Movies

Inchon, Noah, and Faith-Based Filmmaking

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In the October 1984 issue of reason, David Brudnoy wrote that conservatives "have a grudge against Hollywood, and against movie critics, too." But they had failed to create a sustainable alternative. While some movies may contain clear liberal biases, Brudnoy noted, movies funded by conservatives didn't do well. 1982's Inchon, for example, was "the most phenomenal money-loser of all time."

What happened? Brudnoy wrote that Inchon was "virtually impossible to sit through, embarrassing even to those who liked its politics." Better movies, though, didn't necessarily do bigger business; Brudnoy cites 1983's The Final Option, which "stood forthrightly against the left and for the established verities" but bombed in the box office. Brudnoy suggested "the right wing doesn't attend the cinema," and that is part of why conservatism didn't have influence in Hollywood.

Thirty years later, it's still possible to find antipathy toward Tinseltown among the religious right. Darren Aronofsky's epic film Noah elicited negative reactions from some quarters of the religious community before it even premiered. National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson said he identified an "extremist environmental agenda" inserted into the movie.

The industry periodical Variety reported on a survey by Faith Driven Consumer which found 98 percent of self-identified "faith-driven consumers" weren't satisfied with how Hollywood treated biblical tales. Paramount hit back, criticizing Variety for the "inaccurate" report and pointing to another survey that found 83 percent of "very religious" respondents were interested in Noah. Paramount also responded to criticism by some Christian conservatives by issuing a statement before the movie's release noting that "artistic license had been taken" and that the original Noah story could be found in the Bible's Book of Genesis.

While conservative criticism of Hollywood remains a thriving cottage industry, the market niche for Christian and conservative filmmaking has grown substantially. A month before the release of Noah, the Christian drama God's Not Dead received a more limited release in theaters. It took in $8.6 million in 780 theaters on opening weekend, the most successful opening of a faith-based movie released in less than 1,000 theaters to date. Several more films targeting conservative Christians are planned this year, including Heaven Is for Real, an adaptation of a bestseller about a child's vision of heaven, and a remake of the evangelical apocalyptic thriller, Left Behind, starring Nicolas Cage.

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  1. I had a friend walk out on O Brother, Where Art Thou because he felt it was anti-Christian. He failed to recognize that for a redemption story to work, first your character needs to be redeemed for something.

    1. But that’s not what Xtian audiences want to see. They want stories where a protagonist possessed of Deep Faith is tested and overcomes challenges because of his or her Deep Faith.

      That or Deep Faith protagonist has to face pointy-headed elitist skeptics and proves them all wrong because of Deep Faith.

      1. So the story is Christians don’t understand character development because, the Bible isn’t good prose.

      2. They want The Pilgrim’s Progress.

      3. Christians think The Last Temptation of Christ is blasphemy. In the end the message is that Jesus was a man, but he overcame his own humanity in order to redeem all of mankind. Sounds pretty Christian to me, but there’s a dream sequence that’s not in the Bible so it must be anti-Christian.

        Anything extra-biblical is anathema to many Christians which is why they’ll never get the “art” they claim to want. A vocal minority will never be happy with any form of art. You can’t have anything truly creative when their is no freedom to create anything different or new.

        1. Christians think The Last Temptation of Christ is blasphemy becasue, in the end the message is that Jesus was only a man

          FIFY

    2. It’s not anti-Christian. It’s pre-Christian.

    3. So a friend of yours doesn’t know The Odyssey by Homer? And thinks the Ancient Greeks wrote anti-christian epics?

      huh…

      1. Damnit AD…I was working and didnt refresh.

    4. Google fail – this is what I get when I google O Brother, Where Art Thou?

      O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – IMDb
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190590/?CachedSimilar

      Rating: 7.8/10 – 179,050 votes
      When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves
      to one of another family’s quintupelets, their lives get more complicated than they…

  2. An article on faith and film-making, and not even one gratuitous reference to Mr. T???

    Ed, I am disappoint.

    1. I pity the fool!

  3. a remake of the evangelical apocalyptic thriller, Left Behind, starring Nicolas Cage.

    Wot?

