Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

I am Film-tastic

I am a movie fan. I love the experience of standing in line, paying too much for stale popcorn, and praying I don't get knifed in the nasty men's room. Well, maybe I don't love that part. But I do love the enormous screen, the single-minded focus, the lack of pause buttons, and the community experience.

For the past couple of years, I have been listening to a fantastic podcast called Filmspotting: (It sits over in my "Cool Links" section, and you can also sign up through iTunes.) Adam and Sam, the two guys who produce it, are great at what they do. Besides helping me see films I would have otherwise overlooked, they have also taught me a ton about film-making and storytelling.

Why am I bringing them up now? Because last night I am driving home from seeing 300 (again) and I am listening to this week's podcast. And, all of a sudden, they bring up my name. I am "Thomas from Nashville." I left them a voice-mail that sparked a three or four minute discussion on the podcast.

In case you are interested, I basically gave them my one-minute review of Black Snake Moan. I was commenting upon how this movie would never, ever have been made by a "Christian" filmmaker (it is highly and brutally sexual, along with violence, language, etc.). However, no "Christian" filmmaker is likely to make a more deeply Christian film, in terms of themes of redemption, love, and the power of Jesus.

Anyway, this sparked a discussion on the weirdness commenting on the "Christian-ness" of a film based on things like sex, violence and language rather than on the message of the film.

It is an odd area in the Christian walk. Jesus stands opposed to rape (for instance), but does that mean a film about faith, hope and love that shows a staged but real-looking rape should not be viewed by Christians? Or, another specific: the "40 Year Old Virgin" is a film with outrageously foul language. And, it is a film about the power of sexual purity and chastity and waiting until marriage. The message is great, but I won't be showing it to my kids any time soon. Which bring up another point, which is the difference between sheltering a child from realistic depictions of sex and violence (which is always right, in my opinion) and sheltering our adult selves, which is always a legitimate choice but may or may not be necessary depending on context and our own personal moral struggles. My head is starting to hurt.

Anyway, I was very proud of myself that my comment made it onto the podcast. It was one of those really strange Web 2.0 moments. All of us--Adam, Sam, and me--are not part of a media machine. However, we are relating to each other through blog and podcast and e-mail, and sharing insights with one another and a broader audience. The Internet is a powerful, powerful tool.

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