Monday, November 30, 2009

A New Direction in My Reviews

Some of you may have noticed a slow evolution in my reviewing process. Perhaps not, or perhaps you haven't been around long enough or read all of them. Either way, it has come time to explain myself.

When I started my reviews, I wasn't very serious. I occasionally highlighted a new favorite movie or something. Then I started to dig deeper when I did do a review. Last year, I took an unusual step and decided to launch my song reviews. This took me in the direction of analyzing media that I did not approve of and knew so beforehand, something I had not done before. As I often say in my reviews, I don't always recommend this for everyone, but it's something I've always planned to do, always. (I've long wanted to write serious exposes on things like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and perhaps deal with Lord of the Rings as well. While on that topic, would anyone be interested in a serious, conservative-Christian analysis of Twilight? Or is it too late, do you think? I am not sure what I would find, but I will admit that I am very concerned about the countless young ladies out there. If anyone is interested, let me know, because I'll volunteer right now.) So, it's time to start, don't you think?

You might have first noticed this in my Agincourt review. I wanted to finish reading it and review it, even when I decided I would have to give it a thumbs-down. There was a time when I was much younger when I surely would have dropped the book and ran at this point (sex in the book), but please do not take this as a back-down on my principles. I have wavered not. This is merely a different approach, a scholarly examination of media, actually. I've always done it with nonfiction (say, Evolutionist dinosaur books), now I am applying it to books, movies, and music. You saw this when I read and reviewed The Bourne Identity. I've asked around for a very long time, worried the book may have the content I found it did. I never found anyone who knew, or had even read it. Most people consume media without applying any sort of morals, and therefore might not even remember it. So, I read it myself. In a way, while I still review for my own reasons, I get responses that make me feel (correct me if I am wrong, I in no way claim to be what I am not) that I might just be conducting an at least moderately useful service for my readers. I've been thanked for reviewing before. Am I right here, or wrong? Please tell me now.

And on another note, I used to use Focus on the Family's Plugged-In alot. I often disagreed, mostly due to their love of ridiculous films and hatred of anything even remotely violent, but I have grown more and more weary. They basically lied (I hope it was a mistake?) in their Taken review (see the fingernail-pulling reference), wrote about the evils of the south, and the credit due Lincoln and the Union, and just recently, spoke against guns and declared that the martial arts film genre should die. And just tonight, I get an email from them that contains an article bashing The Dark Knight, and worse, it says, "Jesus...was pretty pacifistic." What?!?!?

Are we reading the same Bible here? Because, if I remember right...oh yes, here it is: Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:36) And those are the words of Jesus himself. Oh yeah, but maybe Jesus was wrong--is that what you are trying to tell me?

They are quick to tell us of the great ethic value of Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Finding Nemo, but if you like a movie with a gun-toting, manly hero, beware, oh wicked warmonger! (Might Richard Chamberlain be more their style, I wonder?) I am sick and tired of them, and even though I have long used them just to discover if the movies had sexual content or not, they are getting sloppier it seems to me. I am more feeling like investigating things myself instead of relying on these sissies. (They're so afraid of what they call evil, they're encouraging it. They're making me want to spit vile profanities, they do!)

I can just see these wimps. What do they teach their sons? "Now remember, Bobby, when a rapist breaks into your house and comes to ravage your wife, just love him with all your heart and don't commit any evil acts of violence, and God will look on you with favor!" Is this what you are teaching? You must confront these difficulties, oh spineless. You can't dance around them. Is this really what you believe? I hope not, but there are some unbelievable cowards that do practice such behavior in the name of "God" (think the Amish, etc.). To kill such a subject is not absolute evil; indeed, it would be absolute evil not to do so.

Sorry. Now that turned into an off-topic rant there. Anyways....

Certain things I feel need to be responded to (Lady Gaga, etc.) and you will see me discuss likewise. Other things Spencer just investigates because of his personal interests (see my upcoming Ninja Assassin review).

I'm also somewhat embarking on a little (haha) reading project. This isn't my only reason, but in the end, I want to write my own fiction and always have. If you're an artist, you look at art, right? I will read more fiction in the coming months (or [perhaps more) than I have in quite some time, possibly.

Expect lots of things. Some I will analyze, and then condemn no doubt. Others I will stamp my approval upon. Either way, this means that, at the very least, you can expect a review of the two Matrix sequels, and the Bourne films, both which I had before declined to do, as well as much, much more.

To my readers, be excited! To all weak, wimpy reviewers, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Spencer

12 comments:

Izori said...

I definitely think that you should do something on Twilight!

guitargirl said...

I hate plugged-in's movie reviews.

