As always, a wide range of responses…

CT Movies has updated its feedback page, and there are some interesting responses to the Kingdom of Heaven coverage.

There are also the typically varied displays of enthusiasm and protest over reviews of Kicking and Screaming, Monster-in-Law, and Crash...

posted 05/23/05
Regarding Kicking and Screaming, I must object to one aspect of your review that, at some level, shows a lack of respect for male sexuality. Your review mentions (with great tolerance) the crude jokes concerning male genitalia. Would you have been equally tolerant if the movie had been infused with crude jokes about female genitalia? Moreover, there are several scenes where boys are hit hard in the groin with soccer balls for the sake of “humor.” Similarly, a man is hit hard several times with a tetherball in the groin for the sake of “humor.” Are these kinds of “jokes” consistent with Christian values? Would you have similar tolerance for “comic” scenes where women/girls are sexually injured? I think not.
Doug Wells

posted 05/23/05
In your review of Monster-in-Law, your Family Corner section mentions premarital sex, gay relationships, multiple marriages, etc., as things “for parents to consider.” But shouldn’t this section be a warning to Christians of all ages and not just children? Shouldn’t we guard ourselves against these things and not just guard our children? I would prefer that the “For Parents to Consider” section be called “For Christians to Consider, “because what we consider unsuitable for our children is also what God considers unsuitable for his children.
Karen Workman

posted 05/23/05
I’m very impressed with your reviews; they’re insightful, informed and well-written. As a Christian college student who enjoys seeing and analyzing films for their artistic and cultural merit, I really appreciate your even-handed treatment, particularly of Crash. So many Christian reviews come from an overly moralistic perspective that often completely misunderstands the film they are addressing. I was struck by your awareness that while some films should be only seen by adults, their use of explicit content is at times appropriate. That is something that is missing from the Christian understanding of art and culture, and many kudos to you guys for breaking the mold.
David Sessions

Of course, Workman’s letter begs the question–God communicates that it’s unsuitable for Christians to behave in these ways, but does that mean it’s unsuitable for Christians to pay attention to stories in which these behaviors take place? If so, we’d better throw out the Bible, which is full of unsuitable behavior.

I doubt we’ll ever eradicate from Christian circles the narrow-minded idea that art should reflect only the world they want to see, rather than the world they live in. But at least things have changed, and now Christian film criticism is moving deeper into art interpretation and farther from reactionary alarm-sounding.

Having said that, I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying “Monster-in-Law” and “art” in the same blog post.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • jasdye

    Homer: On the one hand, Barney’s film was deeply moving and well done. On the other, “Man Getting Hit in the Groin” had a man getting hit in the groin.

    Does everything need to be explained?