I thought I’d try ye olde blogging standby of answering reader questions in the form of standalone posts. If you have a question you’d like me to consider blogging about, please let me know. The first question comes from Kyle, who posted the following:
I didn’t know where else to post this, but: SERIOUSLY? Nicolas Cage in the new Left Behind movie? Like what?
Sure, their getting hollywood in there, but…..this is not what I want for Christian movies. I think they should stay indie, and try to be innovative JUST like indie films. Continue reading
Until today, I’d never previously heard of Blue Like Jazz, which is apparently a book about one young man’s crisis of faith, and now it’s a movie. The reviews make it sound intriguing, if not uniformly good. For thought-provoking discussion of the film and its relative merits, here’s a smattering of said reviews: Jeffrey Overstreet at Filmwell, David Roark at Christ and Pop Culture, Kirk Bozeman, Christianity Today (Josh Hurst), The Village Voice (Benjamin Mercer), and The Onion‘s A.V. Club (Nathan Rabin). I didn’t cherry-pick positive reviews, per se; my method was to surf my blogroll, and then I used RT (on which the film has a definitely-not-good 39 percent) to click on publications I consistently read. What intrigues me is that everyone seems to agree that the film is no masterpiece, but that, in a market where “Christian films” are circled by the wagons of the faithful purely because it has the right message, this particular “Christian film” at least attempts to complicate that message. Just a bit. Having not read the book, I can only speculate about the film based on this secondhand info, but it sounds interesting enough that when it opens a little closer than Madison, I’ll probably soldier out to the theater to see it. Anyone out there who has seen it (or read the book) care to comment on what I might expect?
In writing class, one of the most inflexible pieces of advice I ever received was to use exclamation points as sparingly as possible. By “advice,” I mean more of a commandment that translates as “Thou shalt not use exclamation points.” It’s along the same lines as not writing in all caps. Among the practical reasons for these admonishments is reader exhaustion: IT’S SIMPLY WEARYING TO READ SENTENCES LIKE THIS!!! YOU CAN’T DO IT FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME!!! NOT EVERYTHING OF IMPORTANCE HAS TO BE EXPRESSED IN THE STRONGEST VISUAL TERMS!!! Besides the negative effect on the reader, overuse of a particular technique blunts its effect. Any tool in the writer’s toolbox can be deployed in just the right circumstance, but bringing the big guns to bear too often will overheat them; they’ll jam. The proverbial boy who cried wolf learned this lesson WHEN THE WOLF ATE HIM OMFG!!!!!
Fireproof is a textbook example of exclamation-point filmmaking. Continue reading
Two excellent articles considering an important question — Why do Christian movies suck? — have appeared recently. The first was written by Salon critic Andrew O’Hehir, while the response was posted on SixSeeds.tv by Timothy Dalrymple. As with just about everything else in my blog, this is a topic I’d planned to cover at some point, and others beat me to it, so now’s as good a time as any to say my piece. I need to emphasize before going further that I greatly enjoyed both articles, and there is much I agree with in both. The wit and insight on display suggests that O’Hehir and Dalrymple would be prime candidates for a televised roundtable. (Make it happen, people!) I don’t feel like recapitulating each article, so before you read further, please read both articles so we can bite right into the meat. Continue reading