    1. People who sit through that movie will be saying “Ah my eyes! MY EYES!!!!!! Argggggghhh!”

  4. No mention of “Battlefield Earth”, eh?

    1. No one’s actually made it through the whole thing, so…

      1. I did and lived to tell about it.

        Having never read the books I walked away from the tv (it was on HBO) and said: “The book was better. And fuck John Travolta.”

        1. Onion’s review of the movie was fantastic.
          Check it. Check CHeck it.

          It starts strong:

          Before its release, some of Scientology’s critics suggested that Battlefield Earth would be filled with subliminal messages in an attempt to recruit or brainwash viewers. They needn’t worry: Outside of marching on Washington in Nazi uniforms while burning crosses and clubbing baby seals, it’s hard to think of a worse way to recruit converts than to subject them to this surreal atrocity

  5. Several more films targeting conservative Christians are planned this year, including Heaven Is for Real, an adaptation of a bestseller about a child’s vision of heaven

    I have no interest in it, but Heaven Is for Real already came out, and was apparently rather successful.

  6. I do so tire of this subject. But thanks for covering it for those who give a shit, Ed.

  7. “1982’s Inchon, for example, was “the most phenomenal money-loser of all time.””

    Don’t worry, within 5 years some of Hollywood’s most ardent Leftie’s would come together and surpass Inchon’s notoriety with the infamous Ishtar.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_(film)

  8. An observation I’ve made, people who agree with me don’t have a mind oriented towards art (generally speaking).

    Most people who love art are Liberals (*anecdotally speaking*). Therefore, what you see come out of art is quite Liberal.

    1. I’m afraid that what you’re seeing is a proggy definition of “art”, therefore more proggies prefer that.
      If some purely functional designs don’t qualify as “art”, I don’t know what does.
      Example: http://www.bing.com/images/sea…..edIndex=25

      1. That’s art to me.

    2. Ever heard of cosmotarians?

  9. I just can’t see how someone can be financially successful while having supernatural nonsense floating around in their head, unless of course it’s just a mask, like my church-going aunt and uncle who are successful business people yet they butter-up old people so they can get part of their inheritance, and of course the most obvious charlatans of all, preachers and priests. Any time you give money to a religious organization you’re just buying someone’s car for them.

    True capitalists are atheists, or at least reject organized religion.

    1. No True Scotsman I guess

    2. Thanks for telling me how to think!!!

      1. How was I telling you how to think?

    3. I just can’t see how someone can be financially successful while having supernatural nonsense floating around in their head

      Mitt Romney thanks you for your insight.

      1. I said that unless of course it’s just a mask. LDS is a nest for sociopaths, and Mitt Romney is Patrick Bateman.

    4. “I just can’t see how someone can be financially successful while”…yadda, yadda.

      Perhaps, just perhaps now, that’s not their chief goal.

  10. It’s amazing how many of the best selling books on Amazon – as well as new films – are tailored to the “good news from God” crowd.

    Of course, it’s the free market….and these people want their religion buttressed over and over again. Nothin satisfies quite like seeing that hundreds or thousands of others are giving 5-star reviews to the same book about the same thing!

    1. The irony is palpable since you were creaming in your shorts a couple weeks ago about Capital in the 21st Century’s status as a best seller. I guess the faithful do need new prophecies from time to time…

    2. Assholein mass was also yammering about how there is no free market a couple of nights ago.
      Asshole, you need to keep track of your lies!

  11. 1982’s Inchon, for example, was “the most phenomenal money-loser of all time.

    Really? We are bringing up a 22 year old movie as an example? How about The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? How about The Blind Side? The idea that conservative films can’t “make it” is silly.

    Most conservatives have a problem with Hollywood because 1) those fuckers can’t help but belittle them in the press every opportunity they get and 2) they tend to make movies that aren’t just liberal, but where conservatives are (in conservatives’ view) treated as caricatures.

    Look, the majority of Hollywood is liberals, so we shouldn’t be shocked to see that the majority of their films have a liberal slant. And because there are more such films, they have a larger pool to pull good films out of. There are fewer Conservative films and therefore good and bad films.

