April 9, 2007 @ 11:28 am by sean
Read this, and then do not ask my again why I do not watch very many movies.
Challenge it though.
I am satisfied with my arguement, but conversing about it is only beneficial.
I did write this out for specifically my own welfare, however. I do not often think of why I do not do something (watch movies) so I wanted to have an intelligent, thought out response to the inevitable question of why I do not.
duration of the movie I have consciously pretended that the characters
were not fake, not fake people played by someone acting as a fictional
character who is not them. Once he movie ends, reality recommences and
those ‘people’ once accepted as actual become memories and the
realization that they are pretend is crucial, or else our mind would
remain outside of the reality of God’s creation. This is all common
sense. Once the movie ends and the ‘realness’ of the people becomes no
more than a memory, they are dead. To be dead one must die. They die at
the end of the movie. They were only alive as long as they were on the
screen and I pretended they were real. A memory of them and their story
may be ‘alive’ but they are dead just as any human dies. To consider
them still alive and their lives continuing would be a denial of the
reality God has created for us. Just as with dead people who were
actually once living, we can still learn from our memories of their
existence. Unlike dead people who were actually once living, we can
bring movie people back to life by turning on the movie again and
However, when movie people die so dies their
relevance. Because of whatever reason we wish to attribute to it – it
hardly matter which – movies only showcase high and low points and end
on high points, and those high points ended on are the points when
their ‘life’ finally ‘begins.’ This is not reality of course. Sure, we
have high and low points, but we also have everything else in between.
They have those in movies too, but they are glazed over in a matter of
seconds – which usually includes them watching a movie at some point,
in perfect contentment – our lives, however, are predominantly filled
with this ‘everything else in between’ that movies leave out. The
relevance of these characters, then, are only at our high and low
points. I submit we rarely consider these characters at our high and
low points, and instead are engulfed entirely in our own real
reality and not thinking about what a character in a movie was
experiencing in a similar situation. So the relevance of these
characters is limited to the times in life when they are the least
Say, however, we reach that same high point as in a
movie and consciously notice it. What happens next? Apparently a bunch
of boring rubbish, or else they would make a movie about that. These
characters die at the end, but they do not die like we die. We are left
to face life without the departed, or others are left to face life
without us. In movies, their entire world just ends. The only
characters who die are either those who deserved it, or those who must
for the movie to fulfill the requirements of a tragedy. With the death
of this pretend world comes the death of any potential relevance. The
true relevance is what they would do with they rest of their life,
everything after their glorious revelation. But we are not informed of
that, given no examples, left with nothing to consider except what might have happened if the story continued, except nothing
would have happened because the reality of their existence dies with
the end of the movie and they never have to go through life after the
revelational high point.
To say that we could take from their
experiences and be inspired is complete nonsense. First of all, no
matter how ‘life like’ the movie is, the entire story takes place
within a closed, imaginary system that regularly produces drastically
different results than our reality. That should be obvious. More
importantly, if movies truly are a worthwhile means of inspiration and
life lessons, than the characters in movies would be doing their
inspirational acts by, and learning life lessons from movies. And
watching a movie of people watching a movie would be incredibly boring. Which is precisely
the point. If we are to learn anything from characters in movies it is
this: inspiration, life lessons, good stories, whatever value we say
they have, all happen by doing something, not
watching movies. Conveniently enough, one only needs to watch a single
movie to learn this. There is an Owen song called Bad News with a line
“it’s what you do
not who you were, what you wear, where you’ve been
so do something”
So the only possible remaining quality of movies is entertainment. And
supporting an industry that can only survive by making itself obsolete
is hardly a worthwhile, beneficial industry to partake in. I certainly
hope a movie is not the best form of entertainment we can think of. 1
Corinthians 10:31 says “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for the glory of God.” and I think by saying ‘whatever
you do, do everything for the glory of God” that involves how we
entertain ourselves. And whether the majority of movies has content
that glorifies God is certainly worth consideration.
This is all
based on minimal experience, but to do the necessary research –
watching a bunch of movies – merely proves my point, that my life would
be wasted, and watching movies is a waste of life. Or, I could simply
make an observance of the life of the average American. Various quick
searches show the average American rents 50 DVDs a year, the average
household also watches 8 hours of TV a day; these averages also
includes those who cannot/do no watch any – infants, blind, Amish,
people with something worthwhile to do, 2% of households without a TV.
So considering this, is the life of an average American something I
want? If these movies really are everything they are meant to be –
inspiring, encouraging, uplifting, demonstrating good morals, teaching
life lessons, good stories, and if Americans watch so many a year,
should America not be filled with inspired, encouraged, uplifted,
people? Do I need to question whether this is reality? It should be
quite easy to see then, that no, I do not want the life of the average
Please do not challenge it with
“But movies can spur conversation about the movie or what the movie makes us think…”
is the tiredest defense, and personally, there is hardly a movie with
content that has been that start of any significant conversation.
