Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Note: I haven’t personally seen War Room. Nevertheless, as someone who believes in the positive power of prayer, I’m glad to see this.

From Big Hollywood:

Sony’s small budget faith-based drama War Room, a film about the power of prayer, pushed three-week champion Straight Outta Compton out of the top spot, winning the final weekend of the summer box office season.

Although the latest film by Alex and Stephen Kendrick received generally negative reviews from mainstream critics, the film struck a chord with Christian moviegoers in its second week in theaters, and edged out Compton, earning an estimated $9.3 million by the end of Sunday, and is expected to earn $12.3 million by the end of Labor Day, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Then there’s the case of No Escape. The R-rated film stars Owen Wilson and Lake Bell as Texan parents who move to an unnamed Asian country (which borders Vietnam caught up in an Anti-American coup. Pierce Brosnan is a grizzled and mysterious Brit who comes to their aid.

Comment: I did actually catch No Escape this weekend.  Like War Room, the film is in its second week of release. That may be where the comparisons end though. Unlike War Room, No Escape which, on nearly three times as many screens [3,415 to 1,526], pulled in just about $5.5 million and came 6th over the weekend. It’s fading fast.

While Rolling Stone is among those labeling the movie as racist, that strikes me as unfair since the movie actually portrays some brave Asians risking their own lives to come to the family’s aid.

Also, (SPOILERS AHEAD)/no big surprise here) the whole situation is revealed to be the result of the actions of evil capitalist America.

You see, the water treatment company Owen Wilson’s character is working for  actually just wants to force the country into debt so it will somehow own them (though the poor sap American citizen thinks he’s involved in humanitarian work). So, as is too usual with these Hollywood movies, you’re sucker punched into rooting for Americans in distress only to find that your country is the bad guy and to even think that an American company might be involved in doing good work makes you as naive as our hapless hero.

Wilson’s character and his family must evade the (justifiably, we’re told) murderous mob and make their way to the American Embassy. Unfortunately, once they get there, everyone has already been killed — making the dangerous trek a heartbreakingly pointless exercise.

Good thing for the family that they’re able to make it over the border where (communists to the rescue!) they’re saved by Vietnamese by soldiers. The soldiers warn their pursuers that continuing the chase will be considered an act of war (like murdering everyone at the American Embassy wasn’t?!).

Through all their travails, the seemingly traditional Texan parents do their very best to keep their two young daughters calm. They do so, however, without ever resorting to prayer — which, under the circumstances, seems odd.

So, the film is subtly anti-American and ignores, or seems oblivious to, the likelihood that a Texas family in life-and-death peril might consider praying.

I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the producers of the movie (which is actually well-paced and suspenseful). They’re getting it from the left for being supposedly racist. But conservatives are sick and tired of films that put down America and, if they’re not actually putting it down, downplay or ignore the importance of faith in the lives of ordinary people.

It’s not hard to see why the film isn’t living up to its box office potential.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11