- (About 20.19 on DVD) As California sorority girl Elle Woods arrives at Harvard, she clearly doesn't fit the picture of a Harvard Law Student--and she is treated like it, in this and subsequent themes. (F. Elizabeth Givens, Associate Pastor, Reveille UMC, Richmond, VA)
"Though we might question the validity of such a
message in real life, the truth is that every person is far more than the
superficial categories in which our first-impression stereotypes place them.
" (Cinema in Focus, review by Hal Conklin and Denny Wayman)
- Chocolat (2000)
- The small French town has been kept "clean" by the Comte de Reynaud and his family ever since the first Comte ran off the Huguenots. He controls everything, even writing the young priest's sermons. He is meticulous, especially in observing Lent. But Vianne and her daughter comes to town and opens (during Lent!) a Chocolate shop, which magically feeds the needs of those who eat it. The Comte knows she must be stopped. Before long, some "River Rats" (including Roux, who romances Vianne) also come along. There is a battle between these "clean" forces and the "unclean." Although before long it becomes obvious that those who are "unclean" are living out a life a goodness. (Darrel Manson, Artesia, CA)
- The movie, Chocolate, presents a wonderful opportunity to talk about the nature of evil, the goodness of creation, and the reality that nothing human is alien to us. Just as is true of the Biblical stories, something of every character lives inside each of us. The people whom we like the least can function as sacraments to invite us to look at those aspects of ourselves which we dislike or of which we are ashamed, and which we therefore project onto others in order to avoid meeting them in ourselves - and therefore cutting ourselves off from the possibility of opening them to God's love, (which accepts all of us - not just the "good" parts) and allowing it to heal and transform us so that we may live life from our true center, which is Love - and which is the only power more powerful than the power and the reality of Evil. (Senter Crook)
- Pere Henri's (the young priest) Easter Sermon: ?I want to talk about Christ?s humanity, I mean how he lived his life on earth: his kindness, his tolerance. We must measure our goodness, not by what we don?t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, or who we exclude. Instead, we should measure ourselves by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.? (Carla Thompson Powell, Livonia, MI)
- Remember the Titans
- Struggle against Racism. See review at Hollywood Jesus.
- Men of Honor (2000)
- Carl grew up on a plantation in the south, the son of slaves. As he went off the navy, his father made him promise he would never allow himself to live the life that his parents had. It would be very difficult, but he should never settle for less than what he wanted. Watching some divers in action, he knew immediately what he wanted: to be master (I don't remember the exact title.) He knew he could be the best. But being black was a major impediment. This was in the 40's or 50's. Only one white guy (a stutterer) was willing to sleep in the same barracks. The list of discriminations goes on and on. (Marcy Keefe-Slager, Jackson, MI)
- Gladiator (2000)
- Maximus is portrayed as a devout, even pious man. He is is reminder not to associate "pagan" with "godless." We should be careful not to Christianize his beliefs. (submitted by Mike Clark, Hamilton, Canada)
- Three Kings (1999)
- The American soldiers learn to see Arabs/Iraqis as people instead of as stereotypes.
- Angela's Ashes (1999)
- Humiliation of Frankie and family because they are poor and because Frank's father is a northerner. (DVD ch 6, 14, 22, etc)
- Boys Don't Cry (1999)
- Much of this movie is an exploration of clean/unclean acceptance/non-acceptance themes in self and in others.
- Summer of Sam
- Ritchie's affinity for punk music and his affectation of different cultural styles leads his community to suspect him of being the killer - he becomes "unclean" to them
- Sunshine (1999)
- The movie "Sunshine" contains a good conversion theme, although it does not work the way one might expect. Members of a Hungarian Jewish family convert to Christianity thinking it will help them integrate into society. They remain targets and outcasts. In the end the surviving member changes his name back into it's Jewish form. He realizes that he must be himself. (submitted by Michael Clark, Hamilton, Canada)
- Three Kings (1999)
- Pleasantville (1998)
- Pleasantville is a place in which people literally have to learn to live "in colour" . Each one is transformed by discovering the passion within them which has been repressed in order to maintain the black and white "status quo". It seemed to me that this has a lot to say to us about the ways in which we respond to Christ's offer of "Life in all its fullness" and are transformed into richer individuals and churches and societies by a risky and sometimes frightening process. The changes in us are not always welcomed by others, just as those who were transformed and healed by Christ were persecuted. The scene where the Dad comes home and finds his wife not there and no dinner anywhere is an achingly accurate picture of the bewilderment of those who demand that Christ tells the crowds not to cheer him as he enters Jerusalem. Those who don't welcome this growth seek out the security of old bastions. "We are safe for the moment because we are in the bowling alley" comments the mayor. Can our churches sometimes be black and white bastions against growth , rather than colourful invitations to life? (submitted by Anne Gordon)
- A Simple
- Hank sees Jacob as the "unclean" one in the family - uncouth, ignorant, stupid. Yet it is Jacob who knows more about the family and who eventually sacrifices himself for his brother.
