Hollywood and Christianity. The Hollywood Reporter
chronicles the movie industry’s sometimes awkward attempts to appeal to
Christian
audiences
without turning off the mainstream. But with 76% of Americans
reportedly identifying themselves as Christians
, when are the Tinseltown
geniuses going to realize that Christians are the mainstream?

From The Hollywood Reporter:

PRAISE BE WITH YOU: Films marketed heavily to faith-based audiences

  1. The Passion of the Christ  (2004) $370.8M
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Lion, Witch and Wardrobe (2005) $291.7M
  3. The Blind Side (2010) $256M
  4. Bruce Almighty (2003) $242.8M           
  5. Superman Returns (2006) $200.1M
  6. Elf (2003) $173.4M
  7. The Pursuit of Happyness  (2006) $163.6M
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian  (2008) $141.6M
  9. Walk the Line (2005) $119.5M
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader  (2010) $103M

Not a bad track record, if you ask me.

So, what makes a film Christian? Strange Herring blogger Anthony Sacramone offers a pretty good definition. He writes that “the criteria for what makes for a Christian film can include
everything from the positive portrayal of Christian clergy and a
fair-minded accounting of some episode in Christian history to merely an
uplifting story about someone who prays and finds strength to do the
right thing. It may also include no explicitly Christian iconography or
even references but merely concern the plight of a broken soul who comes
up against the limits of his or her internal resources and is
consequently “redeemed” by some “external” salvific force.”

BTW, commenting Big Hollywood’s John Nolte’s quest to name the 25 Greatest Christian Movies, Sacramone nominates Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade. I haven’t actually seen the movie but the fact that he recommends it, suggests to me that it probably belongs.

Meanwhile, I have few titles to add to my previous list of nominees that includes Jesus of Nazareth, Schindler’s List, It’s a Wonderful Life, Joe Versus the Volcano, Tender Mercies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Doubt, Signs and Amazing Grace.

New to my list, drum roll please, are Bruce Almighty, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gran Torino, The Wizard of Oz and Titanic.

What are Christians looking for at the movies? Good stories. Good Characters. Good values. It’s not a hard formula.

TV News:

Update: Charlie Sheen returns to Two and a Half Men. The show will end the season with 20 episodes, down from the 24 originally planned before his latest round of drug-related headlines.  

TV’s crass-title mini-trend continues. James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) is set to play himself in an ABC (supposed) comedy pilot called Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23. I’m guessing he’s not playing the title role. Anyway, too bad the pilot isn’t at CBS. They could pair with $#*! My Dad Says.

NBC casts a Wonder Woman for this generation. She’s Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights. This updated version of the iconic female superhero by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal), so something tells me it’s not going to be written with kids and family viewing in mind. BTW, the new Wonder Woman series (if it gets picked up) will be called simply Wonder Woman, not to be confused with the 1970’s Wonder Woman series starring Lynda Carter. The official title of the old one is The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. Got that?

Watson the Computer beats the human champions on Jeopardy. Possibly the most depressing story of the day. But, on the other hand, Watson wouldn’t stand a chance on Wipeout.

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