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Michael Elliott

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Thus Saith Hollywood: Using Movie Dialogue to Stimulate Spiritual Thought
by Michael Elliott   

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Books by Michael Elliott
· Thus Saith Hollywood II: Classic Films and Timeless Truths
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Category: 

Spirituality

Publisher:  Komeo Press ISBN-10:  0983934509 Type: 
Pages: 

224

Copyright:  November 1, 2011 ISBN-13:  9780983934509
Non-Fiction

Through the comparison of familiar movie quotes and timeless Bible verses, Michael Elliott shows just how often Hollywood's screenwriters "borrow" from the Creator of life. This practice could arguably make God Hollywood's most prolific, uncredited screenwriter.

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FROM THE INTRODUCTION:

   Art has long been used to examine and comment upon the human condition. Nowhere is this more evident than in the storytelling medium of film. Whether it is a comedy, mystery, romance or action thriller, a movie, at its core, must reflect a recognizable aspect of life in order for it to effectively relate to its audience.

   Because God is the Creator of life, and films must reflect life in order to be understood, we should be able to spot evidence of His handiwork woven into every film we see.

   Sometimes the evidence is readily apparent, as in Ben-Hur or The Prince of Egypt, which refer directly to scriptural events. Other times the inclusion is more subtle. The Matrix is filled with biblical references for those inclined to see them. Christian audiences flocked to theaters for The Lord of the Rings largely because of the spiritual symbolism to be found throughout that film.

   All films will inevitably have aspects which can remind us of biblical truths or principles. Sections of scripture have been used as film titles, as in Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12) or Boaz Yakin's A Price Above Rubies (Proverbs 31:10).

   Sometimes scripture verses are woven into a character's speech as in Ren MacCormick's defense of dance in Footloose (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). Other times a character's actions will mirror the events of a biblical record as in Andy Dufresne's long-suffering persistence in getting the state to provide funds for a prison library in The Shawshank Redemption (Luke 18:1-7).

   As we make ourselves aware that God's truths have an influence that reach beyond the pews of our Sunday church services, we begin to gain the appreciation that God may very well be Hollywood's most prolific, uncredited screenwriter.

   Thus Saith Hollywood was written as an exercise in faith. It is an attempt to connect spiritual knowledge with the most popular entertainment in today's culture. Its purpose is not to try to change the culture in Hollywood but rather to prove that regardless of the intent of the screenwriter, director, producers or actors, we the audience can take their product and use it to remind ourselves of the divine nature of God.

   The author does not mean to imply that the films chosen for inclusion in this book are suitable for every taste or temperament. Nor does the author endorse or promote any film or screenwriter quoted here. The only aim the author has is to show how all films can remind us of the truths God would have us remember. What has guided us through this project has been our fundamental belief that, since God is everywhere present, we can find Him anywhere. We can even find Him on the screens of our neighborhood theaters.


Excerpt

The Adjustment Bureau
on
Free Will



Film: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Directed by: George Nolfi
Written by: George Nolfi
US Distributor: Universal Pictures
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Rated: PG-13

About the film:

A political candidate is attracted to a young dancer only to discover that a mysterious organization is conspiring behind the scenes to keep them apart. As he learns more about this organization, he comes to the realization that there is more to the world than the eye can see.

Movie Quote:

"Free will is a gift that you'll never know how to use until you fight for it."
Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) in The Adjustment Bureau (2011)



Bible Quote:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

Commentary:

At the core of "The Adjustment Bureau" is a false premise. It presents the idea that our free will is nothing more than illusion, given to us because we, as a race of beings, are not yet capable of living with such freedom without destroying ourselves in the process.

This, of course, is fallacy. God would not provide us with a gift without giving along with it our ability to use it effectively. Our freedom was purchased with a dear price. That price was the life of God's only begotten son. Knowing what it cost God to provide it for us, how could anyone believe He would then withhold it from us?

Our freedom is real; it is no illusion. We are free from bondage; free from fear; free from the hundreds upon thousands of doubts and worries that can mulitply within us to keep us from achieving all that is within us to be.

But we are not just free from things that are negative. Our free will means that we are free to do things that are positive. We are free to act; free to love; free to serve; free to be the sons and daughters of the God who gave us our freedom in the first place. Our freedom provides us with more than the release from our spiritual chains of bondage. It also gives us the free will ability to never allow anyone or anything to ever hold us captive again. Our free will is certainly something worth fighting for. It is ours unless we willingly give it away.



Questions to consider while watching the film:

1. Why does the chairman's plan change over time? How does that equate to God's plan for the world and the lives of His people?

2.Can free will be a dangerous thing? How and why? What is the best way to protect ourselves from ourselves?




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