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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Oscar Noms are out, affirming once again, just how very, very sick America’s storytellers have become. I know many of you are very dismissive of the culture’s storytellers, but that is short-sighted. A country with sick storytellers dreams sick dreams, or doesn’t dream at all. Both are societal suicide.

When Jesus healed, some people called Him a demon. Jesus then noted that, “All sins will be forgiven men, except the sin against the Holy Spirit.” The sin against the Holy Spirit, is seeing something that is good, something that God reveals to your inner being as good, and, then, calling it evil. In the same way, we could argue that it is a sin against the Holy Spirit to see something that is evil, and call it good.

So, this year, the top Oscar nominations have gone to…

…a movie that makes a hero out of a man who murders his adopted daughter.

…a movie that makes a hero out of an abortionist.

…a movie that makes a hero out of a discredited researcher who was obsessed with sex and encouraged many others to experiment with various perversions.

…a movie that lionizes a billionaire narcissist who died insane from syphilis.

…a movie that suggests it is funny when an engaged man sets off for a week of debauchery before his marriage with his drunkard best friend.

…a movie that glamorizes four alley cats dressed as beautiful people who fornicate and commit adultery with each other, and indulge in various sexual perversions until the movie ends.

…a movie that makes a hero out of a paraplegic in despair who wants to kill himself.

The truth is, secular Hollywood had next to nuthin' this year. Really. Except for Neverland and the kids movie Incredibles, they got nuthin' this year to give an award to. Nuthin' that people will be watching in five years -- nevermind in fifty. I remember thinking several times during the year as several highly anticipated films turned out to be dreadful (ir. Alamo, Alexander, Troy, Sky Captain), "Wow, God. Your movie was already a global and cinematic phenomenon - do You really have to decimate all the competition too?!"

To my fellow Christian critics who have spent the year straining out gnats and swallowing camels, I have to say that, sometimes, we can be so abstruse that it makes us obtuse. I think this comes as a reaction against the knee-jerk condemnation of pop-culture that is so wrong in much of the Christian community. As a result, lots of us who love movies, end up minimizing the obvious distortion in a project and focus on its subtle strengths. But the fact remains, if a good man would turn his face in disgust and shame from what is on the screen, that should inform our own discernment about a movie. We can get so caught up in technique, that we are essentially gobbling down well-prepared sewerage. "Stunningly arranged!" "Daringly conceived!" "Strikingly performed!" - it's still just poisonous shit.

What makes this year's noms even darker is the fact that there was this one big cinematic elephant out there that, as we all predicted, was passed over for all the top awards. This movie was...…

…the biggest independent movie in cinema history.

….the third biggest box-office movie of the year. (standing corrected)

….a movie that moved millions of people to tears, had the entire world talking, and even led several murderers to turn themselves in!

…the most courageous directoral achievement since Citizen Kane.

…which just happened to be the story of the redemption of the world by the Son of God. Too bad.

Call it the revenge of the blue states. It is a fool-hardy thing to look the global audience in the eye and spit…never mind doing it at a self-glorifying orgy!

P.S. (For Jeffrey) I do not think it is a sin against the Holy Spirit to not like TPOTC! My use of the Scripture text was to point to the industry throwing accolades at films that are essential depraved in their themes. In some cases - generally acting - these films are remarkable -- but we can't let the excellence in craft obscure the fact that the hearts of these projects are 'rotten and full of dead men's bones.'

However, if I had the time - and maybe I will find it - I could demonstrate that the films up for the most Oscars this year are not stellar examples of craft. In several cases, the films are sub-standard...which is pretty much why I posted this in the first place. Why, oh why, would the Academy want to give awards to mediocre films? The same reason so many folks voted for John Kerry. Anybody but Bush - Any film but the one about Jesus!