Critically Speaking: Michael W. Smith & Ryan Smith
- Friday, August 22, 2008
Michael: Not interested in the fluff. I think these guys write stuff that requires you to make a decision. I think the two shorts really make you think.
Ryan: They’re not really “Christian” films. You could watch either of these shorts at any film festival and not automatically think, “Oh, a Christian must have made that.”
It’s not that we’re trying to be something we’re not. It’s just about telling a good story, and if in the midst of that you find out that you actually have something to say in the story, then that’s great. But if you’re starting with, “I’m gonna’ get this message across” then it’s just an advertisement.
CMP: Do you think as Christians study the C2 curriculum the films might encourage some to go watch movies they may not have otherwise because of content or rating?
Michael: I hope and think that they would.
Ryan: Somebody recently asked me, “What would you tell somebody who objected to seeing a movie because of content?” The best answer I can give is, “Everybody is different.” Certain things affect people in different ways. You have to decide for yourself where that line is.
A lot of people have made the mistake of assuming that because we are trying to encourage people to “take their Christian worldview to the movies” that means it’s about a content thing. That’s just not it. We’re not trying to teach you what not to watch. We’re not saying, “go see everything” either. It’s a broader thing. Artistically, what are you looking for when you go to the movies?
The Bible itself is full of sex and incest and crazy violence. It’s definitely an R-rated book. So if you want to tap into the human condition at all, glossing over the messier stuff is, I think, an untrue view of reality. It’s not that you have to have a lot of objectionable stuff in [the movie], but others tend to kind of sugarcoat things. It’s very black and white, “This is bad. This is right.” There’s no middle ground, no gray zone.
CMP: What kind of impact would you like to see from the C2 studies?
Ryan: We’re not real thrilled with how Christian film has turned out over the past few years. It blows me away that people go see some of this stuff, and they think it’s great. Christians especially have this habit of thinking if the message is good they can overlook the fact the movie looks terrible, the acting is horrible and the script is awful.
We hope that people would develop a better appreciation for art and film specifically.
Michael: And then go make good art.
Ryan: At least be able to learn to recognize it.
Michael: Historically, everybody looked to the Church for great art. Now it’s swapped. It’s actually pretty sad. We, as believers, should be on the cutting edge of making the best art ever, but we’ve wanted to follow instead of lead. We’d love to see that change.
CMP: What is your working relationship like, the dynamic as father and son?
Michael: I’m the cheerleader. C2 went pretty smoothly because we got a partner in Randall House. But now we are trying to start on the first feature film, and my role is to use my influence and contacts to get people interested, introduce them to Ryan and invest in the film—get everybody’s enthusiasm up.
Ryan’s been out to Ed Harris’ film company, which has been a good contact. I became friends with “Buster” from Arrested Development—what’s his name?
Ryan: Tony Hale.
Recently on Music
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content