Evangelical Cinema and Culture

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: Left Behind (Vic Armstrong, 2014)

#176 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:22 pm

If anyone cares, here's the Left Behind trailer.

User avatar
tavernier
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:18 pm

Re: God's Not Dead (Harold Cronk, 2014)

#177 Post by tavernier » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:35 pm

CSM126 wrote:If you hate watch this movie, do it for the climactic scene where Professor Kevin Sorbo gets run down by a car and suffers fatal injuries, prompting two Christian missionaries (one of whom appears to be N!xau from The Gods Must Be Crazy) to berate him into accepting Jesus. After which they celebrate his violent death - "there's a party in Heaven tonight~!" - and then rifle his pockets and steal his cell phone.

This happens.
Not to defend this idiotic movie, but the events you describe don't happen in that order...and they don't steal his cell phone. (At least I don't think so...I was too busy shaking my head at the rottenness of the whole enterprise I may have missed that.)

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#178 Post by CSM126 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:12 am

They literally reach into the body bag, rifle his pockets,and take out his cell phone so they can read a text message (the Ping noise went off) and then they apparently just keep it. Why the EMTs allowed them to search a corpse that was already bagged is beyond me, but I was already gagging from the wild celebration of the man's death.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#179 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:33 pm

A priest's take on Woody Allen's atheistic worldview. Seems rather shoddy reasoning to me.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#180 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:13 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:A priest's take on Woody Allen's atheistic worldview. Seems rather shoddy reasoning to me.
In the final paragraph, Barron admits to being a fan of Allen's films which is, at least, a good position to argue his point. Largely, he doesn't even bother to propose that Allen is wrong in his statements; he's mostly disappointed with Allen's attitude. I do take offense to that tired assertion that non-religious folk lack morality or that Allen's viewpoint is one of "desperate nihilism" (there's nothing desperate about it), but there's not a whole lot of difference between finding a form of transcendence in art or beauty as a sign that God exists...and just finding transcendence in art or beauty.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Fail-a-cious

#181 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:50 pm

The part that irked me was the bald assertion that if you don't believe in God, then you can't be concerned with humanity or the sufferings of others.

It seems as though his belief in God is why he cares about humanity, so he assumes that if someone doesn't believe in God then there would be no reason to care about others.
Which is bad reasoning.

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#182 Post by Gregory » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:42 pm

His problem with Crimes and Misdemeanors seemed to be that a story was told in which someone did something bad and got away with it. In other words, he'd be happier if we somehow went back to the Hays Code days so that he wouldn't have to ponder the unavoidable reality that people do get away with murder, and always have much of the time, especially if they're privileged enough to be able to get someone else to commit the crime on their behalf. Regardless of some apparent connection someone may feel to a spiritual force, or lack of it, it doesn't change the fact that people can get others to kill for them and suffer no repercussions for it in their lifetime. Maybe there should have been a scene at the end in which Caine's character dies and has to account for his sins, as if that would have taught some vital moral lesson.
To tell a story in which someone gets away with a crime is not to give up on justice. If Robert Barron wants to decrease the amount of injustice in the world, he should stop worrying about some filmmaker's stories, or personal beliefs that he happens to disagree with, and instead devote his focus to working and advocating for justice, as many of his fellow Catholics have done, such as the American Catholic Worker Movement and the Catholic bishops and priests in Latin America who adopted the "preferential option for the poor" and worked for it in ways that made a practical difference. Walk your talk.
Last edited by Gregory on Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#183 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:48 pm

Unless I misunderstand your point, I think you mean Landau, not Caine?

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#184 Post by Gregory » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:50 pm

Whoops, yes.

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#185 Post by jbeall » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:27 am

Speaking of evangelism, I'm kinda wondering why the Atlas Shrugged thread hasn't been folded into this one.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#186 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:46 am

Why? They're totally different subcultures- Randroids are specifically and virulently atheistic, however much they might wind up agreeing with the evangelicals about most matters economic.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#187 Post by knives » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:20 pm

In theory, a lot of Randroids ignore that part. Plus I assume it was a comparison on how the ideologies function rather than saying they are evangelical. Sort of like how apples aren't oranges though both are fruit.

Peter-H
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:02 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#188 Post by Peter-H » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:33 pm

I have to tell you guys a story:

I once was taking a class taught by a professor who was an Atheist liberal Muslim homosexual ACLU lawyer and abortion doctor.

He started the class by saying "Before the class begins, you must get on your knees and worship Marx, and accept that he was the most highly-evolved being the world has ever known, and that God doesn't exist!”

At this moment, a brave, patriotic, pro-life Navy SEAL champion who understood the necessity of war and fully supported all military decision made by the United States stood up and held up a rock.

”Oh yeah, well if God doesn't exist, then how old is this rock, pinhead?”

