Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

In Hollywood, where doth my help come from?

“Christian Movie.” It’s a phrase that has plagued both Hollywood and the Church for decades because the two sides don’t really talk, even if there was the awkward Thanksgiving dinner.

Separate: The two don’t have an inkling enough knowledge of the other to understand what the market demands. Together: Former “celebs” who get real with Christ are considered sellouts because the first that happens is TBN fawns all over them and gets them preaching.

So, what does it mean to be a “Christian Movie”? Is it focus on the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” because honestly, if you have seen the movie (aside from the meaning, people), it really is not the greatest. Not even Top 10.

The one that changed Christian film making was not “The Omega Code,” which looked like the IRS came and repossessed the movie set halfway into the film. No, it was “The Passion of the Christ.

Real. Violent. Authentic. Visceral.

And an A-list celeb created it, without the aforementioned megalomaniac drool from Paul and Jan. Then, of course, that A-list celeb went off the deep end and offending every Jew, black person and woman on the face of God’s planet. So much for his clout. Next?

Sure, Kirk Cameron made a nice swim through a resurrection (of his career) but that was short-lived, and short-marketed. “Fireproof” was nice, really nice, but it lacked the big Hollywood backing.

No one was really 'running' from the Church to catch this one

Recently, Disney saw a glimmer of hope in this once forgotten Christian market, and put out a movie that had all the makings of the next great “Christian Movie.” To use the introduction from a riveting BrandWeek article:

On the face of it, Disney’s feel-good drama Secretariat seemed to have all the makings of a hit with the God-fearing crowd: Its writer and director are devout Christians, it opens with a lengthy Bible quote, it uses an earnest spiritual tune at a key emotional moment and it’s uplifting. Then there was a specific marketing campaign to the faith-based audience, spearheaded by filmmaker Randall Wallace, who has legitimate street cred in those circles.

Quick show of hands for all the Christ followers who saw this flick? Yeah, me neither.

This is a movie that supposed to be the feel-good hit of the summer and Hollywood was counting on the Church. Only, it wasn’t marketed to the Church, so who knew?

Therein lies the rub.

The Church either goes one way or the other when it comes to movie selections:

  1. We are either incognito at Rated-R flicks – Groucho Marx glasses and all – and only be seen watching Pixar movies with the kids.
  2. Or, we go see any horror or drama made with a staunch “So what” to anyone in the Church that has an issue with your film-viewing pleasures.

Then there are those in-between who really want to see God show up in films outside of anything dealing with the crucifixion, resurrection or anything starring Charlton Heston.

Why? According to this story, Christians aren’t as naive and sheepish as Hollywood thinks:

Any movie that has a happy ending or a hopeful message gets peddled to Christian leaders and faith-based media. That crowd may be conservative, but they’re not dumb, said entertainment industry veteran and marketing consultant Mark Joseph.

“The traditionalist audience is far more savvy, post-‘Passion,’ and is tired of being told that ‘Polar Express’ or ‘Rocky VI’ are actually allegories about Christ,” said Joseph, also a film producer who’s worked on The Passion of the Christ and other marketing campaigns. “This group is suspicious of Hollywood.”

Not only is this group “suspicious” of Hollywood; they are also lazy to demand otherwise from it.

Yes, I paid good money to see “Inception”, “Iron Man 2” and “Robin Hood” this summer. And why? Because I am a child of God that can see a movie that doesn’t exalt Christ and still find pleasure in it. Sure, I wish it mentioned, alluded to or flat-out praised him, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go for a gripping storyline and stimulating writing any day.

And no, I didn’t pay a dime to see anything else from TBN studios, the “Veggie Tales” movie or “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.” Why? Just because the American Family Association gives it two crosses up doesn’t mean it’s good; it just means it’s sanctified.

Jesus made the ministrel of music. We should own it.

Amen!

It’s the same old problem that has plagued Christian music and fashion. We demand quality too.

When the world had old-school hip hop, the Church had D.C. Talk. (Sure, later came DII, SFC, PID and Freedom of Soul… but toby Mac and the guys pretty screwed that up for the rest of them). When the world had friendship pins, Swatch watches and Coca-Cola shirts, we had cheaply made Garanimals with an icthtus emblazoned on the crest.

Sigh.

In short, just because you have a fish on your business card, doesn’t guarantee me doing business with you. It only means I am leery of you because you expect a hand-out or a hand-up. We need to earn our keep in Hollywood, and not be afraid of the backlash just because we admit we love Jesus in public circles.

It’s happened with music (e.g. Hillsong, Mercy Me, David Crowder, anything alternative that has made the crossover, and on and on and on). Now, it’s time to stop trying to remake the Passion and just get passionate about evangelism with a great movie.

We need to vote with our dollars, in addition to our prayers. (And please, we do NOT do that).

So my definition of “Christian Movie”? It’s a great movie that happens to talk about Christ and sticks to the meaning of his message.

