I often daydream about living off the grid and living off the land in a cabin in the woods somewhere, the squirrels and birds my friends, growing all I eat, with the sunsets being my daily entertainment. You may share my dream of tranquility or yours may be a tropical island. While we may daydream about such a place I think it would be fair to say that most people in North America live in a culture-saturated world.
We, for the most part, get our groceries, clothes and other necessities from a store, get our emails and Facebook notifications while online on our computers, and spend at least part of our day watching some form of television from a variety of sources. As such, we collectively experience many things in our culture that, while they may not particularly interest us, we are still made aware of.
One such cultural item is the book and subsequent movie, “50 Shades of Grey.” From the reports I’ve read or heard the story is basically one of sexual exploitation. That it became a best selling book and huge success at the box office is a sad statement on our cultural appetite.
But rather than curse the darkness, a very brave and creative young man, Rik Swartzwelder, conceived, directed and stars in a new film called “Old Fashioned.” If you absolutely refuse to go to movies (and who could blame you in this day and age) you owe it to yourself to at least watch the trailer. The storyline is… “A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.”
The synopsis reads, “A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.” See more at: http://www.oldfashionedmovie.com.
My wife and I rarely go to the movie theatre, in part because there is very little that Hollywood produces that we care to see, in part because it’s so much less expensive to wait ‘til it’s at Redbox, and in part because we rarely seem to have two to three hours to devote to just sitting and observing anything! But, on a recent date night we drove to the only theatre in our city that was showing this little independent film about wholesome values. “50 Shades of Grey”, on the other hand, was in every theatre in town and, in some cases, two screens in the same complex.
The three hours it took to drive there, view the movie and drive home were, in our opinion, well spent. The message is one of reality, regret and redemption. I would love to have my daughters see this film to show them that not all films are about sexploitation, sexual promiscuity, gratuitous sex, etc. Whatever the packaging it seems that ultimately Hollywood’s focus is the same. This film is the proverbial fish swimming upstream against the onslaught of Hollywood’s decadent indulgence in self gratification.
None of us is perfect. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Rik’s character has tremendous baggage from past choices. Am I the only one who can relate to that? He learns from those mistakes and charts a different course. Ultimately, the wisdom of an older person, a great aunt in this case, sets him free from performance to embrace the grace of the Lord’s forgiveness. And he is rewarded with the relationship he has so deeply desired.
There are aspects that don’t line up perfectly with my theology, but the overall message is one our young people, and even us older folks, need to see and hear.
Congratulations, Rik Swartzwelder. Way to go for it and light a candle in the darkness!