It was no surprise at all when G.C.B. recently premiered on the ABC television network. The show is based on a book written by Kim Gatlin entitled Good Christian Bit...s. The TV series follows the exploits of what seems to be some sort of gross characterization of Christian Women living in Texas. There is still some confusion surrounding the actual title of the series apart from the initials. Some sources say it follows the original book title, but others point to promotional material from ABC which indicates that the expletive in the book title has been replaced with Belles.
Although we still live in what I believe to be a largely conservative and religiously tolerant nation, the Media Moguls living on the East and West Coasts of America are living up to their very own stereotype of believing that anything liberal and anti-Christian will play well on TV or in the movies. These are the same people that probably believe that everyone living in between those coasts or that are conservative in their faiths or political views are stupid and need to be told what to believe and watch.
Bad news for the Moguls: Anti-Christian and shock titles for TV shows don't seem to be catching on with audiences. GCB and other TV series with expletives or shock statements in their titles are tanking and doing it fast. Not only are viewers not interested, but those offended enough to let the Sponsors of those shows know how they feel are succeeding in getting them to pull their ads from those programs. On the other hand we have the little Christian movie that could.
'October Baby' turned out to be a big hit at the box office when it recently premiered on a limited number of USA theater screens. This was the orphan project that no one in Hollywood wanted to adopt. All the big studios turned it down and I guess that none of the allegedly open-minded semi-big name independent studios, producers or decision makers wanted any part of it either. While Hollywood was busy churning out their usual fare of dirty, depressing and downright unpatriotic films, Director Jon Erwin was trying to get the uplifting story that no one wanted to tell on to the big screen.
Erwin says he is not an anti-Abortion activist. He is just someone who saw the emotional and inspiring story of a woman who discovers that she was almost aborted, but instead given up for adoption at the last moment and he knew that 'October Baby' was a movie that just had to be made. It's not just about life choices, but about faith in Christ. The pro-life and Christian faith aspects of the movie were enough to keep it from even being considered by Tinsel Town Big Wigs.
It was occasionally gratifying to watch movies with some Christian elements like Chariots of Fire make it through the Hollywood 'Hatred Of All Things Christian' Machine back in the day, but that doesn't happen too often and hardly ever occurs anymore. Most Bible-believing Christians have had to be satisfied with films like The Hiding Place or more recent productions such as the Left Behind film series which somehow managed to make it to the public in spite of and not because of their Christian themes.
I do not know how they did it, but I am certainly glad that the producers of 'October Baby' managed to get the film made and into at least some theaters. The financial success of the film's first weekend (two million dollars from just a few hundred screens) sends a message to Hollywood and the entertainment industry that is spelled out in the simplest terms of dollars and cents, and that's a language they know very well. If you make Christian movies they will come.
There is another message that shows like GCB are sending to Hollywood and it is specifically directed at those who develop series for television. If you create product that is insulting and degrading to Christians, Believers and even many non-Believers will not watch. After all, everyone knows that if Christians become a target, everybody else has the potential of being the next victim. They should also know that many of the more activist elements in the Christian Community will not fail to contact Sponsors and demand justice.
The success of 'October Baby' has not been the only recent surprise to the entertainment industry. The financial disappointments and outright failures of big bucks box office hopefuls like 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' and 'John Carter' may be a bit of a wake up call to them. Films with violent rape and unnecessary gratuitous sex scenes like 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' make audiences uncomfortable, especially when they have to watch these movies with other people in a theater. 'John Carter' is all about action, but sometimes that's just not enough. It comes off as a an action flick in search of a story line that will attract an audience.
Another interesting developing in the world of entertainment is the rebirth of the popularity of family-friendly television shows with traditional values. Many older series like 'The Waltons' and 'Bonanza' (to name just two) are back with a ratings bang and new shows with similar themes are scoring well for those networks brave enough to take a chance on them.
'Heartland' is a big hit for the fledgling GMC cable network that previously based it's programming almost entirely around Christian music videos. Produced in Canada where it has been a popular television series for several seasons, 'Heartland' is the story of a modern day frontier family training horses and running a kind of high end dude ranch for corporate clients. Its simple story and inclusion of family values is a winner for hearts, minds and ratings.
As a conservative Christian I do not expect Hollywood Film and Television Big Wigs to turn back the clock and start producing Biblically-inspired epics like The Ten Commandments or The Greatest Story Ever Told, but I do expect them to realize that it's no sin to consider making a pro-life or pro-Christian Faith film. After years of being bombarded with pro-abortion, anti-Christian theatrical films and 'disease of the week' movies made for television it seems only fair for them to allow the other side of the story to be told.
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