You know, rather than a lukewarm message of love and hate, right and wrong with a crappy script, a couple of has-been actors and something that goes straight to DVD cloaked as a movie.

Think about it people. When we demand more, we will get more. Peace.

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I know. I know. I never thought the economy would get so bad that this headline would ever be necessary. I always Jesus rocked the finest of tunics and got his hair groomed by celebrity stylists but it’s true according CNN’s Belief Blog:

George Horn allegedly broke into the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on the night of June 26. Fort Lauderdale police say the 48-year-old suspect broke a window to enter the church, took a crucifix from the church’s altar and then used it to pry open a donation box.

What kind of sick and deranged fool do you have to be to use a crucifix to steal… from a church! Let’s find out:

That's a theft in progress. And yes, that's a crucifix in his hands.

Courtesy: Fort Lauderdale PD

There’s a theft in progress. That’s candid camera. And yes, that’s the Son of God in his clammy hands.

This guy is jonesin’ to go to hell. He has to be. Why else would you take that as your “Crowbar of record”?! Sure, this guy must have been a crackhead, but I can stumble across a homeless man, say the name of Jesus and get a civil response.

Not Rosemary’s Baby here. Oh no. He’s got life all figured out.

According to WPLC 10 in Fort Lauderdale, the guy was prying his way into a losing situation (Thanks, I’m here all week):

“It’s almost an act of desperation,” the Rev. James Daly, a visiting priest, told Local 10’s Janine Stanwood… Daly said the man first went for the two donation boxes located at each end of the church. Daly said people leave what they can in those boxes for the poor. They are locked and not always checked on a regular basis.

Daly said the burglar then walked toward a prayer area where candles are lined above.”Then he came up here where the bigger money would be. But there’s no bigger money because there’s nobody here in the summertime,” he said.

Here’s the ironic thing of the whole CSI case: The suspect, who was caught on surveillance video, cut himself at some point, leaving a large amount of blood behind, police said.

Anyone see the divine sense of humor in that?

Ever heard people say to plan for Christmas, you should begin in the summer? That phenomenon is already happening and raising quite the kerfuffle in the global media.

But for the ubiquitous festive stocking of the yuletide shelves that you would think.

Jesus ad campaign depicting the holy fetus?

So, what happens when this one says "Da-Da!"

First seen on KDFW in Dallas, by way of the UK’s Telegraph, it seems a British-based organization is not only interested in taking another ‘invasion’ but also doing with the Christ child taking a Polaroid… while in-utero.

ChurchAds.net has concocted what they believe to be a quippy ad campaign with the headline, “He’s on his way!”

Francis Goodwin, chairman of ChurchAds, said: ”This is the kind of thing proud ‘parents-to-be’ show their friends and family – passing round the scan of the baby, or even pinning it up in the office. Our poster reflects this new way of announcing the news of a new arrival and places the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context.”

“Ultra-contemporary.” Sweet.

I agree the pregnancy became tangible when I got the print off in two versions of my first child – one, when I saw the full body and two, when I saw the close-up of his business. (What a proud daddy!)

But, do you think Mary would know that her baby boy would one day be posted on a sonogram-ish advertisement plastered all over the UK? Although this is good for the giggle, I feel you ChurchAds.net.

Here’s why:

Research has revealed that 85 per cent of people agree with the statement that “Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian country”. But it also shows that only 12 per cent of adults know the facts of the Christmas story in any detail.

Folk still pray to Santa-Baby-Jesus-Claus thinking salvation comes in a wrapped box. They’re not as ignorant as they are apathetic.

I applaud efforts like this because at least they are trying to wake folk up and make them think. Albeit, six months early, people are definitely thinking.

Parents? What do you think? The superimposed halo kinda’ throw you off? Don’t let it. Just think about it like this: Jesus really isn’t ‘away in a manger’, he’s warm and cozy in another kind of inn.

Merry Christmas.

Once again, HiScrivener’s “Legal Prejudice” theory strikes gold with yet another example of how no one gives a flip about offending the Body of Christ. Shoot, stray dogs get more respect and advocacy than Christians do these days.

Jesus Christ in his own talk show on South Park

WWJI? "Who Would Jesus Interview?!"

Exhibit A: The crack pipe smoking crew at Comedy Central… and I used to love this channel, so this pains me.

A couple of weeks ago, the makers of South Park (never seen an episode; don’t care to do so) created quite a kerfuffle when they depicted a search for the Prophet Muhammad. As you can imagine, the Nation of Islam were shouting “Allahu Akbar” to anyone with a fancy title at the network.

According to the New York Times, South Park received a “death prediction” because it’s a huge no-no to have Muhammad on anything except Muslim approved propagandaer, materials.

Now, these are guys on South Park that have very little scruples. Bashing religion is open season over there, but this “prediction” got up their dander.

