Stars of ‘Jesus Revolution’ Ride the Heavenly Wave

Liberals mock it, mainstream media critics slam it, and jaded journalists sneer at it. But “Jesus Revolution” just keeps beating every benchmark.

With a few weeks running under its belt, the Lionsgate faith-based film just sprinted past $47 million in domestic box office, simultaneously out-grossing the combined total of four of this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees.

Directed by Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle, the little flick with a $15 million budget has Hollywood execs green with envy over its ample profit margin.

In order to raise awareness and interest in the film prior to its release, the PR team scheduled lots of church and university screenings. The strategy paid off big-time, especially at the movie’s debut where it was projected to bring in $7 million and instead more than doubled expectations with its $15.5 million take its first weekend.

“Jesus Revolution” tells the true story of the national spiritual awakening that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It has officially become Lionsgate’s highest-grossing post-pandemic film since 2019.

As is the custom in the entertainment business, when a project experiences this type of success, opportunities tend to multiply for the lucky folks involved.

The filmmakers recently announced the release of another faith-based movie, which is set for later this year. The movie’s lead character is played by two-time Oscar-winner Hillary Swank.

Casting Swank in the starring role was quite a coup. Not only has the actress garnered two Academy Awards for Best Actress, Time once named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

After winning her second Oscar, Swank famously said, “I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve this. I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”

The upcoming movie, titled “Ordinary Angels,” tells the real-life story of a struggling Kentucky hairdresser, who helps rally a community to come to the aid of a widowed father to help save the life of his gravely ill little girl.

“I was drawn to this beautiful true story because it’s such a powerful reminder that angels reside everywhere among us. And that faith, hope, grit, and positivity are all powerful fuel for miracles,” Swank said in a statement.

The backdrop for the hairdresser’s heroism is a region that has been devastated by an immense snowstorm, which occurs during the record cold wave of 1994. The father is pursuing a life-giving liver transplant for his daughter.

“Ordinary Angels” has a lot of connections to “Jesus Revolution.” The film is directed by one of “Jesus Revolution’’’s screenwriters, Jon Gunn. It is co-written by “Jesus Revolution” director Jon Erwin. And it will be released by the same company that brought the public “Jesus Revolution,” Lionsgate.

“Ordinary Angels” also features Nancy Travis of “Last Man Standing.” And Oscar nominated actress Meg Tilly of “Agnes of God” and “The Big Chill” fame has a co-writing credit for the screenplay.

Meanwhile Kelsey Grammer, the star of “Jesus Revolution,” and Jonathan Roumie, the co-star of the film, have new projects in the offing.

Grammer’s career has been seriously elevated, due to his brilliant portrayal of Pastor Chuck Smith as the legendary evangelist who pilots the Christian revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The signature hit sitcom that established Grammer’s stardom, “Frasier,” has been rebooted by Paramount+. Grammer’s character, Dr. Frasier Crane, is an on-the-air psychologist, who comes back to Boston and now has to deal with unexpected life challenges. The “Frasier” reboot boasts a fresh cast.

After plenty of internet speculation by fans of the series, a few weeks ago the reboot was confirmed.

The original co-stars, which include David Hyde Pierce (Niles), Jane Leeves (Daphne), and Peri Gilpin (Roz), are not counted among the cast of the reboot. In fact, the only returning original cast member is Grammer himself.

The new series will feature Jack Cutmore-Scott as Frasier’s son Freddy Crane, who is expected to bring in elements of the beloved Frasier dad character Marty Crane, a role that was portrayed by John Mahoney, who passed away in 2019.

Unfortunately, no release date has yet been set for the “Frasier” reboot, but it is likely that the series premiere will be slated for late 2023 on Paramount+.

Nothing but good things also seem to be on the horizon for Grammer’s co-star Roumie, who has become a favorite faith-based actor.

Not only is he fresh on the heels of his success in “Jesus Revolution,” he is the star of the largest fan-supported entertainment project of all time, “The Chosen,” a dramatic streaming series about the life of Jesus Christ (portrayed by Roumie).

The powerful United Talent Agency (UTA) took note of Roumie and signed the faith-based phenom to a multi-year deal.

Brendan Fraser’s Inspirational Comeback

During last Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremonies, an emotional Brendan Fraser won his very first Oscar. He took home the Best Actor trophy for his role in the movie “The Whale.”

In his acceptance speech, he made reference to his unusual career trajectory.

“I started in this business 30 years ago, and things didn’t come easily to me, but there was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time until it stopped,” he said.

The actor achieved fame and fortune for his compelling roles in a host of hit movies. In his “Encino Man” breakthrough role, he portrays a caveman who is revived out of his frozen state and upon awakening finds himself in the modern world.

Best known for his starring role in “The Mummy” franchise, Brendan appeared to have exited for a fairly long stretch from the entertainment industry as well as the public square.

Lots of folks took note of his extended absence, but they also noticed his amazing reemergence. Only this time he is holding an Oscar in his hand.

Those in the know understood why the career of the talented and successful actor had come to an abrupt halt.

The back story of his disappearance and reappearance provides insight into one of the darker sides of Hollywood. Thankfully for Brendan, some bright spots were ahead.

His is a tale of suffering, rejection, and eventually redemption.

Like a number of other action stars, Brendan has routinely decided to perform many of his own stunts in both his action and comedy roles. The decision turned out to have some major consequences though, taking a steep toll on his body.

