So, you are writing the next big Hollywood blockbuster, and you think your cast of characters would be much enlivened by the addition of a token Christian?
Be warned - no one will actually want to watch a genuine, real life Christian on screen. It would be a total buzz-kill. (Some time I might do a top ten list of movies that would become instantly boring / incredibly short if the main protagonist was a Christian.*)
Fret not, though. There are certain well trod paths when it comes to injecting a little pseudo-Christian flavour into a movie. Herewith I happily present part one of the Top Ten List Of Christian Movie Stereotypes, each one designed to make Christianity just that little bit more palatable to the audience.
1) The Bumbling Anglican Idiot
Serious Christianity is boring, but everyone loves a bumbling fool. Note that these guys have to be Anglican, because guys putting on dresses is already inherently funny. Catholics also put on dresses, but they are too scary to be bumbling fools, except in Father Ted. Got the rules? We'll come to scary Catholics in a moment.
The top two Bumbling Anglican Idiots are obviously Rowan Atkinson in Four Weddings And A Funeral, and Peter Cook in The Princess Bride. Say it with me: "Mawwige..."
Tolerable to audiences because: No one has to take these guys seriously. Holy goat! Ahahahah!
|Did I accidentally put on a dress this morning?|
2) The Scary Catholic Sect
Hollywood loves its Scary Catholics. Long before Dan Brown started spewing his derivative nonsense into the mix, Hollywood loved to take sinister looking men in flowing robes and dog collars, put them in gloomily-lit cathedrals, and have them Brutally Stab People For The Love Of God. Sinister sects you may remember include: The Brotherhood Of The Cruciform Sword from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, some guys who tried to kill some woman in that piece-of-drek Arnold Schwarzenegger movie End Of Days, and, I think, pretty much the whole Catholic church in Stigmata.
|"I never wanted to be in a Scary Catholic Cult, but then I saw|
how good this goatee looked with the regulation scary
robes and knife, and, well, it just seemed to be God's will."
Why is it usually Catholics who get cast in these roles? Probably because it is all true, and Catholicism is just a weird, dark-and-scary-sect-laden thing.
Tolerable to audiences because: They are always the baddies, and they'll get killed in the final reel. Usually by a staunch atheist.
3) The Kick-Ass Black Dude
The Kick-Ass Black Dude Christian can quote the Bible all he likes, provided he's
b) Black, and
c) Played by a gangster-rap/hip-hop star.
b) Black, and
c) Played by a gangster-rap/hip-hop star.
|A brace of Christian kickassical musicians.|
Tolerable to secular audiences because: They are kick-ass. Christian they may be, but they mainly solve their problems by being kick-ass and having a big damn gun or a baseball bat, and they do cool kick-ass stuff like hitting sharks in the face with their bare fists, or whatever. (I can't remember if this actually happens in Deep Blue Sea, but it seems pretty likely.)
4) The Hang-Up-Ridden Neurotic
These guys are burdened with faith in the same way that most of us are burdened by insane EU regulations, ridiculously picky bosses or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They are probably in training for the priesthood, and must on no account enjoy themselves during the movie, except in the final five minutes, when they will suddenly discover that the answer to all their problems is to ditch their faith, burn their dog collars and shack up with the nearest girl. This move will be unilaterally approved of by the rest of the cast, who will celebrate their new-found enlightenment and cheer them on their way.
(Incidentally, the main problem for these guys is usually LUST, because they FANCY A GIRL and they are probably training to be Catholic priests, who, as we know, are expected to stay miserably single - a doctrine that my mum reckons explains all the kiddy-fiddling, and which the Apostle Paul describes as "the teaching of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). So count me amongst the cheerers. One less demon-worshipper in the world, hurrah. Also, it lessens the chances of them getting inducted into a Scary Catholic Sect.)
|This guy must be kept out of a sect at all costs, since there is no telling|
how much damage he could wreak with just one of those eyebrows.
Examples of this are Brother Tony in High Spirits (an awesome movie) who renounces the priesthood and shacks up with Jennifer Tilly (hardly surprising), and Erich Egerman in A Little Night Music (poor movie adaptation of an awesome show), who renounces the priesthood and shacks up with Lesley-Anne Down, aka Madeline Fabray LaMotte for North and South fans (slightly more surprising, but only because she's his mother-in-law in the movie).
Tolerable to audiences because: They are not really God-botherers, they are just misguided, and it only takes an incredibly attractive woman to help them see the light.
|NB: Anglican priests are free to marry, as long as it is to a hang-up-ridden|
neurotic who will see the light, renounce the priesthood and cuckold them.
5) The Bible-Bashing Psycho
I don't think I need to say much more than: Carrie's Mother.
|Note the dowdy nightdress. Well, you don't want to go stabbing|
your daughter wearing a skimpy negligee. It would be weird.
These guys are insane, violent, and Must Be Stopped. You especially do not want to have one of these as a parent. If you find that you do happen to have one of these as a parent, chances are that when you come of age you will end up killing them, yourself, and your entire peer group. Though probably not in that order.
|Another example: This psycho, played by the same guy who played the Psycho|
in that Hitchcock movie about the psycho. Oh, what was that called again?
Tolerable to audiences because: It shows that only psychos believe in Jesus, and everyone can cheer when they get brutally impaled on their own Bible during the denouement.
So, that's part one.
What are the remaining five top ten Christian movie stereotypes? The tension is unbearable. But bear it we must, since it's bed time. All will be revealed shortly, unless a Scary Catholic Cult comes for me in the meantime.
Part two is here.
* e.g Indecent Proposal, Christian version:
Robert Redford: "Sleep with me for a million dollars?"
Demi Moore: "No."