Last Days in the Desert: Boring Arthouse Existentialist Satan Jesus

Ewan McGregor as Jesus

A eatureictional drama of Jesus during his 40-day fast in the desert. He meets a family with one male son and a sick dying wife, and makes a wager with the devil to try to help them through their family problems. Starring Ewan McGregor as Jesus and Ewan McGregor as Satan.

In my book Hollywood Worldviews I write about how the depictions of Jesus in movies throughout the decades often reflect the zeitgeist of the era. I wrote: “A survey of the portrayal of Jesus in the movies yields an interesting mixture of both historical and mythical, human and divine, sinner and saint. In fact, one might say that the history of Jesus in the movies is precisely a history of the theological struggle between Christ’s identity as God and his identity as man.”

A Jesus by any other name

In HW, I called the Jesuses of the movies by their social constructs as depicted in the films:

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965): Leonardo-DaVinci’s-humanistic-Renaissance Jesus.
King of Kings (1961): Youthful-blue-eyed-Aryan-WASP-moviestar Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977): Hypnotic-eyed-possibly-drug-addict-Jesus-who-never-blinks.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1972): 70s-nonviolent-peace-demonstrator scapegoat-for-the-military-industrial-complex Rock n Roll Messiah.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1982): Confused-epileptic-temper-tantrum-sinner Jesus.
The Gospel of Matthew (1995): Smiley-faced-California-surfer-dude Jesus.
Jesus: The Epic Miniseries (2000): Politically-correct-lovey-dovey-pacifist-television Jesus.
Judas (TV 2004): Dr.-Phil-Scooby-Doo-Shaggy-Malibu Jesus.

Look, I realize how impossible it is to portray the God-man in any way that everyone will approve of. That ain’t gonna happen. (It would take a – a miracle! And then most people wouldn’t believe it anyway)

My definition of the Jesus of The Last Days in the Desert as being a “Boring-Arthouse-Existentialist Jesus” is certainly no disappointment with the very weighty performance of McGregor (The Satan part is addressed later). His acting was profound and very human. He really brought it with this portrayal of Jesus being tempted by the lust, the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life without being a sinner. Fair enough. A Jesus who, like many holy men, fasts in order to draw close to the God he feels out of touch with. A Jesus who wrestles with existentialist issues of presence and purpose, most akin to the Gethsemane scene of the dual natures in conflict.

Or is it?

The director, Rodrigo Garcia, who claims to not be a Christian, said that he could only understand Jesus’ human side. He questioned how could one portray the divine side anyway? Again, fair enough. At least he didn’t try to subvert Jesus into his opposite like the most recent abominable Noah and Exodus movies do with God and their human heroes.

Or did he? Continue reading

Interview with Cyrus Nowrasteh: Saved While Making the Movie The Young Messiah

YoungMessiahPoster

Okay, it wasn’t like a Damascus Road Zap, more of a culmination of a long journey ending in this movie.

I got to interview Cyrus Nowrasteh about the upcoming movie, The Young Messiah, that opens March 11. You HAVE to see this movie. It’s a thoughtful and dramatic exploration of Jesus and his human coming of age as the Son of God.

You can read my review of the movie here.
It opens next Friday, March 11.

Here is the interview…

Brian: Tell me about the Genesis of this project and its journey to the screen.

Cyrus: I remember having dinner in 2005 with my agent at CAA. He talked about his client Anne Rice coming out with a book called Christ the Lord, that is going to blow everyone’s mind, because at the time, she became born again, or whatever you want to call it. I thought it was a fresh and original take on Jesus, focusing on him entirely as a seven-year old child.

If you told me then, about 10 years ago, that I’d be making a movie from that book, I’d have told you you were on crack. For a slew of reasons. But [my movie] Stoning of Soraya M. came out in 2009. Anne Rice wrote a rave review of it. So I called the same agent. She thought I’d be perfect for it. I read it and fell in love with it. I contacted Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures. I worked with them in the past. They optioned the book, and developed the script with me attached to direct.

B: So it took over 10 years to get made. And that’s just the beginning of the miraculous things that would happen. What were the reasons that made you hesitate from making the movie at first?

C: First of all, she’s very prominent. She’s been writing best-sellers for over 40 years. She’s had movies made from her books. And her books are very expensive to acquire and get made. That was one reason. The other was what it was about. I had been on my own journey towards Christ for a long time, probably longer than I even know. But I certainly didn’t think I was prepared to tackle a project about Jesus, much less a very risky and challenging one, taking on a portion of his life that is considered the silent years. I knew that would be controversial.

Cyrus_Nowrasteh

Writer-Director Cyrus Nowrasteh

B: What unique issues did you face in adapting this book to a film?

