Morefield on “Negative Caricatures” of Christians at the Movies

Commenting on yesterday’s entry about “positive portrayals” of Christianity on the big screen, my friend and colleague Ken Morefield gets inspired and blogs a strong opinion on the subject. Thanks, Ken!

Among his sharp observations, I see that I’m not the only one to suggest that perhaps the “negative caricatures” of Christians we see on the big screen may occasionally have something to do with the fact that Christians often do behave publicly in despicable ways.

(It’s nice to have someone else suggest this for a change, because when I suggest that portrayals of raging, judgmental Christians aren’t so unrealistic, I watch my email box fill up with messages that inform me about the terrible things that await me in hell. Oh, the irony.)

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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.

  • maiweezy

    Hey there! Was passing by your blog and you give some great blurbs on the latest.

    Fight Club – the musical, sounds daring and potentially fantastic, or crazed and very strange. Either way, I’ll be eager to hear news of it in the future.

    You can also check out what people are thinking about Cloverfield here on the GreenCine boards. http://www.greencine.com/board?action=viewTopic&forumID=24&topicID=3081

    Sounds like people are diggin it so far.

    I’m not very impressed with the trailer for “You don’t mess with Zohan” – I think you can throw a little Borat influence in the list of movies it rips from as well. Will be interesting to see how that one pans out.

  • cptcasualt

    Another bookstore article, this one in yesterday’s CNN. Just US stores this time including Elliott Bay, Powell’s and Tattered Cover.

    edition.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/getaways/01/17/destination.bookstores.ap/index.html

  • flatlandsfriar

    Why the scare quotes on “negative caricatures?” I may not pay as much attention to this as some, but isn’t the root of the problem the caricature half as much if not more than the negative half?

    If someone depicts a self-identified Christian person behaving as a jerk in public, well, that’s one thing. That doesn’t bother me as much as how frequently these negative portrayals simply aren’t based in reality. The minister and his spouse in the TV show “7th Heaven” were sometimes creepy and frequently judgmental, but that’s a molehill compared to the mountain of how completely off the show runners and writers were in showing the life of the church.

    If we boiled this down, I imagine most people of faith would find they’re more upset by how often mainstream entertainment gets them wrong — for good or ill — than they are by always having the religious person be the judgmental one, or the repressed serial killer or the greedy thieving manipulator.

  • http://7leper.blogspot.com bgeerdes

    Or what about the Tattered Cover in Denver? ;)

  • http://www.alissawilkinson.com alissamwilkinson

    We saw U2 3D Tuesday night. Very, very cool. I think (and hope!) that it will spark a wave of similar non-gimmicky 3D films.


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