April 1, 2000
ACADEMY AWARDS PEDOPHIA, BISEXUALITY,
Hollywood thumbed its nose at traditional
Christian values and the outrage of thousands of educators, political
and religious leaders over the decadence, immorality and violence of so
many movies by giving ''American Beauty'' Academy Awards sweep for best
picture, director, actor, screenplay, and cinematography.
''American Ugly,'' profiles a middle-aged,
burned-out advertising writer who lusts after a teenage friend of his
daughter, quits his job and descends into an unbelievable pot-smoking,
iron-pumping hamburger flipper who's murdered by his adulterous wife. A
pedophile as a leading man?
Hilary Swank, in accepting Best Actress Award
for her deceitful, cross-dressing role in ''Boys Don't Cry,'' prayed for
the day when America ''would celebrate its diversity.'' ''The Matrix,''
an excessively violent film, gathered four technical awards for visual
and sound effects.
''Not caring about our youth seemed to be the
theme of the awards, which passed over positive and redemptive movies
for movies that pushed a vicious, mean-spirited, homoerotic agenda and
even the `neo-nazi throw the baby into the incinerator agenda' of John
Irving's ''Cider House Rules'' says Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of the
Christian Film and Television Commission. He was referring to an
abortionist who incinerates babies yanked from the womb, a part
portrayed by Michael Caine who won for best supporting actor.
Even The New York Times summed up the Awards
with a headline, ''According to Oscar, Nation's Psyche a Mess.'' The
Times wrote, ''17 Oscar nomination went to moves that demonstrate the
national obsession with nuts...Once upon a time, the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences honored movies about tightly knit
clans....This year no less than 12 nominations have gone to movies about
fractured families....Heroism is dead.''
Interestingly, the American public voted with
its feet for wholesome films with genuine heroes, such as ''Tarzan.''.
The ten films with the largest box office receipts were all ''aimed at
families and had moral content; in fact 40 percent had strong Christian
content,'' reports Baehr in ''Movieguide,'' a monthly magazine.
Among the public's winners were ''The Phantom
Menace'' which netted $430 million in sales without any nudity, alcohol
and little blood in which good guys win, giving a strong moral content
and redemptive elements. ''Toy Story 2'' earned $208 million and was
Baehr's pick as the best 1999 Film For Families for including such
elements as ''love, compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation,'' while
being a fast-paced funny adventure story, featuring a character who
gives up his life for others.
By contrast, ''American Beauty'' had earned
only $73 million at the time of its nomination, and ''Cider House
Rules,'' $23 million.
Movieguide's pick for the best film for mature
audience was ''The Straight Story'' whose 79-year-old Richard Farnsworth
was one of the few also nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.
This true story tells of Alvin Straight who learns that his estranged
brother has had a stroke. He decides to visit his brother who lives 360
miles away. He has no driver's license, and doesn't like public
transportation. So he mounts his lawn mower tractor and slowly drives to
see him. Alvin helps all those he meets along the way to understand
biblical truth in a warm way.
Another film that was nominated for ''best
picture'' by the Academy Awards that was also ranked highly by
Movieguide is ''The Green Mile,'' starring Tom Hanks as the chief prison
guard of death row called ''the green mile.'' One day an enormous black
man named John arrives on death row, who demonstrates a miraculous
ability to heal others. ''There are many strong Christian references to
faith in God, church going, faithfulness in marriage and recognition of
God's healing power,'' writes Movieguide.
Movies matter - for good or ill. On Jan. 13,
1999 a teenage boy fatally stabbed his mother that the boy admitted was
inspired by the horror movies ''Scream'' and ''Scream II.'' The U.S.
Supreme Court has allowed a shooting victim's family to sue movie
director Oliver Stone over charges his movie, ''Natural Born Killer''
that inspired a real life crime spree.
But the good news is that the number of movies
with a pro-Christian theme has soared from only one ten years ago to 98
last year, thanks in part to Ted Baehr.
You may see Baehr's reviews on TBN or hear him
on Christian radio stations. If you would like to know as a parent
practical ways you can help your child cope with the media, consider
buying his book, ''The Media-Wise Family'' for $13.95 or subscribe to
Movieguide for $40 by writing Movieguide, Box 190010, Atlanta, GA 31119.
Copyright 2000 Michael J. McManus.