?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Saved... as in from a crappy movie - Something cheesy this way comes [The Franchise] [Sarah] [Ari EB] [Elanit] [ALG] [Alon] [Yutopia] [Code Monkey Ramblings]
April 23rd, 2006
12:07 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Saved... as in from a crappy movie
Sarah and I watched Saved! tonight. Good God, that movie was weak and cliched. I gave it a D+ (only due to some entertaining one-liners and situations). Sarah gave it a C- (I guess she thought the jokes were funnier than I did...)

This movie came across as a whole bunch of overly-secular folks' idea of how rotten religious Christians are - it might have been nice if they had managed to have one character whose religion was a redeeming or enlightening facet of his/her life. The closest thing Patrick, but his religion was tacked on like an afterthought - very much the way someone who isn't religious would imagine a "good" religious person to be.

The movie touched a couple of great points, which merited serious (or at least more honest) discussion - the conversation between the mother and daughter where the mother describes unwed motherhood as something which might ruin her life, and the response is "did I ruin your life?" touches a raw nerve, and that is a real question. There are lots of parents who resent the impositions and enforced lifestyle changes which their children have forced on them. (For a fascinating exchange on the topic of regretting children, check out the comments on this thread). Another point which unfortunately gets lost in the polemic is the idea of Mercy House being not a treatment center for troubled children, but a comfort for parents of troubled children. Now, that's something profound, and there's something there which could have been explored. But alas, the "Christian" principal is not allowed to condemn the Mercy House kids for stealing the van and crashing the prom. Why not? Because the question of condemning theft gets conflated with his disapproval of homosexuality. Hello! "Thou shalt not steal"? Heck, forget about that - where were the cops on the heels of that van? I'm pretty certain that if 10 kids stole a van from a troubled kids home, the home would try to do something about it...

Saved! seems to posit the idea that faith is some black&white binary thing, where you have on one side a self-centered hypocritical faith, and the other an easy-breezy anything-goes hedonism - all or nothing. Plus, the characters are merely peeled-off examples of template "rebel" "hypocritical religious girl" "clueless mother" etc. The only one who was particularly worth watching was Macaulay Caulkin's Roland. Now I could watch more of him, because he actually seemed to have some depth. The change he underwent seemed completly natural, and his interaction with Cassandra and his sister was wholly believable. As an aside, Cassandra is interesting, but has to be the least-believable Jewish character in the history of filmmaking - being Susan Sarandon's daughter isn't helping, as she neither looks nor acts Jewish. Plus: she had gotten kicked out of all the other schools, so her parents were thinking of home schooling her? now, I'm a believer in home schooling, and would encourage it for anyone up to it, but boy, if there's something which is just not done in the Jewish world, that's it. Her Judaism comes across like Patrick's Christianity - a convenient prop for someone else to identify which character is meant, but not actually an identity. Some research leads me to a speculation about this: the author of the movie, Brian Dannelly, had a brush with Judaism in a summer camp. So perhaps this was a young secular boy's impression of how Judaism made people turn out. meh. Cassandra would have been more believable had she been an athiest - perhaps with embarrased yuppie parents or something (to explain why she'd end up in an egregious Christian school), but as a Jewish character, she's flat. Now, if the whole movie had been centered on Roland and Cassandra, it would have been a lot more interesting than centering it on Mary, it would have been more compelling.

So all in all, disappointing. Eeh, maybe better next time.

Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: John Ireland, "Hippopotamus"
Tags: ,

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:aitchmark
Date:April 24th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
Haven't seen it, but your discussion of it is interesting enough to rent it just to get more out of what you're saying.

Well, it would be if I hadn't had enough of movies & TV shows that seem to come from what a "whole bunch of overly-secular folks' idea of how rotten religious" *anybodies* are.

This sentence of yours really struck me: "So perhaps this was a young secular boy's impression of how Judaism made people turn out."

Do you get the sense that there's an odd kind of utilitarianism in some of the secular American resentment of religion? (It might be there in other regions too, but I want to stick to what I have experienced directly.) For all the complaints that religion attempts to mold obedient little moral robots who do what they're told, the real resentment seems to come from the (admittedly true) observation that religious folk aren't perfect; that we don't live up to our own standards perfectly...and therefore our whole system is invalid, because it *doesn't* grind out perfectly obedient people.

