Thursday, June 30, 2011

Please Entertain Responsibly

Reese Witherspoon told Fox News, "I had my first baby when I was 23, so I've always been choosing roles knowing that…I have a responsibility to her and to the world to be representing women of strength…I think it's a natural extension of parenthood for you to feel like you're responsible for the worlds you create, whether they be silly or serious. I think you are responsible for the art you put in the world."
How true. Sadly, I think this concept is lost in the entertainment industry; probably due to lack of any sense of responsibility, as a whole, in our society. (The worst example: shying away from the responsibility that follows from intercourse – the care of a baby).
It continues to shock me how songs we hear or movies we see are like billboards saying, “DO WHAT YOU WANT! WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT! GO AHEAD! IT’S OKAY! WHO CARES ABOUT CONSEQUENCES!” Go ahead, use a person for your benefit. It’s not that selfish. Go ahead. Listen to this song or see this movie. It’s not really that bad.
Oh, yes it is. The things we see or hear – we imitate them. Perhaps not directly in our actions, but we accept it into our minds. It affects our conscious, subconscious, and especially our souls, whether we like it or not.
If you make a song or movie that glorifies immorality – something you would, in your right mind, never want to happen to you – people will reenact that. Sure, there are plenty who know it’s wrong and won’t do it, but they’re seeing it. And if they see it in a positive light, they subconsciously think, “It’s okay. This is funny.”
Steven Speilberg, when talking about his 1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a movie about a man who leaves his family to pursue aliens, "I would not have written it that way today. Now that I have seven children. Never."

You’ve all heard the Spiderman quote, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Artists in the industry have a massive power: to project a picture of reality that will echo into eternity. It can never be erased. It will touch millions’ of peoples’ lives.
They may never read this, but I beg artists to think before they act, pardon the pun. And if you, as a viewer, have to reassure yourself that what you’re listening to or seeing is “okay” or “not that bad”, I’m afraid it is.
You can't control what movie makers or singers create. But you can control what you see or hear.
Please entertain yourself responsibly.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Few Reasons I Love Old Movies

If you haven’t ever stumbled upon an old movie channel, check it out next time you do. Old movies are a gold mine. Of course, it depends on the movie, but in general, the movies back then were filled with beautiful rarities. I’ll give you a list of just a few things I love about them.
1.       Men in suits and women in dresses. There’s just something about a sharp-dressed man in a suit. And a woman in a pretty, feminine dress. Both genders fulfill their proper roles and look pretty darn good doing it.

2.       Men and women respect each other. You don't see a whole lot of, "DANG, SHE FINE!" with some oggling. No sir.

3.       Actors can ACT. Even if they don’t look flawless in front of the camera. But they can sure act. The Golden Age of Hollywood was named thus for a reason. Everyone in the industry had talent.

4.       There’s tons of dialogue. Which means more storytelling. Movies these days have less of it, and the storylines are far less original and creative.

5.       Background actors stay in character and they’re memorable! Everyone in the movies had talent, not just the leading roles!

6.       People didn’t just act with their words and actions – they acted with their faces, too. The expressions in their faces (and even their tone of voice) portrayed the character they were playing.

7.       People had relationships with one another. No one had their noses buried in cell phones. They talked to one another, went to visit each other’s houses.

8.       There was real romance. It doesn’t take talent to take your clothes off. These actors sometimes never so much as touched each other in a scene, but it was still incredibly romantic. Take the telephone scene in It’s a Wonderful Life, for example. (See below for video!)

9.       There was little obscenity or vulgarity. Just pure, good, wholesome entertainment.

10.   Jimmy Stewart. Yep. Nuff said.

We could certainly use a good dose of the magic from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Maybe we can bring it back, but probably not to the same degree of greatness. But, every so often, I think a person should sit with a hot cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the sheer goodness of older films.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lessons in Courage from Samwise Gamgee

I’ve been re-awakening my love for Lord of the Rings lately, but I guess this time around, I had the maturity to grasp more fully some of the lessons we can learn from the story. 

My favorite scene out of the entire series is probably the scene in the Two Towers where the beloved “Samwise the Brave” gives his speech. 

