CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Blind Side and Hollywood’s Dilemma

Mar 9, 2010

Hollywood has a big problem. It is constantly facing a major dilemma involving two well-established facts. Fact number one: The denizens of Hollywood are overwhelmingly secular leftists. They mostly are well left of centre, generally despise people of faith, and usually push radical social engineering agendas.

Fact number two: More often than not, the best money-making films are those with a pro-faith and pro-family message. Films reflecting the Judeo-Christian worldview, and/or emphasizing traditional values tend to regularly be the big box office winners.

???????????????????????Since the Hollywood crowd is very keen about making money, what are they to do? The bulk of Americans are conservative, Christian and strong family types. Yet the Hollywood elite prefer to slam those values in their films.

But if they want to get rich and stay rich, then they have to cater to the tastes of most Americans. They really are in a dilemma. But love of money tends to triumph over pushing radical leftist agendas, so family-friendly films still keep coming out of Hollywood.

The most obvious recent case of this is The Blind Side which just saw the film’s main star, Sandra Bullock, win the Oscar for Best Actress. Being based on a true story makes it an even more powerful film, centring on the twin themes of a strong faith and a strong family.

Of course this is Hollywood, so the film is not perfect, yet the Christian and family themes come through quite strongly in this film. As mentioned, it must leave many Hollywoodians in a real bind: getting rich off a decent film which does not bag family or faith.

Those not familiar with the story are encouraged to go see the film, to help send Hollywood the message that they should be making more of these sorts of movies. But a quick plot summary can be provided here: A wealthy white family in America’s south takes into their hearts and home a poor struggling black youth.

Their love, support and dedication results in him going on to become a leading successful NFL football player. Without their tremendous love and concern, he very likely would have ended up as just another sad statistic; another young person with a life tragically cut short.

This is quite a breath of fresh air. So often Hollywood portrays both families and faith as wretched, destructive and ugly affairs. Families are usually depicted as dysfunctional, psychopathic freak shows, and Christianity is usually denigrated, slammed and mocked.

To see both coming out as clear winners is quite astounding really. And that is why it has done so very well at the box office. The truth is, the majority of Americans relate to such families. Indeed, the truth is even more profound: there exist millions of families just like the family featured in this film.

Many, many millions of strong, functional, loving, and faith-based families can be found in the US, and around the world. They see their story in this film. They know this is what the real America is like. They are sick and tired of seeing their faith denigrated and their family lives mocked in most other films.

One article about the film compared the heroine of the film with Sarah Palin. And indeed, the two are in many respects quite alike – which makes this film even more remarkable. For the secular left, the most hated woman in America today is clearly Sarah Palin.

Thus for Hollywood – the very heartland of the secular left – to actually make a film which celebrates and glorifies a Sarah Palin twin must be one of the most ironic and perplexing things to come out of Tinseltown in a very long time.

But who cares about what internal agonies and contradictions they are experiencing. The truth is, they actually got things right for a change. We all know there are dysfunctional families, and Christians who have been a lousy witness to their Lord.

But there are also millions of very healthy families, and millions of very committed and Christ-like Christians. It is about time Hollywood woke up to this reality. And even though it may not like it, if it wants to continue with such box-office hits, it should stay on this winning formula and not go back to its tired old ways.

I encourage all of you to go see the film. We all need affirmation and encouragement, as well as inspiration and uplifting. This film will help remind you that faith is vitally important, and that vibrant, healthy families can and do exist. So in this case at least, hooray for Hollywood.

entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/oscars/article7031205.ece

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31 Responses to The Blind Side and Hollywood’s Dilemma

  • LOL awesome! This must really burn their hides.

    I remember when The Passion made $600 million with a budget of 30 and it ticked off the leftists so much but no matter how much they tried to slam the film it kept making more money, There wasn’t even a lick of English in the entire film. Even with some historical flaws, The Passion clearly satisfied a thirst of many moviegoers and regardless of poor reviews and naysayers it did fabulously.

    Amazingly, Mel didn’t go on to make more films just like it, which would have been as an easy money-train. After first seeing the movie, I was eagerly anticipating further Bible based blockbusters coming out of Icon Productions, but instead we get… Apocalypto?

    Nathan Schellinger

  • I don’t often go and see films any more, for the reasons you stated in the opening paragraph in your article. You have encouraged me to go and see this film, The Blind Side. One film I haven’t seen since it was in the cinema was Dead Man Walking, staring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. That’s fifteen years ago! I am sure Susan and Sean don’t believe in God. But I remember at the time picking up a friends fathers copy of a Catholic magazine and reading the review of the movie. Unlike comedies like Sister Act on so on, it said that Susan Sarandon’s roll of a Catholic Nun was an accurate portrayal of what Nun does in their ministry today.

    Thanks Bill for a good article.