C: She did a very challenging thing in the book. It was pretty gutsy. The entire book is written in the first person voice of Jesus. That was challenge number one. The other challenges were theological. Anne grew up Catholic. I didn’t know it at the time, that she used a lot of other sources. Some of them are apocryphal, and some of them are legends that come down about the childhood of Jesus in the vicinity of Alexandria going back 2000 years. The Coptic Christians still tell these stories about Jesus. She used everything and anything that she could find. And we felt, Betsy (wife and co-writer) and myself, that if we were going to write it, that we were going to have to reexamine those issues. We are not theologians or scholars. It was through multiple drafts, having friends and associates, theologians, people who we trusted, who came back with feedback. It took time for us to figure out how we could navigate those issues and still tell the story in a dramatic and compelling fashion.

[BG DISCLOSURE: I was one of those who read the script early on. To be honest, I knew Christians would not like it at that point in its development, because of some of the material they included. But as you read on, you’ll see how he and his wife co-writer changed it because of their spiritual journey. Good news! this movie is now totally Biblically consistent, even though it obviously takes creative license. I loved it.]  Read on to see what happened… Continue reading

Risen: An Unpredictable Hollywood Detective Thriller – and a Christian Apologist’s Dream Come True

Logline

A detective thriller about a Roman Tribune charged with the task of finding the body of Jesus Christ in order to stop an uprising after he is declared risen from the dead.

Not Your Father’s “Christian Movie”

Most “Christian movies,” especially ones about Jesus or the New Testament are cheap looking, cheesy, and quite honestly, tired and redundant.

I don’t even care to see them, and I’m a Christian.

Risen is NOT one of them.

It is NOT a “Christian movie,” filled with mediocre or bad performances of poor preachy writing and directing.

The Hero of the story is an unbeliever. But this is NOT the fake, stilted Kendrick brother’s version of an unbeliever.

Sorry for all those, “NOTs.” It’s just that there is so much baggage with the genre of Christian movies and Bible movies like this, that you have to realize just how different this movie really is.

Oh, and one more NOT. It is NOT another abominable subversion of the Biblical narrative and God like Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Now for what Risen IS.

Risen is an honest and truthful portrayal of a skeptical mind approaching the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And it is a fantastic story. It is an authentic fresh take on the Gospel from the unique perspective of an unbeliever.

Great writing, unpredictable story, strong acting, truthful and honest portrayal. Riveting drama.

To be honest, Risen is a Christian apologist’s dream come true. It is a narrative that dramatically and existentially incarnates the historical issues surrounding the resurrection of Christ in a much better way for today’s world than the logocentric “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” ever could (That’s not a knock on McDowell. It was good in its day). Of course, using the word “apologetics” in relation to a movie is dangerous, because of all the prejudice in the public against such an agenda. But so what. Atheists and other close-minded Bible haters and Christian bashers will still hate it, no matter how good the movie actually is.

And it is very good. Here’s why: Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Spotlight: What’s Worse, Pedophile Priests or Cardinals & Popes Who Protect Them?

Spotlight

Based on the true story of the special investigative reporting team of the Boston Globe that, in 2002, exposed the massive systemic cover up by the Roman Catholic Church of its pedophile epidemic among priests.

This story works like one of those old journalist procedural movies like All the President’s Men. While it’s a well told story, it’s basically a bunch of reporters running around asking questions to people and trying to get documents. I’m not saying it’s boring. It isn’t. It’s quite interesting. But certainly not worthy of a “best film” Oscar nomination. This one may be there for it’s political agenda against the Roman Catholic Church.

And I’m not saying that the Roman Church doesn’t deserve the condemnation. It clearly does. But when it comes to Oscars, a movie is more than an agenda. It’s the acting, the visual, the action, the immersive experience of the senses. This is something you see with The Revenant, but not with Spotlight.

Spotlight is good, but not great. Its agenda is important, but its artistic movie merits are not.

That said, this is truly one of those issues of corruption that is so disturbing, you cannot deny that it undermines the authority and credibility of the offending institution.

Here’s why… Continue reading

The Finest Hours: A Movie of Hope, Courage and Self-Sacrifice That Carries You Away

the-finest-hours_banner

OPENS THIS FRIDAY, JAN. 29

The 1952 true story of the most amazing small boat rescue in history. Two separate oil tankers break in half in the midst of a raging winter storm off the coast of Massachusetts. This is the story of the amazing captain and his crew who brave the crushing elements and impossible odds to save 32 crew members of one of those tankers. And on a boat that could only carry 20.

When I saw The Perfect Storm, I thought I had seen the true power of the sea and man against the elements.

Uh uh.

The Finest Hours blows that out of the water. It was a riveting adrenaline fest of the limits of courage and self-sacrifice that humanity can attain.

It’s a simple search and rescue story of impossible odds, but it is that simplicity that makes it so profoundly riveting. I won’t tell you what the obstacles were. That would spoil it. Suffice it to say that every obstacle that they encountered just made me open my mouth in wonder and say, “No way. There’s no way they’ll get through it.” Which is pretty dang good, considering you know the basic outcome going into the movie. That’s good storytelling.