“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something…there is some good left in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Samwise is truly…wise. Out of all the characters in the entire series, he is the only one that, when evil rages before his eyes, he stands firm and doesn’t lose hope. He never left Frodo’s side (even when Frodo banished him, he returned). He was there, thick and thin, and was looking out for him. Even when things were grim, he thought positively. He allowed his courage to rule over his fear. 

Sam gives a literary testimony to John Paul II’s words, “Be not afraid”. John Wayne adds, “Courage is having fear and saddling up anyway”. Life will never be easy, it’s a fact. But no matter what times we live in, there is always some good. Having courage to overcome it, and having faith that it will get better, will get us through it. 

We should take Samwise the Brave's words to heart. We should find the courage to be a light to the world, and swallow our fear of the darkness, because even darkness must pass.  We must have the courage do find out what we’re supposed to do in life, and then…simply walk into Mordor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glee Project - Not a Class Act

I’m not a huge fan of Glee. Not a fan at all, actually. I like some of the songs they do on the show, but the show’s storyline is all about glorifying personal agendas and giving drama queens the spotlight. There’s already way too much drama in real life, we don’t need to see anymore, thank you very much.

But when I heard about The Glee Project, and that Celtic Thunder’s Damian would be on the show, I thought I’d check it out. The Glee Project is only in its second show, so there’s only so much I can say. But so far, I’m not so thrilled.

The show is not about singing. It’s about singing, dancing, and acting. The contestants have to show they can do all three, plus have a certain personality that allows them to be relateable to an audience. Glee’s writers want someone they can write for.

The contestants are all very unique individuals. Most of them can’t sing well and have out-there, annoying, and arrogant personalities. One of the girls, Emily, might be worse than Glee’s Rachel. Alex is the new Kurt Hummel, except his personality comes across as completely fake and "out there" only to push his sexual orientation in viewer's faces. Kurt, at least, comes off as real...ish.

There are a few gems on the show, however, such as Damian from Celtic Thunder. Unfortunately, he can’t dance too well, so I  don’t know if he’ll make it to Glee. (But his singing is obviously top-notch). Cameron, who looks like he was a part of Weezer, and Samuel, who has Jason Castro’s dreads but with a more confident personality, are other good contenders. They can sing, act and dance. Plus, no matter what they do, they look awesome doing it. 

The show is just another big ball of drama filled with fake personalities. I’ll probably keep watching it in the hopes that one of the three good guys make it, but I have to bear with the likes of Alex and Emily to get there.

If you like Glee, or the three good guys, I guess you'll watch it. But if you don’t care about Glee or Celtic Thunder, and you’re sick of mediocre, drama-filled TV…don’t bother with the show. Not so classy.

Album Review: Aim and Ignite

Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff and Nate Ruess of Fun.
Pop these days is such a broad genre that so often gets plagued with monotony and mediocrity. Which is why I'm so delighted when I come across a unique and fun sound that's...*gasp*...talented, even.

Let me introduce to you the band "Fun.". Originally "The Format", lead singer Nate Ruess joined up with Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff when his first project went on hiatus. The trio, along with other talented backup musicians, makes a delightful indie pop band.

Their debut album, Aim and Ignite, which actually came out in 2009, is just beginning to surface. It's a compilation of ten songs with enough nah nah’s and clapping to put you in a charming mood. The album has upbeat tunes, innovative lyrics, happy horns, and a sunny attitude that makes it perfect for summer listening. 

“At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” has a unique melody, and “Be Calm” has a message of keeping a positive outlook in dreadful situations. “The Gambler”, “Light a Roman Candle with Me”, and “I Wanna Be the One” are wholesome, romantic nods to affection. “Walking the Dog” has a snap-your-fingers tune with lyrics you can burst in the car, windows rolled down. 

If you haven’t heard any of these tunes already, I highly recommend getting this album for fun summer listening, no pun intended. 

I had the pleasure of seeing these gentlemen in concert as an opener for Panic! At the Disco, and they were much better live than on the album, as they were stripped  from all the extra sounds in the background. Nate Ruess has the personality, the smile and the vocals that entertain with true talent.

They were, in fact, FUN. Oh, and by the way, they have a new album coming out soon, which I will be waiting for eagerly.

Aim and Ignite

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters

One thing I appreciate most about my father is that he has taught me something very important, especially as someone who plans on getting married in the future: how to be loved. We learn from our parents how to love by their self-sacrificing acts for each other and for their children. For girls, fathers have the special role of being the example of how they should be treated by other men. 

