February 01, 2011

Sundance recap 2: God and....

(the view from The Bro's condo in Park City)

So I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about 1 of the 2 worst movies I saw at Sundance. Yes, there are bad movies. In fact, there are many bad movies. It's the beauty of a film festival. Everyone gets to show their work. Sometimes great ones get in. Sometimes, horrible-what-in-the-world-were-they-thinking ones get in.

Here's the thing about seeing movies at Sundance. You get a 2 paragraph description of the movie in a paper film guide (or website). It has the director, actors, producers and how long the film is. It has a list of when and where it's playing. It has one photo. That's it. No reviews (the reviews on the site happen after the festival has started). No ratings (and that would be nice to know, let me tell you). Nothing else. You are basing everything off of a few sentences.

Now once the festival starts, you start to hear things flying about. You talk to people in line, on the bus, at lunch. Everyone talks about what they've seen and what they liked. That's part of the fun. And you start to get an idea of what is worth your money and time.

The Bro snagged us a few tickets to go see a movie that looked interesting on paper. It was the first movie I saw at the festival this year so I was excited. And it was a premiere and starred some people I enjoyed, one of them being Liv Tyler, whom I have liked since That Thing You Do (which I saw at the dollar theater in college about 10 times). She's pretty. And Terrance Howard who I loved in Crash and Iron Man. And remember Christopher Gorham from Popular back in the day? I was excited!

But this movie....I think it got picked up, which I really don't understand because of how bad it was. It's not that it was horribly written (but it was). It's not that the characters weren't acted well (except a few were pretty bad). It was mostly because it was the most horrible display of how much Hollywood hates, yes hates God. And in that way, it was so deeply disturbing.

The movie was directed by the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin (which The Bro says that just announcing that is a total publicity thing to get people to see the movie). All I could think about was the movie Creation (which I loved) and the little kids in that movie. How their dad turned his back on God and did his best to re-create the world without God in it. That seemed to definitely carry on down the line in his family tree. Wow.

Without going into all the gory details, the story of this movie was about a guy who falls in love with a woman, who is married to a devout Christian. He gets in arguments with this woman's husband about God and who Jesus is and why he does not believe that God exists in the world. And these are intense arguments. The movie ends with the "Christian" being the villian. A horrible, ugly villian painted in the worst of ways. It was so awful. A really bad movie that The Bro and I both hated and I really, really just couldn't shake for a few days.

I know that God and Hollywood (as a whole, not every individual person) are oil and water. I know that it is probably the most un-churched people group in our country. I also believe that it is our (those of us who call ourselves children of the King) fault. I believe we have failed that industry by turning our back on it and basically shunning it.

This has been something I have struggled with since I was young. I didn't understand why my pastor would get up in church on Sundays and condemn Hollywood and wash his hands of it. I didn't understand why he would say that the whole thing was evil and all the people there were awful. I didn't understand why the tribesmen of Africa, who denied God just the same, were more worthy of hearing the Gospel and being told of Christ's love than a movie director or an actor on the screen.

I still struggle today with that mentality of letting Hollywood go to hell. I think it's horribly wrong. I think it's embarrassing how badly we, as a Christian community, have messed up. I think we have no one to point the finger at more than ourselves. I think the people in Hollywood, all of them, are just as worthy and valuable and loved by the Most High as I or anyone else in the world. I think it is my responsibility to love them and pray for them just like I do for my orphans in China. I think that the sin of exclusion has turned into an epidemic of our own making.

I could go on and on about this, but this is a post about Sundance. So, for that reason, I'll stop and just continue to contemplate how God is burdening my heart and what I'm supposed to do with that. Movies (and TV) are such a powerful tool in this generation. Probably the greatest art form of the last 80 years. They are such a beautiful example of how we were created in the image of our Father, the Creator, the one with the greatest imagination and storytelling ability that is so far beyond what we can even comprehend.


Gina said...

amen sistah.
why do famous celebs think they need to stand with their legs looking as if they are going to fold in on themselves? it's really starting to get on my nerves.
there are many people/organizations making a stand for christ in the industry. they are making movies left and right (some hard to watch) but movies for His glory all the same. i have felt called to support these projects so I will let you know of any premiers that come across my wire and you can support the movement that way. Hey, I was an extra in one of them. Doubt you'll actually see me though. Anyhoooooooo.......
I'm soooo there next year.

tp said...

really powerful words my friend.
and I can't lie, I laughed a little at Gina's comment on legs... surely she is referring to Liv.

cottage girl said...

Thanks girls.

G: Liv was so intimidated, it seemed. And kinda shy and nervous. I think she's more likely trying to turn in on herself and disappear. She kept un-tucking her hair to hide her face. Terrance Howard, however, was not. You can kinda see that from their body language, huh?

Also, I'd love to go to a premiere with you. Even if it's awful. I can suffer through it to support those who are taking a stand. Things like that always make me think of Jerry and how he would tell us that Christians should be the best. Do our best. We have the answer. We shouldn't make mediocre things. Loved that.