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Reforming Hollywood, by William Romanowski


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I mentioned this book in the "What We're Reading" thread, in which I said I'd launch a dedicated thread on the book once I'd completed it. Now that I've blogged about the book at Patheos, I figure I better follow through. I had some difficulty finding entry into the book's style and content, but once it clicked, I moved through it pretty quickly.

Has anyone else here read it? It's well researched and deals with different streams of Protestant/Evangelical engagement with movies in the 20th century. I submitted my blog post in response to a request for something on the best book(s) I'd read this year, although the post makes no mention of that.

Here's the Christianity Today review. I have no idea if the book has been well received outside of Christian circles.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Quite the opposite! Romanowski's earlier book Pop Culture Wars came out in the mid-'90s and was written as an explicit rebuttal of the theories being put forth back then by Movieguide and their ilk (especially Michael Medved's Hollywood Vs America).

I was a big fan of that one -- of Romanowski's book, that is. I've got a review copy of Reforming Hollywood myself and hope to read it soon.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 years later...

Oh, apparently I'm quoted on page 211 of Eyes Wide Open, too -- though in a more neutral fashion, I think. (Google won't preview the page before that, so I'm not entirely sure what the context is, but I appear to be quoted in the context of discussing how some films link violence and religion in a positive way.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I missed part of this discussion. Were we talking about Romanowski's evaluation of Jeffrey's and Steven's reviews of Brokeback Mountain in Eyes Wide Open (pp. 113-115)?

I think it dates Romanowski to treat Brokeback as a profound work of art. Now that the hullabaloo has died down, Lee's film looks rather like a period piece, though its technical excellence remains undisputed.

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

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