The arrogant professor smirked quite Jewishly and smugly replied “4.6 billion years, you stupid Christian”

”Wrong. It’s been 5,000 years since God created it. If it was 4.6 billion years old and evolution, as you say, is real… then it should be an animal now.”

The professor was visibly shaken, and dropped his chalk and copy of Origin of the Species. He stormed out of the room crying those liberal crocodile tears. The same tears liberals cry for the “poor” (who today live in such luxury that most own refrigerators) when they jealously try to claw justly earned wealth from the deserving job creators. There is no doubt that at this point that the professor, DeShawn Washington, wished he had pulled himself up by his bootstraps and become more than a sophist liberal professor. He wished so much that he had a gun to shoot himself from embarrassment, but he himself had petitioned against them!

The students applauded. That day, they all became registered Republicans and accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. An eagle named “Small Government” flew into the room and perched atop the American Flag and shed a tear on the chalk. The pledge of allegiance was read several times, and God himself showed up and enacted a flat tax rate across the country.
The professor lost his tenure and was fired the next day. He died of the gay plague AIDS and was tossed into the lake of fire for all eternity.

p.s. Close the borders
Last edited by Peter-H on Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#189 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:35 pm

Hey, I used to post with the guy who wrote that. Funny how those things make the rounds.

Peter-H
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:02 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#190 Post by Peter-H » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:36 pm

I believe such things are knows as "copypastas."

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#191 Post by Gregory » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:38 pm

God's Not Dead was even worse than I expected. I thought about not posting any more about it after having seen it, since it's already been covered well in reviews not only by atheists and agnostics but also by some Christians (for example, here) who are more honest and better critical thinkers than the writers behind this film, but while I was fairly appalled by this film, I'm even more appalled to see that it's currently Amazon's #1 bestselling Drama DVD, and it's #21 in the entire Movie/TV department. This is Christian entertainment at its worst. I've known many admirable, honorable, tolerant Christians, and I believe that unintelligent and dishonest propaganda like this is an insult to their deeply held faith.

What was disappointing to me was that the film had no knowledge of, or real interest in, the philosophical discourse that it sells itself as being all about. I loved the part when the professor, who is supposed to at least be highly skilled in defending his atheist beliefs according to the film's dialogue, presents a pantheon of atheist heroes on the whiteboard, and he's misspelled Bertolt Brecht's name (probably because the filmmakers know nothing about Brecht except that he's part of their "enemies list" that they want to present to their viewers). The professor then bases his argument on one of the easiest-to-spot fallacies that no self-respecting philosopher would commit: the "appeal to authority": The Great Stephen Hawking says that the universe is self-caused! Are you, a pathetic student, going to stand there and try to claim that the Great Stephen Hawking is wrong?!
Straw men, superficiality, self-defeating arguments, stereotypes, clichés... that's about all we get.

Rather than bothering to get into any real substance of the philosophical arguments about the existence of God, the film instead cheats by making the professor as unsympathetic a character as possible who doesn't even know his own field, and then fills in most of the runtime of the film with a bunch of side plots, secondary and tertiary characters, and guest appearances. The film embarrasses the position it espouses by showing itself unable or unwilling to explore the issues that are supposed to be at the core of the film; the great debate that it claims to be is a nonstarter.
I also loved the way the professor needed to be a caricature of a privileged liberal arts academic snob, a wine snob who openly humiliates his Christian trophy girlfriend/former student and makes her wait on his friends at their dinner party, humiliating her with his knowledge of Greek ("Gnothi seauton"), as his academic friends join in the ridicule and more or less bellow the trademark Jack Chick "HAW HAW!"

And of course the Muslim characters had to be gross stereotypes, with a simplistic yet familiar take on the hijab (ignoring the Biblical passages that similarly insist that women cover themselves), and laughably propose that the young Muslim woman is moved to pursue conversion to Christianity after hearing the heroic main character quote a line from C.S. Lewis in the cafeteria.

Then there's the ending, in which we find out that deep down the professor didn't really believe his atheist views, or he just denounced them and accepted Jesus at the last moment because he was so scared to die. Victory!
Virtually the entire world seems to convert at the end of the film, thanks to the shining example of one student, and the appeal of Jesus, which literally goes viral.

User avatar
Dansu Dansu Dansu
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:14 pm
Location: California

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#192 Post by Dansu Dansu Dansu » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:03 pm

Gregory wrote:(for example, here).
Not to overlook your excellent comments, but I greatly appreciated this link. After all the rhetoric that I'm used to reading, I found this almost cathartic. Unfortunately, I read through all the comments as well, which brought me right back to this: ](*,).

