What Would Jesus Watch?
The Christian Film & Television Commission recently completed a five-year study concluding that moviegoers increasingly prefer films with conservative themes. I contacted the organization seeking more info and was e-mailed a document that listed the average yearly grosses of films in the following categories: Pro-Capitalist, Patriotic/Pro-American, Very Strong Morality, Anti-Capitalist, Politically Correct, Anti-Patriotic/Anti-American, Socialist, Communist, Very Strong Atheism, Very Strong Feminism, and Very Strong Homosexuality. The document was troublingly short on specifics: while we were told that socialist films enjoyed an average gross of $44.2 million in 2003, there were no examples given of what these surprisingly successful socialist films were. Seeking further enlightenment, I called Dr. Ted Baehr, the chairman of the organization as well as the publisher of the conservative magazine Movieguide.
OC Weekly: I found a few Christian newspapers and websites that ran articles about your study, but I was wondering if it's been picked up by the more mainstream media. Ted Baehr: That's a good question. I know Fox News did a story about it. But I'm really not the person to ask about that. I'm working on a book right now, and my attention is focused on that in addition to dealing with interviews like this as they come up. I've been rather busy with that, you know, so [laughs] I talk to you and then I forget about you. I see. Well, your study is rather short on specifics. You report on the average yearly grosses of what you call "Politically Correct" movies, etc., but you don't give any examples.
It sounds like you're not looking at our complete study. We looked at every film we could find that came out during this period, exhaustive analysis looking at everything from soup to nuts. After we're done here, I'll put you through to Tom. He can provide you with the more detailed report.
I'd be very interested to see that, but in the meantime, I do have some more general questions about this report. For instance, what is this genre of "Politically Correct" movies? Could you give me some titles?
I think everyone knows what politically correct means. Humanist, Marxist, Socialist . . . films that run contrary to common sense. I could turn on my computer and look up specific titles for you, but there's no point. You can look up all of this information yourself in the report.
I'll do that. I noticed in the abbreviated report you sent that the average yearly grosses of "Socialist" movies have apparently been increasing every year, from $6.7 million in 1999 to a whopping $44.2 million in 2003. You say audiences prefer movies with conservative themes, but it sounds like these socialist films are becoming more popular all the time.
Well, I noticed that development in the study, too, but obviously these things do shift over time. There are aberrations, but from our more detailed analysis, the long-term trends are quite clear. Charting these things isn't rocket science . . . although I am a former rocket scientist. American audiences are becoming fed up with this secular, feminist, Marxist, politically correct entertainment.
What do you say to the success of raunchy comedies like theAmerican Pie orScary Movie franchises, or violent horror films likeFreddy vs. Jason? Those are hardly traditional family films.
Those films you mentioned might make more than $100 million, but you won't find them in the top 10 or the top 15 films of the past five years. You really need to look at the full study, and all of this will become clear.
Okay. Well, you said you could put me through to somebody named Tom, and he could hook me up with the full report?
Have a great day. Bye-bye. [Baehr hangs up.]
Uh . . . hello? . . . Dr. Baehr?
Rings: When they pray-approved!
I called back a few minutes later, and this time, I was put through to Tom. He said he'd e-mail me the full study. As of this writing, I've yet to receive it.
Editor's note: Should the full study ever arrive, check this space for "What Would Jesus Watch? The Sequel."
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.