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June 18, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | June 18, 2007 |

To the somewhat confused and occasionally disillusioned believers in Pajibaland, and to those who are neither confused nor believers, and to all those who spend their workdays goofing off online: Greetings!

It’s been a month since my last letter to you all, and I remain as ever a slave to your will, as well as that of my many bosses, who in their wisdom and desire to instill in me a strength and resolve uncommon among my generation have graciously offered to allow me to work more than 40 hours per week while only receiving pay for a standard 40-hour frame. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to reflect on my job status, and the questionable financial stability of being a journalism major, and also invite them to bite me. Nevertheless, my toils are surely for the good, as they allow me adequate time to troll the massive interwebs and bring the latest news from that unholy commercial gray area where the word of God meets the bottom line. No, I don’t mean Nashville; I mean the various companies and producers who, for reasons good and bad, are creating religious/”religious” media. It’s time once again for Jesus, Etc., so without further ado: Let’s God it up.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Massive Three-Day Opening. I grew up reading C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, so it wasn’t exactly surprising to me when the first entry in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was turned into a successful film, opening to $65 million and eventually winding up with a domestic total close to $300 million. The film featured talking animals, a Christian allegory, and children who are given weapons by Santa Claus; there is literally no more financially promising combination of plot points possible in American film, short of having a pack of puppies rescue strippers from a fire made of gumdrops. It was directed by Andrew Adamson, who helmed the first two Shrek films and is also handling directing duties on the sequel, Prince Caspian. But Adamson is stepping down from the director’s chair for the third film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, to hand the reigns over to Michael Apted. British filmmaker Apted hasn’t really worked with kids’ material since the kids in the 7 Up series were actually 7, but I think the change could wind up working in the series’ favor. After all, the Harry Potter series didn’t start to get good — seriously, it didn’t — until Chris Columbus bowed out and Alfonso Cuaron took over for the third film, followed by Mike Newell and now David Yates. Newell and Yates are also both British, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. Maybe British filmmakers, coming from a rainy island with a stout literary pedigree, are more equipped to oversee films aimed at children that also brush against darker and more complex themes, whether it’s the hunt for your parents’ killer or just how to act around the personification of God as a giant lion. Then again, I have the feeling that they could get George Lucas to direct these films and they’d still earn money hand over fist. … Crap, I hope I didn’t give them any ideas. At any rate, the film will hit theaters in May 2009, and I’m sure it will be a boon to Walden Media.

Kneel, Prostrate, and Other Words That Have Now Taken On Dubious Double Meanings. Sometimes I forget that the religious atmosphere in which I was raised — which was pretty much an evangelical one, though I was definitely on the loose end of the spectrum — can be a puzzlement to everyone else. It’s a lot like being from Texas, I guess; it’s weird, but not in the way outsiders expect it to be, and it still takes a lot of explaining, and there are certain aspects of it I will never be able to accurately communicate to anyone. Which is why Mark Regnerus’ recent book Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers seems a little obvious and on the nose when it comes to the conclusion that, yes, Christian teens are also prone to getting their swerve on. I had firsthand experience with the whole True Love Waits thing, though I never signed one of those abstinence pledges, since (a) it seemed like the adults were hedging their bets with us, and it came off as morally hypocritical, or at least duplicitous, and (b) signing a piece of paper that reminded me of something of which I was already powerfully aware struck my 14-year-old self as horribly depressing. A lot of Regnerus’ findings, I can attest, are true, including the one about how Christian teens often wind up eschewing birth control because they were taught the religious reasons to avoid sex but not how to safely have it if the occasion arose, which has resulted in more than a few accidental pregnancies. So, just a lesson, kids: Waiting until marriage is an admirable and worthy choice, but if you’re gonna raise your Ebenezer, be sure to take precautions.

Give Her a Rib, and Off She Goes. After years of pandering to religious and secular conservatives alike with their family-oriented pabulum, Walt Disney Pictures is dipping a cautious toe into the waters of antagonizing the religious right. Disney has acquired a spec script called All About Adam, from screenwriters Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, in which Eve dumps Adam in the Garden of Eden and bolts to New York to live her own life. Adam, heartbroken, finds out that Satan was behind the break-up and sets out to get Eve back. Believe me when I say that I can approach this story from a secular perspective and still think it’s blindingly retarded, so I can assure you that the still-living Jerry Falwells of this country will probably come a bit unhinged by the time this thing hits theaters. And if Adam and Eve start to burst into song like Simba or something, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Well, it’s about time I wrapped this up. All of you take care until next month, and play nice, and tell Euodia and Syntyche to knock it off; we’re all in this together, and there is so much more that unites us than divides us. On that note, here’s a clip from Junebug. It’s a fantastic film for many reasons, but I was additionally captivated by the unique details of the main character’s Southern religious upbringing. Take it from me: The yellow Dixie cups, the tablecloths, the Wednesday-night potluck — it’s all real. And sometimes that can be a good thing, you know?

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor for Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. He’s a prophet without honor in his hometown, and pretty much anywhere else he goes. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

Come Sail Away

Jesus, Etc. / Daniel Carlson

Industry | June 18, 2007 |

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