Fortunately, I’m blessed with a wonderful father who has shown my mother respect and self-sacrificial love. He puts her before himself. He treats her with sensitivity and gentleness. He’s definitely not “whipped”, either - he is fully man, and gives that completely to my mother. And she gives herself equally back, on her part. 

Seeing this in my father, growing up, has shown me that the man I marry should treat me this way. I know, by his example, that I am a beautiful daughter of God who deserves to be treated as such. It makes me sad to know that there are beautiful girls out there who don’t have the gift of a father who treats their mother that way, and therefore wasn’t a good example of how they should be loved.

John Mayer’s song “Daughters” puts it beautifully. He captures how crucial it is for a father to be that loving example in the family, because the children will grow up and do the same. 

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

I’m so blessed that my father has been this for me. My prayers go out to those who never had that. But I know that I can take what I’ve been given and give that good example back to my children one day.

Thank you, Daddy, for being good to me.

Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" - True Girl Power?

Beyonce’s new song, “Run the World (Girls)” feels like the modern version attempt to say “girl power!” I see she has good intentions in her lyrics. But in her music video, she looks like a seductive queen, expecting men to either fall over at her beauty, or whip them beneath her feet. Whatever suits her. What kind of empowerment is she achieving in this? Does it really empower women? Is being a sex icon, an object of ogling and sensuality "power"? And is putting men down empowering?

Hardly, I’m afraid. Objectification reduces them from a person to an object for pleasure. Women are not objects, nor mere instruments of pleasure. If that’s what your goal in life is to be, look at how limiting this is. As humans, we are on a journey to reach our full potential and full humanity. It’s inhumane to objectify or allow yourself to be objectified.

Real, womanly empowerment is acceptance of our femininity. Sure, being a tomboy and doing boyish things is ok…as long as you remember to do girly things too. Remember that you were created female, and cherish that gift of femininity. Embrace it.

1 Peter 3:1-5 says, “Be subordinate to your husbands that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior. Your adornment should not be an external one, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.”

In other words, it is good and empowering to be  interiorly beautiful and gentle. These are some of the things that make a woman beautiful. Sure, girls that flaunt their personalities or bodies as means of getting attention will attract the boys that want to have fun, but then they'll drop them once they’re done. Good men will be attracted to the women that behave in a feminine, virtuous and gentle way.

And by the way, putting men down doesn’t raise women’s position any higher. Men are human persons too, who deserve respect. In fact, men need women’s help. There’s a saying, “If more women would sit down, more men would stand up.” We want men to be better men? Then we should start by being better women and accepting our femininity.  

True power is achieved when we become who we were meant to be. For women, this means behaving chastely and gently. It means respecting oneself and treating people as persons, not objects. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

X-Men: Baby Edition

Film Grade: C+/B-

With X-Men movies, I admit, I’m no expert. I think I’ve seen one? Maybe? There were several references to the previous movies I didn’t get, since I’m not a die-hard fan.  I kept thinking, “I don’t recognize that hero, and aren’t they missing a couple?” Maybe I should see the others. But I do know movies, and X-Men: First Class was thoroughly entertaining. 

This movie's story is how they started. Professor X began as Charles Xavier, who discovers blue-skinned Raven/Mystique, and adopts her as his sister. When the CIA discovers the pair, they are recruited into a defense team, where they meet Hank/Beast. They later recruit Darwin, Banshee, Havok, and Angel, who all have their own unique powers.

Also fascinating was Michael Fassbender as Magneto. In this movie, we learn of his upbringing; originally, he and his parents were Jewish, but when the Nazis discovered his magnetic powers, Sebastian Shaw/Klaus Schmidt, played by Kevin Bacon, recruited him. Obviously, since he was dealing with Nazis, he was left psychologically and emotionally scarred. Upon finding Professor X, he learns to control his powers, finding the “fine line between rage and serenity”.

Of course, the heroes are trained by Professor X. Magneto, despite his respect for the professor, still loses himself in his obsession with avenging his mother's death at Sebastian Shaw's hands. Once Shaw was dead, he decided to turn against the humans who would never understand them. Professor X did not join, and the heroes that remained with him became "X-Men". 

