Tag Archives: Forrest Gump

Three Pinnacle Moments: When the movies and TV got God right

12 Mar

Three Pinnacle Moments:

When the movies and TV got God right

by L. Stewart Marsden

As always, I disclaim that the below opinion is anything but that: my opinion.

Over the years Hollywood has depicted characters from the Bible as well as followers of God in very stereotypical patterns. Charlton Heston depicts Moses and Ben-Hur and many other OT/NT guys with rugged masculinity. George Burns and Morgan Freeman present different takes on The Almighty respectively. Nearly every television series has at some time portrayed religious leaders or followers in less than complimentary light. Not that some religious leaders/followers aren’t a bit edgy, whacked or other,  but — c’mon!

For me, there are three — actually more — but three instances in filmdary (my own word) that have done a better-than-average job of portraying either God or followers in a reasonable fashion. Those are:

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Hook (movie)

A continuation of the Peter Pan saga, we catch up with a grown Peter Pan, now married to the granddaughter of Wendy and hopelessly lost in his advertising career.

Played by Robin Williams, Peter is estranged from his young son, who jumps at the chance to go back to Neverland and bask in the feigned adoration of Pan’s nemesis, Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman.

The most poignant scene in the movie is when the Lost Boys argue whether the grown up Peter is their Peter Pan or not. One of the youngest boys goes to Peter and massages his face this way and that, peering deeply into Peter’s eyes. “Oh, there you are, Peter!” he says with enlightenment.

I believe that’s what God does.

Oh, there you are, ______________! (insert your name here)

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Forrest Gump

Lieutenant Dan and Forrest Gump are forever intertwined in this guaranteed movie classic.

Toward the ending of the film, when Dan has reluctantly come to work with Forrest on the shrimp boat, one of the most compelling scenes is the nighttime approach of a major storm.

Dan has crawled to the top of one of the boat’s masts, and shakes his fist angrily in the air. He shouts “I’m right here! Come and get me!”

Next day the storm has subsided, and Dan is a changed man.

Forrest says, “He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.”

One of the more honest scenes of a man battling it out with his maker, and coming to terms. Others might call it a conversion. I choose to call it a discovery.

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Dexter

Okay, I know you’re wondering about this choice.

Brother Sam appeared in five episodes toward the end of the series. When he was first introduced, I thought, “Oh no — another stereotypical Christian who has feet of clay and is as shady as all Christian ministers are portrayed on television.”

Wrong.

A felon convicted of murder and who served time in prison, Sam is under scrutiny by the Miami homicide unit as a suspect of a series of murders. He is now born again, and runs an auto body shop where he takes other felons and tries to help them straighten out their lives.

Few in the department trust he is running anything but a drug operation, and is not to be trusted. And Dexter has a bead on him — and is ready to dispatch the man.

I won’t spoil the plot if you have not watched those episodes (they are available for viewing on Netflix, by the way). But, I’ll say that despite Brother Sam’s unconventional mission, and his spicy language, he is the real deal. In my book.

So, Hollywood — thanks for at least three honest and genuinely spiritual scenes out of how many that have been shot? I know there are more. Like in “Rudy,” when the priest replies to Rudy at one point in the movie, “I know two things: one, there is a God; and, two, I’m not him.” Bravo!

Now, perhaps you have some TV/movie examples to add to my three?

Or, perhaps you don’t agree.

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