Still out there… even in China

Hollywood is beginning to notice there are still quite a few people left who are interested in uplifting and edifying entertainment:

Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome…

“When I was first approached to take on [An Interview With God], I felt reluctant because I thought, ‘Oh my God, there really isn’t an evangelical community outside of the United States,’” says Wander. “But we’ve been getting interest from places like China — I never would have thought that — Japan, the U.K., spots that typically don’t respond to these kinds of films.”

One has to be careful here, because what Hollywood calls “faith-based” is often over-the-top heretical and completely un-Biblical (see: Noah).  That said, recent films like Paul – Apostle of Christ are showing it doesn’t take a large bankroll to produce a film worth seeing, particularly when one stays respectful of the source material.  When such films triple their production budget in ticket receipts, even secular (but profit-minded) Hollywood begins to take note.

This is one reason it’s critical Christians are careful with our entertainment vote, which consists of how we choose to spend our money.  Noah only made money because of the overseas market – it would have been a flop on domestic tickets alone.  While Hollywood knows the overseas market is lucrative, the experience with Noah will give them pause.  Similarly, A Wrinkle In Time, which largely abandoned what Christian influence was in the original book, has also underwhelmed at the box office (and is rumored to have lost $100 million for Disney).

There is great potential here.  Moviemakers who desire to honor God with their work have raised their game, rising above some of the cheesy stereotypes of their past efforts.  If Hollywood decides this is a financially winning formula, it’s possible they’ll support these projects, even if they personally disdain the worldview involved.  I don’t expect Hollywood to become a source of evangelical proselytizing.  But moving the window closer to God’s perspective would be a great development for our culture.  He can speak even through the unlikeliest of messengers.

Consider that seriously when you choose your entertainment.  Are you helping to strengthen our mass media culture, or going along with its slide?

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Too many Wrinkles

Even though I really enjoyed the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle (and still have a copy of it), I won’t be buying tickets for the new movie about to open.  Two words: Disney and Oprah.

That’s a combination enough to ruin anything, even a children’s classic.

What’s funny is that until very recently I wasn’t aware of just how controversial the book had been among Christians when it was first released.  That said, when I first read it as a teenager I did pick up on some strange vibes, such as listing Jesus, Ghandi, Einstein and great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Beethoven as examples of historical figures standing against evil.  Nowhere in that passage does it hint at any greater role for Jesus — he is simply one of the great figures.

L’Engle was an Episcopalian, a denomination that has skewed ever more liberal and heretical since the mid-1900s.  If, as the linked article above infers, the author was trying sincerely to reconcile the Christian faith with science, it may have been at the expense of watering down the Christian elements into a general spirituality that hesitates to draw clear theological lines:

“To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all,” L’Engle wrote in her book Walking on Water. “I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism, with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus-not at all!  But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen!”

And that’s where Oprah comes in.  The longtime TV host may have recently claimed she wouldn’t run for president unless “God tells me to,” but it’s fair to wonder what sort of god she’s expecting instructions from.  She is anything but an orthodox Christian — for a short glimpse of the evidence of this statement, click this link.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Disney, of course, regularly provides content full of themes incompatible with the historic Christian faith — all under the cute guise of “kids entertainment.”

So with a recipe involving a book of nominally Christian fiction, a New Age television guru, and the House of Mouse, what could go wrong?

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” is the latest victim of diversity-deranged stunt casting in which no respect is paid to the race or sex of existing literary characters. But that’s only one reason why this frustrating fiasco is such an embarrassing failure. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), who has no feel at all for the material, seems more interested in promoting colorblind multi-culturalism than producing an entertaining adaptation that is worthy of its much-beloved source…

Also, it’s unfortunate that the film eliminates the novel’s references to Christianity that resulted in it being banned from some libraries. Inclusion apparently has its limits.

