Michael Medved on Religion and Hollywood
Date: December 10th, 2012
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Does Hollywood portray religion in a negative light? If so, why? And has it always been that way? We take up these questions and many more with film critic, radio talk show host, author, and cultural crusader Michael Medved. Michael is the author of numerous books on Hollywood and other topics (see below) and has served as a film critic for over 25 years. We discuss how he managed to find himself in that position as well as what life is like for a movie critic. He details his personal story within that profession as well as providing insights into how critics review movies. Michael discusses his role in the critics’ controversy surrounding Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, wherein pundits became highly critical of this film even before seeing any footage! We then turn our attention to why Hollywood has shifted from making movies such as The Bells of St. Mary and Going My Way, wherein religious figures and institutions are presented favorably, to films such as Agnes of God and The Pope Must Die, theatrical releases that didn’t necessarily hold the same view of spiritual faith. Tony notes that this change seemed to have occured in the late 1960s. Michael reveals how a change in the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (i.e., The Hays Code) occured in the mid-1960s giving way to the current rating system that we see today. This change paved the way for studios to make more “edgy” R-rated films. We discuss how the 1970s saw a dearth of G-rated theatrical releases. Michael points out that even though such family-friendly films make drastically more money than R-rated movies, producers still favor the latter. The incentive structure for filmmakers and producers is not always (or often) to make a profit, but rather to earn the accolades of those within the industry. This is why the demans of “Middle America” are often unmet at the local cineplex. Not to worry, though, there has been a trend over the past two decades to offer more films pitched to a church-going audience. We talk about how the ability to make movies has become more accessible and groups like Affirm Films can make highly popular films such as Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Soul Surfer. Hollywood has noticed the success of these films as well as The Passion and we are seeing more options portraying religious folks as heroes rather than villians. Our conversation also includes a discussion not only of what we see on the silver screen, but what occurs with movie stars off screen. We look into the somewhat deviant culture of Hollywood and Michael provides his insights into why so many actors and actresses seem to engage in destructive behavior. Along the way, we find out what the worst movie of all time was, and Tony reveals three of his favorite films of all time dealing with the eternal themes of skyscrapers, fish, and football. Recorded: November 28, 2012.
The Michael Medved Show.
Hollywood versus America, by Michael Medved.
The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, updated version by Harry Medved (Michael’s brother and earlier co-author).
The Golden Turkey Awards: The Worst Achievements in Hollywood History, by Michael Medeved.
The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions about Our Nation, by Michael Medved.
The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free-Market Economy, by Michael Medved.
Right Turns: From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion in 35 Unconventional Lessons, by Michael Medved.
Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence, by Michael Medved and Diane Medved.
Corey Olsen on J.R.R. Tolkien, Religion, and The Hobbit.
Jim Houser on the Christian Music Industry.
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