And most of it really happened. Which makes it all the more amazing. But listen to this about the faith of the lead character… Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Bridge of Spies: A Conspiracy of Boredom

Bridge of Lies

Espionage legal yawner, I mean thriller. A common lawyer practicing insurance law is chosen by the U.S. government to defend a Communist spy during the Cold War. Then he is becomes the negotiator to trade that spy for the American pilot shot down in the U2 plane, Gary Powers.

I tried to watch this film. I really tried. I got half way through and just stopped out of sheer boredom. I think Spielberg must have been trying to make an old 1950s spy movie, complete with long boring shots of people walking to meetings and away from meetings, long drawn out scenes of talkie talking, and negotiations that are supposed to be interesting but aren’t. How they used to edit back in the 50s. It was 30 minutes too loooooong.

An Oscar nomination for best picture? What were they thinking?

And then I realized why it was. Modern Hollywood has a love affair with depicting Communist artists as victims, so they LOVE to award that sycophancy.

You can see Spielberg building a case for “due process” by trying to show that even Communist spies deserve a defense. Fair enough. But it’s always Communists. Let’s protect Communists, they’re really just a Boogeyman of the Right, anyway, right? I can’t wait to see a movie where they defend the right of Christian bakers and wedding photographers to due process. Oh, wait, that’s the real danger in America, Christian do gooders, not murderous Communists and Islamists. THEY don’t deserve due process.

I won’t be holding my breath for THAT movie.

And then he depicts all the Americans as wanting to skirt law because of their hard heartedness toward that poor little old Communist man who likes to paint pictures. He’s so sweet and gentle. Oh, he’s an artist too! The persecuted artists in the dark underbelly of 1950s America! While the heroic Everyman, named Donovan, played by heroic Everyman actor Tom Hanks (Although I can’t say I see him that way anymore) blunders his way through a world of “American Red Scare paranoia.” His neighbors become paranoid of him for defending a Commie. His son comes home paranoid, preparing for an atomic blast at home. All the terrible Paranoia! This is supposed to appear to be absurd to our modern eyes since we know it never happened. But the real truth is that it WAS a possibility and within their context, it was not outrageous or paranoid. The fact that it didn’t happen does NOT mean it could never have happened. It was a real possibility.

Communist denial in Hollywood is pandemic. I don’t think I have the stomach to watch Trumbo and the hero they will no doubt make out of that Communist traitor to America. Because after all, he was a poor little old Communist Artist.

This is just more of the moral equivalency of Spielberg that we got with Munich, where the Israelis were portrayed as morally equivalent terrorists for exacting justice on Palestinian terrorists.

But I sat back down and suffered through the rest of Bridge of Spies, because of my patriotic duty.

And though it was still boring, there were a few qualifying elements that countered the moral equivalency of the story. I must be fair, since I’m not a Hollywood Communist artist. First, there is an eerie moment near the end where Hanks is riding a train in East Berlin (The Communist side). He sees a group of people running to the Berlin Wall and trying to climb over to the West Side to freedom. He sees them all get shot by East Berlin guards. Then at the very end, when Donovan is home in America, he’s riding a train again. This time he sees a bunch of kids running to a fence and climbing it in their backyard. A brilliant counter image of freedom versus the captivity of Communism. So there IS a difference between the two worlds. They are not ultimately equivalent. I wonder if that was the Coen Brothers’ writing leaking through.

On the other hand, the U.S. government is portrayed as not caring about its own citizens. Donovan uncovers the opportunity to add another hostage to the negotiations, a stupid American student studying Marxist economics in Berlin. The US government guy handling the deal tells Donovan about 20 times that they don’t care about the student, just the pilot, forget the student, we don’t want him, leave him there, it’s his problem, we don’t care about American citizens, only our pilot, forget about him (we get the point, Steven). The irony is that the government guy was right. An American soldier POW is NOT the equivalent representative of the United States as a stupid American who deliberately hides out in enemy territory during war. Sorry, they ain’t the same.

On the other hand, the treatment of the American prisoner Gary Powers in Cuba was not portrayed as equivalent to the treatment of the Russian spy in America. Spielberg did show Powers being manhandled for information (child’s play compared to today), while the Russian was questioned humanely in America.

Okay, so I’ll grant it’s a somewhat nuanced moral equivalency.

And there is the fact that Donovan went on to negotiate the release of 9000 captives from Castro’s Cuba. So it was amazing that this average American guy got caught up in changing the world for the better.

Spielberg has made a legacy of brilliant storytelling by focusing on the ordinary common man who becomes a hero, and this is no exception. I can’t fault him for that.

But I can fault him for boredom.

If you want to see the reality of Communist spies in America during the Cold War, I highly recommend watching the Series, The Americans. It’s fantastic. it’s truthful.

And it’s not boring, I promise.

DragonKing6

OSCAR WATCH • The Big Short: A Big Racist Lie

Big Short

The “true” story of the housing bubble financial crisis of 2008, and how some financial investors saw it coming and sought to make money on it by doing something unheard of at the time: betting on the complete failure of mortgages instead of their success. This is called short selling.

