Movies Archives

Where’s the Family-Friendly Sci-Fi?

[Psst. Welcome Clayton Cramer readers, where he gives a bit more insight into why Hollywood does what they do.

And welcome to any folks coming from Usenet, where someone copied this.  FYI, I don’t mind this sort of copying as long as the link is provided, which it was in this case.  Some discussion over there on this, and some…shall we say, tangents.  But that’s what Usenet does best. >grin< ]

Last TV season, I thought my kids would like to get into a show that was rather science fiction in nature called “Surface”. I’m a big sci-fi fan (mostly TV, don’t read it much) and my kids have shown an interest in it (my sister introduced them to her Star Wars videos), and it’s rubbed off a bit onto the kiddos. “Surface” looked like an interesting story, so we started watching it. (Unfortunately, it didn’t last past the first season.)

Well, actually, how it happened was that I started taping and watching it myself, and after a couple of episodes thought it would be OK for the kids…except for the occasional thing here and there. And that annoyed me a bit. There would be occasional questions to one of the main characters, Miles, from his father and his friend from the marina about whether or not he was surfing the Internet for porn on the occasions they walked into his room while he was doing some research. That may be happening on home computers in a lot of homes in America, but must it be brought up in a TV show going into homes where that curiosity and potential addiction hasn’t been started? Even in homes where it may be starting, the references were light-hearted, in almost a “no big deal” way, which would give the impression to a kid that everyone’s doing it so how bad can it be.

Later on, Miles is urged by his neighborhood friend to fondle a bikini-clad girl who was giving him a kiss. In one scene, Dr. Laura Daughtery, needing to swim out in cold ocean waters to a nearby boat, stripped off all her clothes, leaving only underwear, oiled up (to stave off the cold) and dove in. Sure this might have been a bit of realism, but in a show about sea monsters and other genetically manipulated animals, quite a number of other bits of accuracy were certainly sacrificed for the sake of the story. Missing this one wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to the story.

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Affecting the Culture

What would your church do to make an impact on our culture, if it had $100,000 at its disposal? One Baptist church decided to make a movie; a high-quality movie with a good message that is competing favorably against Hollywood’s offerings.

It was made by a church on a donated budget of $100,000 with volunteer actors, but instead of a low-budget castoff, “Facing the Giants” held its own against Hollywood’s big boys in its opening weekend, grossing $1.4 million on only 441 screens.

Officials say the production, by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and ranked No. 12 for all films over its first weekend, even though other films had up to eight times as many screens. Its per-screen average of $3,149 was fourth among the top 10 grossing weekend films.

“I think this sends a clear message to Hollywood that there is an audience who does want to see a positive, uplifting film that promotes faith and family values,” said Michael Catt, the senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist and executive producer for the project.

“Hopefully, this will open the door for more organizations to bring other quality-content projects to the big screen,” he said.

With the lower cost of entry now that movie production has gone digital, this sort of project is now possible.

I can imagine that some might say that this was money that could have been better spent on other projects. But I’d say that a lot of those projects are being done by other churches. I’m happy to see that, just as with individuals, different church bodies have different gifts, and they should be free to use them as God directs (no pun intended).

Besides, based on the box office receipts, this movie could not only encourage Christians and bring the good news to non-Christians, it will likely bring in more money to be used on more conventional projects.

Proceeds are to be used for a 40-acre youth recreational park planned by Sherwood Baptist in Albany, officials said.

Let’s celebrate the unconventional, and ask God for more of it.

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