Media’s Influence In Culture: There is a positive trend toward pro-family and faith movies in Hollywood. Ted Baehr with MovieGuide.org has made great strides with the work he’s done and has made a difference in Hollywood. A new positive movie coming out each week! Movie.Org reviews each movie for content.
Air Date: 01/30/2017
Guests: Ted Baehr, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture! This is WallBuilders Live. We’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and other areas of the culture as well. All from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and our founder and president here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, and pastor. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state representative.
WallBuilders is a National pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on our religious, moral, and constitutional heritage. We’ve been recognized from coast to coast for our work in education, history, law, and public policy, integrating those elements of Biblical faith and morality throughout every aspect of American life and culture. Find out more at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.
We are here with David and Tim Barton today applying that Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. We often talk about the different areas of the culture. And one of the most influential areas of the culture, maybe more so than at any time in our history, is the arts. It has always influenced the culture, whether it was through books, the theater, and that sort of thing. But movies are so influential on where people get their values and what they believe and what’s popular in the culture today.
Movies have become a vicarious reality in many ways. With movies you see things portrayed and even though you know it’s fake you still kind of accept it as though it’s real. It’s interesting that one of the ways that the LGBTQ agenda really moved forward was portraying himself as really exceptionally great in all these movies. They were always successful, clean-cut, really nice and friendly.
Or the funny ones in the movie and the Christians are the bad guys.
Yeah. And the Christians were always the bigots, jerks, and the undercover demons. So, portrayals have a whole lot to do with perceptions.
How Arts And Entertainment Influences Culture
Even back in the old days, for example, the Lone Ranger, everybody wanted to be like the Lone Ranger, “He’s a great wholesome hero!” So everybody got his stuff. Tim and I in the library still have some old Roy Rogers stuff including some old Roy Rogers toys and hats.
It’s fun just watching the old commercials. Everybody wanted to be like Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy. So entertainment has always had this kind of vicarious kind of thing, “I can be like them. Or they’re great. Or that’s my hero, etc.” It doesn’t matter if it’s not really that way.
You watch Elizabeth Taylor. She’s always stable and great in the movies. You’d never know that she had seven marriages or whatever because she never looked like that in the movies. It always seemed like she had it together. It’s a deceptive kind of a way. I don’t mean deceptive in a bad way. It’s just not a straightforward way. But it does shift the culture.
When you mention, “It’s not deceptive in a bad way,” That’s not to say it can’t be deceptive in a bad way.
That’s right. True.
Every movie has a message. Every movie gives you their perspective of morals of what’s right and wrong. So a movie will show you, “Hey, do we think one night stands are ok? Yeah, watch our leading leading lady who’s going to sleep with all these guys.”
Sure. Sex in the City.
“And she’s going to have a very healthy and stable life and she’s going to be secure.” You know, we wonder why we have problems with young people in this culture. I really don’t see many reruns of Leave It to Beaver or Andy Griffith anymore.
Right? What you see now…We see the American Dad, Family Guy, The Simpsons. You see all these … they don’t really have this family image. You don’t really have this respecting of parents, and kids acting in a moral and decent behavior. But you do see movies that show a portrayal of the values of a relationship, or the boundaries in a relationship, and the attitude toward authority like teachers and police.
One Sermon Can’t Overcome Week Long Indoctrination
Every movie and TV show is going to give you a perspective of where the boundaries are. Of what morality is and isn’t. Of whether it’s relational, sexual, alcohol, drugs, or even faith.
These are things that we sometimes discredit in movies. “It’s just a movie. Why does it matter?” Because, for example, the next generation spends more time watching movies, YouTube, or on social media than they do around their parents, then what’s shaping their perspective of reality? What’s giving them the guidelines for morality? Is it the mom and dad who are with them eight hours a day? Or is it YouTube, TV, and Netflix that is with them eight hours a day?
Well, that’s what’s shaping their thinking. And so we oftentimes don’t give enough credit to the influence that media can have. But this is the reality is that media really can shape a culture. So you want to make sure that you’re getting the right kind of messages in the media that you take in. Because they can. They can show the homosexual as the most stable, the funniest, and the most creative. And so then you embrace it. You don’t even realize you’re embracing something that in a Biblical sense you never would have embraced. But this is the power and the influence that media has.
