Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I like a good movie. I had a chance during my Christmas break to see a movie in the theater. It had been a while. I usually like getting popcorn, maybe some candy, a beverage and just enjoy relaxing. But I found myself saddened by what is produced in Hollywood these days. The previews for upcoming movies repulsed me and the movie itself was a disappointment.
I must admit, my movie tastes aren’t for everyone. I go to movies to feel inspired by humanity or at least see someone who is trying to be better themselves. I like a movie to offer some sort of redemption or at least some redeeming values. I like the good to win and the bad to lose.
Nowadays, I often feel dirty for watching PG rated films. I realize that I must be very discriminating and check the Catholic reviews, which will let me know if the film is morally objectionable. I go to https://www.fisheaters.com/movies.html to check out classic Catholic friendly movies. I also like many of the movies found on https://watch.formed.org/browse. Formed is free to registered parishioners of our parish.
What is most frustrating about typical Hollywood movies these days is that what is most objectionable is also largely gratuitous. Secondly, these same scenes also seemed also to be the most implausible. I often find myself rolling my eyes again and again and asking myself what kind of world are these film producers living in?
Current movies in the theaters have a narrative of darkness, hopelessness and a bleak outlook on humanity. Many films today push to negate what Anne Frank chronicled in her famous diary--that people are generally good at heart. I just wonder what future generations will think of our movies that seem so fascinated with humanity’s underbelly.
As a priest, I see the best and worst of humanity. Yet, I have never seen people as bad as some recent movie portrayals. For example, we are always evaluating our security protocols. Our school has frequent fire drills and emergency procedures. Over the years, we have had to call upon the police and/or fire department for minor situations… thanks be to God. In my experience of interacting with emergency personnel, I find all of them to be sincere, kind and decent people who are willing to lay down their life for others everyday. I know many professionals who are ethical men and women. They often integrate the Catholic faith into the workplace. I see plumbers, electricians, painters, and landscapers who love Jesus and are not afraid to share God’s love. I see and interact with many good parents everyday who are equally kind and caring people who are just trying to raise their family in the faith. I work side by side with clergy and religious who love Our Lord and serve the Church faithfully. Sadly, the current movies rarely depict many good and decent people in a positive light.
Film critic Mark Weinberg put it best. “If Hollywood wishes to survive, it must reconnect with the American people by rediscovering themes that define the nation’s spirit: courage, imagination, good behavior and justice – and by refraining from the shaming, moral judgments and condescension that turns off Americans.”
Fr. Don Kline, V.F. PastorBACK TO LIST