The Second Smartest Thing Christian Movies Can Do Right Now

Momentarily putting aside the discussion of the labels “Christian” or “faith-based” or “religious” or “spiritual” or any other descriptor as they relate to putting a movie in a box and/or providing—depending on one’s disposition—either a stamp of approval or a caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) warning of sorts…

Without a doubt, of all the press that has circulated in the six weeks or so since we announced the theatrical release of Old Fashioned on the same weekend as Fifty Shades of Grey (Valentine’s Day 2015), a blog entry by Scott Beggs over at Film School Rejects remains one of the most thoughtful, balanced, and convicting…

In it, the author strongly affirms our marketing strategy:

… choosing sides can have a powerful psychological effect, and Swartzwelder has effectively thrown the challenge down in a way that tacitly paints people who go to his movie as being one way and those who pick Goliath as being another. Those who don’t desire more from love and those who do. It’s an incredibly shrewd and clever move, and you can imagine more faith-based projects in the future making direct appeals within the scope of a mainstream, Hollywood giant.

He goes so far as to actually call our Fifty Shades counter-programming angle “the second smartest thing Christian movies can do right now.”

And while I personally appreciate the kudos on our release date savvy, what really hits home is Mr. Beggs’s follow up:

So what’s the smartest thing a Christian movie could do? Be good.

Boom.  He couldn’t be more right and I couldn’t agree more intensely.  The word “good” is subjective, of course, and the measure is relative, in my estimation.  An indie film with a budget a far less than a million dollars and a blockbuster with a budget of $100 million plus can both be good movies… albeit in different ways, most likely.

Regardless, his point is well taken.  He continues:

… the hallmarks of great, non-hammer-to-the-head storytelling have not found their way into faith-based filmmaking yet (unless you count movies like The Book of EliNoah and most of The Blind Side). At least not this particular, indie-focused subsection. Sure, there’s evidence that more people want “Christian values” in more movies (in whatever myriad ways they personally define them), but until Christian filmmakers learn nuance and symbolism to communicate those values, they’ll be preaching to the converted.

This is a smart guy.  I’ve never met him, but he is dead on.  And please know, I’m not afraid of messages in movies (and they all have them, no matter what anyone says), but good messages aren’t enough.

Yes, I am a person of faith and I believe in and love God… but I also love good movies, good art.  And I appreciate a wide variety of films from all over the world… just as I also very much appreciate this blogger’s call to excellence.  It should be heeded by anyone endeavoring to tell cinematic stories, filmmakers of faith and otherwise.

So, will Old Fashioned measure up to Mr. Beggs’s standard?  Are we “smart” enough to qualify for number one on his list?  Only time will tell.  He’s right in calling us out, whatever the case may be.  One thing I can assure you is that a very talented team poured every ounce of themselves into making not just a “good Christian movie” but a good indie movie, period.

It was never about a cash grab or exploitation.  Never about an agenda or propaganda.  It was about telling a dramatic and entertaining story in which we believed fully… to the very best of our ability…

Thank you, Mr. Beggs.  Sincerely.

Check out his full article here: http://filmschoolrejects.com/opinions/second-smartest-thing-christian-movies-can-right-now.php

- Rik

 

15 ways we can put an end to the dishonest dating culture

Looks like even Millennials are longing for something more when it comes to the status quo of love and romance in contemporary American culture.

Earlier this summer over at Elite Daily (The Voice of Generation-Y), a very interesting blog post gave voice to the growing dissatisfaction with the whole “dating” experience of 20-somethings.

Dare I say it… a lot of what this talented writer, Lexi Herrick, maps out here sounds downright Old Fashioned

What is the dating game, you ask? Well, you probably know it all too well. It’s the game of “let’s see who can try to act like they care less in order to get someone else to care more and then take turns.”

It’s the blurred line between how casual you are and what title you decide to designate to your romantic encounters. It’s so confusing that I often lose track and I’m sure you do, too.

What is the reason for not being able to be simple and honest? Like, “Hey, I think you’re really cute and I would like to get some coffee and giggle awkwardly at our small talk, so I can spend some extra time looking at your cute face.”

The reason it isn’t so easy is because we all play the game. Here are a few ways to put down your cards and really look at the faces that surround you without wearing your own poker face:

As Clay says in Old Fashioned“We don’t have to go around using each other, hurting each other.  It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Nope, it sure doesn’t.  And no matter what lies pop culture tries to spoon-feed us, that remains true.

