Yesterday I did one of my daily Freethunk News Bites about the San Diego Christian Film Festival and highlighted what I saw as of interest in the film competition.This morning I check my iPhone and find a comment by Corbin Bensen. I read further and it appears to actually be Corbin Bernsen, who I noted would be appearing at the festival, and he just mistyped when submitting the comment. Or possibly he has a publicist/assistant who finds posted articles on the festival and provides his personal statement.
Whatever the case, the comment appears to be coming from Bernsen as the email address leads to his production company TeamCherokee Productions. I verified his involvement and Wiki does note: “Bernsen is the founder and head of Team Cherokee Productions, an independent production company that, similar to Public Media Works, develops, produces and markets films and television shows for targeted fan bases. Along with Bernsen, the company is run by James Greilick, who is in charge of development. The company’s latest Film RUST, was released in 2010. ”
While I try to keep my skeptical hat on when it comes to celebrity comments, Freethunk seems to be read by quite a variety of people–some who might like to kill me or at least have Allah or God do it on their behalf. I have my run-ins with people working in the film and TV business (though usually behind the scenes–the unsung heroes). I also know, that while trying to state openly that this site will offend most Christian believers (not to mention other religions) that we have Christians reading the posts and sometimes commenting as well–which they are most definitely welcome to.
So since Mr. Bernsen took the time to comment, I will have to review his new film Rust when I get my hands on it. I found it on Netflix and it is at number 1 on my Que. According to the TeamCherokee site, it is about a man named James Moore (played by Corbin Bernsen)dealing with a mid-life crisis who loses his faith in God and Christ. He decides to return to his small hometown and finds a mystery concerning who started a fire that killed a well known family. The blame for the incident is put upon a mentally-challenged man named Travis. Moore realizes that Travis could not have done the terrible act and therefore sets out to prove his innocence. The end result is a quest for the truth, consequences be damned.
The official website for Rustindicates that this is Bernsen’s personal project which is influenced by the death of his father in 2008. This may explain the spiritual leaning of the film, a time of reflection for the actor. Because if you look at Corbin Bernsen’s film resume it includes oddballs like The Dentist (1996) (which I’ve seen and anything with teeth and drills is certainly unnerving), the comedy Major League (1989) and the recent Dead Air (2009) which is not based on exorcist Bob Larson’s ridiculous book of the same name.
Per Bernsen’s comments on Freethunk which you can read under the original post, “…don’t assume everyone who has a movie with a message of faith is bound to the definition of being “a christian,” or “born again.” By that, I’m not sure if Bernsen is simply using Christianity as a vehicle to explore faith in his film or if he actually considers himself a Christian? Deists have faith in God too but we consider them freethinkers for the most part and they normally defy religion or religious faith. I’m wondering if Bernsen just doesn’t want to be lumped in with the TBN crowd and their spawn who are making films left and right. Kevin Sorbo has made it pretty clear he doesn’t mind being associated with Bible thumping in The 12 Biggest Liesas we know who his bed partners are, but Bernsen, it seems, wants to appeal to the same target audience without being categorized. As this new industry heats up it is going to face the same conflicts that denominations do–one Christian film company believes in Biblical literalism while another accepts liberal theology and Biblical metaphor. I keep wondering if Christian pop culture will be good for the word of God or be its undoing through conflict and the ridiculous spectacles of heaven, angels, Satan, and hell?
You could come away from Bernsen’s comments with the conclusion that The San Diego Christian Film Festival is ecumenical and that the name may be misleading. This new industry may go the way of being titled “faith based films” which dilutes any real Christian message of Salvation from hell. Fact is, this all sounds kind of promising from a Freethunk perspective. I’m not completely against using religion as metaphor, especially in art. This falls into my recurring theme of treating Christianity as mythology rather than dismissing it entirely or trying to eliminate it from the public arena.
Good luck on your film Rust, Mr. Bernsen. I will be back with a humble atheist review on New Year’s break. I can be pretty harsh at times on religion, but I too look for truth, consequences be damned. Meanwhile, Psychwith Corbin Bernsen is still ready and waiting on Instant Watch on Netflix–a Freethunk favorite!