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Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Dukes of Hazzard

About this Film
Spiritual Connections

01.jpg (137 K)Okay, here goes, I actually went to see this movie today with my family, and while it is very deserving of the pg-13 rating, I loved it. I can’t personally think of the last time I had so much fun at a movie as I did today. Prior to walking into the movie, none of my family was that excited to see it. It was just that it started at the right time and we had just gone through a busy week so we wanted to see whatever movie started as we went to the theater. I even asked my wife, “Do you think this movie or the television show will be better?” She responded that the television show, but I told her that I thought that the movie would be better. That didn’t mean that I thought it would be a great classical film, I just happened to like the cast and the advance trailers seemed to be fun.

I have to admit I had seen the “Boots” video with Jessica Simpson and that video had made me somewhat leery of seeing the movie. Then again there was Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg who I happen to like and has made recent resurgence in movies like this and this summers earlier release of The Longest Yard. There was also Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse and Johnny Knoxville as Luke Duke. I actually am one that didn’t like Jackass when Knoxville was in it but did like him in his role in Walking Tall alongside The Rock “Dwayne Johnson” last summer.

06.jpg (290 K)What I wasn’t suspecting was the fun performances of some of the other actors in the flick. Among those included Sean William Scott who did a fun rendition of Bo Duke. He steals virtually every scene he is in and will obtain more roles from his portrayal in this movie. There is also sidekick and community reject, Sheev, played brilliantly by Kevin Heffernan. This underwear, bomb making, local fish bait selling personality is so much fun that you can’t help but like the guy, dirty underwear, armadillo hat wearing and all.

The local police department of Hazard is as goofy as ever with Michael Weston doing a great job portraying Deputy Enos Strate, Jack Polick as Deputy Cletus, and of course M.C. Gainey as Rosco P. Coltrane. While those in the local police department, especially Gainey, play their parts straighter than the actors in the original television series, they are still the bumbling goof balls that we have come to love and respect over the years.

One of the things about this movie that I suspected from seeing that video with Jessica Simpson was a more adult rendition of the story. I was accurate in that. This movie could have just as easily been rated ‘R’ and there will be a great many parents who take their kids that will have objections to the drugs, language, and sexual innuendo. It is unfortunate and debatable if everything in the movie was needed, but in some ways the perception of what takes place on screen is as much a reflection of society as it is the characters that is being portrayed.

Jessica Simpson plays sexy Daisy Duke for example; The impression is that she is merely a sex symbol that is selling sex. The truth is that the character is an intelligent individual who uses her looks to obtain things that she and/or others need. While this is not necessarily something that should be encouraged, it is the reality of what takes place within the lifestyles of many in today. This is certainly endorsed and supported by those buying time on television, and in virtually any market trying to sell a product. I learned this even within the “Christian Music Market” back when I was involved in that field. I was personally amazed at how much album covers for example are air brushed and musicians are put in sexy scenes and poses. Yes, even within the Christian market. Truth is, it don’t take anything more than a trip to the local “Christian Book Store” or Wal-Mart to check out the “Christian Music Section,” to see this concept hasn’t changed much in the last few years.

There are positive attributes of the film that I also enjoyed and was caused to think about? Among the strongest positive thing was the loyalty and love of family. While Uncle Jessie still sells moonshine, Bo and Luke delivers it running from the police all along the way, the truth is that the loyalty to each other is above noticeable and admired. It is an interesting concept and one that I believe still draws people to enjoy movies like this. The longing for family, devotion, and love is still something that most people long for and desire. In that regard, the Dukes have it “mostly” all together. They are there to help each other out in times of trouble, and their love, one for another is to never be doubted. It is something that not only the audience appreciates; it is illustrated by the friends of the Dukes in the movie. Their friends are loyal, dependable and admiring of the love the Dukes have for each other. Maybe, just maybe, this is something we can learn from and begin to apply in our own day-to-day lives.

05.jpg (198 K)I could go on and on about this movie. The truth is that while I was able to contemplate on things like family, and the love of community, (actually the underlying theme of the movie), I was also able to have fun along the ride. The car chase scenes are wonderful and in some ways, they portray one of the real stars of the film, The General Lee. Even the filmmakers have a little fun with the concept of a car with a Confederate Flag named The General Lee being a popular symbol in the South. We are in on the joke but also reminded along the way of the importance of things like family and community.