I didn’t need the confirmation of yesterday’s movie review.  As soon as the very first trailer debuted last year, I knew this was a “must-pass” event.  The original book is still a fun read, but has more of a dualist worldview than a properly Christian one in which salvation through Christ alone is the central tenet.  Adding Hollywood to the mix just exacerbates the issue.  Christians are understandably hungry for good entertainment these days.  But that doesn’t mean we should spend our dollars in a way that encourages Hollywood’s tendency to take anything reasonably good, gut it, stuff it with their agenda, and pass it off as something worth seeing.

Find something better to do this weekend.

Do they even listen to themselves?

Showtime’s “Homeland” series takes a few swipes at the Trump administration in an interview with ITK, as reported by The Hill.  In the process, they show either an inability to connect the dots, or a belief the rubes in the heartland can’t:

Each year, the team behind “Homeland” takes a weeklong research field trip to Washington to prep for the espionage thriller’s upcoming season. But this time around, when Showtime’s crew touched down in D.C. two months after President Trump’s inauguration, the mood was different…

In preparation for production, the “Homeland” team started asking what recourse intelligence officers and National Security Agency workers had if “they see an administration going off the rails.”

Gansa says he found “there was a strange sort of new alliance that was taking place between the intelligence community and the fourth estate, which we found interesting.”

After admitting they wouldn’t be pursuing a storyline about a ‘paranoid president’ had Her Hillariness been installed in 2016, they then backtrack on what they’ve just said:

Asked what Trump might take away from this season, Gansa replies, “I doubt he’d learn one thing. I think he might be amused just to watch an administration convinced that there was something called the ‘deep state’ aligned against her. Clearly that’s a fear that the Trump administration feels every day.”

Well gosh, when the stars of a hit TV series are deliberately pushing the message the President is paranoid, while noting in the real world there’s “a strange sort of new alliance… between the intelligence community and the fourth estate (the media),” I can’t imagine why the Trump administration might be concerned about a Deep State working against him.

Can you?

Sir Hollywood the not-so-brave

It’s been decades since Tinseltown was content with just making entertainment.  No, today everybody has to have a message, an agenda and a cause, and these usually overshadow the actual business of TV and movie making (which is probably a large part of why very little worth watching comes out of there anymore).  The big names claim they have an obligation to speak out in support of others, to “speak truth to power.

Unless that power is someone like Harvey Weinstein.

The real story with Weinstein isn’t that an entertainment mogul has been revealed to have used his position to harass and abuse women in the industry.  Frankly, given the stories coming out of Fox News and elsewhere, that much is almost blasé.  No, the real story is why it took so long for this to be publicized.  Now that the dam has broken, it’s like more than half of Hollywood is saying “well, of course there was a problem.  Who didn’t know?”

In other words, when Weinstein was at the height of his power, nobody was speaking truth to him.  On the contrary, if allegations are true, a number of big names in the business were active enablers of his behavior.  Does anyone believe this is the only rock that needed kicking over?  Is it any coincidence that so many child stars (particularly those who work for Disney) seem to grow up and lose their mind?  If Congress can find the time to investigate the use of steroids in baseball, why can’t it find the time to investigate the toxic environment of Hollywood?

Probably because of the money involved.  Weinstein was a generous supporter of the Democratic Party and a very close friend of Bill and Hillary (whose judgement only appears more evil and self-serving by the day).  But money alone doesn’t explain it all.  Does anyone doubt if one or both of the Koch brothers were found in the same circumstances that the media would be demanding every Republican in Washington publicly denounce them?   So why hasn’t anyone brought Weinstein up with Hillary, who is still giving lucrative speeches well after her sell-by date?  Barack Obama, who seemed to be speaking as a shadow president during Trump’s early efforts to reverse his disastrous legacy, also seems strangely silent and out of sight.  He’s far from the only one who’s lost his usually overactive tongue.

