We all know there’s a movie we shouldn’t go to see, which is based on books we should read. All of Catholic media was talking about the forbidden fruit of 50 Shades of Grey. But last Friday, Erin McCole Cupp lamented that there was precious little talk on Catholic media of what to see instead:
The media that is supposed to share our goals, however? Right now it looks like they’d rather complain about the popular and scandalous than promote the positive and affirming.
Okay, each of the three shows I heard did give at least brief mention to Old Fashioned as a positive option for moviegoers this weekend. Yes, it’s a start, but that’s all it is: a start.
Enter this week’s project: #ShowUsYourList!
Instead of just complaining about the trash that’s out there, let’s promote what’s good for people to watch or read! If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. And trust me, there is plenty out there to watch or read instead of the garbage that was served up for Valentine’s Day weekend. I blogged last weekend about seven things to do instead of indulging in 50 Shades, but more can be done.
Erin put forth a challenge: share at least three fictional books, movies, or television shows that promote truth and beauty and which can be offered up as positive alternatives for the “usual fare” that’s out there. Blog it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, then use the hashtag #ShowUsYourList on social media. Tag those big-name Catholics and see if we can get them to participate, too.
So here’s my list of some of the alternatives out there:
Let’s start with books, since 50 Shades started that way. (Well, really, it started as Twilight Fan Fiction, but let’s not go there right now.) The number of good books out there to read is too large to count. If you’re trepidatious about digging into some of the older classics, I highly recommend searching Librivox for their audio recordings. They’re available both at the Librivox site as well as the iTunes Podcast listing. They’re free, too!
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- Jane Eyre, By Charlotte Brontë
- Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
- In Name Only, by Ellen Gable
- A Subtle Grace, by Ellen Gable
- Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable
- Don’t You Forget About Me, by Erin McCole Cupp
- Falling for Your Madness, by Katherine Grubb
- The Truth About the Sky, by Katherine Grubb
- All seven of the Odd Thomas books, by Dean Koontz
- The Scarlett Pimpernell, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
- Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Francis Hodgson Burnett
- The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnett
- The Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnett
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
- The Once and Future King, by T.H. White
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry
- The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo (NOT the movie, the book!)
- The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis (I recommend these in the order they were published, not the chronological order stamped on the bindings)
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
- Watership Down, by Richard Adams
- Father Elijah: An Apocalypse, by Michael O’Brien
- Just about anything by William Shakespeare would be fantastic — go with comedies if you aren’t sure—The Taming of the Shrew is one of our family’s favorites.
Movies:There are tons of movies that are excellent, and the Vatican even has compiled a list of what are considered to be great movies. You’ll notice I have a wide variety of movies, and few of them are specifically Catholic-themed. Good movies don’t have to be labeled as Christian to be wholesome. Some movies aren’t appropriate for all audiences, but all have beauty and truth and real love.
- Return to Me
- The Princess Bride (I can only speak about the movie, as I haven’t managed to finish the book yet)
- Les Misérables (the book, written by Victor Hugo, is also excellent, but is tremendously long and difficult to get through at times – the movie is a nice summary)
- Evan Almighty
- The Incredibles
- Brave (All four of these Pixar films uphold the family as good and beautiful, as well as stress the importance of interpersonal relationships. They aren’t just for kids.)
- The Quiet Man
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Mission
- Life is Beautiful
- It’s a Wonderful Life (not just for Christmas, people!)
These are a bit harder, and often a show will start out really well and gradually degenerate into … ick. While I can think of several excellent shows I love to watch that are wonderfully entertaining, not all of them consistently point towards Truth and Beauty, so I’m going to stick with those that do that here. Not all of them are appropriate for all ages, and I’ll admit to the fact that there are definitely some Avert Your Eyes Moments in some shows. But embedded in each are a search for what is true and good, with characters who strive to do what is right instead of what is self-serving.
- Doctor Who*
- The Addams Family
*Both Firefly and Doctor Who contain themes that are not appropriate for everyone, and Doctor Who, while it has some strong themes that are pro-life, is also written from an atheist’s point of view and has occasional in-your-face moments that are very against Church teachings. However, overall, Doctor Who is filled with characters who try to do what is right, striving to save as many lives as possible.