“After we delivered the show, and prior to broadcast, Comedy Central placed numerous additional audio bleeps throughout the episode,” the message said. It added that the network was not allowing the episode to be streamed on the Web site, where “South Park” shows generally appear after they are broadcast on Comedy Central.

Muhammad wasn’t removed, but his likeness was. A small victory… and so, they have found someone bigger to pick on at the repugnant network. Jesus Christ. In fact, not just for an insulting cameo appearance, but an entire near-sacrilegious show.

According to the Huffington Post, we see Comedy Central is far from done and ostracizing the Body of Christ:

Comedy Central said Thursday that it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works. “JC” is one of 23 potential series the network said it has in development. It depicts Christ as a “regular guy” who moves to New York to “escape his father’s enormous shadow.”

Although “JC” has been a reoccurring theme in South Park, the fun and yuks will continue if this gets approved as ‘God’ is presented as an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life. Yeah, because that’s friggin’ hilarious!

And once again, the ONLY God-fearing individual who is saying anything is William Donahue, president of Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights. (And before you complain about what he is – or is not – saying about the outrageous travesty inside the Catholic Church… have you spoke out against this mess. No? Then, moving on…)

“It’s not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central’s decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad,” he said in the aforementioned link.

Now while the overreaction of death threats is way out of line and nowhere near indicative of what true Islam resembles, I understand the angst and have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for these high-powered TBN preachers to do something about this. Alas, nothing has happened unless Jan and Paul Crouch are planning on a call drive to Comedy Central in the near future.

No? Moving on again…

So, in an effort to prevent the presumed sandstorm of Christian acrimony, we have this tepid explanation from Comedy Central:

“In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central head of original programming Kent Alterman.

I get it: The real stuff is always the funny stuff. But there is a line that is not so blurred to some of us who actually rever Christ, holmes.

Comedy Central has crossed that ubiquitous line and the Body of Christ has yet to defend it. Muslims fight for their deity. Scientologists fight each other for theirs. Christians? We just whisper after church at Luby’s and “pray for people to do it for us.”

Here goes nothing: two addresses and please, I’m not asking for chain letters, but forward this on to folk and DO SOMETHING!

  • Tony Fox, corporate communications executive vice president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (212) 767-8746 or tony.fox@comedycentral.com.
  • Doug Herzog, president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (310) 407-4790 or doug.herzog@comedycentral.com.

And when you reply, be sure to let them both know that while the network calls this ballyhoo “comedy”, we – as a united body of believers – will work to make you and your sponsors uncomfortable.

Anyone with me? God, I pray so.

Giving at church has been about as flat as, well… attendance in church since the bottom dropped on the national economy. However, when God is alive in your heart, quit is nothing more than a dirty four-letter word.

Just ask Archbishop Dorian Baxter who holds church services in a Royal Canadian Legion Hall as a notable Rock and Roll singer. (Shout out to another brick on the Wall, Bene D the Canuck).

Baxter knew the secret to driving attendance into his hallowed halls – a certified gimmick.

Welcome to Blue Suede Pews (Source: Jim Wilkes | Toronto Star)

And he found one in the most obvious of places – his mirror.

It seems this raven-coiffed, seemingly half-baked son of the 60s shares an obtuse and no-way-close resemblance to a young man named Elvis.

At least that’s what his friends say, but who am I to argue?

I’m sure he gets slammed enough with that shingling he’s rocking around his ears.

Baxter, who also performs as impersonator Elvis Priestley, is quick to point out, the main reason they assemble in the Spartan surroundings of the Royal Canadian Legion hall is to praise God. “We honour Elvis’s commitment to the Lord,” said Baxter, 59… “Like Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, we worship Jesus, the King of Kings.”

Church is free and I would pay money to see that tomfoolery.

What’s next? A Christmas message proclaiming when there was no room at the Inn, Mary went to the “Heartbreak Hotel” instead? How about testifying to the omnipresence of God? You’ll never have to cry out “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Evidently, the Elvis dedication hour got him in hot holy water with the Bishopric as Baxter was removed from his original parish in 1998. I know what some of you cynical Wall Watchers are thinking, “At least he has a career in Vegas at the local chapel.” Not according to the Anglican parish, he was stripped of his right to perform marriages. How daftly ironic is that?!

Despite the irony and impersonations, Baxter forged ahead glorifying God while sporting his mutton chops and pompadour when he formed the – wait for it – Christ the King, Graceland Independent Anglican Church in 2003.

Obviously, someone is being more than amused by this stage show – it’s more of a blessing. Baxter is exalting God by toasting a peanut butter and banana sammich. Who would have thunk it?

Baxter’s church sponsors a breakfast program, Christmas hampers and 92 orphans. He said he thinks Elvis would have liked that. He’s also made peace with the main body of the Anglican Church, but has rejected offers to rejoin it.

Ah well, God’s word never returns unto him void, we read in Isaiah 55:11. Or would that be “Return to Sender,” I can’t remember.