The Big Short is a star studded cast of stellar performances, led by Christian Bale as the autistic type nerd investment broker who computed the numbers and was apparently the first to figure out that the housing mortgage market was going to crash. So he did his job, he figured out a way to make money if you knew something was going to crash, is to sell short, or bet against its success. Everyone thought he was crazy and thus a fascinating dramatic story with Oscar performances.

Look, the whole shebang is one big confusing mess for us normal people to follow and understand. There are a multitude of technical details of investing and finance that make the average person’s eyes glaze over trying to understand. One would think that such a movie about the petty details of finance would make for a boring movie.

And one would be wrong.

In the hands of the storytellers, The Big Short is a fascinating multidimensional tale that does a great job of simplifying the issues and even explaining them to the audience in creative ways to follow the emotional trail of what was going on. It’s kind of like Shakespeare. You watch it and you can barely understand what is going on as they explain it, but you’re mostly picking up the emotional storyline, without knowing fully what is being said. But that’s okay, cause you follow the drama with what little you can hold onto.

The writer director, Adam McKay, paints a masterful big picture that incarnates the notion of selling short even within the editing itself, where many scenes are cut away in the middle of sentences, giving the viewer the uncomfortable feeling of being cut short from what you were watching (loved that). He breaks the fourth wall every once in a while to explain the complex financial issues, with celebrities talking to the camera using metaphors. Like Anthony Bourdain in a kitchen describing the financial mess like hiding bad fish in a stew. It’s all quite brilliant and entertaining. Sometimes, we see what is happening on the screen and a character breaks aside to explain to us what is really happening that we don’t see, or how the real events were somewhat different from what we are seeing because they had to make it more entertaining for the movie. The conceit is brilliant and it works.

McKay made an otherwise complex tedious boring financial situation a fascinating clever simplified explanation for just long enough to follow the money.

The heart of the story is to show how banks and Wall Street are greedy and corrupt and how they exploited the regulatory system and the disadvantages of others in such a way that it crashed the system and brought on the massive financial crisis of 2008, ruining many Americans’ lives.

And it’s a big fat lie.

Oh, I don’t mean a factual Clinton type lie, as in “I did not violate the Espionage Act by sending classified emails through my private server.” But a contextual lie, a tricky half-truth lie. You know, the kind where everything you say is technically true, but ultimately a lie, because by leaving out the most important other half of the truth, you end up creating a false impression of what really happened. It’s manipulating true facts to create a falsehood.

Yes, Big Banks, and Big Business, and Wall Street were greedy and exploited the system, but the fact that was left out that changes everything was where it all originated. And that was in the Big Government regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led by Democrat Barney Frank, that forced those banks to give mortgage loans to poor minorities they knew could not pay them back. That’s where it all started, and that was completely left out of the movie. The banks were forced by the government to create the bubble that would ultimately burst. And all of it was done in the name of left wing so-called racial equality. It was supported by Clinton, Bush and Barak Obama.  (UPDATED. It was not Dodd-Frank, but Barney Frank led legislation before 2007.)

Here is the part they left out: Government hacks look at the fact that some minorities are not able to pay for homes with the same representation as others. Rather than looking at the moral value system that created and reinforces that poverty within those communities, they immediately blame the poverty on racism. They then marshal laws to force those banks to give more loans to unqualified poor and minorities in the name of “social justice” (a code word for fascism). But since they don’t address the moral values, the unqualified, mostly minority, debtors fail in their responsibility and are hurt or ruined by the policy. It’s racism, plain and simple. Racism is favorable or unfavorable prejudice based on race. It is perpetuating the problem instead of fixing it.

Ironically, one of the characters says in the film, “They will blame the crisis on immigrants and poor people, like they always do.” WTF?

Yet in the film, when it is describing the discovery of the problems, there is no reference to the fact that it was government enforcing racist policy that created the bubble to begin with. The Barney Frank led regulations are never mentioned in this film. They may have been alluded to, but I didn’t catch it, and I didn’t hear any explicit mention. It’s like the government only appeared at the end of the movie instead of the beginning.

One character speaks of the irresponsible tell tale signs of the crash, as if they are arbitrary occurrences without reference to why: Rock bottom FICO scores, no income verification, adjustable rates and collateralized debt obligation. But those were all allowed because the government forced the banks to ignore those very qualifiers in order to get more unqualified poor minorities to get loans they knew they could not pay back.

That wasn’t private greed that started that, it was big government left wing racist policy. The government sold poor minorities short and sent them to their financial doom in the name of helping them.

In the beginning of the film, there is a scene that paints the picture as if this whole bundling of bad mortgages with good mortgages was created out of thin air as a scheme to make money by banks or lenders. Yet, it completely ignores the fact that the banks and lenders were all forced by government regulation to take on those bad mortgages. I am certainly not excusing the greed of those who did so, but the other side of the coin is that unjust government regulation forced them to come up with ways to make money within the parameters of unjust law that created the bubble.

Here is a short article by smart financial dude, Michael Barone, that explains some of this left out truth, and the tragic reality that they are doing it all over again: Government Created the Housing Bubble Financial Crisis and Could Be Doing So Again.