And honestly, when so many “non-religious” (whatever that means) young people are clearly looking for a more beautiful way to live out their romantic lives… after being devastated and their hearts bruised and battered for lack of wise counsel or guidance or even one, single positive example of love… many of us in “the church” need to remember that much of what seems obvious or old-hat to us could be brand-new and life-changing to someone else.

It’s time we move beyond our desperate, modern need to be approved of by and/or to not offend the cultural gatekeepers and tastemakers of the day.

It’s time we get over our fear of being mocked by The Daily Beast or Cosmo or People magazine.

It’s time we all risk a little rejection for the benefit of those who are so ready to not settle for less than true love…

Read more: 15 ways we can put an end to the dishonest dating culture (check out her #8, especially).  Looks like we’re not the only ones hoping that “Chivalry makes a comeback” next Valentine’s Day… sorry, couldn’t resist…

- Rik

 

Why I don’t want my daughters to see ‘Fifty Shades’

DaughtersFiftyShades

Meanwhile…

Back in 50 Shades-land…

Just last week, CNN had a fascinating article written by one of its own senior producers out of New York, Ronni Berke.  This is no right-wing propaganda piece or something written by someone blinded by a haze of overly-religious piety…

This.  Is CNN.

A mother of two daughters, one 23 and the other 26, Berke shared some rather serious and level-headed concerns about the influence the submissive undercurrent in the book/film might have on her own children.

Here’s a little taste:

Very little is really, truly, off limits these days. Girls much younger than my daughters will surely find a way to see “Fifty Shades of Grey” — either in theaters, on cable, or online. What’s unknown is just how profoundly it will affect their emerging sexuality.

Exactly.

And as for those who deny that Fifty Shades will have any major impact or that all this “knee-jerk overreacting” is all much ado about nothing… well, I actually have a lot to say about that.  But let’s save it for another day…

For now, as a person of faith myself, I’d simply like to say that I find it more than a little encouraging that it’s not just us “unstable and crazy religiosos” or Old Fashioned-types that are challenging some of the assumptions and the peculiar absence of societal concern in much of the media regarding some of the messages in Fifty Shades.

While it’s clear from her piece that Berke and I would not agree on everything, the one thing upon which we 100% concur is the reality that the stories we lift up and share with our young people… matter.  Those stories will shape them.  Those stories will impact what both our children—and our world—become…

Read the full article, you really should… it’s not that long: Why I don’t want my daughters to see ‘Fifty Shades’

- Rik

 

“The Old Fashioned Way” in a Digital Age

The last post featured the author of the Old Fashioned novelization, Rene Gutteridge.

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the author of our non-fiction, companion devotional, The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance.

Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Ginger Kolbaba

-

When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher, Miss Raymond, asked the class about the future and what would happen if we ran out of energy, oil, and electricity. She was looking for us to be creative about other ways that we could survive.

I knew the answer and I was thrilled to share it. “We could go back to the way things were in the 1800s. With horses and buggies and stuff.” I thought it was clearly brilliant; Miss Raymond did not.

Looking back these many moons later, I am no longer thrilled with the prospect of returning to the days when we had no air conditioning, cars, or DVRs that can record endless episodes of Downton Abbey. While I may not want to travel around on horseback, there are a few ways that I do still agree with my younger self who saw value in the way things used to be. I yearn for the days of good old fashioned relationships. When front porches were used to sit out and greet neighbors passing by. When a handshake meant the same as a contract signed, witnessed, and notarized. When saying “I do” meant “until I die.”

So when the Tyndale editors and Rik Swartzwelder asked me to write the nonfiction counterpart to the movie Old Fashioned, I jumped at the opportunity. In writing 40 days’ worth of reflections on different “old fashioned” values, such as chivalry and kindness and honor, I was able to share vulnerably what those issues mean to me—someone who has yearned to do things right, but who has too often missed the mark, and who is grateful for redemption and second (and fifth and twenty-seventh) chances. I wanted to fill the pages with grace, encouragement, and hope—and even a bit of challenge.

Obviously the “good old days” weren’t always so good. Neither have we arrived at the pinnacle of knowledge in our society today. But I do think we can harness what was good about yesteryear’s and today’s mores and use them to become the kind of people who overflow with the beauty of Jesus in all our relationships.