User avatar
djproject
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:41 pm
Location: Framingham, MA
Contact:

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#193 Post by djproject » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:18 am

As a Christian ([Eastern] Orthodox) and as an artist (both music and film), I am irritated at best and offended at worst with "evangelical culture". And I can state this quite succinctly:

As non-Catholics, their history - and therefore their practice - are inherently iconoclastic. Thus, by disowning art the way they did, they have no artistic tradition of their own. They do however have a strong polemic and pedantic tradition. Thus whatever they make comes off as either a Sunday School lesson, a tract or some sermon ... or all of the above.

Relatedly, ever notice that it's the Catholics/Orthodox and the non-Christians that make the better filmmakers, especially when it comes to films about morals?

User avatar
solaris72
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:03 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#194 Post by solaris72 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:40 am

djproject wrote:As non-Catholics, their history - and therefore their practice - are inherently iconoclastic. Thus, by disowning art the way they did, they have no artistic tradition of their own. They do however have a strong polemic and pedantic tradition. Thus whatever they make comes off as either a Sunday School lesson, a tract or some sermon ... or all of the above.

Relatedly, ever notice that it's the Catholics/Orthodox and the non-Christians that make the better filmmakers, especially when it comes to films about morals?
Your last point is pretty true, although I'll point to Malick (Anglican) and Dreyer (Lutheran) as two very fine Protestant filmmakers. In great part, however, I think that the poor quality of evangelical cinema comes more from the fundamentalist doctrine of cutting oneself off from secular culture than it does from iconoclasm. It's interesting, the emperor Julian the Apostate banned 4th century Christians from teaching pagan literature as a way of cutting them off from the general intellectual discourse and rendering them culturally irrelevant; fundamentalists have imposed this edict upon themselves.

Speaking as a Christian myself, it is very striking how these days the only good religious movies are made either by nonbelievers or in the case of Malick by believers who are completely irrelevant within mainstream religious culture.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#195 Post by knives » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:31 am

Though, pertaining to your examples, Dreyer is not a terribly straightforward example for a large number of reasons. Also as to your last sentence I hope there's an intended specifier missing from there to focus on christian religious otherwise that's ignoring a great number of Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish filmmakers (plus I'm sure a few from even lesser known sects).

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#196 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:57 am

Anglicanism isn't terribly protestant, either. It's also known by the name anglo-catholocism since it retains all the catholic traditions and rituals, just without the pope.

User avatar
solaris72
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:03 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#197 Post by solaris72 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:23 pm

knives wrote:Though, pertaining to your examples, Dreyer is not a terribly straightforward example for a large number of reasons. Also as to your last sentence I hope there's an intended specifier missing from there to focus on christian religious otherwise that's ignoring a great number of Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish filmmakers (plus I'm sure a few from even lesser known sects).
I think of Dreyer as a good example on at least a cultural level if not a personal one; I don't know enough about the man himself to speak to his private beliefs, but ORDET seems to me a very protestant film.

The specifier was intended by context but I should've added it, although under "nonbelievers" I was including Aronofsky, who avows atheism and is culturally Jewish.

And I guess both of these points introduce one of the difficulties of talking about "religious cinema" in general and any particular filmmaker's credo in particular: a lot of artists in general are rather circumspect about what they personally believe. Sometimes it may be out of a desire not to be pigeonholed, sometimes out of a desire to express beliefs through art and not through interviews, and often it may well rise out of not having settled beliefs. I could quote Tarkovsky as being agnostic in one interview, and an Orthodox Christian in many others. Pasolini said in one interview "If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief." I recall the religious identity of Bresson was a hotly debated subject on this very board about a decade ago. And Malick doesn't even give interviews, my identifying him as an Anglican comes from something the priest from Tree of Life posted on the facebook wall for his church.

I guess for interpreting "religious cinema", for many films the filmmaker's personal religious signifier is less important than the cultural religious context/cultural influences upon the filmmaker. Perhaps I'm only stating the obvious.

User avatar
solaris72
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:03 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#198 Post by solaris72 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:28 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Anglicanism isn't terribly protestant, either. It's also known by the name anglo-catholocism since it retains all the catholic traditions and rituals, just without the pope.
True. I had thought them iconoclastic but I see there is a diversity of views on the subject within the Anglican church.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#199 Post by Drucker » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:43 pm

Solaris, I'm not a religion expert by any means (lapsed/atheist/Jew), and Ordet happens to be the Dreyer film I have seen least recently, but Day Of Wrath and Passion of Joan of Arc are incredibly critical of religion and religious authority figures, and should at the very least think of those if you are taking into account what might be Dreyer's beliefs.

Personally, I'd argue Dreyer's sense of spirituality certainly transcends and goes beyond the ideas of any one faith.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Evangelical Cinema and Culture

#200 Post by knives » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:46 pm

Though to be fair to Solaris' point it is definitely informed by his Danish sort of Christian culture rather than betraying a true universalism.

Post Reply