C'mon Hollywood #112

... don't be scared of religion!
by Sturdy

My grandpa used to say there are three things you never bring out at the dinner table; religion, politics and your schlong. Yes, my grandpa was a wise man, even if he never followed his own advice. But while my grandpa’s words of wisdom may be sound for dinner parties and family outings, they're not so great for Hollywood.

It seems Hollywood is afraid of being crucified if they support a movie about religion. I understand that there’s a certain amount of risk when you make a movie that either directly or indirectly deals with something biblical, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Mel Gibson, it’s that religion sells…and not to call him crazy. But you can’t overlook the fact that PASSION OF THE CHRIST made tons of money at the box office. If nothing else, that shows that people are in need of a religion-based film. Whether you believe them or not, there are a plethora of great stories in the Bible that would make great films. Christians will turn out in droves to see a movie that will “teach” them something, so it’s surprising that Hollywood hasn’t taken advantage of this market yet.

Richard Gere as King David…no thanks.

Christianity is the easiest group to market to, since churches will get involved whenever there’s a Christian-based film, but if I’m not mistaken, there are other religions out there. I can’t think of a movie based on the life and teachings of Buddha or Joseph Smith. There are plenty of Buddhists and Mormons out there that would gladly pay money to see a decent film about the founders of their religion. Also, there are enough Scientologists out there to make a movie based off Scientology well worth the investment. And no, BATTLEFIELD EARTH does not count, since it was an obscure reference (if any at all) to the popular religion. But it’s amazing there haven’t been more films about Scientology since so many of Hollywood’s top stars follow the religion.

I don’t care what you say, this movie had nothing to do with religion.

Also, religion based horror movies have a history of being good too. THE PROPHECY is one of my all time favorite “horror” films and it’s based on religion…kind of. STIGMATA is another decent horror film that has roots in religion. And seriously, is there anything more scary than religion? It’s one thing to suffer great horrors on earth, but religion deals with eternity. Yes, it would suck to have your still-beating heart ripped out of your chest, but it would suck more to have ripped out every day…forever. Religion can be funny too. Don’t believe me? Check out KEEPING THE FAITH or DOGMA. Good stuff.

A perfect religion threesome.

I feel Hollywood has a history of chickening out with sensitive subjects. I’m happy they’re finally venturing into the realm of race, as seen with CRASH and BABEL. However, now it’s time to embrace the public’s need for more religion in films. And whatever you do, don’t throw a lame group of actors together and hope it makes money, ala NATIVITY STORY. That’s the worst thing you can do. You still have to follow all the rules of making movies, which means you have to find talented actors, good screenplays and passionate directors. That, and a little bit of marketing and a timely release, and you should easily make your money back.

Tags: Hollywood



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