The Christianity Today Readers’ Poll

I’ve already linked to Christianity Today’s “Most Redeeming Movies of 2006” list (a list of the most inspiring, redemptive big-screen stories of the year).

And I’ve linked to their critics’ “Cream of the Crop” list (a list of the films that CT critics found to be the most accomplished works of cinematic art).

But there’s another list I forgot to mention: the Readers’ Poll!!

A “critic of the critics” recently criticized CT Movies film reviewers for being “out of touch” with their Christian readers, thinking that we needed to learn something from the majority. Perhaps it will be eye-opening for us all to see what exactly the readers chose as the Best Film of 2006…

The winner: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
The runner-up for best movie of the year? X-Men 3: The Last Stand.

Are Christianity Today‘s film critics thinking differently about films than the majority of their readers?

Clearly.

I’ll leave that up to you to decide if that’s a sign that we’ve “lost [our] evangelical conviction,” or if we just prefer films that dig a little deeper, demand a little more than the year’s biggest blockbusters….

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • http://visigoth.wordpress.com/ visigoth

    The ring fading into the so-called aletheometer proves it to be in fact, a pseudometer. The one ring promised a lie in place of the truth as well. If anything, Pullman’s worldview affirms exactly what the biblical worldview affirms of his own fallen state. Ironic. You think he would avoid the Christian myth altogether and instead affirm some eastern philosophy. Instead he proposes the absurd notion of a pan-psychic dust as some vague universal pneuma of self-awareness. A “dark material” as vapid as his pathetic imagination. He is at core a materialist, yet, arrogantly projects the idea of fate and “soul” in contradiction to his feeble understanding of reality.

    He betrays the glory of Milton in his agnostic love of Milton. Someone should buy him a copy of the Summa Theologica. He needs a noetic baptism.

  • Bruce Byfield

    I agree that equating the two is ridiculous.

    However, your categorization of Pullman makes me wonder if you have even read it. The idea that “the trilogy culminates with the heroes siding with the villains and ganging up on God to murder him” is wrong on several accounts. The trilogy is too ambiguous to talk in terms of “villains” — the main characters side with those who are morally ambiguous, but still preferable to those who manipulate others and have a lust for power. They do not “gang up”; they are outnumbered. And, in the end, they find that their opponent is not God, who is depicted as frail and doddering, but his Regent.

    If you have read it, I suspect that your dislike of his sentiments make you incapable of appreciating the trilogy. While you may deplore Pullman’s sentiments, he is not just a propagandist for atheism any more than Tolkien is a propagandist for Catholicism. Both are skilled writers before anything else.

    Personally, I happen to disagree with Tolkien’s religion and sympathize — although not share — Pullman’s position. However, personally, I would be ashamed if I were ever to say that Tolkien was therefore a bad writer and Pullman a good one. In both cases, their philosophies are something separate from their artistic talents, and I don’t see why you can’t dislike one and appreciate the other at the same time.

  • i4detail

    Oh. Here you are. And here I thought you were just being unusually unproductive over on the other blog; thanks to Peter for pointing me over to the new page.

    Just a warning; don’t get dugg; wordpress goes down in, like, five seconds if you get dugg….

  • petertchattaway

    New Line has been pretty consistent about courting the “faith” market, on films like The Lord of the Rings, The New World, and of course The Nativity Story. I am curious to see whether they will try to reach the “faith” market on this film, too, perhaps the way that Sony did with The Da Vinci Code. But I don’t think The Golden Compass and its contents are as well-known in American churches — or in America, period — as The Da Vinci Code, and without a controversy to “manage”, the studio might not see the point in wooing the “faith” market.

  • http://superfastreader.wordpress.com/ superfastreader

    How fascinating. Sounds like the same brand of genius marketing that made Bridge to Terabithia look like an action movie.

    I think this raises a good point about the amorality of marketing. It’s not that the studio can’t see the difference between HDM and LOTR, but that they know by emphasizing their similarities they can get butts in seats.

    I’m actually curious to see the movie, because the books are so intellectual and abstract that I think a lot will have to be stripped away in order to make them play as stories. I wonder if they’ll be so bold as to come right out with the anti-Christian stuff in today’s “coddle the Christian” studio environment. All the studios are trying to court the evangelical audience, even the ones that haven’t yet set up explicit “faith” divisions–even New Line.

  • M. Cruz

    Just a quick note, as I am at work and can’t develop the thought completely.

    I really think the problem is that there are two groups of people. And this goes for Christian and non-Christian people.

    There is one group. These are people who go to a movie just for fun. They go, they eat their popcorn, they watch the movie, they go home. They may talk about it a little to whomever they came with (depending on how much they liked or didn’t like it) but that’s about as far as it goes.

    The other group is the one who goes deeper. These are the people who are truly moved by films, and who long to be moved by films. They are the ones who often times can say that a movie changed their life. (There’s also the even more serious sub-group, which are the folks who become film students, makers or critics.) But I think the general two-group categorization works.

    I think as long as we don’t realize this, we’re going to keep having these kinds of problems and lack of communication.

  • Anonymous

    Also take into consideration which films were widely distributed. Often better and deeper films do not play at the local movie theater, making it harder for everyday people to see them. Sure, we’re a DVD society but the sheer number of options makes it difficult to remember all the allegedly great ones to see once they come out. Several critical favorites, like “Children of Men,” didn’t play at as many theaters as “X-Men” and aren’t yet out on DVD.

  • Marc

    wngl: It wasn’t that good. Jean Grey is made to be near-omnipotent, and it devolves into a “which side will win her over and prevail in the end” contest.

    Comic book episodes are much more entertaining when the good and bad guys have relatively equal powers, or they have a “trick” to weaken an overwhelming power (i.e. kryptonite for Superman).

    Why did others like it? It was a spectacle on the big screen, involving characters that have been developed from 2 previous movies. Amusing, but not something that could be considered cinema verite.

  • Josh

    This is a good reminder of just how useless such online polls are. There’s no telling who voted in that poll, or how many times they voted.

    Anyway, that’s why many people read the critics at CT and elsewhere – to look past the lowest common denominator for films that are worthy of our attention. More often than not, those movies are not at the top of the box office lists.

  • wngl

    X3 is runner-up for Best Movie? Guess I better see it, if so many voters think it’s that good.

    What is it about the movie that so appeals, do you think? From what I gathered from friends that did make it out for the third instalment, it was more appalling than anything else.

    Clearly a lot of voters don’t hold the same opinion. Have any of them given a reason why? I’m up for hearing a vigorous defense of X3.


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