Fassbender played Magneto well, tapping into the deep chasms of his raw emotions. Kevin Bacon, as always, was a brilliant bad guy with no emotion, contrasting Fassbender well. James McAvoy was also well-cast; every captivating word he uttered from his British lips was spoken with poise. He truly lost himself in his role. Though shorter in stature compared to the rest of the heroes, he had enough presence to command and control them. 

There were several scenes in the movie that were “raunchy”: a few shots of strip clubs, pole dancing, lingerie-wearing Vegas girls, and cleavage-bearing costumes. Girls are objectified by the bad guys, but not so with Professor X, thankfully. In an ironic contrast to the girls' costumes, there was a touching theme of embracing the person you are, and that you are beautiful the way you were made. 

Another good theme that ran through the story was to treat people with gentleness and respect. Professor X showed this especially in the way he treated the “mutants” as well as the humans who didn’t understand them. He believed that vengeance “would not bring peace”. And most importantly, that the key to possessing your true potential was to embrace who you are, paired with self-control. Themes like these are rare, so it was refreshing to see.

In conclusion...I need to go watch the rest of them.

Magneto, Banshee, Professor X, future Mrs. X, Mystique and Havok

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Connection Between Advertising and Imitation

 The average person sees thousands of ads daily – on billboards, radio, newspapers, and especially TV. But have you ever considered how TV shows in of themselves are an advertisement?

Depending on the type of show it is, it can sell you an image of what you should look like, how you should act, how you should socialize, and what you should say. It can tell you how to relate to your family and friends, simply but the way the show is designed. Teen shows especially are set up to do this.

Take for example, the teen shows like Victorious, The Suite Life of Zak and Cody, or Hannah Montana.  All of the characters in those shows look the same: the girls wear a lot of makeup, have their hair perfectly styled, and wear clothes that are put together. No plain jeans and t-shirts seen here.  

They all act the same, too. Their scripted lines are sarcastic, as if they’re trying to be funny, but failing. They say stuff no one really says in real life. Everything they say is superficial, with little basis in reality. They all treat adults with disrespect and condescension. 

These shows are not real, but everything they do is set up to be the version of a perfect reality. Do the characters ever go through the same hardships and tragedies a real teen might have? Not really, at least, not at its deepest, most real level. Do they ever deal with their journey of self-knowledge that all teens face? No, they’re too focused on the cute guy sitting in the front of the class and how they can project themselves to get his attention. Another bad example for girls.

The shows are a false image, nothing more. 

I’ve noticed how high-school aged girls are starting to dress the same, style their hair the same and even act the same. Too many of them act superficial. Without anyone realizing it, these TV shows have projected this image to teens that they want to see them reenact. Forgive the cliché, but these shows are “brainwashing” them. 

If we want the future generations to be able to think for themselves and not base their self-identity on something they see, or on what advertisement tells them they should be, maybe we should monitor their intake of TV more.

Might I go so far as to say it can become a form of hypnotism? Looking into a bright light, the mind relaxed and unaware, receiving a stream of suggestions…it’s a little too close, I think.

Monday, June 6, 2011

True Art in Dancing

As a whole, I believe the entertainment industry has lost its appreciation of art. Art, as said by Pope John Paul II, is "nothing less than the upliftment of the human spirit". Art is to leave you with a sense of wonder, transcending this world by a depiction of reality that leaves you wanting more than what is real. Since it should leave you with wonder and excitement, it should therefore be extraordinarily good, as opposed to mediocre.

Too often mediocrity is celebrated in "artists": music, movies, whatever. People who can't act, sing, produce, sculpt, design or do anything artistically well, are famous. Granted, there are a chunk of people who truly are talented. But true art isn't valued the same way it used to be.

As a artist myself (I draw and write), I love to see things that are beautiful in a new, creative, and artistic way. For example, I love to watch dancing. Trained dancers give God glory by movements that use the full potential of one of man's greatest gifts, the human body, to create masterpieces. It is a splendid combination of athletic ability and artistic qualities that blend together to leave you in awe that a  human being can create something so beautiful. Dancing can tell stories, give a whirlwind of emotions, and showcase the body's sheer beauty in a non-objectifying way. The body, in dancing, is glorified in similar Michelangelo's artwork.

