Along with proclaiming our favorite films, it’s that time of the year when critics seek revenge for having sat through movies that test the theory, “No one sets out to make a bad movie.” The purpose of my list, however, is not to mock the misfires, but to point out the obnoxious and crude excess that continues to reshape the fabric of our culture. These selections aren’t necessarily bad, as in PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE bad, but then again, they aren’t just movies. They are tools that further dumb down and crude up the society. Look around. Is Hollywood helping our world at large or just placating our baser instincts? I’ve included a review link for these worst film contenders. The critiques contain the reason for the rating and are meant to serve those who still care about what they put in their head.
In fairness to the motion picture industry, there are many folks who desire to nurture the spiritual aspect of man’s nature. Many films aim up. Just not these.
After reading the synopses here, click the film titles to read the entire reviews in order to get the content (the reasons for the ratings).
THE PERFECT FAMILY
We Christians are a faulty bunch: a fact Hollywood builds quite a few productions upon: ELMER GANTRY, THE SCARLET LETTER, and EASY A, to name a few. Admittedly, there are some who use religion for other reasons than drawing themselves closer to their Creator. The rest of us sometimes (or often) put His will aside in favor of our own. THE PERFECT FAMILY perfectly portrays a person caught up in the laws of her church rather than the grace of God. For Believers, this film can be a cautionary tale, one that reminds us to hate the sin, but love the sinner (Jude 1:23). That said, I’m not convinced that aiding Christians in their spiritual walk was the filmmaker’s objective. (PG-13)
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in this comedy about opposing contenders for the position of their state’s congressman. Though there are some laugh-out-loud scenes featuring the stars at their funniest, the humor routinely strays from bizarre burlesque to raucous rudeness. This gained high marks from many a reviewer, most of whom do little to discourage the acceptance of lewdness and religious ridicule as cinematic entertainment. (R)
21 JUMP STREET
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play two immature high school grads who join the police force. It is based on the TV series from the 1980s, with R-rated risqué material used to update the concept. I fear scatological and anatomical humor have become the main ingredients for movie comedies. And like Hip Hop music, obnoxious content is evidently here to stay. (R)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER
Is this film meant as a metaphor, showing how good men can become evil through conditions beyond their control? Or is 20th Century Fox just hedging its bets, worried that a dramatization of the Great Emancipator might have more box office heft if it co-stars children of the night? Either way, this mixing of genres seems disrespectful to the memory of a man who was taller than most. But here he is, in all his manic-depressive, ax-wielding splendor, dispatching doom to bloodsuckers as if he was a bearded version of the Mighty Thor. (R)
And speaking of monsters, under the protective auspices of Universal Studios, Dr. Frankenstein is at it again, this time attempting to create an entertainment subgenre by assembling spare parts left over from other cinematic atrocities. He stitches together the song-singing rivalries of DISNEY’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICALs and NBC’s GLEE with the mean girl comedy of the BRING IT ON franchise, evidently hoping to form a new Hollywood musical. Crudity and obscenity abound. If we peasants had any sense, we’d grab our torches and storm the Universal castle. (PG-13)
On Halloween night, a high schooler’s plans go awry when she's made to babysit her 8-year-old brother, who disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. It’s too lame for anyone who has stopped watching Nickelodeon and far too suggestive for those who tune in daily to Sponge Bob. Did I say suggestive? That doesn’t cover it, for this is the crudest teen comedy I’ve seen since, well, the last teen comedy. None of the crude material (and there’s lots) seemed to irritate the parents in attendance, at least not enough to cause anyone to take their children out of the theater. Despite the fact that I sensed a lot of jaw-dropping, no one left the theater. No one ever leaves a theater anymore. There’s simply no outrage left in parents. (PG-13)
Arguably, there are worse films than those I’ve spotlighted. The point of this piece is that Hollywood will continue to make films that offend our spiritual nature. And once they get your $10 per ticket, they win. Take a stand. Read a film’s content before you hand over that 10 bucks.
Go to The Good and The Might-Have-Been Movies of 2012.
In addition to writing for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright is also a regular contributor to "The World and Everything In It," a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).