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Overstreet

Ted Baehr, Tom Snyder, and Movieguide

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I think I'll just start a regular thread to be updated as stories develop.

Some may think this is just a bashing party. That's certainly not what I intend. (But feel free to respond, argue, debate, or applaud.)

<a href="http://www.movieguide.org" target="_blank">Movieguide</a>, for better or worse, has a loud voice, perhaps the loudest, in the world of "Christian" film criticism.

So, for what it's worth, here are links for those who want to keep an eye on the things being done in the name of "Christian" criticism...

(I will preface each new story with <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->NEW POST<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->, to draw attention to the latest postings and distinguish them from the flow of conversation.)

Edited by Overstreet

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NEW POST

Review of "And Now Ladies and Gentlemen"

http://www.movieguide.org/index.cgi?Playin...18/200318.47.48

Regrettably, the movie has some occult elements to it, a seeming endorsement of robbery, which is eventually rebuked, and a careless attitude about sexual relationships, although it is surprising in this French film that there is no sexual activity except for a few kisses

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NEW POST

Review of "And Now Ladies and Gentlemen"

http://www.movieguide.org/index.cgi?Playin...18/200318.47.48

Regrettably, the movie has some occult elements to it, a seeming endorsement of robbery, which is eventually rebuked, and a careless attitude about sexual relationships, although it is surprising in this French film that there is no sexual activity except for a few kisses

Dear me. He really has it in for the French, doesn't he? Is it political, do you think, or personal? wink.gif

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Not just a bashing party? Jeffrey, pleeeeeze let this be a bashing party! :twisted:

Someone posted Pedophiles in Prep Schools on Charisma. I honestly thought it was satire. I pity a world on which idiots like Baehr are unleashed. First of all he suggests a sudden infiltration of prep schools by paedophiles, offering no evidence apart from a couple of anecdotal tidbits. Then he slides insidiously into a rant against homosexuality, thus irresponsibly reinforcing the myth that paedophiles and homosexuals are one and the same (though I'm certain he couldn't give half a sh*t, since God is on his side). To cap it off, this wolf in sheep's clothing cites SARS, mad cow disease and crop blights as examples of what happens when a nation (namely, Canada) "abandons God".

I'll happily "bash" Baehr and his ilk any day.

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Dear me. He really has it in for the French, doesn't he?  Is it political, do you think, or personal?  wink.gif

I think the first big love of his life was a French chick, poor guy. The fact that he was shocked, shocked to find no nudity was that the French invented that, doncha know. There is a part of me that wonders why we would bother with this guy, but it IS a lot of fun. I think of threads like this as a big pinatta (how do you get the squiggle to top the "N"?) with all the negative comments about art and film I had to absorb as a kid.

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"...is similar to the kind of success the Church had between 1933 and 1965 when it took an active role in redeeming the values of Hollywood by promoting such things as the Code of Decency"

Hmmm. The Doctor is Catholic? Most fundies and evangelicals shunned Hollywood during this time. Present day addictions to Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics notwithstanding. We always seem to embrace a previous generation's pop culture. Probably because it's cheap.

"In other words, the Church understood the nature of Christ in the first 300 years but they didn't codify it until debates came up, because the

Aryans suddenly started going off track." emphasis mine

Leave aside the whirlwind oversimplification, I was not aware that Arius was of Germanic stock. The Arians were in on those debates.

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Hmm, maybe there is something personal to his francophobia. The personal profile on his website states that he attended the University of Bordeaux and Toulouse.

Movieguide has perhaps the loudest voice in 'Christian film criticism' today? Now that's frightening...

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Most fundies and evangelicals shunned Hollywood during this time. Present day addictions to Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics notwithstanding. We always seem to embrace a previous generation's pop culture. Probably because it's cheap.

The joys of public domain. But I think it's because it's safe, because whatever controversy surrounded the film at the time is long dead, or at least unknown. (I am actually guilty of this, being fond of 70's punk rock, music I wouldn't've touched when it was current.) And I am surprised at how edgy some of the movies from 1933-1965 could be.

