At the Movies: Honorable Mentions…
We recently finished a series called “At the Movies.” Unfortunately, with that series we cannot record the messages because during this series we take popular movies that have spiritual themes, and unpack spiritual things in these movies. Movies are such an important part of our culture. Of course, there is huge business, making a lot of money. And for most of us, there is just something we can connect with and the question is, “Why?” I believe the reason is because we are spiritual beings, these movies are made by spiritual beings, and the fingerprints of Jesus are all over most movies, if we look for Him.
As in everything, there are three categories of things in the secular world. There are things we can receive, because they are obviously good. There are things we can redeem (I would say most movies are in that category – In other words, most movies have some bad content but at the same time they will have content that is very uplifting, very edifying, and you can redeem them). Then, there are things that you reject. There are certain movies that I would never suggest to you guys. We would never present these movies because the themes are so crass. They encourage negativity and sinfulness instead of any of the principals of light. For instance, you are never going to hear me suggest Fifty Shades of Gray or any derivative of a movie like that. It’s going to be really hard to find Jesus in those silk ties of Fifty Shades of Gray. Enough said there.
Unfortunately, when we do this series, there are three, or sometimes four weeks. This year it was four weeks. We don’t want it to be too long because we always want the focus to come back to Jesus, and not anything else. So we have to pick and choose very carefully. If you haven’t been a part of this series, and you want to watch those movies, week one was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the most recent Star Wars movie. It is a great movie about good versus evil. But even more so, I see the theme of destiny, and how that God is reaching out to us. Week two, we talked about The “Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part II.” Many of you have probably read the books and seen some of the movies. It is a different world that is divided very sharply into the visions and districts. In the world they are in, you don’t go out of your zone and some of the districts are extremely impoverished. In the last of the movies, we see the heroine in the movie wrestling with the concept of what is good, what is evil, and what does sacrifice mean. She has to discern those things. After The Hunger Games, we did “Zootopia” as our kids film; a fun film about animals having humanity. In the movie there is tension between animals that are different than other animals, and we talked about coming together and being unified with people that are very different than us. The last Sunday of the series, we talked about a movie called “Race.” “Race” is based on the life of Jesse Owens, a young African American man who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. We witnessed his decision to stand strong for what he believed in, to stay in his lane, and to not bow down to the enormous pressures around him. Many people were pressuring him not to go, because they felt like his decision to go to Nazi Germany was condoning what Hitler was doing. We used the story to talk about listening for the voice of God, and being who He has called you to be.
While, those were the movies we looked at, here were our honorable mentions, which I’ve divided by category.
Action Movies – Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War.
If you are into action movies, there were a couple of great action movies this year that definitely have spiritual themes. “Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice.” Honorable mention. In this film, if you haven’t seen it, Superman is very comparable to a Jesus figure. He is wrestling with the fact that people are rejecting him as they did Jesus. They’re afraid of him, and confused about his power. Batman, in the film, represents humanity. He has been broken, he has been hurt, and he is very suspicious of this person who has the powers of God. In the film, the two of them come together to fight a common evil, a very real evil. There are incredible themes of friendship, and I don’t want to ruin the film, but we have a very strong resurrection Jesus moment in this film. A little slow at the beginning, but fantastic.
The other action honorable mention is “Captain America: Civil War.” Hands down, the best action movie I have seen that is a comic book movie. And for me who watches all of them, that is a pretty big deal! This is a great movie about friendship, a lot of themes on ‘how do you choose who is right?’ Captain America has to choose, do I stand with an old friend, or do I stand with a new friend? Which one is right? The themes of friendship, and staying true to your integrity are heavy in this film. Both of these films you could watch with children, but I would say they need to be ten or older. Not a lot of language, but most certainly a lot of violence in both of those films that maybe you wouldn’t be comfortable with your five or six year old watching.
Kid Films: Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda 3.
There were a lot of amazing kids films as well. The Good Dinosaur was a fantastic film again about two very different people coming together, a dinosaur, and a cave boy, and there was tensions between the two because cave men killed dinosaurs to eat them. Beautiful movie. I think you’ll really see the importance of friendship and standing with your friends, standing for what’s right, it’s all over that. And your kids will love it if they haven’t seen it.
Inside Out. One of the most interesting kid movies I think that Disney has ever done. You literally go inside a child’s mind and try to figure out how their emotions work. It is about a child learning that sadness is a necessary emotion for grownups. Fantastic, fun, colorful, beautiful kids movie that I think you will like. And it’s really deep for adults, too. And if you’re a parent, you see a lot about how parents emotions work as well.
The third one is Kung Fu Panda 3. I love Kung Fu Panda because I’m a Jack Black fan. Do not hate me for that. Every since the days of Nacho Libre. I’m sorry, I just like him! But this movie is fantastic in showing you have to own your identity. This movie has very overt spiritual themes. They are not Jesus themes, but there is a scene in the movie where he kind of accepts this spiritual awakening, and almost kind of explodes with power. I see that and I’m like “That’s what happens with us and the Holy Spirit!” We are so much more than this flesh and bones that most of the time we see ourselves as being. Very strong themes. And a lot of family themes as well because in this movie, he finally finds his family. He has been looking for them in the first two movies. He finds them in this movie.
I hope that you will watch movies with spiritual eyes. I hope that you watch TV with spiritual eyes and do everything with spiritual eyes. Because the fingerprints of God are every where if we have eyes to see Him.