Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Box Office Receipts, Movieguide Awards Defy Hollywood’s Perverse Fixations

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The 86th Academy Awards show is just three weeks away, but it’s hard to imagine the annual event ginning up any widespread excitement this year. The voting members of the Academy have trapped themselves; with few exceptions, they’ve nominated films that the public hasn’t seen, doesn’t want to see — and aren’t worth seeing. As Dr. Ted Baehr (shown) and Dr. Tom Snyder point out in “The Oscars' Road to Perdition,” the vast majority of the nominees are “boring, uninspiring, tasteless, elitist, senseless, or politically correct.”

The Academy members, and the movie critics who share their decadent fascination with all things vulgar and depraved, are all afroth over director Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), Dallas Buyers Club (starring Matthew McConaughey), and American Hustle (starring Christian Bale), which are vying for Best Picture and Best Actor Oscars.

This penchant of the Hollywood elite to honor the most profane and obscene is particularly perverse this year, since some of the most popular films with the movie-going public over the past 12 months not only offered uplifting inspiration and clean entertainment, but also superb film craftsmanship as well. Movie audiences are paying to see wholesome excellence, but the Academy Awards are celebrating banal, sleazy, R-rated, politically-correct tripe.

In contrast to the Oscars’ salute to the lewd, crude, and nude, the 22nd Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala on February 7 celebrated “The Good, the True, and the Beautiful,” providing recognition and substantial cash prizes to the best films and television programs, as well as acting and screenwriting. The Movieguide Gala, held this year again at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, also featured, for the 22nd year in a row, Movieguide’s “Report to the Entertainment Industry,” a detailed study demonstrating that moviegoers richly reward clean movies at the box office.

The winner of Movieguide’s $100,000 Epiphany Prize for most inspiring movie of 2013 is Grace Unplugged, the story of a prodigal daughter (played by actress/singer/songwriter AJ Michalka) who runs away from home to become a rock star. It was up against tough competition from Superman’s big-budget blockbuster Man of Steel, as well as lesser known films Black Nativity, 42, and The Tower.

Burnett and DowneyThe $100,000 Epiphany Prize for most inspiring television program of 2013 went to The Bible, the History Channel’s seven and one-half hour mega-popular miniseries developed by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (shown at right). Downey is best known for her Touched by an Angel TV series.

The Bible won out over Duck Dynasty: Till Duck Do Us Part, Blue Bloods: Bad Blood, The Cross, and Last Man Standing: Back to School.

Frozen, Disney’s animated comic fantasy, won Best Family Movie in a crowded field that included Despicable Me 2, The Croods, Turbo, Grace Unplugged, Monsters University, Black Nativity, Linsanity, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, and Oz, The Great and Powerful.

Iron Man 3, Marvel Comics’ epic action adventure starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, took the honors for Best Movie for Mature Audiences, beating out worthy competition from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Gravity, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World, Captain Phillips, Jack the Giant Slayer, 42, and The Tower.

James Denton and AJ Michalka won the Grace Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, both in Grace Unplugged, triumphing over such big-name stars as Harrison Ford (42), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), and Russell Crowe (Man of Steel).

Roma Downey won the Best Actress Grace Award for television for The Bible and Willie Robertson took home the Best Actor Grace Award for television for Last Man Standing: Back to School.

Iron Man 3 also won Movieguide’s Faith and Freedom Award for movies, while Duck Dynasty: Till Duck Do Us Part took the same for television.

The $50,000 Friess Foundation Free Enterprise Prize went to Shark Tank: Episode 4.20, the Reality TV series that highlights the freedom and opportunity of the American economic system and teaches young people how to be entrepreneurs.

Joni Eareckson TadaA surprise, last-minute feature at this year's Movieguide Gala was the special appearance of Christian singer Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic whose hauntingly beautiful performance of "Alone Yet Not Alone" was nominated for a Best Song Oscar for the movie of the same title. However, in a rare move that many have charged is blatantly hypocritical and evidence of anti-Christian bias, the Academy rescinded the nomination, claiming people associated with the film had campaigned improperly for the award.

Virtue Can Be Profitable

As in the past, this year’s “Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry” shows clearly that moviegoers prefer clean, family-friendly movies with Christian faith and values.

“This was abundantly true in 2013,” said Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide. “For the first time ever, 90% of the Top 10 Movies in the United States and overseas were Movieguide Award winners, from Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me 2 to Frozen, Gravity, and Man of Steel. Also, two-thirds of the Top 10 — sixty percent — had overt references to Jesus Christ.”

“Consequently,” Dr. Baehr noted, “movies with very strong Christian, redemptive worldviews averaged $87.07 million at the domestic box office in 2012, but movies with very strong Non-Christian worldviews averaged only $21.64 million.” Moreover, he noted, “In fact, movies with humanist/atheist worldviews did the worst, averaging only $3.66 million!”

While many of the Hollywood elite insist in obstinately and narcissistically wallowing in their own mire, Movieguide has taken the lead in pointing toward higher ground. All entertainment consumers who hope to preserve what remains of our Christian culture and to restore that which has been lost, bear a responsibility to choose wisely in the movies and television programs they support with their dollars and their viewing habits. Movieguide is an indispensible aid for helping individuals, families, and our larger society, in this regard.


Related articles:

The Oscars' Road to Perdition

“Alone Yet Not Alone” Song Snubbed by Academy

Movieguide's Ted Baehr on Hollywood and Popular Culture (Video)

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