Here is another great short article close to the actual crisis by Walter Williams reviewing Thomas Sowell’s book on the Housing Boom and Bust. If you don’t like reading and want to see a video watch Sowell explain it here. Now, I want you to be aware that both Williams and Sowell are black economists. And since public debate is now dominated by the Obama rules of political discourse, if you disagree with Williams and Sowell, you are a racist. 🙂

Just kidding. But the point is made that the real origin of the financial crisis was the racists who used the race card to short truth and justice, then shifted the blame to the greedy Big Business monsters who exploited that original crime. Affirmative action is racist and hurts minorities and the poor.

And that’s the Big Truth about Big Government left out of The Big Short.

DragonKing7

13 Hours: THIS is What Difference it Makes.

13-hours-movie-posterCombat Action. The true story from the perspective of the military contractors who rescued Americans in the terrorist attacks on the American embassy and CIA facility in Benghazi on 9/11 2012.

Woah. Michael Bay, you are forgiven of Transformers. In fact, all Michael Bay haters will have to stand down and admit that this phenomenal action movie is a well-told and entertaining story of American valor. No vain empty action, this is rich and full heroism. I think Bay is probably the only one who could get this movie made because no one can accuse him of political agenda in his filmmaking. He makes big action, and this is big action with a deep and human twist.

I guess other Hollywood directors couldn’t find a way to spin the story to make it George Bush’s fault.

13 Hours captures not only the fighting spirit of the warriors who stand for American values in a world of external totalitarianism and internal political corruption, but the human heart of those men, not perfect, but human, whose families and children also sacrifice for our safety. The moments we see of these hardened soldiers talking to their families over Skype are both enlightening and heartwarming. We see the goodness behind these bad asses. The entire story, they seek to do what is right even though they had an impossible task of discerning friend from foe, because of the chaos around them (a metaphor for the politics of the region). They are not heartless inhuman fighting machines, they are men with families who try their best to do what is right and suffer for their sacrifice. Yeah, sure they chose to do it. But they chose to do it, as one of the characters says, “To give myself something bigger to believe in.” Then he sadly admits the revelation of this decade, “That something bigger is gone now.” That is understated poetic indictment. Great writing.

The filmmakers, along with the original authors of the book, have said that they wanted to make an apolitical movie about what happened on the ground. A story of the heroism and courage of those 5 men and assorted others who helped them. It is true. This is as apolitical as you can get. And considering that most of Hollywood is rooting for Hillary Clinton, I can’t imagine a major studio willing to make a movie that revealed her political crimes that would deep six her. We’ll have to wait for a Republican administration for them to do that.

I admit, sometimes the truth gets through, and I want to be the first to trumpet that when it happens. Thank you, Paramount. You told some truth with 13 Hours. (for all those cynics who didn’t like me pointing out that they F’ed up with Noah, see? I don’t hold grudges. I’ll support you if you tell the truth.)

So the storytellers kept out any references to what was going on in the Obama administration and State Department in order to be apolitical. Ah, but herein lies the most subtle and brilliant subversion of all. By not showing what was going on in the administration, it reinforced the image of complete and utter silence and lack of response. They were nowhere to be found. They left these people to die. The fact that the movie shows complete silence on the part of Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, and any of their inferiors when it came to the cries for help is of course the most morally damning of all. That ain’t political, folks, that’s moral.

We see that Chris Stevens and the CIA chief kept calling for help, any kind of help. F-16s 45 minutes away, rescue 20 minutes away, A Blackhawk helicopter, even a lousy flyover, dammit. But all we see in response from Obama and Clinton is silence. We don’t even hear their names. Apolitical in a way because no one is referenced. But in a way, a moral indictment of the worst kind. Even to the very end of the story, where those remaining three heroes were the last to be flown out of the country, even THEN, it was a Libyan transport plane. “Still no Americans” to help them. And which Secretary of State is responsible for that heartless cruelty?

One brief statement in the film tells us that POTUS was briefed, and then we hear that State thinks it was Al-Sharia. We see that it is an orchestrated terrorist strike on the ground, yet we see the soldiers hear that the State Department told the public it was “protests about an anti-Islamic film.” Now, with Clinton’s criminal felonious emails uncovered, we know that she knew it was terror, and she deliberately denied it as terror in order to secure the second election of Obama.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton let those people alone to die.

Madamn Secretary, THAT is what the hell difference it makes.

Godawa’s Quibble Corner

There was one small element that I thought had big implications and worked against the theme of transcendence in the film, that belief in something bigger than ourselves. One of the soldiers reads a book by mythologist Joseph Campbell and quotes the phrase which becomes a tagline repeated in the story with thematic intent. “All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you.” Though this may seem to the storytellers to be profound wisdom that illustrates the grandeur of the human spirit, it actually undercuts any transcendence that this great story could have had. That statement illustrated Campbell’s relativistic worldview of immanence that actually denies transcendent purpose, destroys the human spirit while promising greatness within. Because you see, it rejects all transcendence of deity, all “higher purpose” or “something bigger than ourselves,” and replaces it with ourselves as our own gods, our own source of good and evil (“heaven and hell”). Hey, kinda sounds like the Serpent in the Garden, don’t ya think? (“You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”). This is the problem with Hollywood storytellers who seek transcendence for their stories, because they know in their souls there must be, but because they don’t believe in God, they create a substitute in humanity itself. Famous mythologists like Campbell aid the deception with their influence on the storytelling community, and you get that hunger for transcendence with an unsatisfactory tripe to fill that hunger.

