1. Tony Breeden says:

    How do I put this plainly?

    The last time I read such utter bullroar was on a UFO conspiracy site that proposed that aliens cause autism.

    You’re basically giving Christian filmmakers a pass because they have a market willing to accept what they offer. Guess what? There is a segment if the UFO market that is willing to accept books and films comprised of poorly thatched together conspiracy theories; however, most of the UFO community rightfully ignores (or decries) them as schlock.

    More to the point, the problem with the Christian film industry is that it caters to the bad theology behind evangelical film theory instead of making movies that glorify God in the way God intended for that artist. They cater to the doctrines of men rather than the commandments of God, even though they pretend these these are one and the same. Evangelical film theory is similar to the CBA standards because they are based on the same bad theology, being a series of Pharisaical rules meant to sanitize media beyond the need for discernment so that a MPAA ratings system as largely unnecessary. It’s ALL supposed to be rated G in their minds.

    Decrying a poorly written/acted film is not the same thing as sin counting, which I abhor. It’s simply subjecting Christian film to the same standard as all other film. The fact is that a huge chunk of Christian film is just an overtly religious version of a Hallmark Christmas movie. While there is a market for such movies, no one bats an eye when a critic calls them poorly written and overly sappy.

    We should deal with these films the same way we should deal with televangelists: by cutting off our support for something labeled Christian that should be better but probably never will be.

    • You’re basically giving Christian filmmakers a pass because they have a market willing to accept what they offer.

      You’re wrong, as a matter of simple reading comprehension, and alas, the rest of your comment just goes downhill from there.

  2. Responsibility should be placed on both, actually. Sure, Christian audiences should learn to expect more, but one way that can happen is if more Christian filmmakers make breathtaking work that shows their audience the full potential of Christian films. Also, if filmmakers aren’t honing their craft and always striving for the best, how are they going to have the skill to produce something good once their audience finally does start demanding better work?

    This subject reminds me of a Christmas play my church put on. It was supposed to be family friendly, which I don’t blame them for. And writing a play and translating it into a performance that isn’t cheesy can be difficult, but watching it simply…bothered me. It should have been written better, at least. Kid friendly stuff can and should be well made still.

    I understand that the person that wrote the play could have been under time restraints, or restraints from the church(make it perfectly clean, make the message clear, etc.). But, I don’t know. I feel like quite a few people actually thought it was good or didn’t feel like it needed to be better. But then I know that there’s still a decent amount of people like me that are discontent with it and either choose not to go to that church’s plays as a result, or completely disengage with those plays when they watch them(by letting their mind wander until the play is over). So there actually are lots of people wanting something better, but everyone else is either content with what’s there or doesn’t know how to fix it.

    Clearly, a lot of people are turned off whether or not anyone realizes it. People that produce Christian media really need to step up because of that. Either way, filmmakers are probably fans themselves. As fans, their demand for better films should manifest as a demand placed on themselves to constantly improve. The expectations of movie goers do matter a lot, but that doesn’t mean that filmmakers should be lax while they wait for market shifts

    • Agreed. Which is why I’m encouraged by the insider’s view from Sean Paul Murphy, and by at least some of Alex Kendrick’s realization that some (much?) of his movies are “cheesy.” In the case of Kendrick, however, I am not certain he’ll be able to grow past the “cheesiness” because a lot of those films’ “teaching” is just as shallow as elements such as character development, dramatic tension, and so on. It would take a drastic overhaul of a filmmaker’s very purpose for making movies in the first place to help begin to re-develop this craft.

      But this is why I still place most of the onus on the Christian audiences. Yes, they’re part of a cultural cycle. At the same time, I think they hold the greater sway, especially considering the insider quotes Murphy shared (such as the PureFlix executive who scoffed at the need for editing a movie better because, hey, the viewing public won’t really care either way).

      • He probably just needs to get a better idea of what it takes to (successfully) teach someone, at least with a story. The way he is now, it sounds like he can’t actually successfully teach people because of his approach.(He might help some, but probably not as much/in the way he’d like) At the very least, learning to apply the concept of ‘show don’t tell’ would probably help.

        One reason I write is to teach and communicate, but I do that by showing the journey of the characters in a reasonably realistic way. Their behaviors are dictated by the causes and effects of their personality and circumstances. If they change their mind by the end of the story, it’s through a long, realistic process that mirrors what people face in real life. They are also allowed to disagree with my opinions and have valid reasons for doing so, which is something a lot of ‘cheesy’ authors don’t do. That approach makes the story better and has a much greater capacity for teaching than what he does.

        So…I don’t know. The goal is ok, but the methods just aren’t working. If he experienced things that showed him that his methods aren’t helping him realize the goal well enough, he’s more likely to start growing.

        Though I guess it’s a matter of applying the criticisms he receives, too. It’s not like Christian media producers lack complaints from viewers, so from that standpoint I would place a little more onus on media makers simply because they HAVE received negative feedback.

        Plus, constant improvement is kinda takes up a huge chunk of an artist’s ‘directive’, so to speak, no matter what the audience says/does.

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