    1. The article isn’t about conservative films, but more specifically religious films (by which is meant Christianity-based films). Think the output of the TBN Films studios (The Omega Code, Left Behind, etc). Usually those types of films are to the medium what contemporary Christian music is to music, and fail as art for the same reasons. Trying to shoehorn a religious message into a facsimile of whatever is currently fashionable in pop culture is unoriginal and moralizing. Of course, it’s hardly exclusive to political conservatives or religious types to do that, and it’s just as obnoxious regardless. But as you say, the output of religious films tends to be smaller, and the derivative moralizing comprises a larger percentage of the total.

  12. Speaking of Faith based and populism, did y’all see Rand Paul cozying up to the 1,000 evangelical leaders at the confab today???

    Wow, just wow!

    Here are some choice “libertarian” quotes from this Randian…..

    “on Friday, the libertarian favorite said voters should reject any politician who says faith isn’t a part of public life.
    “We’ve arrived at that day of reckoning,” he said. “Freedom requires faith to sustain it.”

    “Paul led a parade of ambitious Republicans on a Friday speaking program that featured aggressive defenses of social conservative priorities, including opposition to abortion, gay marriage and funding for Planned Parenthood”

    ” Describing a nation “in a full-blown spiritual crisis,” leading Republicans on Friday vowed to fight against abortion rights”

    Wow….I am truly speechless. This is the man some of you think is qualified to show the country and world the “libertarian way”. He’s not only compromised his stands, he’s flat out went for full-bore American Talib views!

    Pretty far out to suggest that we should not have a POTUS except one of “faith”.

    Backwards Bizzarro world again. Those of you who believed (in his “reason and logic”) should be very upset…

    1. “Backwards Bizzarro world again. Those of you who believed (in his “reason and logic”) should be very upset…”

      I agree! He’s prolly only 5 or 10 times better than the lying bastard currently in the WH.

      1. You are showing me the definition of a cult – except even more so because the Great Leader has already spoken out against virtually all things dear to real Randians….and that’s before there is any pressure to do so!

        Surely you can imagine that there are absolutely no boundaries to such a personality?

        Worse yet, Rand is not only acting as a Religious Fundamentalist himself, but saying that ANYONE in Government must tow the Judeo-Christian faith. He also makes it clear that he is going to use the force of law to insert religion into public life.

        This is very much unlike JFK who clearly said that he would uphold the laws of the land, not of the pope.

        I see Rand as a giant step backwards from that…and that was 55 years ago!

        Instead of appealing to our individualism (we are all Gods, aren’t we?), he casts his lot in with the Christian Far Right, who desire to being Jesus deep into our state.

        C’mon. You know that’s troubling. It just happened a few short years ago with GW, who made it to the top because God talked directly to him. When questioned about Iraq and whether he’d listen to his father for some advice, GW said he only listens to a higher father…

        It’s not far from “we have a spiritual crisis and need to use law and the government to fix it” to the next overseas crusade.

        No, Rand is not better than anyone. He’s plastic and moldable and a populist who will say or do anything for power. Isn’t that the complete opposite of a libertarian?

  13. Noah is not Bible-based. Hollywood dressed in camouflage again. Paramount, hoping to make extra millions off the controversy, “kind of” lets it get known as a “faith” film. The details from people who have seen it tell its story line, and from their telling, it has as much in common with the Biblical history of the Flood as half the flood legends around the world. Oh, yeah, add in the hocus pocus light and enviro-wackiness.

    The Ten Commandments was a far sight more true to the story, but even with that one, it has Moses at the burning bush saying he’d met God, “which is the brotherhood of man”. Which is a load of crap except for some Communists who make a god out of “the people”.

    1. Well, most of the stories are BS – the jews didn’t build the pyramids and were not enslaved at the time (no proof exists, and DNA and other proof recently showed they were built by Egyptians).

      The people watching these movies take it for truth. It buttresses all the other superstitions they have been taught since childhood.

  14. Look, it’s simple. Preachy movies bomb, no matter what the slant or subject. Grace is Gone, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition are a couple of dreary entries that bombed because of their sanctimonious, up-tight leftiness.

    If conservatives or Christians or whatevers want to make successful movies that somehow push their point of view, they’d better make it entertaining above all.

  15. wrote that Inchon was “virtually impossible to sit through

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