That’s what I think about when I think of being old fashioned: I want to be a person who is respectful, who genuinely listens, who takes time to laugh and cry with others, who honors others, who forgives, and who focuses on the other person without having to check text and email messages every few minutes. Someone who lets a yes be yes and a no, no. Someone who lives by the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Those are pretty good traits to have whether you’re riding a Mustang with a tail or one that has a Ford emblem on its front grill.

I love the fact that a book about reconsidering old fashioned virtues is releasing first in a digital format on September 1 and then in print on January 1. That’s what being old fashioned is all about—combining the best of both worlds. I’m blessed (another old fashioned word!) to be part of the Old Fashioned movement. I hope you’ll check out the book and let me know your thoughts at http://www.gingerkolbaba.com/.

- Ginger Kolbaba

 

How “Old Fashioned” Helped One Woman Overcome Her Romance Handicap

Yesterday was a BIG day for Old Fashioned

The eBook/digital versions of both the novelization of the film and the non-fiction companion devotional (The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance) were released by Tyndale House Publishers.

They can be purchased NOW at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and cbd.com.

Print copies will be in stores in January 2015 (just before Old Fashioned lands in theatres on Valentine’s Day) and can be pre-ordered now via a wide variety of online retailers.

In honor of this milestone, today we have a very special guest blogger: Rene Gutteridge, the incredibly talented author of the novelization of Old Fashioned!  Enjoy…

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When you’re a romantic comedy writer, people make assumptions about your personal life.  They believe my life is heavy on the romance and the comedy is thrown in for good measure.

The truth of the matter is that I’m so romantically illiterate that I shouldn’t be allowed to darken the door of any kind of existing romantic genre.  Looking at me, you probably wouldn’t guess it because I fix my hair and stuff.

But just toss a question out to my husband like, “Hey, on a scale of one to ten, where does Rene fall in romantic ability?”

Because he’s a good guy, he’ll probably smile widely and say, “She’s a good cook!”  He’s thinking, “Negative seven.”

When Sean and I got married nearly twenty years ago, I looked to be a very promising wife.  I loved all the things he loved, and I think he was particularly smitten with the fact that I played sports, loved action/adventure flicks and could pig out on nachos and hot wings just like any guy buddy.

When you’re a young man in your twenties, you think you might have found your dream woman.

But all that came to a screeching halt soon into our marriage when Sean tried to send me flowers.  We were on a very tight budget back then and they arrived at our doorstep on a Tuesday while Sean was at work.

For an hour, a dozen stunning, red roses stared back at me from the little bookshelf I set them on.  I studied them for a long time, biting my finger nail, trying to appreciate their beauty and wondering how much that beauty actually cost.

When he arrived home, after gushing about how kind that was of him, I somehow weaseled into the conversation the question about how much “…does a dozen roses cost these days?”

This kind of thing went on for a few years in the early part of our marriage (my squirmy inability to cuddle well, my complete ignorance about the power of poetry, my aversion to classic love songs) until one day Sean stood in our living room and declared, “I think you’re romantically challenged.”

Well at least we’d found a term for it.  And we dismally acknowledged there probably was no cure for my condition. I looked it up on the Mayo Clinic website. Indeed, the statistics were not in my favor.

Thankfully he still loved me anyway.

But as I went on in life, I ruminated about this peculiar problem.  What woman is romantically challenged?  How did that even happen? When did things go wrong? If romance was a stock option, women would rule the world—and I’d be totally broke.

I thought for a long time it might have to do with me being an absurdly practical person. Money on roses? Why not spend it on the water bill?  Sean would write me a poem and in return I would clean out his car to surprise him when he got up on Saturday morning. I don’t have to spell this out for you. Clearly I am lucky to still be married.

I think over the years my husband has subtly tried to help me out with this problem.  As much as I loved action movies, I thought it suspicious when he would insist on going to see romantic comedies with me.  We were of the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan era of romantic comedies, and I saw every one of them.  Perhaps Sean was hoping against all hope I would at the very least recognize the Empire State Building observatory deck was amazing at night. (I say cold and windy, but please believe I’m trying.)

The thing that always drew me to writing and watching romantic comedy was the dysfunction.  That, I knew, was how love really worked.  Save it, Nicholas Sparks. I’m on team Sandra Bullock, where every romantic relationship is steeped in personality disorders.

I never bought into the idea of romance.  And I was sure I never would.  Romance, I thought, was just lame idealism, the world’s answer to the lack of loyalty and dedication to the hard part of life—real life—where people fail at sticking around at the first bump in the road.