It’s called partisan protection.  As Glenn Reynolds frequently says of the corporate media, “just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and it all makes sense.” There is so much overlap in the Venn diagram of Democrats, Hollywood and the Media that reporters risk being cast out of the bubble of their incestuous clan if they ask the difficult questions.  So much for “bravery:”

In the absence of personal risk, haranguing the powerful can be soul-satisfying, and sometimes it forges careers, but it isn’t brave by a long shot. Thomas More spoke truth to Henry VIII, and it cost him his head. Dietrich Bonheoffer spoke truth to Adolf Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spoke truth to the Soviet Union and suffered grievously for it. Stephen Colbert piddled on the president’s rug, and he’s been cashing big-bucks checks ever since.

See the difference?

The protection afforded Weinstein by his liberal enablers doesn’t stop at silence or the reluctance to make him the subject of standard late-night comedy roasts.  Donna Karan, a well-known fashion designer, was forced to walk back comments that perhaps Weinstein’s victims were ‘asking for it’ by the way they dressed!

Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.   To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?

If a conservative comments on how lasciviously many women dress today, it’s considered “victim blaming” by alleged Neanderthals.  But if such an examination is a way to help out a Hollywood mogul, it’s OK?  Is your head spinning yet at the audacious double standard?  Sure, Karan was pressured to disavow the statement, but the fact she made it shows it’s part of the toxic self-justifying entertainment industry’s environment. It’s easy for them to hold conservatives’ feet to the fire over standards.  It’s harder to do so for liberals, when it appears they have none other than the will to power.

The public has more reason than just simple decency and morality to be outraged. Hollywood derives tremendous benefit from tax breaks and government incentives to churn out their drivel.  In other words, cord-cutting or not We the People pay for this filth.  Just as the immature posturing of NFL players has caused some to look at the League’s anti-trust exemption and frequent use of municipal bonds to build their palatial stadiums, perhaps Weinstein’s downfall should cause America to truly confront the moral sewer that is Hollywood.  Public funding for both (including PBS) should dry up entirely.  Let them earn their profits by making edifying fare that Middle America actually wants, versus their tax-supported propaganda.

Final thought: what are the odds Weinstein actually goes to jail (versus some sort of high-profile “rehab”)?  Roman Polanski and Woody Allen after all, are still considered persecuted entertainers by many in Hollywood.  And there’s not exactly a tradition of holding Leftists criminally accountable these days (see: Hillary, Bill, Huma, Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, etc., ad nauseum).

Remember that, when Social Justice Warriors ask if we ‘normal Americans’ have any decency.  It’s called projection.  And they don’t really have the courage of their convictions when it comes to policing their own.

Goofy: putting agenda ahead of revenue

About a week ago, I noted how Disney was using its new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” to add a “gay moment,” in the words of the director.  At the time, I pointed out that Disney has become so committed to this agenda that they will accept a ratings plunge just to add it to children’s shows.

And now it appears Disney would rather lose part of the lucrative overseas box office than remove the objectionable scene:

Walt Disney has shelved the release of its new movie “Beauty and the Beast” in mainly Muslim Malaysia, even though film censors said Tuesday it had been approved with a minor cut involving a “gay moment.”

The country’s two main cinema chains said the movie, due to begin screening Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given…

“We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie,” Abdul Halim told The Associated Press.

He said there was no appeal from Disney about the decision to cut the gay scene.

There can be no doubt that the gay agenda has become more important to Disney than its own revenue.  All I can ask is, “where are the stockholders?”  It would seem time to shake up the leadership of the company, if one is going to invest there to try to make a profit.

One other note: many Hollywood productions travel the globe, where they essentially represent America to foreign audiences.  Shortly after 9/11, one pundit pointed out how Americans might be able to discern reality vs. fantasy in films like “Natural Born Killers,” but foreign audiences could conclude this represents actual American society. Given decisions like Disney’s latest, is there any question as to whether that is helping or harming our image around the world, in a war of ideas where image is critical?

Meanwhile, I hope anyone reading this will make the commitment my family has to avoid Disney or any of its properties.  No trips to Disneyworld (which is vastly overpriced anyway).   No movies in the theater, including Star Wars and Pixar, both of which are sure to be subverted to this agenda at some point.  If we think they’ve produced something worth watching, we’ll catch it on Netflix so they don’t get ticket receipts.  Our days of buying any Disney merchandise are over, too.

