If one pays attention to how movies are made, it’s hard not to notice that they’d probably be more virtuous enterprises if they were written, directed, performed, etc. by prison inmates. I’m not even really referring to what Rob Kroese described in this tweet:
(If it ever gets deleted, he said, “Nice to see celebrities taking time off from raping each other to condemn prayer”.)
That doesn’t help, of course, but ultimately that concerns the personal virtue of the people involved, which is between them and God. As Chesterton said in a different context, “for [their] god or dream or devil they will answer not to me”.
What really bothers me is the degree to which Hollywood wants to sell evil as good. It’s not a single-minded occupation; they also want to make money, to be praised, and the fulfillment of several other self-interests. But the problem is that there’s a certain amount of trust involved in listening to someone’s story, and people who actively mean you harm are hard to trust.
Part of how I work around this is that I rarely watch new movies and—when I watch movies—tend to re-watch movies I already know are good. But even that is getting harder. Part of it is becoming aware of how long Hollywood has desired to destroy the concepts of decency and goodness in those who watch their movies. Merely watching old movies isn’t safe. Part of it is that it’s easy to become paranoid; to borrow an analogy, when 23 out of 24 M&Ms in the bowl are poisoned, one begins to wonder about one’s skill at picking out the good ones.
The thing is: fear is not a good master. Paranoia is rational, in a certain sort of very limited sense, but it’s not healthy. I suspect that the right way forward is to emphasize how not everyone in Hollywood is actively attempting to be evil, and good can slip through the cracks. The devil is not well organized. He can’t be, since evil is the privation of good and order is good. Or, as Saint Paul said, “where in abounds, grace abounds much more.”