Truth is, this is one of those movies that not everyone will enjoy, it is one that I will expect negative email about, but, it is also one that I enjoyed and believe positive messages are given. As it is in life, those positive messages are mixed in with the bad messages, and it is up to us to decipher the good from the bad. However, they are there if one does a little searching.

On a end note, I must comment on the sound track to this movie. For an old Southern Boy, it was great! I loved it and the narration by the one and only Junior Brown pays tribute to the original narrator, Waylon Jennings. I will buy the soundtrack, and will buy the DVD once it is released, that says something.

Is this a perfect move? Never said it was, but it is a fun, fun, movie, and a great ride. On a scale of 1-10 for the number of police cars destroyed in one car chase, I give a very enjoyable and fun 8.

About this Film
Spiritual Connections


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question for you (in fact, it goes to any of those who write for HollywoodJesus), but first let me give some "set up" to my question...
Prelimiary information: I have not yet seen the new Dukes of Hazzard, but am sure I will like it (I have an open mind to R-rated movies, primarily due to my Christian freedom).
I have also seen a documentary on cable that Jessica Simpson, and her family, are Christians.
Now add, to this information, what a church friend of mine said to me recently. He said that his on-again, off-again pornography problem has doubled since he saw Jessica Simpson dancing in her red swimsuit, all 'soaped up', to the music video for "Dukes." After viewing that, he went on to view some hard core pornography, since it 'sparked' his lust. Hearing this, I said to him, "Wow, Jessica Simpson is a Christian" and he said "yeah, supposedly" (basically implying that if she did that kind of video she was probably not, or at least a hypocrite).
I am NOT asking about pornography, that-of course-is sinful (and my church friend repents of his behavior). This is all mere set-up.
This is the type of question that gets Fundamentalists in an uproar and I don't want to start that. After seeing Jessica Simpson's "Hazzard" video, and hearing my friend's recent moral failure/bad reaction (Side-Bar: I also know that his pornographic reaction was due to his lust, not the video), I started to wonder, "at what point do Christians compromise their faith?"
In case it helps you understand my question more, here are two more examples of this issue, with which I am trying to sort out:
First, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a highly respected program that teaches all religions, not just Christians, to do "pastoral" care in hospitals and nursing homes. Many, many conservative Christian pastors use it. Is that a compromise, working with unbelievers in a ministry setting?
Second, I recently heard a thorough lecture on "Scientology," founded by L.Ron Hubbard. After listening and asking questions, I was suprised to discover that 90% of it is not what I thought. It seems to be, in reality, a helpful life philosophy merely disguised as a 'religion' (all the talk of space aliens does not seem to be central to it).
However, since it is open to all religions, and since it calls itself a Religion, I can't attach my name to it or be a part of it, despite its good points. TO me, that would be compromising my faith or, at least, the public testimony of my Christian faith.
Hopefully all my extra comments help you understand my initial question.

1:20 PM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

Hey Kevin, I actually will try to answer some of your questions and respond to your comments. First though, thanks for taking the time to respond to this part of the blog. My first comment would be to encourage anyone, especially Christians, to not see a movie if they have issues or that particular movie may cause them to sin in anyway. There is a passage of Scripture that deals with this, It says basically; “to him where it is clean then it is clean, and to them where it is unclean, then it is unclean.” This passage comes from Romans 14, and I am going to include it here, skip over it if need be, but I am using the Contemporary English Version.

(1) Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. (2) Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. (3) But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. (4) What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right.
(5) Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. (6) Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honor their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat.

(7) Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. (8) Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. (9) This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. (10) Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says,

"I swear by my very life

that everyone will kneel down

and praise my name!"

(12) And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do.

(13)We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. (14) The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.
(15) If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. (16) Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. (17) God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. (18) If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. (19) We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. (20) Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. (21) It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. (22) What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. (23) But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.

