Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movies that I will never Recommend

After sixteen years of producing TV content some people are astounded when they find out that I haven't seen most of the films that have captivated them and the rest of the world. Some of these folks are other media professionals, most are Christians and I usually just respond by saying, "no, I never saw..." Now, I would like to share why I have not felt compelled to see films that are touted as "masterpieces of film making." Simply stated, holiness trumps knowledge of the world.

Unfortunately the list of films that I have seen and regret seeing is much longer then it should be. Some of the films that I include in this list may surprise you. Films like the Passion of the Christ and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Schindler's List as well as stinkers like Buckaroo Bonzai and pointless films like the adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley. Some will argue that since many people came to know Christ after watching Passion of the Christ and many others draw spiritual truth from the Lord of the Rings that they are good movies. God does use flawed people and movies to influence people but that does not justify the use of wrong methods.

My criteria is pretty simple: If the film has no redeeming value, I'm not interested. If the film resorts to the use of excessive violence, sex, or emotional manipulation, I'm not interested. If the filmmaker operates under the illusion that they must be super realistic in order to tell a good story, I'm not interested.

About 25 years ago I read the conclusions of Malcolm Muggeridge, a long time producer for the BBC. He basically said that movies and TV did more harm then good. He was right. There are a few people who have managed to use the medium to tell meaningful stories in a wholesome way. Recent productions that have given me hope are The Ultimate Gift and Butterfly Circus. Sadly, while visiting a friend's home recently they were selecting a movie to watch. I recommended that they consider these two options but my suggestion fell on deaf ears while they proceeded to watch a horror film. There happened to be one person who expressed interest in watching The Ultimate Gift. That person does not profess to have a relationship with Christ.

Some argue that since the Bible gives the gory details and juicy tidbits it is okay for us to portray such acts vividly. Desensitization to real human travail, sorrow, ecstasy, etc. is dangerous. I have watched a young child die, attended accident victims, and experienced numerous other extreme situations - they are not neat and tidy, they are rightfully difficult to deal with. I would not have willfully chosen to experience them but God directed me into them and His grace was with me.

When we willfully choose to expose ourselves to things that God hates, i.e. violence, lust provoking imagery, proud looks, and rude speaking, it is simply wrong. What can we say to defend our tolerance of such things "hey God, cut me some slack, I need to be entertained."

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about [and view] such things. - Philippians 4:8

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