And that’s one of the things I often tell pastors that because they are so far out of touch with reality because of media. They say, “I talk about the right things in my church.” Hey, heads up pastors, if you think a 20-minute sermon on Sunday morning is going to overcome 68 hours of social media that the kid gets every week, you’re nuts. If you think 20 minutes can compete with 68 hours, you’re crazy. If you think that you can in a 20-minute mention something in 90 seconds about how your morals need to be this. It’s just not the same. There is a huge influence in what happens in media,
No doubt. Media has a huge influence! We’re going to have a great guest later in the program that’s in the midst of all that. It helps us navigate that area of the entertainment and choose good entertainment for our families. He’s also influencing the influencers, if you will, by influence in those studios in Hollywood. Stay with us we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!
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Making A Difference In Hollywood
We’re back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! We’re talking about the influence of the arts and entertainment industry on our culture and why it’s important for us to pay attention to that. Ted Baehr will be with us a little bit later in the program for a movie guide. We’ve had Ted on several times. He’s there actually meeting and influencing studio producers, and the heads of the studios, and trying to get more faith-based elements and more positive things coming out of Hollywood. And he’s had it’s had a great impact.
Media’s Influence In Culture
Yeah, we’ve talked to Ted on the program several times. It’s been pretty remarkable to see over the years how much faith has now become elements like these family friendly things. America didn’t use to be really something that we promoted in movies. But now Captain America has come out. There’s a real American hero. And all of a sudden patriotism is cool again.
Not to say that there weren’t elements in moments in different movies. But you definitely see media and Hollywood have gotten the message. They’ve begun to trend in a different direction.
Oh! Are you kidding? “There’s only one God ma’am. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”
That was a great line!
It was like a great line. But you didn’t hear that 15-20 years ago. That wasn’t in there in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s.
That wasn’t written in Arnold Schwarzenegger scripts.
That wasn’t part of the Terminator.
That wasn’t something you saw Harrison Ford movies. Even though we can enjoy some of their movies, yeah. But you certainly have seen Hollywood going in different direction and no doubt because of the positive pressure from people going to see those kinds of movies.
You had a Christian movie come out and it was really successful. And Hollywood began to get the idea, “Hey, maybe there’s a market for this.” Certainly, you could point to Ted Baehr and the work he’s done has made a difference in Hollywood.
Christian War Movies Coming Out
He has a huge reputation. And with that one of the things he’s been able to do is slowly chip away at these guys. Now he has great relationships with them. And he should have great relationships. I mean his mom and dad were in movies. My gosh, his dad won the box office award for one year for his movies. So he knows these guys.
He’s been able to show them, “When you do these kind of movies look what happens to the box office intake. Look what happens to your money. How much more money you make when you did this.” And simply by being able to use the money figures and show them literally what happens with certain types of movies, he’s been able to slowly shift that Hollywood culture in a much more pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-traditional value, direction.
You’re seeing Hacksaw Ridge and all these other movies that are coming out that are very explicit with those kind of values. And the movie Unbroken about Zamperini, look at all these war movies that are coming out. Take the war movies back in the 70s. They were anti-military, were anti-America, and etc. Look at what you are getting now. You’re getting Christian heroes with character and courage and conviction. Great stuff coming out.
No doubt. That’s good for the culture, obviously. Because of the impact that it has on the people that watch those movies. The more we support those movies the more we will get that type of entertainment. So Ted’s going to give us a little bit of update on what’s going on.
They’ve got their award show coming up in the next week or two. We’re going to find out what’s going on in Hollywood and how 2017 looks. Ted Baehr from MovieGuide.org is going to be with us when we come back, stay with us on WallBuilders Live.
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Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Good to have back Dr. Ted Baehr from Movie Guide. Always good to have you, Sir. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! It’s great to be with you. So far this year is looking up. You can never expect what’s going to happen except that God’s in charge.
No doubt! I’m thinking 2017 could be a pivot year for us as a nation and maybe even in the entertainment industry. What are your thoughts on the trends you see coming out of the studios right now?
Box Office Movies This Year
Well, everybody when they see the entertainment industry they look at the actors. We love the actors. My parents were stars. I grew up in the industry. My father won the box office award in 1936.
But actors are generally as disengaged from reality as you can get because they’re always acting. But the studios know that they have to make money. So, if you look at the movies that came out last year, which we’re going to honor at the 2017 annual awards Gala on February 10th, there are so many movies with positive free enterprise, positive faith, and positive values, coming down on the side of the individual against the political correctness and against communism.
So the movies themselves, except for the ones that were nominated at the Golden Globes which didn’t make any money at the box office, are doing very, very well. And we’re very happy about all that.
That’s good to hear! So you feel like the trend might be going the right direction if you just look at what’s doing well in the marketplace out of all the movies that have been released over the last year?
