My guest in this episode is Dr. Drew Trotter. Drew has been speaking on the intersection of “Faith and Film” for several decades in various contexts, weaving together his love of film and his theological training. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Cambridge.
I’ve asked Drew to help us understand how to watch a movie well, and model this as he reflects on the recent box-office hit Top Gun, Maverick.
In this podcast we discuss:
- Why Drew began evaluating movies as a college student
- The central role stories play in shaping us
- How movies use stories to shape us without us often knowing this is happening
- The relationship between what movies tell us is true and how we live
- Evaluating Top Gun: Maverick using Drew’s 10 questions
- The difference between watching movies in a theater and at home or online
- The future of movies
- How even composition of a shot in a movie influences us
Resources mentioned during our conversation:
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
- Francis Schaeffer, Escape From Reason
- Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Renovation of the Heart, and The Divine Conspiracy
- Chariots of Fire (movie)
- The Godfather (movie)
- Brian Godawa, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment (and here’s a YouTube interview with him on “Hollywood Worldviews”).
- William Romanowski’s books
- Drew’s movie reviews
- Drew’s 10 Evaluative Questions:
- WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SCENE AND WHY? WHICH SCENE DO YOU THINK WAS MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE FILMMAKERS? WHY?
- WITH WHICH CHARACTER DID YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH AND WHY?
- IN ONE SENTENCE WHAT WAS THIS MOVIE ABOUT? WHY DO YOU THINK SO? WHAT ELSE WAS IT TRYING TO SAY?
- WHAT IS THE MOVIE’S VIEW OF TRUTH, GOODNESS AND BEAUTY?
- DOES THE MOVIE HAVE A VIEWPOINT ON THE NATURE OF GOD? WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?
- WHAT IS THE MOVIE’S VIEW OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE NATURAL AND THE SUPERNATURAL, IF IT HAS ONE?
- WHAT IS ITS VIEW OF MORAL AUTHORITY?
- WHAT IS ITS VIEW OF PEOPLE AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS?
- WHAT IS ITS VIEW OF EVIL?
- WHAT IS ITS VIEW OF THE SOLUTION TO MANKIND’S PROBLEMS?