Across Pacific & Asia
A Leadership University Special Feature

Seen any good movies lately? Have there been any good movies
lately? Good or bad, the Oscars are to be awarded soon. And
hoopla aside, Academy Award season presents us with the
opportunity to consider the place of movies in our culture.

How does your favorite movie affect you? What emotions does it
stir inside? It might be rather difficult to describe the strong
sentiments aroused by viewing your most cherished film. Indeed,
movies are an integral part of our lives and culture. As we look
back with nostalgia over previous decades, we cannot help but
consider what was showing in the movie theatres in different
periods. And although movies are one popular culture influence
among many, they may hold a greater symbolic significance than
the rest. For instance, a person's favorite movie might say more
about them than their favorite sports team, song or even TV show.

Although movies are just over one hundred years old, they are a
relatively recent development in presenting storied dramas.
Ancient epics, Classical drama, morality plays, and Renaissance
comedies and tragedies preceded our modern movies. Many movies
have characteristics of these established genres. It is well
known that presentations in the traditional performing arts
usually carried strong moral lessons. And the effectiveness of
those lessons relied on the skill of those involved with every
step of development, from writing to production. In our current
age of technical wizardry, however, movies tend to emphasize the
effects (sights and sounds) at the expense of content. And yet
many movies still carry a moral message, some good and some bad.

Categories for this Feature:
  o The Contenders
  o More 1998 Movies
  o Reviews of Movies Past
  o Movies and Morality


Decoding Miller
Jack L. Walker, Jr.
A look at "Saving Private Ryan" through the character of its

Saving "Private Ryan" from the Conservatives
Ken Masugi
Why did so many influential conservatives detest "Saving Private
Ryan"? Were their criticisms of this Spielberg epic correct?

The Thin Red Line
Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
Review of a war movie most unlike "Saving Private Ryan."

Life is Beautiful
Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
Since war is so ugly, as the two previous contenders have shown
us, could life in a concentration camp be beautiful?

Shakespeare in Love
Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
Enough of the death and destruction. Let's hear about some


The Truman Show
John Myers
The media invasion of privacy in the electronic age is one theme
of "The Truman Show." Is there another theme that is not so

Only Shades of Gray
Chris Stamper
The author reviews "Pleasantville." This might be considered a
companion film to "The Truman Show."

You've Got Mail
Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
The masters of romantic comedy are back. Does this light-hearted
movie have anything of importance to say?

Of Biblical Proportions
Gene Edward Veith
Many worried that "The Prince of Egypt" may be offensive to
Christians. It wasn't. Some might say, however, that it did
offend those who need offending.

Patch Adams
Michael Elliott for The Christian Critic
Is this the medical version of "Dead Poet's Society"?


The "English Patient" Plays "Casablanca"
David Aaron Murray
It won nine Oscars including Best Picture (only two films in
history have ever won more claimed the ads). Does the "English
Patient" deliver a sublime message or mere sentimentality? The
reviewer answers this question by comparing this postmodernist
movie to the film classic,"Casablanca."

The Moral World of the "English Patient"
First Things, Correspondence (October 1997)
Two readers of David Aaron Murray's review of "The English
Patient" respond to his harsh critique of the film. This article
includes Murray's reply to each of them.

The Titanic
John Gay
Is there something beyond the perfect set design, the dazzling
effects, and the box office receipts? Is there more to "Titanic"
than meets the eye?

The 2001 Principle
Mordechai Steinman and Gershon Robinson
In the annals of motion picture history, the film "2001: A Space
Odyssey" holds a special place. Though outwardly science fiction,
the film speaks about life, the universe, and reality in general,
and the message seems to be one of enormous consequence. But
that message may not be what you think.

The World View of "Jurassic Park"
Dr. Ray Bohlin
The book and movie "Jurassic Park" were more than just great
entertainment. There was a specific attempt to alter the way you
think about Nature, its use and potential abuse.

Why the Main Character of "Braveheart" Is Not William Wallace
John Gay
Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" won five academy awards, including Best
Picture and Best Director. Most people would assume that Gibson's
character, William Wallace, about whom the movie was named, was
the movie's central character. Was he? If not, who was? And how
does this character's life speak to our own lives?

- Movies and Morality:

Film and the Christian
Todd Kappelman
How should a Christian view films? The author, an experienced
film critic, calls us to demonstrate discernment in
distinguishing between art and entertainment, without damaging
one's spiritual vitality.

Lost in the Movies
James Nuechterlein
Contemporary films are replete with scenes and innuendos of
casual sex. When such movies are explicit and degrading, we may
find ourselves repulsed. But there are many times when the
message is more subtle and perhaps just as dangerous.

Movies and Morals
Ray Cotton
This article provides warnings and guidelines for movie watching.

Friday Night at the Movies
Dr. Walter Bradley
"Friday Night at the Movies" is an outreach program to students
that takes the form of an Open House with food (pizza, popcorn,
dessert, etc.) and soft drinks, but most importantly a thought-
provoking movie that raises one of the "big questions" regarding
life, meaning, purpose, etc.


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