Is Hollywood Turning To God?
January 15, 2003
I love a good movie. But, just uttering the name of the city where movie magic takes place evokes a myriad of images that can only be described as immorality run amok. Hollywood is an abyss full of exploitations of sex, drugs, alcohol and anything else they can try to make look good and normal in a movie.
But, recently, there has been an encouraging trend at the movies that leads me to a very important question:
Is Hollywood turning to God?
Now before you go thinking I have gone completely crazy with this theory, let’s examine the evidence (I’ve been watching too much CSI!). Here are just a few of the movies that have been released in the past few years that had overtly “Christian” themes in them (NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list, but just a sampling):
- Dead Man Walking - A man on death row finds out what it means to receive God’s love and grace through the example of a Godly woman who ministers to him on death row. The spiritual transformation that takes place in the lead character, played by Sean Penn, over the course of the movie is fascinating.
- The Omega Code - This was a low budget film based on the popular Bible codes that did surprisingly well in the Fall of 2000. The success of this movie provided the capital for making and producing a sequel.
- Prince of Egypt - This was a major animated release for Dreamworks Pictures that portrayed the Biblical account of Moses in an accurate and professional manner. The success of this movie proved that stories and characters from the Bible can be successful. The money generated from this movie led to another one on the life of Joseph.
- Left Behind - The movie based on the bestselling end-times books weaves a tapestry of characters, including Kirk Cameron who plays Buck, that deal with their own struggles about who God is and why it is important to accept Him before the Second Coming. The second book in the series, Tribulation Force, was recently made into a movie as well.
- Life As A House - While this movie never mentions God or Jesus in it, it certainly represents the Christian ideas of redemption and love. The lead character, portrayed by Kevin Kline, sees the importance of mending relationships and offering forgiveness to his family when he learns he is dying of cancer. The imagery of life as a house is found in the Bible.
- A Walk To Remember - With so many of today’s pop music stars resorting to their sexuality to get them noticed in the entertainment industry, I was amazed by the performance given by Mandy Moore in this movie! Not only was her acting superb, but the character she played in the movie was an unabashed Christian. Her character’s trust and faith in God gave her the strength to provide hope for the future and unconditional love to all those around her, even as she learns she is suffering from a terminal illness.
- Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie - The lovable little talking vegetables hit the silver screen in the Fall of 2002 with a landmark movie for a Christian children’s video production company called Big Idea. Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber star in a unique retelling of the Biblical account of Jonah. Dominating the Christian video market for the past decade, VeggieTales will continue to make wholesome movies for kids that will not only be successful in the theaters, but will always glorify God.
- Signs - When I saw the previews for this movie, I really did not want to go see it. But, my wife insisted that we go (she likes to have the bejeebies scared out of her!) and I was pleasantly surprised. Once you get past the scary parts of the movie (which there aren’t that many), there is an inspiring story of a man of God who lost His desire for having faith and belief in God and finds it again. I was amazed by the acting of Mel Gibson in this movie.
Speaking of Mel Gibson, did anyone see him on the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” last night? He claimed that he is under attack for making a realistic movie about the death of Jesus. He said that a reporter has been trying to dig into his private life to try to discredit the work he is doing with a film entitled “The Passion.”
In reaction to these attacks, Gibson unabashedly says about his new movie that it "is a movie about love, faith, hope and forgiveness. He (Jesus) died for all mankind. He (Jesus) suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message. The world has gone nuts. We could all use a little more love, faith, hope and forgiveness." Are you kidding me? Did these words really come from one of the top actors in Hollywood?!?! YEP!
While I think it will be a long time before Christian movies dominate Hollywood, it is certainly noteworthy to see the marketability of those movies increasing. As more and more moviegoers reject the garbage being released by Hollywood each and every year, writers and directors will be forced to conform to what the market wants. Christians need to take a bold stand and demand better quality out of their entertainment.