My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
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17-12-2015, 01:02 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
My theory:

They can barely make good movies based on good books.

How the hell are they going to make good movies based on terrible source material?
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17-12-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
(17-12-2015 12:38 AM)Sylia Gray Wrote:  Forgive me if this post appears long. But please bare with me. I hope it piques everyone's interests.

As a screenwriting student, I was listening to a screenwriting podcast called "On the Page" and in one particular episode, the host, who identified herself as "an agnostic Jew" (I think she means secular Jew) invited two experts from some Christian media group as guests and they were talking screenwriting for a niche market of religious film. (Her podcast is secular. Faith films is just a subject of this one particular episode.) In that episode, they were talking about the faith-film market, and how religious people among the listeners could break into that niche outside of the Hollywood mainstream. And one of the things that the guests said that surprised me (if I correctly remember how they said it - I don't want to put words in their mouths) was that even they themselves were dissatisfied with how most Christian movies tend to alienate general audiences because they tend to get too preachy. And as an atheist, I'm on the same boat as they are.

To be honest, there have been some Christian-themed movies that I have enjoyed even as an atheist. One of my favorite Disney/Pixar movies was Wall-E which was written and directed by Andrew Staunton and Pete Doctor - both of whom are devout Christians. And as devoted Christians, during the story's development process, they both took creative liberties to instill Christian themes into the movie. But in spite of instilling Christian themes into this movie, they were still able to make Wall E into a successful movie with mass appeal. In fact, Pete Doctor once said in an article about his role as Pixar's storyteller that his Christian faith is his own private business, not anyone else's. Which I find admirable.

Another Judeo-Christian themed movie that I enjoyed was Darren Aronofsky's Noah movie. Aronofsky (He's is an atheist Jew) and Paramount Pictures didn't have an agenda to preach the Bible. They just want to entertain broad audiences, Christian and non-Christian alike, by presenting the story as a Jewish mythology (which, to my understanding, the Jews ripped from the Babylonians).

Now... I think the reason why some Christian-themed movies like Noah and Wall-E are enjoyable and appealing to broad audiences as opposed to hardcore Christian movies like any of Kirk Cameron films was because Disney and Paramount Pictures' business is to make money by entertaining people. And in order to cash in and make as much money as possible, studios need to produce movies that are generally appealing to a broad range of audiences. Their primary agenda is to entertain wide range of audiences in order to make as much money as possible.

The problem I see with a lot of hardcore Christian movies is that many of them tend to have preachy storytelling with an "in-your-face" approach to conveying Christian themes. You know, where it has things like:

- Christian characters, like a preacher, going "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" or "The Bible says this and Bible says that" every 10 minutes.
- Stereotypical (and often deliberately misrepresentating) caricatures of LGBT people, atheists, and other non-Christians

For those who read this post, let me ask you:

Why do you think people go to the movies? Why do YOU go to the movies? You go to the movies because you want to be entertained, right?

Most people go to the movies because they want entertainment first and foremost. And a hardcore religious film with a preachy in-your-face message would be a HUGE turn off. General moviegoers want to be entertained, not preached to. If they want to be preached to, they'll just attend church, mosque, synagogue, etc.

Apparently, unlike mainstream Hollywood, it seems like most hardcore Christian movies have their agenda backwards. Their movies appear to be produced to preach to audience first, rather than to prioritize on entertaining them. It's no wonder that most Christian movies only tend to appeal to their core Christian audiences, even if it stars Hollywood heavyweights like Nicolas Cage. And you have people like Ray Comfort whining about Aronofsky's Noah movie. And speaking of atheists, Kirk Cameron blames atheists for his movie Saving Christmas's spectacular failure. (Kirk, it's not our fault that your movie sucks! It's YOUR fault that you can't make movies that are appealing broadly beyond your core Christian audiences!)

Here are two quotes I found interesting that I think relates very well to this thread:

"Out of our years of experimenting and experience, we learned one basic thing about bringing pleasure and knowledge to people of all ages and conditions, which goes to the very roots of public communication. That is this: the power of relating facts, as well as fables, in story form." - Walt Disney

"Orestes is made to say himself what the poet rather than the story demands."
- Aristotle

Here's an insider tip. "Hollywood" is a machine. It pumps out Movies all the time. What determains a successful film all comes down to is Marketing. It doesn't matter if its the worst script in the world, if it's marketed right, people will fill those seats. The formula these days is nostalgia. Get something that people remember enjoying and run with it. It doesn't matter if they're true to the original material or not.

TMNT is a bad movie. Grossed $191.2Mill. cost them $65mill to make.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (Bad Movie) grossed $245.4mill

Fight Club Great movie Grossed $37mill cost $63mill to make.

Children of Men Great Movie Grossed $35.5mill cost $76mill.

The entertainment portion comes second to getting butts in the chairs.

I also couldn't say Wall-E was a Christian movie. Even if the writers where. Most people in the industry probable fall into that type of mind set. By those standards every movie is a Christian film. If your looking for a major film that was Christian would be Chronicals of Narnia.

Quote:Why do you think people go to the movies?

Entertainment, Escape from reality.

Quote:Why do YOU go to the movies?

Same as above.

Have you ever watch Red Letter Media?
If you haven't see these guys, you have to check them out. Here is a conversation they had with Max Landis.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR-Dry8Qb4A

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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17-12-2015, 01:07 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
(17-12-2015 01:02 PM)Ash Wrote:  My theory:

They can barely make good movies based on good books.

How the hell are they going to make good movies based on terrible source material?

