A good many years ago, when Hollywood was just becoming a substantial part of American culture, conservatives argued that it would become a tool of the devil, that it would encourage smoking and drinking and violence and licentiousness. Now, a century later, we can look back at those old-fashioned fuddy duds and say that they were accurate prophets.
Finding the goodness in American films is not a hopeless task but it is a lot like mining for diamonds: It takes a lot of labor working in a lot of dirt and mud to find the gems. Excellent resources are available to help us, such as the Brehm Center at Fuller Seminary in California.
Film is here to stay. Fighting it is pointless but influencing it is essential.
Much of that influence comes through the box office. When we refuse to spend our money on sheer junk and spend it instead on films that represent good art, we are putting pressure on Hollywood to do a good job.
Paul’s advice in the Bible’s Letter to the Philippians was sound advice 2,000 years ago and is sound advice today:
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
We know that a habit of ingesting toxics harms us physically. We cannot pretend that the human spirit is not wounded and twisted by a mental or emotional diet of junk food. Can anyone believe that Stallone’s Rambo movies have not contributed to the violence to which Americans are experiencing in ever more gruesome ways?