HollywoodJesus.com, begun in 1997 as a way to engage the spiritual content in films, recently launched a book publishing division, Hollywood Jesus Books.
Its previous books have included two by site contributor and Lord of the Rings expert Greg Wright: Tolkien in Perspective and Peter Jackson in Perspective.
Wright, who is currently heading up HollywoodJesus.com’s coverage of the upcoming The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe adaptation, has just edited another tome for the book division, Hollywood Jesus Reviews: 2003-2004.
Wright, with co-editor Jenn Wright, collects the site’s movie reviews from August 2003 to July 2004 and packages them in book form. The book features 83 reviews from 15 different writers, each of whom puts forth a short, digestible review of the chosen films.
The Wrights break the reviews down into three divisions: “Award Winners,” “Boxoffice Champs” and “Crowd Pleasers and Critics’ Darlings.”
The award winners include “The Return of the King,” Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” and the documentary “The Fog of War.”
Box-office champions include the Christmas comedy “Elf,” Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “The Passion of the Christ.”
Pleasers and darlings include disaster flick “The Day After Tomorrow,” the remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” and Morgan Spurlocks’ documentary “Super Size Me.”
Other notable films reviewed are “Maria Full of Grace,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Big Fish” and “Shrek 2.”
The Wrights also include an index of reviewers, which yields yet another way to search the reviews. The reviewers come from across the country and include novelists, pastors, teachers and students. Styles range from deeply philosophical and cinematically informed to the more casual, reaction-driven review.
Each review includes a synopsis, running time and Motion Picture Association of America rating. The various films reviewed include Gs, PGs, PG-13s and Rs.
The book’s introduction by HollywoodJesus.com founder David Bruce is actually something Bruce wrote in 1997.
“There is more spirituality being expressed in films than ever before,” Bruce wrote. “Something is going on.” Bruce’s observation is no less true almost ten years later.
One may well wonder, Why a book-bound collection of reviews available at HollywoodJesus.com? First, the reviews from the site have been edited somewhat for style. Second, some folks might want to keep a shelf copy to help mark the cinematic year that was.
It also might make a good gift for someone needing an introduction to HollywoodJesus.com, which remains one of the most vibrant sources for engaging the spiritual side of popular culture.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
Buy the book now from Amazon.com.