Romance was, at best, unstable.

So I immersed myself in nachos, action flicks, and lacing my books with enough romance to get the general reader hooked and get me off the hook.

Then, along came Old Fashioned.

My longtime publisher, Tyndale, asked if I would read the script to see what my interest was in doing a novelization of it.  They said it was a straight-up romance.  To be polite and remain in good standing with all my editors, I excitedly agreed while secretly slumping on the other end of the phone.  I was hoping for a murder-mystery or something that didn’t involve flowers.

I opened up the script and began reading.

I was first caught off guard by the absolutely hilarious dialogue.  I leaned back in my chair, scratched my head, and thought, Huh. Romance writers can be funny. I had no idea. I thought they left humor to the romantic comedy writers.  I checked the name on the front of the script. It was a man who wrote this?

A twinge of jealousy struck me as I read on. I don’t like to be beat by a guy at anything, and certainly not romance.  But this guy had romantic chops.  This thing was the real deal.

I’d intended to sit and read for about thirty minutes or so that night, but I read it straight through, astonished at what I was feeling at the end.  Was I feeling…romantic?  Was I cheering on romance?  Was I rooting for what I thought I was rooting for…love?

Of course, the script did what writer Rik Swartzwelder intended it to do, which was challenge our modern world’s view of love and reintroduce a notion that hasn’t seen the light of day since perhaps Jimmy Stewart stopped making movies—chivalry.

And I suddenly understood that perhaps my own aversion to romance was itself drenched in the misconception about love and romance that had been ingrained in me since I was a child.  I realized that I certainly couldn’t live up to the hype of modern-day romance, love and sex.  What woman can?  We’re presented with flowers and chocolates and suddenly, no matter the guy’s intentions, we’re supposed to be every man’s dream.  We’re supposed to be more than a fairytale, mind-blowing in a way that puts Meg Ryan diner scenes to shame.

Though my husband never expected that from me, and in fact kindly accepted me as I was, I had put my own expectations on the notion of romance, and decided that I couldn’t possibly live up to the hype that came along with a box of chocolates.  So I rejected the notion of romance.

What a shame! What I have missed!

But I knew I had true love.  If Sean can love me through our rose fiasco, then I think it is love to stay.

And perhaps, if he ever decides to courageously return to his old fashioned, chivalrous ways, I will find within me the delight that I know it can bring, as it underscores that we’re lucky enough to have found the beauty of true love.

- Rene

P.S.  Before I start getting mail about this, yes, we’ve read The 5 Love Languages, listened to the audio version, done the workbook, watched the small group DVD and attended the class at church.  I’m going to be writing Dr. Gary Chapman to let him know there are actually 6 love languages, the sixth being one that requires a mutant gene in the temporal lobe of the brain, but it’s still legit. Sean promises me I’m not the only female who failed the test in the back of the book.

 

“Good Movies Make You Care…”

MovieHealHeart

In my last post, I shared a couple of personal moments that planted some of the initial seeds of inspiration that many, many years later eventually bloomed into Old Fashioned.

Today, since I get asked the question a fair amount, I thought I’d follow up with what, specifically, led me to begin the creation of Old Fashioned, in earnest.

For those that are curious, here’s a little bit of “the why” beneath the surface…

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

My heart had lost its way and I was trying to remember the way home…

At its most stripped down, most transparent… that was the spark of inception that led to my writing and directing of the feature film Old Fashioned.

But the deeper inspiration came when I looked around and witnessed that I wasn’t alone, not by a long shot.  The landscape of singles I knew at the time (most in their 20s and 30s) was a romantic wasteland full of wounded and broken lovers hanging on by the thinnest of threads, but desperately wanting to still believe…

In love, in redemption, in the idea that some things are worth holding onto to, worth fighting for…

That respect and honor and integrity still had a place in this world…

That it wasn’t over for them, no matter what mistakes or bad choices or hurts called out to them from the past…

That there was, still, a chance they might find the safe place they were longing for.

It got me thinking about the wide variety of different approaches to dating and courtship… about what was good with the “American” way of approaching romantic relationships and what was lacking, at least from my perspective and experience.

What if a film aimed to take seriously the idea of love?  To do more than just give a wink and a nod to the prevailing ironic, casual, and sometimes even cynical approach to such things?  Do more than just hold up a mirror to the contemporary and obvious?  What if a film unabashedly affirmed the notion that perhaps these things have much more weight than current mores might often suggest; in profound and lasting ways, they matter.  What we say and how we treat each other, matters.  What we do with one another’s hearts, matters.