That's true! No wonder the screenwriters and Aronofsky had to improvise and elaborate some details and make some changes into the Noah story that creationists were not happy with

Heart War Angel Sylia
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17-12-2015, 01:08 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
I'm not sure what is deemed a Christian movie if you're gonna count some of these. Like, what themes are Wall-E containing that are christian? Redemption of society or the role that humans should toil the earth? These themes in the flick are far more mythologicially historical than just Christianity to consider them having any connection.

I think many "christian" movies are bad because those you often consider it are message movies. Message movies not done well with a sense of tact and great filmaking focus are generally bad movies. They're hammering the point on the nose dully and don't have any scope or intrigue. The best thing you may see professional critics anoint the common christian message movie with is that it doesn't look cinematographilly terrible. Just bland movies made well enough that they're not some college production but that's it. They have a big bigger budget than a TV Halmark/Lifetime romance film so it looks better than that but really they're often worse than what you get out of those shows in essence of drama.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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17-12-2015, 02:12 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
My problem with most Christian movies, which I generally find VERY entertaining in their badness by the way (I can be a bit of a cultural masochist when it comes to bad films) is that they're generally written for believers to be able to follow and appreciate, so at about a 3rd-grade reading level, yet they also have the gall to assert it's the non-believer who's the foolhardy idiot. Gets me every time.
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17-12-2015, 02:27 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
(17-12-2015 02:12 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  My problem with most Christian movies, which I generally find VERY entertaining in their badness by the way (I can be a bit of a cultural masochist when it comes to bad films) is that they're generally written for believers to be able to follow and appreciate, so at about a 3rd-grade reading level, yet they also have the gall to assert it's the non-believer who's the foolhardy idiot. Gets me every time.

Oh yes...the stereotyping of non-Christians.

Heart War Angel Sylia
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17-12-2015, 02:36 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
Some of the hardest challenge of screenwriting/filmmaking or any other kind of storytelling is creating a believable world no matter how fantastic by imitating reality. And I think the problem with most Christian movies that takes away lots of appeal is that the screenwriters often seem to try to make the world of the story as some place that is Christian-centered which makes it hard for non-Christian audiences to believe. Am I making sense?

Heart War Angel Sylia
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17-12-2015, 02:41 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
Wall-E Christian? Have to think about that. But even if so, it's no less — and seemingly more so — an anti-capitalist movie, or at least anti-corporate, anti-consumerist and pro-environmentalism movie. Many American Christians probably would see it as "socialist" (if they took the time to think about it in any depth).

One "Christian" movie I liked quite a bit: The Spitfire Grill. The "scandal" came when, post-opening, it was discovered that it was funded by a pro-life Catholic group. And indeed, there is a rather blatant message that every child conceived in rape or incest should be allowed to be born.

I don't agree with the message. But at least it flowed organically with the movie.

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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17-12-2015, 03:04 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
(17-12-2015 05:58 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  -Why do you think people go to the movies?

You said 2 different points IMO. I see a difference between movies like Noah and movies like God is not Dead (or whatever). I feel that movies like Noah are meant to entertain and GIND is intended to preach. I therefore think that people go to them (or not go to them) for those reasons. GIND is simply a movie about the christian impression of a typical asshole atheist philosophy professor that every apologist seems to have had an experience with whereas Noah is just a visualization of an old tale. They are both fantasy IMO but the angle is different. I have the feeling that a christian would look at Kevin Sorbo and think, "See, they always come back to the fold. Praise be." As far as most christians are concerned, the literal truth of the Noah story is irrelevant to their beliefs. GIND is a telling of a story that my gut tells me they all think is what happens in the mind of an atheist (i.e. we all secretly hate god).

-Why do YOU go to the movies?

I wouldn't. Although interestingly, it was after watching The 10 Commandments that made be actually pick up the bible and started reading. It didn't take long for me to see that the character and story in the movie did not match the character and story in the book.

-You go to the movies because you want to be entertained, right?

Personally, I do. I really would not like a movie about atheists that was not honestly portraying a typical christian. Yeah, I know that "typical" is subjective.


(17-12-2015 12:38 AM)Sylia Gray Wrote:  Apparently, unlike mainstream Hollywood, it seems like most hardcore Christian movies have their agenda backwards. Their movies appear to be produced to preach to audience first, rather than to prioritize on entertaining them. It's no wonder that most Christian movies only tend to appeal to their core Christian audiences, even if it stars Hollywood heavyweights like Nicolas Cage. And you have people like Ray Comfort whining about Aronofsky's Noah movie. And speaking of atheists, Kirk Cameron blames atheists for his movie Saving Christmas's spectacular failure. (Kirk, it's not our fault that your movie sucks! It's YOUR fault that you can't make movies that are appealing broadly beyond your core Christian audiences!)

I think you are spot-on here. I also think that the hardcore christian demographic is extremely deluded whereas Hollywood just wants to make money by any means possible.

Yes. I don't disagree with you there. It all boils down to money. As long as they keep making money, Hollywood will continue to crank out Terminator and Transformer movies no matter how stupider and tiresome they get after a great start from first 2 films in the series. I thought the 4th Transformer movie was repetitive and dumb but never mind that. As long as it makes money, Hollywood will keep cranking up sequels, prequels, and reboots.

Heart War Angel Sylia
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17-12-2015, 04:41 PM
RE: My opinion on why MOST Christian movies are so terrible.
It all comes down to emotional manipulation (and money), but when manipulation is one of your main goals, facts and sound arguments go out the window.

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