Personally, I can pretty much tell just by watching the previews of a movie if it's something I'm interested in at all. Lately, most movies have gotten so dumb and repetitive and I don't watch a ton of tv anyways, but every time I read/hear a plugged in movie review, my blood pressure goes up. They're annoying.

And I'm pretty much gonna hate Twilight no matter what because of all the fan girls that have run rampant of late squealing at how hot Edward is and blah blah blah...XD

Courtney said...

Jasmine Baucham and the Botkin sisters have written Biblically based, thorough evaluations of Twilight and what is wrong with them (see Jasmine's post here: http://joyfullyathome.blogspot.com/2009/11/abstaining-from-madness.html). However, a male perspective on this ridiculous obsession would be welcome. I, too, am concerned about this new trend.
~Courtney

The Warrior said...

GG: Haha. They make mine go up too. ;-P They're bad for my health, lol! (Out of curiosity, why do they annoy you in particular?)

Courtney: Oh, they did? OK....

Izori: OK, I might. I need a whole lot more feedback than that to embark upon it.

Spencer

Johann Van De Leeuw said...

Keep it up, The Warrior, I like the direction you're going. I would like to offer one objection: I constantly find myself not reading some of your reviews because you discuss one of the things you found wrong in certain books and films etc. I am very grateful for your warnings, and are very heedful of them. All the same, I wish you would not dwell on such subjects.

On a different note, do read the articles on twilight. I know a couple of Christian girls in my speech/debate class, who think the series is really cool.
What'd you think of the link I sent you, csagov.org?
~Kenan

olde.fashioned said...

I'm going to echo GuitarGirl and say that I hate Plugged-In's reviews. Not only their movie ones, but their reviews of everything else. If it wasn't for my fervid desire to avoid raunchy sex scenes in movies, I'd never visit that website again. (I don't think I'll ever forgive them for making such a gross error as claiming that Connie Neilson's son in Gladiator was really her illegitimate offspring with Russell Crowe's character!!! Any idiot who paid any attention at all during that film would know otherwise...sheesh. Talk about sloppy.)

GG: You've heard the adage "don't judge a book by it's cover" and perhaps even "don't judge a book by it's movie"? I would also say don't judge a movie by it's trailer -- to a degree. A prime example is the new Regency biopic Bright Star, which I, after seeing the "kissy" scenes in the promotional images, unceremoniously ignored due to my conditioned belief that passionate kisses = nude scenes. From what I've read, this movie is apparently clean!

As for more reviews, I say very emphatically go for it! ;-D Your reviews, as you need not be told, I'm sure, are fabulous, and thorough to a degree that is simply wonderful. In regards to Twilight, I think that's something you'll have to weigh with your own interest in delving into this ridiculous obsession, and how much interest from your other readers there is. (For me, you know I love getting a male perspective on stuff like this, *coughNORTH&SOUTHcough*), but you'd probably have to read the books, or at least watch the movies. *makes an icky face* Are you sure you want to torture yourself with "Twit-Lit" and silly girl movies? (hahaha)

Maybe you should do a post on what the criteria should be on "approving" or disapproving a movie on one's own, so that you'd be equipping others, allowing them to be freed from having to rely on other (UNRELIABLE) reviewers such as Plugged-In.

The Warrior said...

Johann: Thank you, indeed. I appreciate any and all remarks from brothers and sisters. Please allow me to clarify what you mean, however. What books and films? I know my Lady Gaga review was pushing it a bit, I know. But what in particular are you referring to? Please tell me so I can know how other believers feel.

OF: I wouldn't be delving into Twilight for my own fun....

Spencer

Mada said...

I'd have to agree about Plugged In: Firstly, they smash movies that have absolutely ANY hint of what they class as objectional content, and they (for some inexplicable reason) review horrible R-rated movies, such as Saw, that no-one who reads their reviews would probably see anyway.

Personally, I believe John DiBiase at JesusKreakHideout.com does a better job with his reviews, as he highlights any objectionable content at the end of the review (or in it, if it's very serious), yet will rate the movie mostly based on how much he enjoyed it. He's also made a decision to not review R-rated movies (excepting The Passion Of The Christ and House), which I think is a more sensible stance than Plugged In.

Sure, go for it! I find that your in-depth reviews are always interesting.

sherlock said...

"I am very concerned about the countless young ladies out there"... Clarification please? I slogged my way through Twilight and New Moon, partly because I had many peers talking about how great it was, and someone suggested my younger sister read it. It's absolute drivel. Planning on a review for quite some time but it's hard to start on something so very badly written.

