04 December 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Movie Confessional



I love those 2 signs next to each other.  Crackin me up.
As Ryan said, only in Santa Cruz!

Sunday night we hosted a screening of the movie What Would Jesus Buy as a kickoff to our Advent Conspiracy series.  It is not a “Christian” movie.  It is a docu-comedy about reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a protest tour to save Christmas from the shopocalypse.

We made the screening free, and invited people to give toward Africa Oasis Project instead, one of our projects for this Advent Conspiracy.  The turnout, wasn’t huge, but it was decent with probably around 100 people showing up.   Nobody got an official count.  The biggest win was the percentage of people with no connection at all to our church.  It was cool to make a contact with a bunch of people from our community and to make available to them some brochures about Advent Conspiracy.  We also managed to raise almost $200 toward the building of wells in Africa.

Now for the non-win part.  You wanna keep reading for this part.  Although consider this the parental advisory warning.  If you are a youngin, stop reading.  ;)

I bought the movie a few months back to watch and see if we thought it would be a good idea to screen.  Rachel and I watched the movie together, and while there were some issues presented that we might not particularly choose to push, it definitely reflected some positive values that are particularly important to people in our community.  It brought some issues to the forefront, and like any good piece of art, forces you to really think about them.  Some of the depictions were a bit of a stretch perhaps for our people, but we felt it was appropriate to show.  There was a “crap” and a “damn” in there which we figured we could handle.

Fast forward to the screening.  The company we licensed the movie from has sent our theatrical DVD, it is working well, and we are in business.  I’m sitting down into my seat after checking on something in the lobby part way into the movie.  As I’m sitting down we are at a scene where Rev. Billy is inside a Starbucks protesting.  All of a sudden I hear from one of the patrons in the Starbucks,

“Would you please shut the <insert F-bomb here> up?!”

(Feel free to read that sentence again, but yes, you probably read it correctly the first time!)

My heart instantly sunk like a rock in my chest.  I don’t know if it really happened, but I swear I heard an audible reaction from the audience and I felt a physical reaction in my chest that lasted a good 10 minutes at least.  The thoughts in my head:

  • I do NOT remember hearing that either of the 2 times I watched this movie!
  • This movie is rated PG.  How in the world could it have that word in it?
  • I can already see our email inbox filling up.

Well, luckily Ed and Julie were awesome about it and totally understanding.  He just said, “Don’t worry.  We’ll get through it.”

I went home afterward and immediately went to that part of the movie in my my copy.  Sure enough, the word is edited out in the copy they released on DVD.  You can tell what he says, but the word is definitely dropped out.

Well, the happy ending (I hope it’s the ending anyway!) is this.  First of all, no emails.  Not a single one.  Second, I personally emailed everyone I could think if who had kids there to apologize for the mishap and explain what happened.  I got a response from a couple of the people and it was really positive.  The overall consensus seemed to be, yeah we were surprised by that.  But unfortunately my kids have heard that word before, and they really came away from the movie made aware of some important issues.  One parent shared that they had some conversations since then that they never would have had and they were glad we had showed the film.

So there ya have it.  I thought there was really no need to watch the whole movie a third time.  But apparently I was wrong.  I was definitely mortified to hear that happen, but even with that, I think it turned out to be a positive experience with some good themes, some good connection, and some money given to make a difference in Africa.

But let’s please not have a repeat of that faux pas ever again!

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