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Hollywood Worldviews

Much Ado About Movies

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As part of an assignment for my employer, The Chalcedon Foundation, I have to read and review a bunch of books about movies. I’ve just finished the first of the lot, Hollywood Worldviews by Brian Godawa, a professional screenwriter who used to write movie reviews for our website. It’s a book about “how to watch movies with your eyes open”–that is, with understanding and discernment.

Every movie tells a story, and every one of those stories is shaped and informed by a particular worldview. Among the most common worldviews shaping modern movies are existentialism, postmodernism, fate, neopaganism, and a few others–including a very few in which the worldview is explicitly Christian.

Funny, isn’t it? The human race plodded along for thousands of years without a single movie until the 20th century came along. Now we have thousands and thousands of movies, and I can’t even make a guess as to how many I’ve watched.

They say it’s only entertainment, but watching movies is also a form of self-education, and God only knows how many hundreds and hundreds of hours we spend doing it. Movies get poured into our minds, and what’s in our minds comes out as our culture.

Well, that explains a lot about the current state of our culture, doesn’t it?

Most modern, mainstream movies subtly teach lessons that, when expressed in bald and simple terms, are ridiculous. There is no reality, there’s only what each of us thinks is reality. Whatever you sincerely believe is right, is right. “Love” is the only thing that counts. And so on. Maybe that’s why I don’t watch many modern, mainstream movies. I can’t stand the banality.

It really is interesting, to watch a movie alertly enough to see what it’s actually saying to us. Most of what most movies have to say is twaddle.

But, boy, if you’re not aware of that, you wind up teaching yourself a lot of stuff that simply isn’t true.



 

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