I have to disagree with you on Pluggedin.com. They are what they are. Painfully conservative, in love with any clean movie with absolute disregard for plot, and mention "low cut tops" in ever review. But they are providing a service to christian parents wondering if they should allow their children to view a movie. PluggedIn is fantastic for quickly checking up on content in a movie. They are not strong movie reviewers at all, but I don't think they really pretend to be. Yeah, they are getting sloppy though... I wonder how they would react to people bringing it to their attention?

Reviews are, at the root, opinions. The martial arts genre should die? Take the context. Let's face it. Martial Art films are often excuses to watch well coreographed fight scenes for about an hour and 45 minutes. This obviously isn't Meredith Whitmore's cup of tea. Why are you allowing yourself to get so offended at some Soccer Mom's opinion?

My point. Violence is a disputable matter. No where in the bible does God extropolate on exactly what we should watch (please do not quote the verse about a covenant with thine eyes, i'm talking about clear cut "this is wrong to watch, this is okay to watch") and not watch when it comes to violence. I think biblically we can prove that sex scenes are sinful. But violence? Not really.

The people at plugged in seem to have a conviction against graphic violence on screen. The article your quoting (bashing the dark knight) has a strong emphasis on the effect of CHILDREN viewing violence. Violence does desensetize us. American audiences flock to theatres to watch "torture-porn" like Saw and Hostel. Why? How would audiences react in the 50's or even the 60's to that? Because we can flick on the tube and watch people get shot and dismembered until our eyes fall out of our sockets. It's commonplace now. Not every child can process this, and it does cause some pretty sad things in some kid's lives.

All that said, I'm not here to quibble on specifics. The bible does say this on disputable matters: "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him."
As christians I feel like we should celebrate our diversity in Christ, rather than judge others with more convictions then us.(Not accusing you of this, but that was a general impression I got from reading your post)

I cannot bring myself to watch any form of child abuse in movies. Which is probably because of some things that happened in my childhood. But either way, I used to have a problem with my friends going to see movies with kids getting hurt/killed onscreen. After awhile I realized I was judging them horribly in my own heart.

"To kill such a subject is not absolute evil; indeed, it would be absolute evil not to do so." I want some bible verses to back this up dude. I agree that it is the right thing to do; but how dare you throw your little wimp comment at Mennonites and Amish.

That said, I look foward to your reply back/future reviews.

The Warrior said...

Mada: Thank you! Will check in on those. I used to read Brian Godawa, but his on the Chalcedon Foundation dissappeared? I almost always disagreed, but AT LEAST he thought things through.

About R-rated movies, I've been meaning to have a post about them. Perhaps soon?

Sherlock: Concerned about their obsession with Twilight. Like I said, I'm not sure what I might find....

I understand your analysis of Plugged-In and agree on many points. That's my issue--sloppy lately.

About martial arts genre, my issue is that they pass off their own personal opinions an almost "holier-than-thou" manner, for lack of a nicer way to put it (in my own personal opinion, mind you). I see tons and tons of blood and combat in the Bible. Why should we be told that movies with such material should not exist?

Violence is disputable, yes, but disagreeing with even the "good" kind of violence such as defending others and yourself, etc. is my big issue.

"To kill such a subject is not absolute evil; indeed, it would be absolute evil not to do so." I want some bible verses to back this up dude. I agree that it is the right thing to do; but how dare you throw your little wimp comment at Mennonites and Amish.

Well, I never said Mennonites, but if you can show me that I have been mistaken and that the Amish do indeed believe in defending their women and children through use of deadly force if so necessary, then I will apologize. Until then, I will continue to call any man who refuses to fight or die for women and children not a wimp, not a coward, but worse than a coward.

My biblical arguments are not written by me, but I would make the same points, so here you go:

http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=1061

http://warskyl.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-guns-belong-in-church.html

http://warskyl.blogspot.com/2009/10/self-defense-and-holiness.html

OTOH, I would highly recommend the posts of Gravelbelly of Warskyl. He's spot on, and can tell you more than I could.

Oh yeah, and I've listend to an audio version of this lecture, but here it is nonetheless.

http://www.visionforum.com/booksandmedia/productdetail.aspx?productid=44580&categoryid=126

You can buy it cheaper as an mp3 on bluebehemoth.com.

I hope that answered your questions, sir. The use of force issue is a legitimate question, thank you for inquiring.

Spencer

Courtney said...

In regards to Sherlock's request for Biblical evidence supporting self defense:

1 Timothy 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Wouldn't you say that 'providing for your own' might include protecting them from those who might wish them harm? If someone was breaking into your house trying to hurt your wife and children, wouln't 'providing for your own' include defending them??

I've never understood the Amish position on pacifism. Does their stance indicate that they would stand by if someone tries to murder their children or attack their wife? Don't get that at all.

The Warrior said...

As well as the one from Luke that I already posted there....

And the countless references and tellings of war and battle in the OT.