Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom & Discernment


Brian Godawa

Central Theme
Movies may be about story, but these stories are finally, centrally, crucially, primarily and mostly about redemption.

A useful romp through storytelling as myth; the essential elements of good stories; the way existentialism, postmodernism and other worldviews are conveyed through film; and how faith is conveyed and can be communicated through film. A clarion call to watch movies with your eyes wide open, realizing that the root word for amusement is ¢â‚¬Ëœwithout mind’ and that ¢â‚¬Ëœwith mind’ is the call of the disciple.

Beliefs num
–Film is a powerful conveyer of worldviews and does so through effective storytelling.
–Understanding the worldview is part of understanding the movie.
–The presence of the profane does not mean Christians should not be ¢â‚¬Ëœcultural anorexics,’ but it does mean we should not be ¢â‚¬Ëœcultural; gluttons.’

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Do you agree that film is a conveyor of world views?
–How important is it to understand the worldview of a movie/
–Can’t we just enjoy the movies?
–Is understanding the worldview part of deciding whether or not you ¢â‚¬Ëœlike’ a movie?

Provocative Quotes byline
— Movies may be about story, but these stories are finally, centrally, crucially, primarily and mostly about redemption.
–I remember some movies better than most sermons.
–If you want to send a message, use Western Union.
==Samuel Goldwyn.
–Movies are finally, centrally, crucially, primarily, only about story.
==William Goldman, author of Princess Bride and Screenwriter Misery.
–It is not the least bit ironic that the word amusement means without thought.
–A myth is a metaphor for a mystery beyond human comprehension.
==Joseph Campbell.
–The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact.
==C.S. Lewis.
–The late Francis Schaeffer often pointed out that philosophy, though considered irrelevant by many people, was often a pertinent driving force of culture.
–We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.
R.C. Sproul.
–Brian’s analysis is insightful and stimulating. Our biblical values are colliding with worldviews in the movies, and Brian shows us why. Those values are also illuminated by intersecting with movies, and I find that especially exciting. We might even understand the Bible with more insight from seeing these connections. The chapter on sex and violence is worth the price of the book. “What I appreciate the most is Brian’s attention to detail, to a wide number of movie examples, and his ability to simply frame the arguments of overused words like postmodern. He doesn’t talk about the surface issues from a country-club Christian perspective but helps me discern what movies are about. I appreciate the hard work he has done and look forward to reading and rewatching some of these movies again.
==Ralph Winter, producer, Planet of the Apes, X-Men, Left Behind
–An award-winning Christian Hollywood scriptwriter offers this rather uneven book on how to watch movies discerningly as a faithful Christian. Godawa’s purpose is not to help readers decide which films are worth seeing (for that he refers them to Christian Web sites), but rather how to “read” a film for its messages as opposed to absorbing it only as entertainment. One of his main arguments is that Christians should engage the world of popular culture in order to reform it. Unfortunately, it is not always clear who he expects his audience to be. Sometimes he writes very simplistically; he ends his definition of “worldview” with the phrase “it is our view of the world” and details elements of stories and myths that many high school graduates would be familiar with. But other sections use very academic prose about complex philosophies like existentialism and postmodernism. He reveals a clearly defined, even narrow, view of Christianity by asserting the “correct” way one should live or interpret the Bible. “Rare is the movie that paints an accurate portrait of heaven and hell,” he tells us. (Just what, exactly, would an “accurate” portrayal look like?) The fact that each chapter ends with assignments and discussion questions gives it a strong pedantic twist. Despite these flaws, in the hands of the right audience conservative Christians willing to approach it as a textbook and who don’t mind having a few movie plots betrayed this guide will encourage more thoughtful film consumption without killing the fun of moviegoing.
==Publisher’s Weekly.

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