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Dissed and Dismissed (Updated)

Well, isn’t this interesting: Christian filmmakers bite back at the critics who spurn them (great headline there). Peter Chattaway reviewed The Last Sin Eater a few days ago for Christianity Today, and on the same day he got a rather whiny e-mail from one Brian Bird, the writer/producer of the movie.

Chattaway then discovered that a radio interview with the director, Michael Landon Jr., was also conducted last week by Paul Edwards of The Center for the Study of God & Culture. In that interview, Chattaway’s review was quoted at Landon, who also responded to it, though much more dismissively.

Chattaway responds politely, but without apology:

“I […] hope that ‘contemporary Christian filmmakers’ can avoid falling into the trap of insinuating that just because they make films with a Christian agenda, it necessarily follows that we are all now obliged to say nice things about their movies.”

Well said. I find that I have many thoughts on the subject, but that it would probably be just as worthwhile to send readers along to the link above to read for themselves. Go take a look.

*Update*
Feb. 15

It’s not over yet over there. The aforementioned Paul Edwards has floated into Chattaway’s comment section for a little back-and-forth action. Great reading, no matter whose side you’re on.

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~ by Jared on February 13, 2007.

5 Responses to “Dissed and Dismissed (Updated)”

  1. too bad blogspot is blocked by the invincible CAG firewall

  2. Normally I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a film like <i>Sin Eater</i>, but the RTB staff was offered a preview screening about two weeks before the film was released. Since it was free and they wanted our feedback, I went ahead and watched it. Having seen the film, I was intrigued by this train of posts.

    I was particularly struck by Landon’s response to the question of the film’s reviews: “There are some that are so obvious in their agenda […] if they can’t find any good in it, I know there’s an agenda.”

    First, this in many ways echoes my impression of the film itself: To call it “heavy-handed” would be putting it mildly (we had the basic plot points worked out roughly 2 minutes into the film). There were some positive elements (I thought the music was pretty good when it wasn’t overpowering). But if you didn’t know going in that it was a Christian film, you better believe you knew it when you came out!

    More disturbing, the response seems to be yet another example of a “contemporary-Christian-media agenda”: the refusal to acknowledge any criticism of the film is eerily similar to the alleged failure to “find any good in it.” Applying Langdon’s Rule, we can deduce that FoxFaith must have *gasp* an Agenda. (Ironically, the public nature of the agenda could very well hurt the agenda’s chances; those who need preaching can be fairly resistant to it.)

    One final anecdote/rant. On that fateful screening day, the film was winding to its close. Despite its flaws, I still had some appreciation for the film. And then came the final scene. I will refrain from giving details for the sake of any who may wish to see the film, but suffice to say the fragile chinaware of respect was shattered by the rampaging elephant of absurdity. Blech.

  3. Comments on 2 films you viewed and rated recently

    1)Elephant Man- One of my very favorite movies. I have probably seen it a dozen times. The final scene (reclining to sleep) is one of the most touching movie scenes in my memory. It came out with some other films I liked a lot: Reds and Ordinary People most notably.

    2)The Aviator gets a 63%? An “F+”? Well I think you’ll find few critics that agree with that one. Could this be simply an anti-DiCaprio rating?? My rating?? 89% with some real interesting approaches to framing and camera effects in some scenes.

  4. I probably came down a little hard on it . . . but I really didn’t like it. My objective rating was a good deal higher than my subjective one. I was impressed early on by the aerial scenes in particular. The cinematography was certainly quite good. But . . .

    -The special effects were very impressive in places, but in other places they were ridiculously primitive. When a single plane, for instance, is coming in to make a landing, either you should get a real plane or I should not be able to tell that you made one with a computer. Some of that stuff was pre-Pixar bad . . . really cheesy stuff.

    -I actually felt that DiCaprio’s performance was pretty good (although not so good that it really justifies Scorcese casting him in the lead of every movie he makes . . . have you heard he’s gonna play Teddy Roosevelt next? I mean, c’mon!). A few of the other performances, however, had me climbing the wall, particularly Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. I think Blanchett is a great actress, but nobody can be Hepburn but Hepburn, and her attempt just grated on me everytime she was on-screen (which was a great deal).

    -The film was ridiculously long, especially considering its lack of coherence. It started at a random point and ended at a random point, and didn’t seem to have much to say about its main character. I was bored and irritated at various points, even though several scenes definitely stood out.

    Ultimately I was left feeling like I had wasted 3 hours on a rather self-indulgent and often mediocre piece of work posturing as high-brow cinema. I can’t believe it got a Best Picture nomination.

  5. You need to watch Sheena of Hundra and compare it to The Aviator… I’m curious to see which one gets a better rating…

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