Popcorn Pictures

How does your favorite movie affect you? What emotions does it stir inside? It might be rather difficult to describe the strong sentiments aroused by viewing your most cherished film. Indeed, movies are an integral part of our lives and culture. As we look back with nostalgia over previous decades, we cannot help but consider what was showing in the movie theatres in different periods. And although movies are one popular culture influence among many, they may hold a greater symbolic significance than the rest. For instance, a person's favorite movie might say more about them than their favorite sports team, song or even TV show.

Although movies are just over one hundred years old, they are a relatively recent development in presenting storied dramas. Ancient epics, Classical drama, morality plays, and Renaissance comedies and tragedies preceded our modern movies. Many movies have characteristics of these established genres. It is well known that presentations in the traditional performing arts usually carried strong moral lessons. And the effectiveness of those lessons relied on the skill of those involved with every step of development, from writing to production. In our current age of technical wizardry, however, movies tend to emphasize the effects (sights and sounds) at the expense of content. And yet many movies still carry a moral message, some good and some bad.

—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe

Categories for this Feature:

  • The Contenders
  • More 1998 Movies
  • Reviews of Movies Past
  • Movies and Morality

  • The Contenders:

    Decoding Miller
    Jack L. Walker, Jr.
    A look at "Saving Private Ryan" through the character of its hero.

    Saving "Private Ryan" from the Conservatives
    Ken Masugi
    Why did so many influential conservatives detest "Saving Private Ryan"? Were their criticisms of this Spielberg epic correct?

    The Thin Red Line
    Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
    Review of a war movie most unlike "Saving Private Ryan."

    Life is Beautiful
    Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
    Since war is so ugly, as the two previous contenders have shown us, could life in a concentration camp be beautiful?

    Shakespeare in Love
    Charles W. Colson, Breakpoint
    This movie is complete fiction and presents sex as the driving energy of Shakespeare's life and creativity.

    More 1998 Movies:

    The Truman Show
    John Myers
    The media invasion of privacy in the electronic age is one theme of "The Truman Show." Is there another theme that is not so obvious?

    Only Shades of Gray
    Chris Stamper
    The author reviews "Pleasantville." This might be considered a companion film to "The Truman Show."

    You've Got Mail
    Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
    The masters of romantic comedy are back. Does this light-hearted movie have anything of importance to say?

    Of Biblical Proportions
    Gene Edward Veith
    Many worried that "The Prince of Egypt" may be offensive to Christians. It wasn't. Some might say, however, that it did offend those who need offending.

    Patch Adams
    Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
    Is this the medical version of "Dead Poet's Society"?

    Reviews of Movies Past:

    The "English Patient" Plays "Casablanca"
    David Aaron Murray
    It won nine Oscars including Best Picture (only two films in history have ever won more claimed the ads). Does the "English Patient" deliver a sublime message or mere sentimentality? The reviewer answers this question by comparing this postmodernist movie to the film classic,"Casablanca."

    The Moral World of the "English Patient"
    First Things, Correspondence (October 1997)
    Two readers of David Aaron Murray's review of "The English Patient" respond to his harsh critique of the film. This article includes Murray's reply to each of them.

    The U.S. Titanic
    John Gay
    Is there something beyond the perfect set design, the dazzling effects, and the box office receipts? Is there more to "Titanic" than meets the eye?

    The 2001 Principle
    Mordechai Steinman and Gershon Robinson
    In the annals of motion picture history, the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" holds a special place. Though outwardly science fiction, the film speaks about life, the universe, and reality in general, and the message seems to be one of enormous consequence. But that message may not be what you think.

    The World View of "Jurassic Park"
    Dr. Ray Bohlin
    The book and movie "Jurassic Park" were more than just great entertainment. There was a specific attempt to alter the way you think about Nature, its use and potential abuse.

    Why the Main Character of "Braveheart" Is Not William Wallace
    John Gay
    Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" won five academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Most people would assume that Gibson's character, William Wallace, about whom the movie was named, was the movie's central character. Was he? If not, who was? And how does this character's life speak to our own lives?

    Movies and Morality:

    Film and the Christian
    Todd Kappelman
    How should a Christian view films? The author, an experienced film critic, calls us to demonstrate discernment in distinguishing between art and entertainment, without damaging one's spiritual vitality.

    Lost in the Movies
    James Nuechterlein
    Contemporary films are replete with scenes and innuendos of casual sex. When such movies are explicit and degrading, we may find ourselves repulsed. But there are many times when the message is more subtle and perhaps just as dangerous.

    Movies and Morals
    Ray Cotton
    This article provides warnings and guidelines for movie watching.

    Friday Night at the Movies
    Dr. Walter Bradley
    "Friday Night at the Movies" is an outreach program to students that takes the form of an Open House with food (pizza, popcorn, dessert, etc.) and soft drinks, but most importantly a thought-provoking movie that raises one of the "big questions" regarding life, meaning, purpose, etc.

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