Yeah, here’s a way to look at it. When we started Movie Guide in 1985 there was only one movie. We’ve been around much longer than that, but Movie Guide came in 1985. There was one movie with positive Christian content, Trip to Bountiful. And now it’s up to 60%.
Take Your Family To See Sing This Week
I did the Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe on CBS television and it took years to make that. So I said, “How can we get a good movie a year? I would have been happy with a good movie year.”
But now we’re getting like a good movie every week. So the number of movies with faith and values is increasing so much that it’s hard for us to keep up with them. In fact, there are a lot of little movies that are coming from outside of Hollywood that we can’t even consider in our Gala. So from Hollywood last year there was Risen and Young Messiah. But you also have some really big movies that had some tremendous amount of faith and values and some really big television programs. So this is this is all good news.
What about what’s out now and what you see coming? Any good recommendations? Things that you really thought were done extremely well?
If you want an instant pick we should talk to each other every week because every week something good comes out. Right now, if you had to take your family to see a movie take them to see Sing. It’s about a little koala bear who’s been in the entertainment industry all his life. I know the guy who’s the head of the company, Chris Meledandri. We both went to Dartmouth. I am wondering why he has a bear as the head of his entertainment thing.
The story is about the koala has a failing theater and so he decides to have a contest and offer, I think it’s $10,000 for the winner. And his secretary who can’t see, walk, and speak anymore decides to move it up to $100,000. So he gets all of these contestants.
There’s a lot of positive content in there. There are just the good phrases from the song Hallelujah. There’s talk about prayer. There’s talk about faith. There’s talk about free enterprise. Actually, it’s an ode to free enterprise. Sing is a wonderful animated film.
Must Watch Christian Films
Then for mature audiences Patriot’s Day is a terrific film which actually calls Muslim terrorism, “Muslim terrorism.” It actually upholds faith and values. Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg whom we interviewed said they’re going to be at our Gala on February 10th.
They’ve got conservative Christian values and they got them into their movies. So that’s good. If you can get back far enough and you haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge for mature audiences, it’s great.
Another movie, that did surprisingly well at the box office– I didn’t expect it to — is Hidden Figures. It’s about three African-American women who worked for NASA in the late 60s during the space program. In ‘64 I worked for a year for NASA’s research engineer and during those times there was the evidence of segregation. These women instead of coming out and attacking the system and joining the Black Panthers just do their job so well as brilliant mathematicians that they change the whole course of NASA. And they solve the problem of getting a man into space. John Glenn who just died, so he can travel around the world. So there are some good movies out right now.
I saw Hacksaw Ridge. And I agree it’s an incredibly powerful, great film. So tell us a little bit about this year’s Gala. This is the 25th. Right?
This is the 25th Gala. A lot of the people that we know from the great movies last year I saw them about two months ago at a dinner and they want to come. Denzel Washington said he wanted to come, Mel Gibson. Whether they come or not as is another story.
We’ve got one month before the Gala but we get a lot of the stars coming and a lot of the people launch their career there. Launch their career talking about their faith. And then they drop their faith like Jennifer Lawrence.
So I can’t predict how they’re all going to go away from the Gala. But a lot of people do come to faith at the Gala. I was with the man who directed Young Messiah. And he came to Christ through the Gala and through the work that we’re doing.
Movie Guide Gala Nominees
The movies that are being nominated for best family films include: in no particular order, Finding Dory, Jungle Book, Miracles from Heaven, Pete’s Dragon, Queen of Katwe, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, Trolls, Young Messiah, and Zootopia.
Then movie award for mature audiences: not necessarily for faith or values, are Ben Hur, Captain America, Eddie the Eagle, Finest Hour, God’s Not Dead 2, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, Risen, Silence, and Sully.
Then Epiphany prize movies: you’ve got again, Young Messiah, Silence, Risen, Miracles from Heaven, Hail Caesar, Hacksaw Ridge, God’s not Dead 2, and Ben-Hur.
The Epiphany prize for Television is Agents of Shield, which I don’t know if you’ve ever watched, but it’s incredibly Christian, The Bridge part 2 from Hallmark, Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors, Operation Christmas, again another Hallmark, The Passion, New Orleans from Fox TV, Pocahontas, and Time to Dance from Hallmark.
That’s the Epiphany Prize? You guys give a cash prize with that too?
The Epiphany price is traditionally the big prize for movies with strong Christian faith and values. The Templeton Foundation, Sir John Templeton died. Yhen Jack Templeton died. So they’re no longer supporting it. But we’re giving the prize without the cash prize.
