Friday, May 11, 2012

Bashing Hollywood a Rite of Christian Passage

I'm in Hollywood for a little more than two weeks doing what I can to promote the principles in my book The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success within the Hollywood community and get several scripts produced. I helped co-produce a film conference, am taking meetings with producers and industry friends, and will make several appearances (including presentation of an all-day workshop) promoting the proper structure of story telling (in films and television) that elevate what is good, true and beautiful. Yesterday I had lunch with a Sony Entertainment Executive, pitched a couple stories and left behind a script and a treatment.  When I get back to Michigan we will hopefully start production on a television series for EWTN if our crowd funding effort for the Alex Jones Bible series is successful.

While here. I'm meeting with other Christians who are applied full-time the movie and television industry. With them, I lament the bashing that Christians elsewhere seem to take pleasure in dumping on Hollywood, as if there is some evil conspiracy out here to destroy Christianity.  But Hollywood is only at the top of the list for these Christian critics because of the publicity that natural is part of a movie's promotion. THERE IS NO EVIL CONSPIRACY in Hollywood. The conspiracy is promulgated by Satan within the hearts and minds of an ill-informed Christians. And because of the ill-informed bashing done by Christians, the Christian bashing Christians at times receive, is well-deserved. Here's an example.

Today, a friend sent me a review of a "movie" titled THE PERFECT FAMILY (IMDB link) on the Catholic News Service's website. Here's the log line:.
A devoutly Catholic wife and mother has been nominated for one of the church's top awards. She then goes about trying to prove she has the "perfect" family, refusing to accept them for who they are. 
The film was panned for its anti-Catholic bias. (I have not seen it). But the review upset me for a different kind of reason.  The review bashes Hollywood  in general as if THE PERFECT FAMILY was a perfect example of how the entertainment industry as a whole treats Christianity; or as if this "film" (I keep putting that term in quotes for a reason) was part of the Hollywood system and representative of most Hollywood producers. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in the case of this film. Here's what I wrote the Catholic News Service.
"THE PERFECT FAMILY" is no more "Hollywood" than the defunct P.O. Box of its production company's address. No studio was involved. It was as independent an effort as one can get.  It grossed all of $14,300 [this was an error, it grossed $107,721 domestically, and never saw more than 25 screens]. The distributor is/was in NY, with 2 films in its roster. The Catholic News Service should be criticized for pandering to Hollywood-phobia on a slow news day. For anyone to watch this (assumed) drivel and think it is newsworthy to report on, demonstrates how lazy Catholic media writers are, claiming to be victimized by Hollywood, but then doing nothing good, true or beautiful to counter it. Essentially "no one" saw this "movie" so why report on it? The review assumes that criticizing drivel is a virtuous activity. It's garbage (the review) of a garbage "film", and reminds me that Christians have abdicated their responsibility to promote what is good and are very much to blame for culture's downfall. Christians should get out of the Church basement (where mold and sloth doth corrupt) and be a witness for the light. Until they do that, Catholics have no business, right, or justification to criticize what they have allowed. In the meantime I have a couple of pro-Catholic films that need funding. Where are the Catholic film investors?
Bashing Hollywood by Catholics who are too lazy to do anything else seems to be a rite of passage.  I'm not bitter, but I am spending my life savings traveling to Hollywood trying to get mainstream movies made that elevate Catholicism. While here I meet many, many Catholics and other Christians that are sacrificing their lives doing a lot of good, and working with a lot of pagans who are also trying to do good but are just uninformed. And yet these Christians in the entertainment industry get very little support from the flyovers who throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is no evil conspiracy in Hollywood. But there is a great deal of nobility seeking of the truth (by Christians and non-Christians alike) and there are way too few Christians out here to help in the process.
 (Some months later 3-8-13.) I just read a blog interview with the producers of THE PERFECT FAMILY and how they got the funding for the movie. It's a typical strategy and makes good sense: Attach name actors to key roles so you can attract public attention and get the movie into theaters and into distribution. The "names" will attract viewers and "success." In this case the attachments, in part, were Emily Deschanel, Kathleen Turner, Jason Ritter, Richard Chamberlain and others. It's essentially an all star cast for a movie made for under $1MM. That is an amazing feat and the script must be very clever. It is now on my "to see" list. I will report back. But one thing is clear. In spite of the all star cast, there may be something terribly wrong with the movie. It appears the public shunned it.Or, maybe, they just never got distribution.

March 8, 2013. Pam and I just watched THE PERFECT FAMILY. It is a terrific Catholic movie that tells the truth about imperfect people and how they strive against all sorts of moral relativism to be true to Jesus Christ. Katheen Turner was not only the lead but also one of the Executive Producers. Anne Renton's frosh directorial debut was near perfect.  When Catholic film reviewers trash this film they are being nothing less than sanctimonious. The film tells the truth of an imperfect person trying her best to be be loving, kind, and true to the faith.

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