- Sethe is haunted not only by Beloved, but also by being the "unclean" one in the community, until toward the end where the community confronts and accepts her, and she is healed.
- As Good
As It Gets (1997)
- It seems to me that the relationships that develop amongst the characters in "As Good As It Gets" fit the Good Sam story wonderfully. Nicholson's character is firmly established as reprehensible in every way (the Samaritan of their world). He comes upon a couple of people-the gay neighbor beaten half to death and the ill child of a waitress who does not even begin to have the resources to reach the doctors whose expertise might change her child's world-and he responds. He provides the doctor for the child; he takes the beaten man into his own home. He cares. And the world of those touched is changed. Even as he (Nicholson) is still seen as lacking in so many ways. (Joe Piercey)
- Attitudes about the "uncleanliness" of black people/non-Christians make the institution of slavery seem positive - good Christian people enslave them in order to bring them to Christ.
- Because Cinque is black, he is imprisoned. If he were white, he'd be called a hero for the same actions. (DVD ch 21)
- Karl and Vaughn are both scorned by Doyle for their kindnesses to Frank and Linda because they are "unclean" characters.
- A Time to Kill (1996)
- A good movie to talk about prejudices and sexual control. (Rev. Rebecca Thomas, First Lutheran Church of Sauk Centre)
- The mayor attracts Calhoun as his aide, because Calhoun thinks he has finally found a "clean" politician. At the end, he discovers that though the mayor is a pretty good man - he is not clean at all, but participated in fixing a trial and then stood by while the cover-up took place. Calhoun must decide whether to "ride out the storm" with the mayor, or stay clean himself. He encourages the mayor to step down and the movie ends with Calhoun running himself for councilman. Will he be able to stay clean?? (submitted by Marie Loewen)
- Pocahontas (1995)
- ...the scene when John Smith is about to be killed. The song in the background goes back and forth between stereo types the Indians have for the Whiteman and the Whiteman for the Indians. (Susan Cochran)
- Babe (1995)
- This movie is, on the surface, about life on a sheep farm. The central character is Babe, a pig. This movie explores the prejudices we all have towards people that are not like us through delightful encounters with all sorts of farm animals. Babe breaks the boundaries of stereotypes and challenges the other animals to do so as well. (Amy Southerland)
- The Stand (1994)
- The flu as evil/uncleanliness. The bureaucracy attempts to keep themselves pure from it by using sterile rooms/suits, but it goes right through their suits, and unwittingly their "sterile" behavior adds to its spread (DVD part 1, chapter 10)
- Nick Andros, Mother Abigail, Tom Cullen - seen as "unclean" by many, are compassionate saviors in the story.
- Natural Born Killers
- While decrying violence as negative, the media feeds the public fascination for it because it sells. Violence is rhetorically "unclean", but is invisible and/or encouraged through societal systems.
- Philadelphia (1993)
- Strictly Ballroom
- Scott and Fran are declared "unclean" because they dare to challenge the culture of Competitive Ballroom Dancing.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
- The Fisher King
- The scene where the disabled veteran explains his place in society.
- What About Bob? (1991)
- The "clean" acceptable psychiatrist shows that inside he is "unclean," while the "unclean" Bob shows and develops his personal integrity.
Silence of the Lambs
- Anthony Hopkins has said that he patterned the voice of Hannibal Lecter after the voice of H.A.L. in 2001: A Space Odyssey because HAL was a very "clean" and orderly and would cooly kill anyone who got in the way of his goals. If there is one thing that Hannibal Lecter could not stand, it was "messiness" in his life, and he was willing to go to unspeakably horrifying lengths to keep his life "orderly". Sometimes evil is our attempt to keep our lives "clean".
