In this episode, Tyler and Josh discuss Alex Gibney’s Going Clear and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man.
00:00:44- Intro, Battleship Pretension, Wondercon Meetup, ASMR
00:05:10- Going Clear
01:01:30- The Wicker Man (1973)
01:09:25- What’s the difference between Scientology and Christianity?
01:36:20- Episode wrap-up
One of my biggest criticisms of the genre known as the “Christian film” is that the films too often feel reactionary. Rather than being created from a desire to tell a good story and tell it well, many films in the “Christian” genre are responding to a specific cultural condition with a specific message and an undeniable agenda.
The latest film to fall into this category is Old Fashioned, written and directed by Rik Swartzwelder, who also stars as the lead role opposite Elizabeth Roberts. The film centers around a couple whose romance is more akin to “courtship” than dating and was specifically marketed as the Evangelical response to 50 Shades of Grey. I should be upfront about the fact that I wasn’t expecting much from it.
But the marketing campaign was probably a disservice to the film because what I saw offered me a few surprises, which not only endeared it to me as a positive entry in the “Christian film” genre, but also gave me some glimmers of hope for where that genre might be headed.
I just got out of seeing the movie Old Fashioned. Here are some things I noticed: It was a Monday morning and the theater was packed. The movie was getting laughs from the audience throughout. When the movie ended, people applauded it. Also, as I was leaving, an older woman sitting in my aisle with her husband asked me, “Wasn’t that a wonderful movie?” while I heard another person say, “There needs to be more movies like this.” Now, if this is your audience, if this is who you are making movies for, then good job! You guys are succeeding. Not just Old Fashioned, but all Christian films. I remember leaving God’s Not Dead and seeing people genuinely excited about it, pulling out their cell phones, I’m guessing to text people, “God’s Not Dead” as the movie instructs, and then myself receiving the text “God’s Not Dead!” for several weeks after that from random Christian friends. You have an audience. Christians are going to your movies and they are going to continue to go to your movies.
Picture with me, for a moment, a machine. It has its own circuits, electrical impulses, and energy source. But this machine’s purpose extends beyond programmable functions to re-programmable functions. In other words, this machine can learn, can reason, and can deduce. It can evolve.
In this episode, Tyler and Josh are joined by Nathan Potter to discuss Darren Doane’s Saving Christmas and Bill Melendez’ A Charlie Brown Christmas.
00:00:50- Intro, Miami Meet-up, Nathan Potter
00:04:10- Saving Christmas
01:39:35- A Charlie Brown Christmas
01:55:50- Episode wrap-up
I’ve seen films that inspired me, challenged me, provoked me, entertained me, amused me, and bored me. All of these effects, except perhaps the last one, can specifically be intended by the filmmaker and I believe that a fully formed criticism should at least attempt to consider such intentions when evaluating whether or not the film works.