One of my favorite shows to watch is So You Think You Can Dance for the very reasons I mentioned above. The dancers on the show have a reverence both for dancing and for art. It combines true art in the choreography by telling an emotional story, electrifying you in either a touching or energizing way. The dancers bodies are beautiful, and their movements breathtaking. It's reminiscent of John Paul II's Theology of the Body, as it shows you how good and beautiful the body is.

It wonderful that as humans, we can use our bodies for God's glory in making something beautiful for others to see, leaving them wanting something higher.

Water for Elephants: Refreshing for the Eyes, but Not the Soul

Film Grade: C+

Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon
Rare are the movies that are a piece of art in every aspect. To have a true sense of art value to it, the film must be sculpted in its design, its costumes, its look, its feel, its depth, its story, and the portrayal of that story in its acting. There must be an attainable sense of reality for the viewers to relate to, even if the story or characters themselves aren't really relatable.

 Water for Elephants is one of those rare movies that are artistically stunning, from the cinematography to the acting. Set in the 1930's, the story, which is based on the book of the same title, follows a twenty-something Jacob Jankowski who recently  learned of his parents' death. Having not even a penny to his name, he drops out of college in search of work. On a whim, he hops a train, which happens to belong to "Benzini Brothers Circus". 

After meeting the ill-tempered ringmaster, August Rosenbluth, Jacob is taken under his wing and offered a job as the circus's vet. He and August's wife, Marlena, also become the trainer for the new act: an elephant named Rosie. Jacob cares deeply not only for the animals, but for Marlena as well, in stark contrast to her nearly abusive husband. 

The story of Water for Elephants is beautiful, celebrating humanity and life. There is a deep contrast in the harshness and sensitivity of the setting and characters. On one hand, there is the struggle of the 1930's, where men try to retain a sense of humanity in the selfish struggle many people dealt with in the search of work; add to this August's abuse to his workers and animals. Then you have Jacob, Marlena and the circus workers who toil together, care deeply for each other, and are sensitive to the needs of the beings that surround them. The 1930's was a trying time. But there was still heart, as evident in these characters.

The acting in the film is close to phenomenal. Reese Witherspoon makes a breathtaking Marlena, and Christoph Walz's portrayal of August Rosenbluth is nightmarish and frightening; you never know how strong his reactions will be. I was very surprised with Robert Pattinson's acting; Twilight doesn't showcase the versatility he possesses. He brought a sensitivity and gentleness to his part that is rare.

While the film is well-acted and well-made, the moral compass doesn't  point due north. Jacob falls in love with a married woman, who, rather than putting an end to their meetings, encourages them. The unbreakable bond of marriage is obviously not valued in this story, and the man who tries to keep it so (August, her husband), is evil, so his efforts are unvalidated. 

Artistically: the movie is great.

Morally: not so much.


Friday, June 3, 2011

On Stranger Tides? Yes, please.

 Film Grade: B-

I've been a huge, die-hard fan of Pirates of the Caribbean since the first one came out in 2003. I still liked the second and third, but only because I'm a huge fan, not because I thought the movies were well-made. There was way too much going on in the plot, sub-plot, and sub-sub-sub plot. Very confusing at times.

What makes On Stranger Tides different?

Well, for one, the plot is much simpler now. Jack Sparrow has to find the Fountain of Youth in order to get his beloved Black Pearl back from Blackbeard, the burning-beard pirate that is many ways a more fearsome foe than Davy Jones ever was. (Without giving anything away, his sword is magical and can do scary things.)

Gone are  older characters like Will, Elizabeth, wooden-eyed Ragetti and his companion Pintel. When I first heard they were gone, I was skeptical because Will and Elizabeth in particular provided the heart to the story. Jack Sparrow has always been the comic character, and Will provided the straight man. Although gone, the director knew they had to have solid characters in the story, so they added Philip, a missionary, and Syrena, the mermaid he falls in love with.

Oh yeah, there are mermaids. but after seeing this movie, you won't ever look at mermaids the same way again. They're definitely not cliche, which was refreshing to see. There are also zombie-pirates, although they might as well have been from Davy Jones' crew, they looked so similar to the ones from the last couple Pirate films. 

