Arts, Media, and Entertainment

The Prodigal Blonde

    Summer means Hollywood blockbusters. And millions of moviegoers will flock to theaters to see uplifting and inspiring films that challenge them with eternal moral questions, right? I wish it were so. For every Saving Private Ryan out there, fans will spend billions of dollars on mindless schlock. And what makes it onto celluloid often defies even our jaded imaginations: This year's Cannes Film Festival, for example, featured a film about sexual cannibalism so disturbing that members of the audience fainted from shock and required medical attention. But as an art form, film should certainly do more than shock or merely divert. When it's done well, movies can be a wonderful tool for evangelism and cultural renewal. The latest contribution to this kind of moral filmmaking is Road to Redemption, from World Wide Pictures -- the film ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Past films from World Wide included a moving story of a man whose wife suffered from Alzheimers -- a film aired nationwide on television. Well, this time, they're trying their hand at a comedy -- but one that provokes as much thought as it does laughter. Road to Redemption is a loose retelling of the Prodigal Son story. It tells the story of Amanda, a young woman in financial trouble who steals a quarter of a million dollars from a gangster who she worked for. When a "sure thing" at the racetrack goes bad, she and her live-in boyfriend find themselves in desperate straits --fleeing from a mobster who wants his money back. At this point, missed car payments are the least of their worries. The only way they can see to escape this predicament is to ask Amanda's wealthy (but estranged) grandfather for the money. After all, they reason, he found religion in his old age, so he must be soft. To Amanda's astonishment, her grandfather agrees to give her the money -- on one condition. She must take him from his nursing home to go fishing in Montana, just as they had done decades before. It's a long drive, and with gangsters on their trail, lessons are learned, and hi-jinks ensue. But in the end, Amanda comes to realize what really matters in life, and her life is changed forever. Now, Road to Redemption is no Schindler's List. But it does take seriously the important questions in life and addresses them through a medium that captures the imagination. And that's why we talk about films on BreakPoint. We're not interested in promoting any particular movie -- goodness knows I wouldn't want anyone to see some of the films we comment on. But films can and do have powerful impact on culture, shaping the way people think. And we need to understand how this process works. And that's what makes the work of World Wide Pictures so important. As Princeton professor Robert George said in an interview on our Wilberforce Forum website, cultural engagement must be multi-pronged. Just as we have to exercise our civic duty in the voting booth, we must engage the culture through the media. Road to Redemption will be aired on television June 4th through June 14th. Check you local listings. When you find its schedule, invite some of your friends over for popcorn, fun, and a real message. In our efforts to shine the light of Christian worldview on every cranny of today's culture, the Road to Redemption is a great place to start. For further reference: Christopher, James. "Gone with the Wind-Up," The Times Online (London), 15 May 2001. Wilberforce Interview: age/1,1183,PTID3585|CHID101993|CIID425473,00.html    


Chuck Colson


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