But don’t let that ruin the movie for you. If you want to see the truth that the news media is hiding in order to help elect Hillary Clinton, then you must go see this movie. And even if you don’t like the truth, then see it cause it’s a kick ass action flick with real heart and soul. The best of all worlds.

In the Heart of the Sea: Greenpeace Whale Rights Blubbering

In-the-heart-of-the-sea-Banner

The so-called “true story” behind the fictional tale of Melville’s classic Moby Dick. White whale crashes evil human fishing party and hunts them down to teach them animal rights and earth worship.

Well, he’s at it again. Christophobe Ron Howard, the guy who made the hate hit piece on Jesus (and the Roman Catholics), The DaVinci Code, has just offered up a new sacrifice to the earth goddess, Gaia.

Howard and his writers bookends his tale with young Herman Melville tracking down a survivor of the whaleship Essex that was destroyed by a huge white whale, for the sake of research for his new novel. The monster whale is full of crusty sea barnacles and whaling wounds and has a preternatural ability to attack whaling ships out in the deep sea, thousands of miles from land.

The survivor being interviewed is a drunk who can’t live with himself because of the “abominations” the survivors had done. He tells his scary story and we see it all in flashback.

So, obviously, the whalers go awhaling, the white whale shows up and destroys their ship, casting them adrift, which forces them to become cannibals and thus shows them how evil it is to eat meat. But the privileged white “big Nemo” also shadows their lifeboats like an angry deity waiting to teach them a lesson.

And that is what the metaphor is all about. The white whale in this story represents the revenge of the animal world upon evil mankind that is slaughtering them for their oil. For whale oil fuels the lamps of the evil white Europeans.

This is earth worship versus the Judeo-Christian worldview, quite literally with a vengeance.

Before they launch off to their whaling expedition, we hear Christians praying that God will provide his blessings upon their industrial revolution (Of course, a demonized villain in Hollywood). So Christianity is One with the exploitation of energy resources to the storytellers.

At one point in the story, the captain, a young inexperienced blueblood jerk, tells the hero of the story that man is created as the pinnacle of creation and it is our calling by God to take dominion of the earth and bend nature to our wills. So, much like the idolatrous Noah movie, the two worldviews in conflict here are the Judeo-Christian ethic of dominion and the environmentalist/animal rights/earth worshipping ethic of pristine nature, unsullied by human interference. Or more accurately, human exceptionalism versus anti-humanism.

Can you guess which one wins?

Of course, in the end, the hero of the story, who became obsessed with killing the white whale, finally has his “come to Gaia” moment and refrains from his last chance to harpoon the leviathan. And of course, the ever-loving monster, who is apparently a fair and square kind of mammal, stops attacking them. You see? The poor whales just want to be left alone. They are more moral than us, and can teach us a lesson.

I am amused by how earth worshippers like to humanize animals (and nature) as if they are equally moral sentient creatures. That is because they really do believe that humans are NOT created in God’s image as the pinnacle of creation. But notice, they have to HUMANIZE the animals, because the reality is more like the documentary Grizzly Man, where the naïve animal rights activist gets eaten by the very bears he is deluded into thinking that he is the guardian of. Watch Grizzly Man. THAT is the ironic truth, folks.

At one point, the storyteller is talking of whale oil and he simply calls it, “oil,” an obvious connection with the so-called “evil” of fossil fuels. In fact, at the end, he says something like, “I hear they have found oil in the ground in the United States. Imagine that.” So the evils of the industrial revolution will move on from whale oil to crude oil.

Oh, Lordy, will man ever stop utilizing the earth for his own greedy survival? Why don’t we just lay down our energy needs and die? Let that pristine nature take over and eat us all in the wonderful circle of life that is survival of the fittest? It’s okay for sharks to eat whales, but we humans aren’t allowed to? After all, bending nature to benefit mankind is speciest, right?

Whale sh*t.

Earth worship has been eeking into Hollywood movies for some time now and it is going to be more ubiquitious as a theme. The rising god of Hollywood is the earth, and if the ancient history of earth worship is anything to go by, these idolaters are violent and will not stop until they have enslaved or destroyed everybody. (This same antihuman theme of the earth as a divine being “getting revenge” on humans is in The Happening. But in other movies, it’s localized in a substitute deity, like aliens in The Day the Earth Stood Still, or in a subverted Biblical Creator in Noah, Evan Almighty, and others)

Hollywood social justice warriors rant about how evil oil is, while burning a thousand times what normal people use, and spewing out more carbon emissions than anyone else with their huge mansions and private jets. It’s more than hypocritical. It’s despicable. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with riches. And I don’t believe carbon is pollution (if you do, you are a science denier). But these mostly white, all privileged, aristocratic fascists love to force others to suffer while they live “above the morality” of the plebeian class. Where is Bernie Sanders when you need him?

