Monday, May 09, 2011

Next Year's Answer to "Soul Surfer" Greenlit at Sony

via Deadline...

When I had my wisdom teeth out, the combination of lingering anasthesea and (I think) Vicodin had me swearing to my parents that there was a Unicorn walking on the ceiling, along with several varieties of dinosaur. Fortunately for the world at large, neither of my parents were part of a profession built around selling reassurances to worshippers of either horned equines or thunder-lizards - so nobody wrote a book or made a movie out of my delusions...

4 year-old Colton Burpo, on the other hand, came back from near-death during an emergency apendectomy claiming to have hung out in Heaven with cheerful winged angels (you know, the type that aren't actually anywhere in the Bible), and The Big J.C. Himself; and has a dad who is an Evangelical minister by trade "calling." So... you can probably guess the rest.


Colton's father, Todd, collaborated with Lynn Vincent (who also - shocker! - "worked with" Sarah Palin on "Going Rouge") on the book, "Heaven is For Real," which became a New York Times bestseller last year. Just so we're clear: We're talking about MILLIONS of people paying good money to read a second hand account of a toddler's near-death experience as-told by his minister dad and a political "journalist" best (only?) known for shaping one of the most widely-disparaged cash-in autobiographies in recent memory.

And now it's going to be a movie, and the "big news" is that a legitimate studio is stepping in as opposed to one of the smaller religious propaganda "entertainment" outfits: Instead it's being set up at Sony, courtesy of an alliance between Texas MegaVangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes and Sony exec DeVon Franklin, who made a lot of ink recently with his autobiography detailing his "double life" as a bigshot Hollywood player AND an ordained minister and offering advice on how to succeed in both (looking at his filmography, step one is apparently "make a lot of movies with Will Smith," which I don't think one really needs divine guidance to figure out...)

Question: Am I the ONLY person who has noticed that, despite all this constant talk about "The Passion" having opened up the market for explicitly Christian films, the ONLY one since that's made any real money or had any crossover success has been the Narnia movies - i.e. the franchise where Christ/Christianity is NEVER mentioned by name and is instead couched in an explicitly-"paganized" allegory? Shouldn't there be a lesson in that?

26 comments:

Martín Cerón said...

Believers gonna believe...

Kent said...

Man is your face going to be red when you die, go hang with the angels and JC (because they've got nothing better to do) and they tell you it was all true.

Steve said...

I believe the author of the Narnia books has constantly stated that he never intended any religious meanings within the book, or at least Christian ones.

TheDVDGrouch said...

I could be wrong but doesn't T.D, Jakes have a connection to Tyler Perry? Because if so you can add that reason to the list of why this will suck.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

*sigh*

I remember hearing this story a while back. Really hoped that would have been the last I heard of it.

Axle said...

The lesson being... subtlety? That's a hard lesson for people to learn.

I'm Christian myself and I am not too fond of blatant Christian preaching outside of church. Allegory or non-standard preaching works for me though.

Robert said...

I am a Christian myself, and I could easily prove why this story is complete and utter bullshit using scripture.

Nick said...

Then Robert, please do so and we can have ourselves a discussion. As for Narnia, Christianity has been steeped in pagan images since its ascent to a major religion. Changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, the inclusion of the Yule Log and the Solstice celebration, and the Adoption of Easter around the same time as the pagan festival of Beltaine were all attempts by the Catholic Church to convert pagans to their theology.

Adam said...

I think Narnia gets a pass because it's a children's fairytale first and is easy to treat as such, especially if the little ones don't know the subtext. As a lover of fantasy and also a Christian (wait for it) I appreciate it on both levels. And while "everyone" technically knows that Narnia's an allegory I've still met people who didn't know it until well into their adulthood, including an atheist. The reaction is usually amusing.

Rob said...

Was that a typo or a jab at Sarah Palin? Going Rogue is her book, Going Rouge was a parody :p

Popcorn Dave said...

The opportunism of these people is just sickening. I hope Christians are smart enough to stay away, although it's depressing that the book is already a bestseller.

Knight The Arsonist said...

I'm amazed at your ability to continue to be surprised at the lengths senior evangelicals will go to to make money. They're already doing so manipulating and playing off the beliefs of millions.

Chris Cesarano said...

I wish more Christians would take a hint from Narnia and Middle-Earth and learn that you can include Christian values in entertainment without having to beat it over someone's head.

My Christian friends and family all basically started getting into this movie called Fireproof that came out a few years ago. For a Christian film, it's pretty good. But that's like saying "it's a good story...for a video game". There is just some imagery and dialog that isn't going to mean anything UNLESS you are a Christian, and even then it depends on what sort you are.