    Carl Strehlow

  • I notice that Andrew Bolt also has a trailer on his site:
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/christian_soldiers_march_all_over_greens_at_oscars/

    I can imagine that any such movie will make the left fairly bilious, just as the very mention of Sarah Palin’s name makes them explode in what is now a recognised psychopathic condition: PDS – Palin Derangement Syndrome.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Dear Bill, I truly believe that if there is extremism towards one side then the pendulum will swing to balance it out to the other. God is all powerful and He sees.
    Siti Khatijah

  • See also Believers Walk the Talk in The Blind Side. Bullock actually had first turned down this role, although she loved the script, because it would mean playing an evangelical Christian. But she met her character in real life and was mpressed with how she genuinely lived her faith.

    The giant actor playing the footballer, 6’8″ Quinton Aaron, and the director John Lee Hancock, are both Christians.

    More subtly, the film also shows capitalism in a good life—the Tuohys are wealthy from their businesses and generous with their wealth. And it also shows in a bad liht one of the sacred cows of the Left: the government school system, which was stated to have let Oher down.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Has anyone seen The Book of Eli? The Christian Mad Max, Eli, protecting the very last Bible on earth from a world that has destroyed every other copy.

    I haven’t seen it yet but it looks great. Wondering if anyone else has had the pleasure.

    Damien Spillane

  • Damian,

    I know that fiction films ask us to ‘suspend disbelief’ but I’m sorry to say I am unlikely to ever bother with that one.

    That plot line is just so far away from God’s promise to preserve His Word, and see it fulfilled, that I couldn’t treat it as credible.

    John Angelico

  • Another movie with a Christian worldview, that won four Oscars including Best Picture, was Chariots of Fire (1981). One of the few movies that depicted Christianity and (to a slightly lesser extent) Judaism authentically and in a positive, constructive light, with all the nuances and challenges of living out the faith. That’s one of my favourite movies — with great acting and music to boot!

    That these godly movies win accolades, despite today’s social and ideological climates, strikes me as God honouring those that honour him. Or, seen in a different way, even the world recognizes the authenticity, uprightness and spiritual power of such films.

    Gotta check out The Blind Side now, thanks for the tip, Bill.

    Olivia Tan, San Diego, USA.

  • OK, Now that the ball is rolling……..what are the top 10 Christian movies of all time to come out of Hollywood??

    Could we all assist, to come up with this list??

    Jane Petridge

  • Thank you.

    In an attempt as a Christian to understand Hollywood better I bought a book rcently called “Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon – The Case Against Celebrity,” a New York Times Bestseller by Andrew Breitbart & Mark Ebner. It is pretty grim reading and not terribly well written in my view but gave me some useful insights. The thing that really floors me is the zeal to promote this left wing nihilism and vacuosity when anyone with any sense can see the damage and destruction it has wrought and is causing. Have you noticed at least in the media the number of reports recently of young people who have committed suicide? Terribly sad!

    Andrew Nicodemus

  • I had heard great things about ‘The Blind Side’ and had hoped to watch it for a couple of weeks – last night I got my chance! It was a truly inspiring film that greatly challenged me to have a living and active faith. I’m now encouraging everybody I know to go and see it!
    Ben Williams

  • Hi Jane,

    That’s a good idea. But what about another list of the top ten christian movies made anywhere.

    I don’t watch many films, but I really enjoyed the three films made by Sherwood Pictures: ‘Flywheel’, ‘Fireproof’, and my personal favorite ‘Facing the Giants’. For kids (and adults), I thought the Veggie Tales movie ‘Jonah’ was great.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Hey Bill
    Now I just need to find a babysitter and we are all set!?
    Great to have recommendations like this.
    thanks
    Kerryn Zwag

  • My wife dragged me out to the local premier of The Blind Side because Sandra Bullock is her favorite actress. I knew nothing about the film. When I saw the poster, I though it was a movie about American Football. My wife does not appreciate sport and I though she was going to be very disappointed.
    What a fantastic film. The best we have seen in a long time. To get the full story don’t leave when the credits start rolling.
    Des Morris

  • Nathan, let me say that I thought Apocalypto was brilliant and a natural progression in Mel Gibson’s film making after The Passion. The films that Gibson directs have the recurrent themes of sacrifice for family and what is right. The male characters (his films are quite male centric) go through degrees of suffering against extreme odds before emerging victorious. In Apocalypto we are presented with 2 tribes, one family oriented and community minded whilst the other is murderous and dysfunctional as depicted by the infighting and low value for life. Through various struggles the protagonist emerges the victor, not only personally but also for the same values most of us hold dear. His films carry a strong theme of redemption through fighting for what is right.
    Frank Norros

  • Sure Mansel,

    No need for it to come out of Hollywood!!

    Jane Petridge

  • I also was very impressed with this film, and have recommended it to others. It perhaps would have been too “schmaltzy” IF it hadn’t have been true. That it is true is an absolute challenge to the faith of all of us. We are not all going to do what this family did, but we do need to be open to God (more?) to evidence the love of God. Chariots of Fire was obviously also a great flim of personal Christian faith. Christian biographical stories such as this, and others such as those about Wilberforce, speak much more to me than fictional stories, which is probably why they are far more popular than the latter.
    David Everard

  • Yes great idea Jane,

    I thought “Flywheel” was great and also “Indescribable” a must for every one.
    Any more?