Environmentalist policies are already murdering poor black people by the MILLIONS in third world countries, precisely by keeping oil from them (as well as other policies). Earth worshippers believe in saving the whales, but let those poor people of color die to maintain their crusading fanaticism. Paul Driessen is blowing the whistle on this genocidal environmentalism. By liberal standards of outcome distribution, environmentalism is racist to the core.

It is the Judeo-Christian ethic of dominion that desacralized nature and allowed man to rise up out of the depraved self-destructive barbarism of earth worship and other idolatries. It allowed us to harness nature for the good of mankind, which resulted in science and technology that advanced civilization and brought about everything that the earth worshippers rely upon, from medicine to travel to safe living to their smart phones. Check out the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and get educated. The computer screen you are reading this on is because of fossil fuels.

And no, I am not now, nor have I ever been a card carrying member of the oil cartel, nor have I ever been knowingly paid by oil interests (but if they want to pay me for telling the truth, I’ll gladly take it).

But, boy, there sure are billions and billions of dollars in the pockets of those paid by Big Green and Big Government to deny science and suppress the facts (There are many reputable scientists and researchers who are exposing this Big Green corruption: Climate Change Dispatch, Climate Audit, Dr. Roy Spencer, Science and Public Policy Institute, Climate Depot, Climate Etc, Watts Up With That? And others.

Cornwall Alliance is the best in providing a Judeo-Christian approach to a balanced proper conservation of the environment with human interests.

Yes, we must be careful to regulate our energy usage and waste. But don’t be a fool. Energy consumption is not inherently evil, it is scientifically axiomatic to existence. All living systems create waste as a by-product of the conversion of energy into life. So the only way for us to achieve the ultimate end of a pristine nature untouched by human waste is of course to extinguish all of humanity.

Saints and Strangers: Fantastic Mini-Series on the Pilgrims. No P.C. B.S.

Saints and Strangers

The story of the Mayflower’s arrival in America in 1620 and the civilization that began from it.

I saw an advance screening of the dramatic narrative mini-series called Saints and Strangers. If you want to bring a fresh and inspirational understanding to your Thanksgiving holiday, then you must catch this two part series starting November 22 on the National Geographic Channel. It was informative, riveting, and truthful. I teared up with encouragement at some of the moments of faith and righteousness depicted in this film.

Leave it to South Africa and unknown writers and directors to create a faithful, fair and nuanced portrayal of the origins of American civilization, because Hollywood probably couldn’t do it without a hate spin against Judeo-Christianity and western civilization.

As it is, this story is rich and layered with flawed humanity and high aspirations of transcendence and righteousness. About 130 souls arrive on the shores of the New World in the Mayflower. Not all were religious separatists seeking asylum from religious oppression in England. There were others more secular, yet governed by Judeo-Christian notions of civilization. So the story is rife with dramatic tension between the believers and unbelievers who debate quite openly about their understanding of God and divine providence. Not the religious fanatics you were taught in school and college.

For those not familiar with the history, Saints and Strangers charts their journey from the ocean trip to their landing, settling, meeting the indigenous tribes, facing near obliteration by starvation, rescue by Squanto, as well as the fears, conflicts, and reconciliation with the Native American tribes.

First off, the portrayal of faith in this story is fair and truthful, but also honest and nuanced. The saints certainly start out sounding like strangers to our modern ears with their dedication to Christian values. And they are not perfect nor sinless. But the depiction of their fears, failures and moral struggles maintains the dignity of their faith thoughout the entire story.

They steal corn from one of the native tribes’ storage areas, which brings about hostility. But they did so understandably from starvation and the need to survive. The Pilgrims later apologize to the tribe and even offer restoration for their behavior. This isn’t modern Leftist reparations of theft and forced redistribution of distant ancestors’ wealth. This is Biblical restoration of taking responsibility for one’s own actions and repaying those directly affected by an offense.

William Bradford, the longtime governor of the colony, was amazingly portrayed with integrity as a godly man of faith who sought God’s righteousness as well as peace with the native tribes. But he is not condescending of the unbelievers in their group or the locals, nor is he self-righteous. He struggles over the need to defend themselves against savage attacks, and the need to apply corporal punishment to maintain authority and civilization. And all in submission to God’s ways. He chooses the right path most of the time, but not without its price on such a righteous soul. I have not seen such a truthful portrayal of a good and godly yet imperfect man in a long time. Because of Bradford’s Christian charity in tending to the native wounded after a battle (against the wishes of the secularists), that tribe finally decides to accept peace. Bradford is no pacifist, but he is no warmonger. He is a godly man who struggles to do what is right. But what is right is not always amenable to secular or pagan understanding.