In fact, none immediately come to mind with content remarkable enough for meaningful conversation. Check out this list of the 363 top grossing films of all time
(top grossing likely relates to most watched) and see how many have
great content for meaningful conversation. While you are at it,
consider that each of those grossed at least 100,000,000 dollars.
Multiply that by 363 and decide if that money was best spent.
Nor will the challenge
“What about books? they do not necessarily involve any social benefit and they are not a communal activity.”
do you any good. If
you are going to put Hollywood movies on par with classic literature
and non-fiction prose about society and the world God created, than we
are at an impasse long before we begin any conversation at all.
will not turn this into a movie review, but this did come after of
giving 75% of my attention to 100% of Stranger Than Fiction.
And my point of all this lies in the part at the end where the author
is narrating about all these great big and little things in life while
Harold in is carpe diem, do everything he wants to do before he dies
because it is imminent stage. Never in that section does she
mention the watching of movies. And if anything, what she says and what
he is doing should be spurring us on to do almost anything other than
a note, use of the word ‘movies’ only refers to the Hollywood types. I
have not seen enough of the supposedly worthwhile indie film/art house
types. Also, though it would appear that ‘indie films,’ ‘novels,’
‘stories,’ and so on could be inserted in the space of ‘movies,’ I do
not have that opinion. I certainly recognize the importance of stories
in our lives, I would simply prefer to read them or have you tell them
to me. And maybe if I read more popular novels I would have the same
opinion about them that I do about movies, but I do not read them so I
do not have that opinion.
I was not sure how to fit this part in there either (nor was I as confident in saying it):
glorious moments of felicific revelation that are the climax of movies
and that demonstrate perfect contentment and hope on the part of the
protagonist is merely self- or others-sourced redemption that in
reality is impossible without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and
could easily be considered blasphemous. I am not saying every story
needs to be a redemption story, but the attitudes of characters at the
ends of movies when everything becomes ‘perfect’ and they are saved
from the tragedy of their lives, denies what Jesus has done for us, and
life cannot and will not be like this until He comes again.
it so hard to kill Harold at the end? If this author really was as good
as she was meant to be, why was Harold and Ana’s love story boring and
typical as every romantic comedy ever? Was it so hard for things to not
end perfectly? For him to strike out and her not fall in love with him?
For her to be devastated by his death for saving a boy and that be the
Perhaps if any of these happened it may have been a worthwhile story.
most of these ‘novel,’ ‘worthwhile,’ ‘clever,’ thought-provoking’
movies are only in relation to the other crap necessary to watch for
them to be remotely novel, thought-provoking, or worthwhile. This is
more difficult to see when immersed in the movie culture, but you can
trust me on that.
This is an article by a lady writing on the two percent of Americans who live without a TV.
These are two sections that I found particularly noteworthy:
did people in Brock’s survey do instead of watching television? Dozens
of activities were cited, but the top two for adults were 1) reading and
2) conversation. They cited about an hour a day of meaningful conversation
with children on average and 48 minutes of meaningful conversation with
a spouse or partner. Reading also was the number one alternative for children,
the second activity being fantasy play. Volunteerism was also a significant
“Without a TV in the home, children entertain themselves and play for long
hours with fewer sibling fights. 70% of parents felt their children
got along better with no TV.
family with an Attention Deficit Disorder child reported removing TV from
the home (under their pediatrician’s advice) – the child blossomed and took
tremendous strides in development.
come from 43 states and all walks of life, income brackets, levels
of education, races, etc. Most are in their 30s, married with two children,
have college degrees, earn $60,000-$80,000 per year (range: less than
$20,000 to $130,000-plus), two-thirds have religious affiliations and
41% send their kids to public schools (private and home school equally
divided the rest).
of parents say their children “never or rarely” complain about
the lack of TV or pressure them to buy brand names and popular toys.
to their children’s heroes, most votes went for Mom and Dad. Others include
teachers, Harry Potter, Jesus, Martin Luther King, grandparents and Michael
of married couples feel their marriages are stronger due to no TV (ie;
more time for meaningful conversation and cuddling).
than 90% of families surveyed have sit-down dinners four or more
times a week with 43% of those dinners taking 30 or more minutes.”
These two verses are crucial.
1 Corinthians 10:23
‘All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up.
1 Corinthians 6:12
All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All
things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything.”
movies do not build up, and many Americans’ lives are dominated by
moving pictures. For some people movies do build up by providing a
facility for communication, and in that sense can be involved in the
glorification of God. However, why not skip the movie entirely and go
straight for the conversation.