Pauline Kael once said that “good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again.”

Of course I believe that films should entertain; I believe that films should add to the discussion of ideas.  But my greatest hope and prayer for Old Fashioned is that it might do just what Pauline Kael said…

That it might help hearts in need of healing to believe in possibilities again… help hearts that have given up, to care again.

- Rik

 

The Unlikely Man Who Inspired ‘Old Fashioned’

With a movie that has a title like Old Fashioned—that features a storyline about an out-of-step, counter-cultural approach to modern love and romance—it’s to be expected that all manner of assumptions will be made about the background of the person creating such a thing.

Throw in the word “courtship” and that just takes it over the top.

As I mentioned in my last post, the online debate about courtship/dating I discovered had a lot of discussion and push-back offered by readers that were coming from backgrounds that were fairly sheltered, etc.

One might predictably conclude that is my background as well.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I wasn’t homeschooled.  I didn’t grow up in a repressive or overly restrictive religious environment.  My parents didn’t buy me a chastity belt when I hit puberty.

Truth is, my moral compass was almost completely defined and shaped by American pop culture—music, movies, TV.  They peddled the goods, and I bought.  At the feet of Hollywood and rock gods I sat… and I learned.  I learned a lot of lessons that it took me years to unlearn, actually…

I was anything BUT Old Fashioned.

So much so, that when I first heard the two ideas that were the initial seeds that eventually grew into this movie and the two books and all the controversy… well, to me, those ideas were so new, so foreign that they almost sounded like they were from outer space or something.  To some of you, they still might.

What were they?

The first was inspired by a very famous evangelist who had made a pact with his ministry leaders that included the principle of none of them ever being alone with any woman that was not his wife—not at all, ever, period.  What?!?  Seriously?!?  It was no joke and it was a concept I had never even heard, let alone considered.  I’ll never know why exactly, but that kind of commitment to respect and honor stopped me in my tracks.  A seed was planted…

The other idea was based on the true story of a young couple that made the choice to not kiss until their wedding day.  Again, this was so far outside my box at the time I couldn’t even imagine people like that actually existed.  But for some reason, the story didn’t make me laugh or cringe… it pulled at my heart.  Against all odds, another seed was planted…

Now, I’m not claiming that I immediately began to apply both of those principles to my life at that very moment… or that I’ve lived them out perfectly, ever since.  Nor would I want to imply that those two novel ideas must be the definitive standard for everyone.

But, the love and wisdom behind both of those stories, those peculiar notions… in regard to being intentional, in making choices far in advance—long before any temptation might arise—there is something there that remains worthy of reflection.

And well over a decade after I first heard both of those stories, I would find the characters of Clay and Amber struggling with those very concepts—in very flawed and human ways—in my screenplay for Old Fashioned.  All because of seeds planted by someone simply sharing a story…

You have no idea of the difference YOUR story might have in the life of another.  Never underestimate how God might take even your scars and regrets and make them blossom into something beautiful.

- Rik

P.S. For the record, that “famous evangelist” was Billy Graham and the pact with his leadership was called “The Modesto Manifesto.”  I’ve never written about this before, nor personally shared my gratitude, officially.  Thank you, Reverend Graham.  Thank you…

 

Virtue is its Own Reward

The blog about courtship that I linked to in my last post has continued to seriously stir the pot and receive both a lot support and criticism all at the same time… just like most hot-button topics.

I don’t really want to dive into that debate head-on, but I couldn’t help but make one small, general observation amidst all the diatribes that got me thinking along some very personal lines…

Made me reflect on some memories from my own life, some of which actually ended up being the first seeds planted that—many years later—fully blossomed and led me to write the screenplay for Old Fashioned.

First, the observation: In this current debate about courtship/dating, it seems to me that a lot of the strongest push-back is coming from folks that come from highly conservative, restrictive religious environments of one sort or another.

And that makes sense to me, especially in scenarios where young people didn’t necessarily make these decisions for themselves and/or attempted to do everything the “right” way and yet still find themselves alone or in a bad marriage or otherwise unsatisfied in their romantic lives.

When things don’t work out the way we want, we need to find a reason… someone or something to blame.  In doing so, we often tend to demonize the familiar or naively romanticize other systems/lifestyles/cultures that—from the outside—seem to possess the greener pastures for which we are longing.