And without any evidence to back me up, I would agree that the "Church" had little to do with standards for movies in that era, largely shunning them (ironically). And have you ever noticed how much alcohol and cigarettes are consumed in those movies? My boys are fond of pointing that out to me.

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The joys of public domain. But I think it's because it's safe, because whatever controversy surrounded the film at the time is long dead, or at least unknown. (I am actually guilty of this, being fond of 70's punk rock, music I wouldn't've touched when it was current.)  And I am surprised at how edgy some of the movies from 1933-1965 could be.  

That is a point that I haven't considered. As an armchair student of history, I guess I resent the uninterest in controversies of the past. I am not one of those who must find shock, outrage, or whathaveyou in my art, but safety for its own sake isn't what I would consider a plausible criterion. I suppose that I would be guilty of similar listening travels, but for different reasons. Sometimes music that I previously hated grows on me. Steely Dan is the most notable example. Couldn't stand them until I roomed with a guy who had some of there albums (just after they "stopped" recording in the '70's). Been hooked ever since. Iggy Pop is another example, but he's hard to avoid around here (local boy made good), so it was only a matter of time. The "cheap" line is really a dig. When I was a waiter, evangelicals were notoriously lousy tippers.

And without any evidence to back me up, I would agree that the \"Church\" had little to do with standards for movies in that era, largely shunning them (ironically).  And have you ever noticed how much alcohol and cigarettes are consumed in those movies?  My boys are fond of pointing that out to me.

My favorite example is from Double Indemnity. On the way back from meeting with Barbara Stanwyck, Sheldrake grabs a beer at a roadside stand for the drive back to LA. Never leaves the car, just drives up to the window, pays, accepts an open bottle. Then of course, there's the film-long pickling process in all of the Thin Man pictures.

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My wife and I just watched The Philadelphia Story last night. Let's see...it started off with a bit of domestic violence played for laughs (Cary Grant smacking Kate Hepburn), a lecherous uncle who pinches young women's fannies, and a philandering father who is depicted as wise and noble (his behavior quietly accepted by the mother). Then in the climactic scene, Jimmy Stewart and Kate Hepburn engage in some drunken indiscretion on her wedding eve.

Ah, these were the golden days of Hollywood, when morality and decency won the day. I can see why Michael Medved and co. pine for this era.

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Then in the climactic scene, Jimmy Stewart and Kate Hepburn engage in some drunken indiscretion on her wedding eve.

Ah, these were the golden days of Hollywood, when morality and decency won the day.  I can see why Michael Medved and co. pine for this era.

Yes, exactly. I'm not sure that I am with you on the "indiscretion" though. What it was is they got drunk together and stopped short of making out (which Stewart was sloshed enough to be desparate for), IIR. Her puritanical streak had broken off her previous marriage and led Dex to dry out and stop drinking. There is also some Class envy/bigotry there that breaks up the wedding (it is that low-class energy executive that assumes the worst of what happened the night before and goes back to his "place" in society, he never fit in anyway).

What I have heard fleshed out in the nostalgia arguments is moral resolutions. In westerns and crime dramas, bad guys get their's in the end for the crimes depicted. In the old screwballs, some sins are hinted at, some are clearly objected too by "good" girls and boys; and in the end, morals are righted. It would be an oversimplification of the film, but one could say that the institution of marriage was affirmed by Red and Dex getting back together. As to the drinking angle, that is quite a muddle. Red starts out in the film whip-crackingly intolerant of drinking, accidentally gets drunk, has an epiphany while sloshed, directs rage at herself during hangover-then transfers it to those who would judge her. Only then does she realise how wrong she was about Dex. No word on whether or not she'll ever touch a drop again. The film doesn't tell us one way or another about how far her "conversion" goes.... That's another thing about the nostalgia buffs, one can dream one's own coda!

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I see your point, Rich -- I should have specified what I meant by indiscretion. It is apparent that Stewart's and Hepburn's character did not have sex, although they did share a passionate smooch or two, and go for a late-night swim while together. Even based on this information, I think there was more than reason enough for Hepburn's fiance to be envious, though, even if the playwright makes him appear buffoonish.

To me, the 'moral resolution' in this film seems rather cynical and hypocritical, hardly the stuff of a Sunday school lesson.

