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C'mon Hollywood #112

Dec. 22, 2006by: Sturdy
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... 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 grandpas 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 theres a certain amount of risk when you make a movie that either directly or indirectly deals with something biblical, but if theres one thing weve learned from Mel Gibson, its that religion sellsand not to call him crazy. But you cant 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 its surprising that Hollywood hasnt taken advantage of this market yet.


Richard Gere as King Davidno thanks.

Christianity is the easiest group to market to, since churches will get involved whenever theres a Christian-based film, but if Im not mistaken, there are other religions out there. I cant 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 its amazing there havent been more films about Scientology since so many of Hollywoods top stars follow the religion.


I dont 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 its based on religionkind of. STIGMATA is another decent horror film that has roots in religion. And seriously, is there anything more scary than religion? Its 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 dayforever. Religion can be funny too. Dont 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. Im happy theyre finally venturing into the realm of race, as seen with CRASH and BABEL. However, now its time to embrace the publics need for more religion in films. And whatever you do, dont throw a lame group of actors together and hope it makes money, ala NATIVITY STORY. Thats 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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9:09AM on 12/22/2006
I think a great example of bringing up religion in a film intelligently and objectively is THE FOUNTAIN. It didn't cater to any particular denomination (aside from the opening Bible verse) but it still dealt with universal themes of faith and spirtuality. I know after I watched it that was the first thing I wanted to talk about.

And re: religion and horror, I suggest FRAILTY. Great movie.
I think a great example of bringing up religion in a film intelligently and objectively is THE FOUNTAIN. It didn't cater to any particular denomination (aside from the opening Bible verse) but it still dealt with universal themes of faith and spirtuality. I know after I watched it that was the first thing I wanted to talk about.

And re: religion and horror, I suggest FRAILTY. Great movie.
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2:13AM on 12/22/2006

nailed it

I'm totally with you on this one, Sturdy. Especially with the religious horror. That stuff always a good time. But I gotta rant for a minute here too.

The only thing with Christian material is that if it seems faithful to the Bible then Christians will blindly get behind it and it will be laughed/spit at by non-Christians (Passion). And if it seems unfaithful to the Bible (Last Temptaion of Christ) or puts Christianity in a bad light (Saved!) then the church will universally laud it and
I'm totally with you on this one, Sturdy. Especially with the religious horror. That stuff always a good time. But I gotta rant for a minute here too.

The only thing with Christian material is that if it seems faithful to the Bible then Christians will blindly get behind it and it will be laughed/spit at by non-Christians (Passion). And if it seems unfaithful to the Bible (Last Temptaion of Christ) or puts Christianity in a bad light (Saved!) then the church will universally laud it and everyone else will champion it for sticking it to Christians.

What both sides can never seem to get is that we are talking about movies. Movies are art and as such are the filmmaker's interpretation of the subject material. They do not tell people what to think, they make people think.

Unfortunately, with politics and religion the way they are these days, it seems like you're not cool unless you make fun of Christians (at least where I live in NY). Just watch Comedy Central for ten minutes and see. So I think it will be a while before a Christian-themed movie will be accepted as a good film.

I'd like to see some more films from a Jewish perspective, particulalry Biblical period pieces (yeah without Richard Gere). A King David movie would be awesome and would probably not stir up too much controversy.

But it seems like the days of the big star, Judeo-Christian epics like The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and The Robe are just not coming back. Hopefully we'll get more eastern-influenced flicks too, as long as they're not lke The Matrix series, which basically felt like I was reading a mixed up and watered down philosophy textbook.
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