Ok, gotcha. Alright, for those who can’t travel to come to the Gala can we watch it on television again this time?
Watching The MovieGuide Awards Gala
We’ve got several ways to watch it! Reelz TV is one way. Which please don’t watch the program before or after ours. We love the people at Reelz TV and they love us. They doubled their licensee last year and we’re happy about that.
This year on Easter in the afternoon it’s going to be replayed and during the week it going to be replayed a couple of more times on Reelz TV after that. We’re also considering streaming and syndicated it. But Reelz is big. It reaches about 90 million people. And it’s sort of the Hollywood place.
If you watch the show after ours, I think it’s called Pawn Shop or something. But it’s a couple of women who forgot to get completely dressed. That’s not our show. But we want to be where people are so they can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Absolutely, and before I let you go, a quick plug for folks who may not be familiar can go to your app or website to get good reviews on all the movies coming out so you know what you’re taking your family and yourself to see. Ted Baehr, always appreciate the update. Looking forward to you guys having a great Gala, and just another great year. Look forward to having you back in a few weeks!
Thank you. I’m personally inviting you to the Galla. You’ve gotta come one year!
I want to! We’ve got to make that happen. And I get to bring the wife, right?
Right, the two of you.
The two of us! Sounds good. Keep up the great work! Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back!
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Many Christian Movies Coming Out
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. David and Tim Barton with us now! Thanks to Ted Baehr for joining us and also for all the great work they do there at MovieGuide.org. Check out the website. Get the app. Put it on your phone. And you can get a good review of a movie before you go see it and make sure you’re spending your dollars wisely.
David, Tim, a lot of good stuff coming out of that award show. We’ve got to go see one soon!
We’re on the advisory board for it. So we do need to spend some time out there. We’re also on the reference board because we’re happy to reference them! There was only one movie with Christian content in 1985 and now it runs about 60-65% each year with Christian content!
Every week there’s movies coming out with pro-faith elements! Now that’s not to say that they are Christian movies. But they have pro-faith elements.
And so positive things.
And movies that aren’t tearing down Christian values.
That’s right. There might be language or some kind of thing that crosses the boundary of what we would consider morally acceptable in Christianity. So not to say that they’re perfect movies. Though they certainly have positive values, when for a while there were movies that you can’t point to a positive element. You can’t point to the hard work, family, integrity, the character, or the redemptive qualities.
But now there are movies every week coming out with redemptive qualities which really is pretty remarkable. Some of the nominees coming up for awards that were mentioned were movies that I haven’t seen. But as he talked I thought, “Now I want to go see these movies!”
That’s the cool thing about Movie Guide. It’s the weekly review that comes out and talks about new movies. And they screen every one of them. That’s what I love. The studios send Ted all of their scripts before they do the movies. And he’ll say, “You really ought to change this and add something here.” They respect him and trust him so much that he gets the opportunity to help point out what will help that box office. Fortunately, it’s moving in the direction of these traditional values.
Review’s On Every Movie Coming Out
It is really fun that he has an influence, but for people who want to know, he does a review every week of all the new releases that come out. He tells you what the language is like or what the nudity is like or what the message is like. If it’s an anti-biblical worldview message or if it’s a huge environmentalism message or whatever it is he puts it right there. It’s a really good way to check movies before you go see them. You may find out that there’s a whole lot of these that, “I’m just not interested in or I hadn’t heard about this one.”
I hadn’t heard about Sing but now want to see it. I want to see what’s happening with Sing.
He did say it was for kids. But—
I know. That’s why I said that I want to see it.
True. If it’s animated we’re kind of interested in it. We grew up singing along with Disney. Although Sing did seem from the previews like a lot of modern songs. We’d probably be lost and wouldn’t know a lot of the modern songs.
However, yeah, there’s a lot of fun movies out there that we don’t know or hear about. So it is a neat way to find out about some of this great content. Because it does make a difference, the content we watch. Especially with our-our kids and the content we put before their eyes.It’s great to know what kind of movies we want to support and what kind of movies we want to stay away from.
And it’s easy to get to. You don’t have to go search out each movie just go to their website MovieGuide.org.. They cover virtually every movie that’s that’s coming out! Or you can do it on your phone with the app. It makes it really easy to do.
So thanks a Ted Baehr. Appreciate all the great work you’ve done. Thanks, folks, for voting with your dollars and choosing to go to the good movies. Because we want more of this good stuff coming out of Hollywood. Thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live!