At an online forum I hang out at there was a discussion recently about a "Christian" movie called To Save a Life.
I gave them my usual rhetoric about why Christian movies always turn out to be crap, but they insisted that this one broke the mold. Of course, I knew that if it was actually good, it couldn't really be all that Christian. Then again, if it was really Christian, it couldn't be all that good. Well, either way, I'm not taking my chances.
But it did get me thinking about what makes a Christian movie actually Christian. I've decided that we need some sort of standard, a set of criteria to which all Christian movies are held.
We need a checklist.
The Christian Movie Checklist (or How Movies Get to Heaven)
For a movie to be considered saved, it must meet at least 75% of the following criteria:
-No moral ambiguity. Christian morality is black or white. So are our characters. Not literally...I mean, like morally. You know, metaphorically.
-A character must say "damn" at least twice, for believability. Extreme swearing like the s-word or the f-word are prohibited.
-Sex can be alluded to, but the word sex is prohibited. Portraying it is right out. We haven't yet convinced the world that we reproduce via mitosis.
-75% of the movie's soundtrack must be from approved Christian musicians. Remember, Amy Grant and Jennifer Knapp are verboten now, so watch your step.
-The other 25% of the soundtrack can be secular, but must be composed of songs from 1970 or earlier.
-Youth leaders should still be signified by having frosted tips. This is pretty much ingrained by now.
-Characters should be about a cycle behind on current trends. Everyone in the film should still be on MySpace.
-Teenage characters should be angsty. Painfully so. If they're not angsty, they're the Christian teen.
Actually, by this measurement, I'm not sure we can call To Save A Life a Christian movie. But there's one thing we can be sure of: Kirk Cameron's not in it. And I think that's something we can all be thankful for.