Needless to say, Mr. Depp is once again fabulous in his reprise of Captain Sparrow. The one critique I have for the character is that he while he has become the main guy, his random wittiness has fallen short. In the first movie, Will's role was more important, and therefore necessary to allow Sparrow's humor to be more silly and random. As the main character, however, he's had to show more depth and heart, which is fine, but it's not as fun as it used to be.

I was wary of Penelope Cruz being in this movie. Never have been a fan of hers, and still not, but she did a pretty good job as Angelica, Jack's love interest. Ian McShane made a truly menacing Blackbeard, with just enough dark humor to make his character interesting. Geoffrey Rush, who plays Barbossa, was probably the best in this movie out of the four. His character has taken a whimsical turn. Since he lost his leg, he has taken up hobbies and kept a "king's men" facade in order to take revenge on Blackbeard for losing the leg.

My favorite thing about this film is the glorified portrayal of faith. In most films these days, faith is looked down upon, scorned, and laughed at. Philip, the missionary, provides a certain depth to this film that the other movies didn't have as much. He preaches to Blackbeard, "Everyone can be saved...although, I see you as maybe a bit of a longshot..." Angelica, too, says to Jack, "Who are you to set limits on redemption?" Philip is seen as one of the movie's heroes, which puts his faith in a good light.

Although Philip's definition of redemption becomes a bit twisted once he falls in love with Syrena, he shows a beautiful example of self-sacrificing love, rather than lust.  When she must travel on land, causing her to be naked once her mermaid tail disappears, he removes his shirt to protect her chastity, and then carries her in an act of service. He tells her she's beautiful, not for only her looks, but for her kindness as well. He recognizes the beauty of her personhood before her physical traits.

Overall, the movie is good. Well done and much simpler than the last two, although the first is still the best. It's a classic. But On Stranger Tides definitely makes a worthy tribute to the infamous, immortal Captain Jack Sparrow.

Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush in On Stranger Tides

Side note: The soundtrack is just as good as ever! With the Spaniards in this movie, as well as the Ricky Ricardo-esque Angelica, who bursts into Spanish when angry, there is a beautiful Spanish guitar in the soundtrack. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Rise of New Media

Media.  We hear this word all the time. Our culture is obsessed with it. But when I say media, I'm not talking the broader sense of the word. I'm talking the kind of media we hate.

The media is a haunting creature, incessantly critical and predictable. Their opinions don't necessarily shape ours, but they do tell us what to care about, what's newsworthy. Example: the latest Paris Hilton rumor is so important that there's a story on that instead of one on a hero in Iraq.

Yeah, that kind of media.

There is obviously a gaping hole in our media.

One branch of the media is especially in need of a make-over. The movie industry. If you've seen any movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, between the years of 1930 - 1950 something, you've noticed the horrid difference between then and now.

Those movies had true art. The actors acted beautifully, and some of them didn't even have good looks - they looked normal. This made them easy to relate to. Even the background actors could act really well. The screenplay was a masterpiece. There was a lot of dialogue, which made a deeper story with character development that had a beautiful flow. So many of the stories in those movies were good, wholesome, and uplifting. Even if they were disturbing, it didn't glorify the evil. It made you hate it and uplifted you in that way.

What the heck happened since then?

I'm not sure. But there is something seriously lacking in the movies made today. Although there are still some gems, the majority of movies are a sad downgrade from the classiness of the Golden Age. People act like animals following their instincts. Stories have less dialogue, unimaginative plots, little character development, - as a whole, the art value went way down. Glorified trashiness went way up, including fornication, crass language, and bad actors. (It doesn't take any talent, by the way, to strip in front of a camera. Just no shame.) It's all glorified mediocrity.

Christians as a whole are noticing in particular this huge problem in the movies. In our media-saturated age, what's the best way to bring the good news to the rest of the world? Movies. Movies reach everyone. Money is always set aside for it.

There is a rise of a new media, one that Christians are trying to get their hands on as a means of missionary work.
How do we do it?  First, we learn to speak their language. Learning how this kind of media works, getting into the industry. Going to acting school, learning to screen write, getting into producing, the works. Christians are trying to slip their hands into the cracks of the media world, recognizing the need not only for change, but also the need for a new means of spreading Good News, not the nasty news about Charlie Sheen.

It might take some years for us to actually make a visible change. But, the change is coming.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the 1936 film Swing Time