Then again, every time my pastor starts to get emotional I have the urge to stand up and shout "GET ON WITH IT!" I get it. Jesus died because he loves us and that's amazing. Let's get back to the significance of what he taught already.

Philbo said...

At least those involved have some backbone.

The only thing worse than In Your Face Christians are those who constantly want you to swallow a new interpretation based on smoothing over the upset caused by whichever part of the Bible has been recently disproved by the scientific method.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

In Today's news, MovieBob takes a dump on people of faith for no damn reason. In other news, ten billion red chinese don't give a damn. Stay tuned for our special report of people who give a shit

Sarge said...

"I believe the author of the Narnia books has constantly stated that he never intended any religious meanings within the book, or at least Christian ones."

@Steve You believe WRONG motherfucker! BOO YA!: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_The_Chronicles_of_Narnia

Nick said...

@Reverend: What did MovieBob say in this post that was untrue? Cheerful winged angels AREN'T in the Bible, this four-year-old was obviously having an anesthesia dream, and Jakes and Franklin are hacks.

Sarge said...

Like me, Reverend Allansides only hangs around moviebob's site to get, occasionally, angry at Bob's stupiditations.

antecedentless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Evans said...

The lack of money making explicitly Christian films would probably be due to the lack of big budget, explicitly Christian films being made. Narnia is really the only one. Can you point to a failed attempt? This seems like a failing of Hollywood, which is, lets face it, not terribly religious.

Lesson from Narnia: The content of religious teaching is sound and appeals to a large audience.

Chris Evans said...

Also Lesson from Narnia: To get religious content through Hollywood you need to "paganize".

MovieBob said...

@Chris Evans,

Right after "Passion" hit, New Line sunk serious coin in "The Nativity Story." HUGE promotional push, media-blitz, radio spots using "Jesus is the reason for the season!" as a tagline. Hell, the SCORE for the movie was partially made-up of orchestral versions of traditional Christmas hymns and they released it AT CHRISTMAS, presumably the best possible time to release it. (Also, it was REALLY GOOD!)

The result? Tepid attendance, 4th place opening, quickly vanished, DVD didn't move units. Evidently, "Passion's" audience is only interested in buying movie tickets when it's to prop-up a specific ministry ("Fireproof") or as to symbolically stick-it to "The Hollywood Jews" ("Passion.")

Chris Evans said...

That is a good point. It wasn't a huge bomb, in that it did make back it's production budget but it certainly didn't do great.

Honestly though, that isn't the most interesting story they could grab. It's an important story in Christianity, and consequently one that's been done a lot. What they should do is embrace the more fantastic parables and bring those to the screen.

Arturo said...

I've been hearing about this theory that on May 21 2011, the world will end. However, that theory lost me because:
-The author wanted me to buy a book
-He was over-analysing the Bible, IMO
-He claims that 23 years ago Satan took over the spirit of the Christian church
-I would've heard about this a long time ago/you'd think people would be getting ready for it
-I'm a Catholic so I believe that there is no definite date for Judgement Day. Also, I refuse to live in fear.

How's THAT for religion gone rogue?

Chris Cesarano said...

I'm actually interested in seeing The Nativity Story now, as I had never even heard of it until it came out on DVD. I still haven't seen Passion, but for some reason I'm not interested in whatever Mel Gibson's interpretation of Biblical events is.

Which might be part of the problem with handling Christian cinema. Evidently when Jesus Christ Superstar first released it brought a lot of controversy for making Judas a sympathetic character, which is one of the reasons I love the film. If I recall one of the goals was to humanize Jesus, but the entire scenario feels like one of the few portrayals of the whole scenario to get it right. Yet it sparked a lot of anger.

There was a TV show called Kings that aired on Sundays on NBC a few years back. It was sort of an alternate-modern-day retelling of King David and had a lot of potential. However, showing it to my VERY religious Grand-mother, she bitched and moaned every time they deviated from the Bible. Because of the handful of changes made, she basically thought it was an absolutely awful show.

Maybe what most Christians are looking for isn't something to make them THINK about the Bible or their beliefs, or how it relates to living in a secular world, but something that reaffirms their pretentious ideas and makes them feel good about themselves.

In which case, Christians are no different than anyone else in the world when you get right down to it.

That said, Nativity Story is now on my radar (I mean, you said a movie about Christianity was really good! Holy crap!)

CraftyAndy said...

This is something a bunch of superstitious idiots will go see in order to re-afirm what they want to be real. you know something you like to do as a child like watching a lot of jurassic park, power rangers, and sonic the hedgehog.
God is santa clause for adults.