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Yes, I agree. Do you know the term "mixed bathing"? Newport, RI wouldn't have cared at all about this in the '40's, but it was still a big issue in the South in the '60's. Men and women did not swim together according to fundies. For me, the resolution is, despite the lingering harshness of class bigotry, almost a conversion experience for Red. She softens and becomes more understanding of faults and eccentricties she doesn't like. Less judgemental. I am convinced that no marriage would have worked involving the old Red. For me, this film has much to offer in the way of spiritual instruction.

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I appreciate your take on Red, as I hadn't thought about it that way. I think the disagreeable depictions of the minor characters (father, uncle, Jimmy Stewart's poorly treated girlfriend) were too much of a distraction for me, so I failed to pick up on that.

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I have a sort of suspension of moral aprobrium when it comes to comedy and had sort of laughed along with the intent with the way some of the characters were drawn when I first saw the film. There are certain films that get more enjoyable, the more you watch them. I have seen this one countless times. What I don't understand is the seeing of films that seem incomprehensible, or a tedium many times over. This film opened up for me despite the objections you raised as I watched it repeatedly. The girlfriend seems to me to be a staple of American comedies of manners of the time. I think she might have been drawn more as a comment on Stewart's character. By today's standards, she is almost objectionable, as is Dex's retaliation for the breaking of his five iron in the opening scene.

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NEW POST

Movieguide's latest claim to fame, regarding the new film The Gospel of John:

Now, it is coming to the big screen in a manner worthy of the greatest story ever told. THE GOSPEL OF JOHN is the best big budget movie about Jesus produced up to this point, and it is the word-for-word Gospel itself.

I recently asked one of the Executive Producers why there were so many films on this topic produced by Hollywood insiders. They answered that MOVIEGUIDE
Edited by Overstreet

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I would assume they mean that there was one film that met their criteria of positive Christian yada, yada the year they started and this year, apparently 45% of them are this way.

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Well, alrightie then! With this taken care of, we can now concentrate on "important" things.

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THE GOSPEL OF JOHN is the story of the Century, and we need to promote it from the housetops.

Didn't "Movieguide" call for the same level of promtion for "Gordie," the failed talking-pig movie from the same year as "Babe"? Maybe I'm confusing Movieguide with the Janet Parshall radio show, which tooted the horn for "Gordie" repeatedly. Then again, Parshall would often have Ted B. on as a guest, so I doubt they were too far apart on the merits of "Gordie."

That's about the time that I completely gave up on Movieguide (and Janet Parshall, for that matter). It still apalls me that Movieguide let the producer of one Christian film coauthor its review of the movie. Where's the integrity?

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Christian wrote:

: It still apalls me that Movieguide let the producer of one Christian film

: coauthor its review of the movie. Where's the integrity?

Wow! Which movie was that?

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Was it not Gods And Generals. I remember just this flap over the film as it came out. Was not Baehr somehow involved in the production?

Sadly, the DVD was hoped to have important extras like the full 7.5 hours. It does not. Further, some critics other than Movieguide raved the historical docs. Well, this history buff couldn't sit through them, particularly the great sounding "Historical Accuracy of...". What a joke! It centered on the use of the downtown area of Harper's Ferry, VA as being almost untouched over the last 140 years and NOT the questionable chronology depicted concerning Lee's decision on which army to command. "Realism of..." would have been a better choice of words.

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UNBELIEVABLE.

This is Ted Baehr speaking... Read what he says here, and then think back. Hasn't Baehr himself accepted some entertainment industry dollars to promote certain films???

http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?...RTICLE_ID=34668

Edited by Overstreet

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By Dr. Ted Baehr

Of course, this action was specious and biased since Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Time, Newsweek, Harry Knowles and Ain't It Cool, Inc., Entertainment Weekly, Village Voice, Movie Review Query Engine, Reel Views, Movie Parables, The Film Hobbit, Film Journal International and Movie Gurus all publish early reviews. In other words, secular reviews can come out at any time, but Christian reviews cannot.

Huh. How'd my site get grouped in here? And by including it, is he calling me a "secular" reviewer?

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