryan and Diana watched "The Hills Have Eyes" last night and said "It wasn't scary at all; it was just gory, horrific."

deborah

It wasn't just the movies that knew what not to show, but the clothing styles as well.

Just Me

There were those "pin-ups" though.
Back to Ken - Amen, brother.

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