This story is not a “whitewashing” nor is it a hit piece. And that’s what makes the faith in the story so powerful. Because it faces reality, admits weakness, but ultimately elevates the value of faith in God and the need for transcendence.

The portrayal of this single Christian character, Bradford, as flawed but ultimately heroic and just is a truly righteous feat of originality in an American story world that seems dominated by corrupt anti-heroes, nihilist darkness and Christophobia. Since Christians aren’t allowed representation as a Hollywood victim group, we’ll just have to make our voice known by supporting shows like this.

Probably the most powerful moment for me captured the essence of these pilgrims. At a particular time when the settlers are starving (eventually, they will humbly receive help from Squanto about agriculture), one of the men says to a woman, that with the death of one of the best men, Winslow, his purpose has died with him. The woman schools the faithless man, (and I quote) “Not so. It is the service of the divine that gives us both purpose and salvation. I am alone, but I have the Lord, and so I have purpose. Everyone else can vanish in an instant, but He is constant.”

WOW.

I have chills writing that. And I cried when I watched it. Especially in its brutal context that we have been experiencing with these courageous souls.

But there were many perspectives in this fledgling community, and all views were given voice in this story in a fair way, as they all struggled to survive, Christian and secularist alike. But also the native tribes…

Anyone acquainted with real history and the truth of human nature will know that the Native American tribes were just as human all too human as everyone else. And the honest portrayal of the tribes in this story is no less honest than the portrayal of the Christians and Europeans. In a way, Saints and Strangers is a brilliant title because everyone in the story considers themselves the saints and the others to be strangers, including the pagans and secularists.

The tribes understandably react with hostility when the westerners steal their corn, but they too have their own failures of bigotry and self-righteousness in the process. Their ethic is power and while they school the Pilgrims in survival, the Pilgrims school them in grace. We are given an inside view of the politics of the tribes who are jockeying for status, manipulative, power hungry and even just as “self-superior” as every other human tribe on earth. There are good tribesmen and bad tribesmen, just as there are good westerners and bad westerners. Heck, some of natives are actually complex real humans who don’t fall into simple categories. But this isn’t moral equivalency either. Some tribes were more peaceful and others really were savages. All this is depicted fairly and accurately in Saints and Strangers.

This is not the Left Wing bigotry and anti-colonialist neo-Marxist agenda that divides the New World into the black and white categories of Native/pagan: Good, European/Judeo-Christian: Bad.

There is a moment when one of the Indians mentions that this is “their land,” as if they own it because they were there first. But this view isn’t validated in the story. It’s fair to depict that view because some no doubt believed it (even though the Native Americans lacked a substantial view of land ownership), but it certainly has no support from an evolutionary worldview of the Great Chain of Being and survival of the fittest. And without the Christian God, “first come = ownership” remains an unsupportable arbitrary claim of power. Without a true transcendent standard, there is no such thing as “ownership,” there is only the Will to Power.

But I digress philosophically.

Squanto, because of his peculiar journey of being kidnapped, enslaved, but then redeemed by the “white man,” is a prime influence on communication between the strangers. Of all men, he would have been most likely to hate the European crackers, but he does not. He brings them together. Yet, even he is depicted as having questionable motives at times, a complex character, more like real history than legend. It is here that multiculturalists will find their hero, as if Squanto represents the reconciliation through non-judgmental unity with other cultures. But I see him more as a Christian convert who has encountered a superior God and civilization and seeks to keep his people from being destroyed by their own backwardness and ignorance.

If typical “Hollywood” types would have made this picture, the Pilgrims would have been Westboro Baptist colonialist imperialists, Indian killers who came to achieve genocide with disease, and take the land away from the Native Americans who were peace-loving environmentalists at one with nature and superior to the barbarism of western Judeo-Christian culture. This historical moment would be a microcosm of the source of our own modern day polarity of separation and hatred and violence, with our only hope being a return to the pagan earth god.

Thank God for the South Africans.

One thing not made clear in the story is that the “Separatists” were not people who withdrew from society because of religious fear of the “other.” They were called Separatists because they believed in their right to worship separately from the Church of England. That is a subtle but very important difference that modern day anti-religious bigots do not grasp. Their “separatism” was for religious freedom, not moral self-righteousness.

Despite all my praise for the depiction of Christianity in this story, there is a voice for the secular multiculturalist as well. The character who changes the most in the story is the secular Stephen Hopkins, who starts out a selfish greedy exploiter, but ends up apologizing to the natives, and regretting “taking their land, stepping on their gods, and glorifying ours.” He even gives the standard moral equivalency line, “Whose to say who the savages are. I used to see black and white, now everything is gray.” But that’s okay. I only ask for a fair portrayal of Christianity within that complex world of views. Life isn’t always black and white, and there is some truth in the claim that we all share the same fallen nature within the right context. I think this story provides that proper context because in the end, it is the Christian values of humility, respect for law and authority, grace, and redemption that bring about the salvation and reconciliation within and between the communities.