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered
- Another clip is from Star Trek the Undiscovered Country. It is when the Klingons come to dinner. It is a "guess who is coming to dinner moment" This clip is good because it takes "racism" out of a racial context and puts it humans to aliens. Makes a great point. (Susan Cochran)
- The Giant of
Thunder Mountain (1991)
- Eli Weaver, "the giant," lives like a hermit on thunder mountain, due to the hostility, gossip, and rejection of the local townspeople, who, without evidence, accuse him of murdering his parents. A young girl, Amy Wilson, seeks to turn the tables by befriending the giant?learning that Eli was innocent of the tragic deaths of his parents. Eventually, she succeeds in winning his heart, and Eli agrees to visit the townspeople again, only to be rejected and cast out a second time. However, Amy and her brothers persist in keeping their friendship alive with the giant. Through a series of suspense-filled events, which are totally misunderstood by the townspeople, a lynch mob erroneously hunts down Eli. However, the truth is revealed in the nick of time, and Eli is instrumental in capturing the real criminals, associated with a travelling carnival. The townspeople, finally accepting the truth, regard Eli as a hero. Eli, in several respects, comes across as a Christ-figure in the movie: suffering many hardships from the rejection, scorn and derision of the townspeople, reminding me a little of William Butler Yeats? "rough beast" exterior, contrasted with the biblical tender, gentle Jesus who loves and welcomes children. Themes: How destructive hasty judgments and gossip can be to an individual?s reputation (Matthew 7:1ff., James 3:5ff.), think before you speak and act, external appearances are often very deceptive and have tragic consequences, God?s and Christ?s love for the outcasts of society (Matthew 11:19, Luke 15, etc.), risking one?s life and loving others (John 15:12ff.). Highly recommended for family viewing. (Reviewed by the Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson)
the Right Thing (1989)
- racial violence inevitably erupts as various groups consider the others less than human
- The Little Mermaid (1989)
- "Just used today [Epiphany 4B] "The Little Mermaid," where she willingly goes to see Ursula, the sea witch, in hopes of becoming a human because she is in love with such. We pointed out how blind we are to the "unclean" spirits within and without us when we are centered on self gratification. The clean "spirits" are pulling and tugging at the mermaid but she continues to walk the path of destruction. Good clip ... keeps the kids attention.
- Dominick and Eugene
- Violence toward Nicky.
- The Color Purple (1985)
- Traveling blues singer Shug Avery comes home and becomes a sensation in a local "juke joint." She is staying with a couple, and it is known throughout the community that she is the man's lover. She enters a church building in order to speak to her father, the pastor. Upon seeing her enter the otherwise empty sanctuary, he sits in one of the pews with his back to her. She reminisces about how things were when learned to sing in church as a young girl. Her father gets up and walks away from her. She says that she understands that he won't answer her, considering the way things had turned out. He goes through a door on the other side of the sanctuary and closes it behind him. (submitted by David K. Miller)
- Trading Places (1983)
- With a little manipulation, Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy "change places" in terms of being clean/unclean.
- The Elephant Man (1980)
- Someone who is "unclean" is brought into community. Line when being teased "I am human!" (submitted by Ann K. Fontaine)
- Travis Bickel wants to clean the filth out of New York. The hope that "someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets" becomes his alienated psychotic motivation to violence.
- Macbeth (1971)
- There have been over two dozen movies by this name, most if not all containing the famous scene where Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and tries to get the imagined spots of her victim's blood off her hands. (submitted by David K. Miller)
Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
- General Jack D. Ripper tells Group Capt. Lionel
Mandrake about his ideas concerning "purity of essence:"
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Lord, Jack.
General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I-- no, no. I don't, Jack.
General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
(Note that there is discussion of a sexual component of "purity of essence" in this scene.) (submitted by David K. Miller)
- General Jack D. Ripper tells Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake about his ideas concerning "purity of essence:"
- West Side Story (1961)
- Maria and Tony are "unclean" in each others' worlds.
- 12 Angry Men
- 11 Jurors vote immediately to convict a man of murder based on their racial/social prejudices until Henry Fonda convinces them to look again. Juror #10: "Look, these people are lushing it up and fighting all the time, and if somebody gets killed, so somebody gets killed! They don't care. Oh sure, there are some good things about 'em too. I'm the first one to say it. I've known a couple who were okay, but that's the exception..."
- The Searchers (1956)
- Ethan attempts to "save" his niece, despite the increasingly obvious fact that she doesn't want/need "saving".
I'm afraid I disagree with the idea that Ethan was out to save his niece despite her unwillingness to be saved. I think the movies main theme of racial prejudice by both the Europeans and Amerinds does not support the notion of Ethan saving her. Marty realizes Ethan's goal is to "save" Debbie by killing her, hence his determination to stay with the pursuit. (submitted by Dean Cramer)
Without a Cause (1955)
- Prejudices and Fear lead to the fatal confrontation at the end of the movie
- Grapes of Wrath
- Gasoline Attendant: You and me got sense. Them Okies got no sense and no feeling. They ain't human. Human being wouldn't live the way they do. Human being couldn't stand to be so miserable.