......That is the question!
As a lot of people know, the long awaited tween/teen movie Twilight is released today in theater, based off the ever-growing famous novel series by Stephanie Meyer. These books are geared toward YA and are, of course, labeled secular, but I've heard great things about them from fellow ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) members who read them to study craft. Apparently the tension between the main characters is worth studying, and because of the circumstances between the characters (i.e. one is a vampire, one is not) the issue of physical intimacy IS an issue. The vampire loves her and doesn't want to get carried away and hurt her, therefore, no touchy.
Which is actually a refreshing twist from the sexual romps that sadly fill the pages of most YA books today.
And you know what? Twilight, by Stephanei Meyer, is the number 4 ranked best selling book on Amazon's charts today, and I know it was selling even better than not too long ago!
I'm going to read at least the first book before I see the movie. To be honest, it looks like a pretty good story and as an author, I like to read the books that are somewhat controversial and are best-sellers.
Which brings me to the debate - as Christian authors, should we put ourselves in the position of reading these books/watching these movies?
I'm strict with myself and my family concerning movies. If there is graphic sex or over-the-top language or extremely violent scenes that I know I won't like watching, I won't see it, even if its supposed to be a best seller. There is a website I go to before seeing any movie in the theater that screens them. http://www.kidsinmind.com/ If anything is over the top, it will tell you! (there, now you have no excuse either to watch smut) =) They have archives of old movies, too, if you are curious about renting one from the store.
Same with books. If one is known for being disgustingly violent and putting bad pictures in my head, I'll steer clear. Those don't appeal to me. If its laden with sex, same thing. Though that is easier to skim past the 2-3 pages to get to the point afterward. Like with THE NOTEBOOK- one of my favorite books/movies ever, and there is a pretty big scene in it. But its also a love story that will easily become a classic for tomorrow. Therefore, I skip those pages and hit fast forward on the DVD player.
I digress. Back to my point...
I'll admit it - I read THE DA VINCI CODE. And I saw the movie! And you know what - I thought it was pretty good. Craft-wise, the book needed some help. Oy. But tell that to Dan Brown who can probably live quite comfortably off the interest of the royalties he made, and be set for life.
Same with TWILIGHT. Several of the reviews on Amazon from readers say they were disappointed because of typos, weak writing, bad pacing, etc. Yet...still a best seller. Story beats craft, unfortunately or fortunately, you decide. Its just true. And in the world of media, there really is no such thing as BAD publicity. Christians as a whole went nuts fighting the movie release of THE DAVINCI CODE and you know what? I feel that really just made it even more of a hit. People got curious and so sales went up. Kinda like rubber necking at a wreck. Its human nature.
I keep chasing rabbits!! Okay, my point is as a Christian, I don't want to support "bad" books and "bad" movies. But as an author, I want to understand and study the concepts behind best sellers. What makes them best sellers? What makes characters so beloved? What is going to make Stephanie Meyer an extremely wealthy, famous woman? She came out of nowhere, sort of like J.K. Rowling, and while she probably won't ever reach Rowling's unbelievable level of fame and fortune, she's going to be pretty darn close.
Where is that line between studying and endorsing? Researching and supporting?
My question for you today, Christian authors and Christian readers, what do you think? What are you convicted about regarding books and movies? What is your view on this debate?