    Daniel Kempton

  • It was interesting, and disappointing, to see Bullock distance herself from evangelical understanding of sexuality in her acceptance speech.
    Andrew Klynsmith

  • Saw The Blind Side tonight, was truly impressed.

    Actually portrayed Christians in a good light and featured a rich, American family inspired by Christian principles to save a down and out African-American, great Christian message that transcended racial boundaries.

    I also liked the pro-gun message when Bullock tells one of the gangstas she is packing heat.

    Pro-Christian, pro-capitalism, pro-family, pro-gun rights, was genuinly post-racial, great story and great acting.

    Great stuff.

    Damien Spillane

  • I too was impressed with Apocalypto. If for nothing else than its anti-PC depiction of natives exhibiting truly evil and blood thirsty behaviour and then the Spanish Christians arriving as kind of like their redemption.
    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Damien

    Yes, she is just like Sarah Palin, which is why so many millions of Americans love these two women, and why the Left is going apoplectic about them.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I cannot remember the last time I went to the movies, because I refuse to support their godless or is it anti-God, secular humanist propaganda that belches forth from the screen? I’m pleased to hear your report about this new trend. Perhaps there is an explation for it. I heard today that some of the financiers in Hollywood have taken some of the moguls aside and told them in no uncertain terms, that a lot of movies have not been making the money expected and that it makes no sense to keep pouring out those atheistic dramas, when half the population in America is conservative and will stay away in droves.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Bill, you explain that Hollywood is influenced by the need for money – but not so the BBC, they just get the public’s money whatever they do, and so much of what they dish up is anti-Christian, sex-obsessed, far Left, anti-Israel etc. and pushes values which (like the UK government) complerely disregards, and flies in the face of, ordinary British people – but they still get our money, and thumb their noses at us. Much better not to have to rely on people choosing to pay for what they see…
    John Thomas, UK

  • There is no serious dilemma. The leading actors, directors and producers of Hollywood are usually filthy rich. They got that way by selling movies that appeal to the masses and have no strong financial need of films that are pro-family or pro-Christian. Mel Gibson was filthy rich long before he made “The Passion”. He got that way by portraying violent characters who in real life would be committed to an institution for the criminally insane. Amoral Hollywood is all about making money. If religion sells, then they will sell it. If grandma sells, then they will sell her too.

    Most Hollywood movies are implausible fantasies, even the ones with realist and historical pretensions. If you constantly insert Christianity into these tacky, kitschy confections, then the psychology of association might give you more than you bargained for. Christianity does not need Hollywood.

    John Snowden

  • I loved this movie, it is simply wonderful and I found myself tearing up at a few points. Stories that represent a progression from evil to good, failure to success, or darkness to light, especially within the realistic life paradigms that God gives us, more often work because they are ones we can more easily relate to and feel good about – and thus become emotionally involved in. All of us instinctively know our own failures and so to see a sense of ‘overcoming’ in a familiar aspect of our lives is something worth watching.

    The message is that even in small ways that there is hope for improvement. We too, want to believe no matter how bad a situation gets in our lives, can see a shift from worse to better.

    Of course, the general theme of redemption shown in these stories reflects an important aspect of the greatest story of them all. The problem for the hardcore PC-loving-crowd is that this story goes against our pride by telling us that we are desperately fallen creatures who need this ultimate redemption. The underlying assumption of much PC-groupthink these days is that we are all OK making our own decisions with no regard to any moral compass.

    Basically it comes down to what Jesus spoke of:

    “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)

    And some of the worst examples of pride come from movie-makers who usually live in a world of make-believe and have a life filled with people fawning all over their ‘success’ as if they are people without need of saving. No wonder they end up so often advocating lousy ideas. I wish the greater population would lose the need to listen to celebrities on any subject outside of their expertise. Be it good governance, sound economic principles, consistent logic on moral issues and knowledge of spiritual and theological matters, the fantasy world they work in actually should disqualify them from commenting. My feeling is pretty much these days – “pffft, who are you? You’re just an actor. Please, just do your job and go home.”

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks guys

    Another good film (which I also happened to see on a plane just recently) is Up in the Air. At first the George Clooney showcase does not seem like it has much going for it. But toward the end of the film some clear pro-family and pro-marriage themes emerge. So add this one to your list of new films worth having a look at. They are not only entertaining, but can also help us in the culture wars.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Jane

    For your list, my number one inspirational Christian movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart. Its an oldie but a goodie.

    Gary Morgan

  • I just come back from seeing the film. I liked it. I don’t go and watch films much and hope more films like these do well, I will just say leaving the cinema seing one teenage girl talking with her friends saying “Thats such a good movie”

    Thanks Bill, had it not been for your article, I would not have seen it.

    Carl Strehlow

  • Gary, I love “It’s a Wonderful Life!” Such a beautiful movie, I have watched it several times!
    Jane Byrne

  • A good book on the topic of how Hollywood is anti Christian & family values, is Michael Medved’s Hollywood vs. America.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

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