Companies like Disney and the tech industry can afford to be “social justice warriors” because they have good cash reserves to make up for temporary hits to the bottom line.

That can’t last forever.   (H/T: Vox Day)

 

Disney and the Beast

The House the Mouse built has long been known for being supportive of the gay agenda.  It appears, however, the propaganda machine has been cranked to 11:

It’s the smooch reverberating far beyond the Magic Kingdom: Disney’s first gay kiss was featured in an episode of the animated children’s cartoon (!!) Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

“Just Friends,” a recent episode of the Disney series, finds characters Star, Marco, and Jackie attending the concert of their favorite band, Love Sentence. The music inspires most of the audience to lock lips with their significant others, and a few same-sex couples are included.

Meanwhile, having advertised the live-action movie version of “Beauty and the Beast” and built expectations among parents and children, now Disney announces a slight change in the classic plot:

Josh Gad is setting a milestone for Disney: His portrayal of LeFou in the live-action rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” will be Disney’s first openly gay character.

In the film, which stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, Gad plays LeFou, the eccentric sidekick to antagonist Gaston (Luke Evans). In a slight modification, LeFou will engage in a subplot of his own that deals with his sexuality.

“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon told Attitude magazine.

Disney is so committed to this hellish agenda that it is even willing to take a major hit in ratings to continue to push it (ABC is owned by Disney.  For an ideology that preaches ‘diversity,’ there isn’t as much in the entertainment industry as you might think):

ABC can’t be accused of underplaying When We Rise, its eight-hour drama miniseries chronicling the struggles and setbacks of LGBT activists in the 20th century.

Some thought the show, created by award-winning gay activist Dustin Lance Black and aired on four nights this week, goes out of its way to portray middle America as intolerant homophobes. When We Rise received saturation ad coverage during the Oscars ahead of its premiere this week, to the extent that one Twitter commentator joked that if he drunk alcohol every time he saw an advert for the show, he’d be dead by the end of the Academy Awards broadcast.

But part one of When We Rise flopped on Monday. As a result, ABC rescheduled Modern Family to run just before the second installment to boost ratings. However, viewership of the second part fell almost 1 million viewers from its premiere, netting an audience of only 2.05 million on Wednesday, which is pathetic for prime-time slot on a commercial TV network.

While the ABC ideological bludgeoning is more adult fare, the other two cases clearly show Disney is now aiming to confuse the next generation about sexuality.  The company has become a toxic mix of the Vanity Fair of “Pilgrim’s Progress” and a living out of the darker aspects that have long been an integral part of Disney’s storytelling.

For these and many other reasons, I would not be surprised to see the next Star Wars installment feature a gay character.  Indeed, the way Finn and Poe clicked in “The Force Awakens” gave me a sense of pointing in that direction.  Now that Disney owns that lucrative property, I can’t imagine it not using the franchise in its brainwashing efforts.

Christ once said it would be better that someone have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea than to cause one of His little ones to stumble.  The highly talented but twisted leadership of Disney will have much to answer for one day.  They now serve a Beast even darker and more dangerous than the one in their upcoming movie.

The company you keep

Immediately after the inauguration, there was a highly publicized “Women’s March on Washington.”  Of course, it didn’t represent all women… just those of a certain political persuasion, claiming to speak for an entire gender.

The list of those who spoke makes for interesting reading.  Particularly this one.

Such lovely people.  I can’t figure out why the country just tossed them out of power .

Kidding aside, these people must never be allowed anywhere near the levers of power ever again.  Their rage at the election of Trump has shown their true colors.  I would say I hope they keep at it so that 2020 is a breeze, but we do have to consider how the rest of the world looks at all this unbalanced juvenile nonsense (sorry for the photo, but imagine what it takes to dress up like this):