But there is no formula, no sure-fire perfect path to Utopia (in terms of temporal results).  Not on this Earth.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue the good and noble; we should.  And that goes for all areas of our lives—not just romantic.  But we should “do the right thing” for its own sake, not as some kind of bargain with God to ensure that everything works out for our ease and comfort as long as we make no serious mistakes.

The world is a mess and we aren’t in control of others or much at all, really.  You can make all the best choices… live within the lines… never sin at all… and people can still hurt you.  Bad things can still happen to you.  Just ask Jesus.

To be a hero is to let virtue be its own reward.  When it comes to affairs of the heart, this world needs a whole lot more heroes…

And I know for a fact that the “other side” (the one that isn’t restrictively religious, etc.) is no picnic, either… because that’s where I grew up.  How that relates to the above and how it helped lead to the writing of Old Fashioned?  Next time…

- Rik

 

What Do You Mean by Courtship?

An interesting blog questioning the idea of courtship (loosely defined) made the rounds about a week ago and has stirred a lot of discussion and debate.  If such things interest you, it might be worth a look:

http://www.thomasumstattd.com/2014/08/courtship-fundamentally-flawed/

From my reading, it seems like there is a rather wide variety of definitions when it comes to what the word courtship means or to what it is referring, exactly.  What, in fact, courtship is or isn’t.

On one end of the spectrum, the descriptions are fairly broad and apply to many cultures over the centuries and include the ideas of intention, accountability, mutual respect, and the avoidance of unwise isolation, etc.

On the other end, things can get quite a bit more specific and lengthy and more uniquely of this moment in time and the modern “courtship movement” that has gained a lot of traction in some circles.

How does this relate to our little indie film?  Well, the tagline for Old Fashioned is…

“A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an ‘old-fashioned’ courtship in contemporary America.”

So, in that context, what does that mean… exactly?

Good question.  Ultimately, the film will have to answer that for itself… and I don’t want to give away too much this far in advance.  But, what I can say here is that Old Fashioned is far more about grown-up second chances than it is about first love under strict parental supervision, etc.

The guy and girl in our love story aren’t teenagers and they both bring some brokenness and baggage to their search for something greater than just another hook-up or a culture that routinely makes light of the objectification of both women and men.

Old Fashioned is about the challenging yet joyful exploration to find—against tremendous odds—the kind of romantic wholeness and healing relationships for which God created all of us… whether it’s called courtship or dating or fill-in-the-blank, however defined.

But, since we are indeed on the topic of definitions…

Court∙ship

“The wooing of one person by another” (dictionary.com).

“The activities that occur when people are developing a romantic relationship that could lead to marriage or the period of time when such activities occur” (merriam-webster.com).

For the record, if there is any doubt, both of those particular interpretations would definitely apply to the love story found in Old Fashioned.

- Rik

 

Time, MTV, and our “Better Angels”

For the next blog, I’ll be turning the page and moving on from the subject of Old Fashioned v. Fifty Shades of Grey (at least for a little bit), but first…

A quick follow up to my last post, which was only half of the story.  The other half is that we have been genuinely overwhelmed with an online avalanche of love and support from all over the world (literally).  We are not alone.  There is quite a large, diverse, and vocal group of hopeful souls out there that longs to see a different kind of love story lifted up… in both the movies and in life.

And finally, to be fair, I was rather impressed by how equitable and objective a good portion of the press coverage actually was.  Here is a small sample of what followed our Variety announcement:

Time

MTV

International Business Times

Yahoo!

This is all incredibly encouraging.

One, because it renews my faith that “the better angels of our nature” still have a fighting chance in this world.  And two, it hints at the possibility that not absolutely everyone in the media has bowed his or her knee to the Fifty Shades juggernaut.

We have struck a chord.  Awakened something good, I think…

And it’s not just us Ned Flanders of the world that are pushing back or raising valid questions and concerns.  In fact, Old Fashioned may indeed have allies (for a wide variety of reasons) that travel far outside of the standard “religioso” circles.

I love this idea.  And I do believe that there are a lot of folks out there that, while they may not personally agree with me 100% on every single issue of a religious, theological, or spiritual nature, they do have a sense… a feeling… a conviction that something is askew culturally when a film like Fifty Shades is given such prominence and mainstream media attention.

Here’s to the “better angels” in all of us…

- Rik