Friday, December 08, 2006

Hollywood Just Don't Get It

Here are two stories that do not bode well:

First, file this under the heading "HOLLYWOOD JUST DON'T GET IT" from
The Prodigal Son Works at Ikea?

Variety reports that Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have made a deal for Prodigal Son, a romantic comedy that Gigi Levangie Grazer will write with Mimi James. Brian Grazer will produce.

The story revolves around a workaholic single woman who is set up on a date by her mother. Her date, a handsome, kind and caring carpenter who works at Ikea, turns out to be Jesus Christ, who's returned for Armageddon and settled in contemporary Los Angeles.

"It's a love it or hate it idea, but we're not aiming to offend," Gigi Grazer told the trade. "He won't be having sex. It'll be a disarming romantic comedy, a story of unrequited love, sort of like 'Splash.'"
Yow! Is this the price we pay for the de-mythologizing of Jesus!? It may be 'way past time to retire the Jesus, My Soul's True Love-type P&W songs and return to Onward Christian Soldiers. This kind of stuff makes the GodMen thing look reasonable.

Brian, two thoughts:

One, Christians worship Jesus 'cause He's GOD, not 'cause he's the lovable home handyman*

Two: If Jesus is coming back for Armageddon, that's pretty harsh. How does he get by with hanging out at the Ikea? Doesn't he try to warn people of the wrath to come? Or is Brian's version of Jesus not comfortable with that whole "judgmental" thing?

Is this the absolutely lamest idea since Korah, Dathan, and Abiram called out Moses?

The second story is like unto the first:

Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who, while heading their former company Miramax, infuriated conservative Christian activists with films like Kids, Priest, and Dogma, have announced that they are forming a new company to distribute faith-based movies. They said Wednesday that they have signed a production deal with Christian film producer Impact Entertainment. Executives of The Weinstein Company also said Wednesday that they plan to release six theatrical films per year and an additional number of direct-to-DVD productions.
Oh, man. It's those "direct-to-DVD" productions that put the cherry on the Sundae.

Jeffery Overstreet describes some of my reservations:
Since the Contemporary Christian Music has done so much to sidetrack Christian musicians so their music doesn't accidentally end up in arenas where the world might hear it... why not create Contemporary Christian Cinema? That way, faith-related films can play to those who already agree with their messages, and to those who don't want to bother with the challenges of mainstream movies. Meanwhile, mainstream audiences can put even more distance between themselves and films that openly wrestle with issues of faith. They'll spot the "faith" label, feel a shiver run down their spine, and move on to something else.

Walls and boundaries. That's what we want. Neat and easy labels and categories. All the better for judging other people, for staying where we are, for complimenting ourselves on our choices.
Every group that is disaffected from the mainstream produces it's own art that speaks to those disaffected. This is not always a bad thing. This ghettoizing allows fledging artists to find an audience and allows unsophisticated audiences to find art that speaks to their exclusion from mainstream culture. This can nurture artists at the beginning of their careers. But ultimately it is a dead end for the artist and the sub-culture itself. It develops its own vocabulary and conventions, its stereotypes and bogeymen that those outside that group find more or less incomprehensible or excluding.

A sub-culture needs to speak to the mainstream culture and to do so it must speak in a way that is relevant and accessible to that mainstream culture. Artists need to avoid sneering at people who cannot "read" their art because that are not current on the sub-culture's shibboleths.

So, please let us have more Christians engaging in our culture, being salt and light; but please, no "very special" versions of Bible stories.

Two More Blows Against the Theocracy!!

*Hey, Brian if your Jesus hits his thumb with his hammer, what does he say?

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