I'm not much for plastic letter sign theology, but the phrase "A hospital for sinners; not a museum for saints" does capture one central essence of Christianity--that the church is not for Always Good People, but for those who acknowledge their inadequacy to make themselves good on their own. I definitely defer to you on this, but it seems to me there's a considerable body of Jewish teaching about how to pick ourselves up after falling and move forward the best way we can as well. (I welcome expansion and correction of my understanding.)

The most loving people I know are neither repelled by the sins of others or indulgent of them...but compassionate, concerned, and hopeful that a precious life can somehow be turned around.

I guess that sort of behavior doesn't make for much of a story line.
[User Picture]
From:thegameiam
Date:April 24th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmm - I hadn't thought of it in utilitarian terms. I had always seen it as a knee-jerk defensiveness; something like a "baby with the bathwater" effect. I remember that back in my Athiestic days, I was convinced that I was smarter than all those religious people (right... smarter than Newton or Da Vinci I'm sure...) were - I was remarkably convinced that religion was a crutch for the weak-minded.

Since I grew up, I realize exactly how stupid and self-limiting I was.

There does seem to be a bit of binary thinking on the part of the relentlessly secular: "if religion / religious people aren't perfect, then religion must be false."

With regard to repentance, Judaism's got that in spades: the concept of T'shuva (repentance/return) is central to the Jewish concept of reward and punishment. The Talmud says that "in the place where a penitent (former) sinner stands, the most rightous cannot" (i.e. are not worthy to). There is an absolute understanding that living a morally and legagally correct lifestyle is hard, and temptations are many and, well, tempting.

I always thought that Paul misunderstood the concept of t'shuva - his writing seems to be crying out for forgiveness, but tinged with a disbelief that God will forgive those who transgresses against him (that is, with the intervention of Jesus, which Jews unsurprisingly don't see as a requirement).

The Jewish view can be summed up as "For sins against God, the Day of Atonement atones; for sins against man, restitution and interpersonal forgiveness is required." So what that means is that we don't require any particular punishment for the person who has a secret love of bacon, but the thief must repay what he stole before forgiveness can be granted. (That's part of why I was so upset about the whole Abramoff thing). Some sins do become unforgivable during a person's life - murder, for instance, because it requires the forgiveness of the person who was murdered.

Also, if you've asked three times, sincerely, for forgiveness, after making restitution, then the person who won't forgive becomes the one at fault, because s/he is transgressing the law requiring forgiving the penitent (as God forgives the penitent - yet another imitateo Dei example)
[User Picture]
From:aitchmark
Date:April 28th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thank you. This fits nicely with what I have absorbed loosely over the years.
[User Picture]
From:efratti
Date:April 24th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)

Saved: B

(Link)
I saw the movie nearly two years ago, so I do not remember it in as much detail. But, I definitely enjoyed it more than you did.

While I recall some of the characters being plastic, I think I liked it b.c it made me nostalgic for HS. Having attended two rigidly religious high schools, the movie seemed to characterize at least some of the things that genuinely go on in those settings. We did not have anything so bizarre, but some of the characters were typecast pretty well.

How funny to be posting a comment on your blog while your solo in King of Falafel is playing on the iTunes on my computer :)
[User Picture]
From:thegameiam
Date:April 24th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Saved: B

(Link)
hehehehehehe - awesome juxtaposition :)

actually, I bet that you can get much better falafel than I can...
[User Picture]
From:efratti
Date:April 24th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)

Re: Saved: B

(Link)
Yeah, pretty funny. We're so far away and I still feel surrounded by you :)

You'll just have to visit to sample of the falafel here. I am editing my next post that includes a description about the *kosher* pizza place that is directly across from my apt. The abundance of kosher food rocks here.
[User Picture]
From:thegameiam
Date:April 24th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Saved: B

(Link)
For no apparent reason, none of the falafel places in DC can figure out that putting fries in the pita/laffa is something which appeals to customers... :P
The Franchise Powered by LiveJournal.com