New Material: Movies
December 30, 2008
In order to keep up my readership, I’ll do my best to keep posting notwithstanding the lack of comments so far (hint hint). So here goes…
I’ve often noticed that Hollywood producers use movies to convey political messages, and not just in the obvious Michael Moore mockumentaries. It is important to analyze the subtler messages we receive in movies, to get to the worldview underneath.
In this regard, the most disturbing movie I have ever seen is The Cider House Rules, starring Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, and Michael Caine. Most conservatives would find the obvious pro-abortion messages in the 1999 film offensive. However, an even more sinister message underscores the film.
The “cider house rules” were a list of rules on the wall of a cider house occupied by black apple orchard workers. The black workers could not read, so they had lived in the cider house oblivious to the rules for some time. Along comes Tobey Mcguire’s character, who begins to read the rules to them (rules they had been unknowingly breaking all along), but the patriarch of the black family abruptly interrupts and says that those rules were written by someone else who does not live here, but we (black workers) live here and we make our own rules.
To me, this is an obvious metaphor for a very common attitude: God does not live here, we live here, so we make our own rules. It does not matter if abortion or anything else is immoral or prohibited by God, we humans are the measure of all that matters on earth. Scary stuff.
This attitude is largely echoed in law schools today. The school of legal positivism, prevailing among law professors, declares that the law is simply what we humans decide it is, and there is nothing natural, inherent, or moral about it. It is arbitrary. Legally speaking, the difference between allowing rape and prohibiting it is about the same as that between designating the right or the left hand side of the road for driving (there may be reasons for choosing one or the other, but the law itself is indifferent to the choice).
Please share any movies you found particularly disturbing on a worldview level.
I would like to add here, to make this post a little more pleasant, that I recently saw the movie the Gran Torino. While the movie has more racial epithets and swearing than any other movie I’ve ever seen, it had a very redemptive message. I commend it to mature audiences.