Now back to my comments:

I didn’t see the special with Jessica Simpson and don’t know about her relationship. What I do know is that if she is a Christian, and all of a sudden a lot of Christians start throwing stones, then she will have issues with her faith, which granted, may be weak but it still has the potential to grow. I will admit as I did in my review, that I don’t like the skimpy nature of Jessica’s role but I see it as just that a role that an actress is playing in a movie. I don’t confuse the role of Daisy Duke with the real Jessica Simpson. That is important for people to think about. Ben Kingsley played a wonderful role in the movie Suspect Zero. In that movie, he plays the part of a serial killer, I seriously doubt if Ben Kingsley has ever thought about being a serial killer.

Now to your friend, I think one thing to be careful of is to blame another person, object, web site, movie or whatever for the persons sin. Each individual person is responsible for their sin and if they have issues with certain areas I would say look at that Romans 14 passage above. If a person has trouble with something, then stay away from it. I know that answer sounds simplistic but I am putting it the easiest way I know. But just because one person has an issue, then that doesn’t mean that everyone has an issue. You state for example that you recognize your freedom and that you wouldn’t have a problem with a movie such as Dukes of Hazzard. I would say that if that is the case, see the movie if you desire, but don’t take your friend to it. Truth is I don’t even know if I would even talk to them that much about it. You will certainly have other friends that you can talk to about the movie that don’t have as much of an issue. Even then though, be careful to read the friends and make sure that you are not causing another friend to stumble in their walk with Christ.

You actually hit the nail on the head with your comments about the issue of lust and I applaud you for that. I would also say that regarding your comment of when we compromise our faith, I would say never. I know that is hard to understand, especially after so many see me as someone pretty easy to get along with. After all a lot of Rob Zombie fans have been coming and commenting about the review I did for The Devil’s Rejects, but even though I can find a way to get a long, don’t mean that we can’t have disagreements. There are some things I hope to never compromise on, one of them is my faith in Christ and the reality of whom I believe him to be. It is just my practice that why continue to focus on the disagreement as opposed to the development of the relationship. I actually believe that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict people, not mine.

Now to answer the next part of your question, I am reminded of Paul’s words; “I have become all things to all people in order that I might win some.” This passage out of 1st Corinthians Chapter 9. A beautiful passage that again talks about freedom, but also our responsibility and freedom to exercise freedom in the effort to reach those around us. I would say that when a particular teaching or principal goes against what we believe to be from God, or in my case as evidence through the proof of scripture, then don’t ever compromise or subscribe to that particular belief system. This is certainly the case with the numerous fallacies and inconsistent teachings of L Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology. That doesn’t mean don’t respect them, don’t love them, don’t appreciate them, but neither don’t compromise Christ and his teachings.

Now as to the purpose of my reviews, as I think this is an appropriate place to again comment on them. My belief is that no matter whether Christians see a movie or not, there are going to be people who do. If there are spiritual themes addressed in that movie, which are true, for example the love of family, the admiration of those in the community of that family that loves each other as is displayed in The Dukes of Hazzard, then to know those truths to help open up doors of discussion about spiritual truths that lead to Christ is not such a bad thing. I realize that many Christians will disagree with this approach, but I have tried to provide two scriptural references that give me the freedom to use this tool to point others to the good of Christianity and the spiritual truths that are discussed and thought about, even in movies like The Devil’s Rejects.

Hope this all helps, I appreciate your comments and feel free to make them at any time. I don’t always get to but I do try and respond to those that are asking questions like you. Now as to the response of others at Hollywood Jesus, they will have to answer for themselves. Take care, good luck, and God Bless.

3:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike, I was looking forward to your comments and found them VERY helpful, and biblical! Thanks for taking the time to give me a thorough answer.
I agree with you on the philosophy and approach you take to movies and reviewing them for THE GOOD of Christianity.
This approach you use matches well with the theme of HollywoodJesus to be a posititive, encouraging approach to movies from a biblical/Christ-focues web site, with which I agree (as opposed to being, what sadly also exists in Christendom, a rebuking, condemning, "biblical" approach)
Maybe some day I'll come out to Kansas and her you preach at your church!
Thanks for your ministry and comments.
Jesus Christ is MY Lord! May His Kingdom come to all. Amen.

7:20 AM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

Kevin you are welcome any time, and if needing a place to stay you are welcome at my home. Keep us in prayer as our little inner city church has struggles just like the big metroplex churches. God Bless.

10:43 AM


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