He spoke candidly about having to deal with serious pain as a result of his work in the 2008 film “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” as well as previous films.

“I was put together with tape and ice… Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ‘cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily,” he said.

Injuries would force him to undergo several surgeries over a period of seven years, including a partial knee replacement, a laminectomy, lumbar surgery, and vocal cord repair.

In addition to physical suffering, he shared that his world had been shaken by a sexual assault.

In 2018 he revealed that back in 2003 he had been sexually assaulted by an individual named Philip Berk, who was the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that votes for the Golden Globe Awards. Berk denies the allegation.

Brendan explained that he had “played by the rules up until that point,” adding, “I felt like, okay, now, suddenly, I’ve been violated. And it has gone too far. And I will no longer abide this.”

He also said that the incident made him “retreat” and “feel reclusive.”

Interestingly, there is a kind of consensus among many entertainment writers and social media users that he was actually blacklisted from Hollywood because of the sexual assault allegations.

He himself alluded to the notion, saying, “I don’t know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening.”

“The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There’s many reasons, but was [this] one of them? I think it was,” he said.

He also characterized his acting work as having “withered on the vine.”

Much like the arc of a great script, Brendan’s real life story would be redirected, thanks to a unique movie role.

Securing the lead acting part in “The Whale” would end up being a monumental turnaround event in his life.

In his acceptance speech at the Oscars, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to the director of the film, stating, “I’m grateful to Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the cruise ship ‘The Whale.’”

For him, or for any actor, the part that Brendan plays is a most unusual one. He took on the challenging role of playing a reclusive, precariously overweight English teacher.

Although many in the film critic community took issue with the movie itself, both the critics and the public loved Brendan’s portrayal.

At the 2022 Venice Film Festival where “The Whale.” premiered, the actor received a standing ovation. And in addition to an Academy Award for his artistic endeavor, he also garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award and Critic’s Choice Movie Award.

It’s all so remarkable, really.

The individual who seemed to have been exiled from the entertainment community got a golden return ticket back.

Kelsey Grammer Is the Preacher Man in ‘Jesus Revolution’

In its debut weekend, the new Lionsgate film “Jesus Revolution” managed to exceed all monetary expectations, more than doubling box-office estimates in North America.

The movie’s success has not only stunned the entertainment industry by soaring into third place in ticket sales, but it has also gotten sterling reviews from viewing audiences.

Providentially the film’s opening comes at a time when a bona fide Christian phenomenon has been taking place.

Now known as “The Asbury Revival,” tens of thousands of young people have been gathering together at Kentucky’s Asbury University for non-stop prayer, song and praise to heaven.

The Asbury awakening experience has been spreading around the globe, spontaneously igniting crowds at colleges, theaters and sports stadiums. Throngs of ardent worshipers are refocusing their lives and looking to a higher power.

Movie theaters in which “Jesus Revolution” has been shown are having similar, unprompted worship activity that cannot be contained. Attendees are bursting out in spontaneous prayer, and many end up making commitments to follow the Broken Road.

“Jesus Revolution” tells the true story of Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith, the highly influential and beloved Christian leader, pastor and teacher.

Never wanting personal credit but rather always giving the glory to God, Pastor Chuck was the humble leader of the “Jesus Movement,” the phenom of its time in the late-1960s and early-1970s. He went home to be with the Lord in 2013.

A lover of The Word, Pastor Chuck planted the “seeds” for the historical revival. The first Calvary Chapel was located in Costa Mesa, California, and many more Calvary Chapels were soon to follow.

The film’s title was taken from a 1971 Time magazine cover, where the two words made major headlines.

Based on a book of the same name, the movie follows pastor-in-waiting Greg Laurie (played by Joel Courtney), Christian flower child Lonnie Frisbee (played by Jonathan Roumie), and lead character Pastor Chuck Smith (played by Kelsey Grammer), as the three form what would come to be looked upon as a watershed spiritual awakening.

As a result of the efforts of Laurie and Frisbee, in the late 1960s Pastor Chuck finds that his Southern California church is suddenly overflowing with hippies, who are seeking an encounter with the God of the Bible.

Particularly gifted in the art of storytelling and blessed with a professional narrator’s voice, this was a pastor who was kind, gentle and irrepressibly joyous.

What better material for the master storyteller than The Bible? He took the congregation through The Good Book line by line, cover to cover, multiple times, and the people loved it. I was privileged to be one of them.

In both real life and now on the big screen, Pastor Chuck is the perfect greeter to welcome young truth seekers into the Christian community.

The film’s actual archival footage of Laurie, Frisbee and Pastor Chuck preaching to massive gatherings is a moving reminder of the spiritual power of revival.

The film was theatrically released in the United States by Lionsgate on February 24, 2023. Entertainment companies had forecasted that the faith-based film would bring in around 6 to 7 million dollars in revenue in its opening weekend.

But remarkably, “Jesus Revolution” took the third place slot in the weekend box office, with more than 15.5 million dollars. It actually played to packed houses, taking in almost $6,300 per theater.

The critics predictably gave the movie mixed reviews. Conversely, filmgoers themselves gave “Jesus Revolution” an A+ CinemaScore and a 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

The film’s director Jon Erwin made history by obtaining four A+ CinemaScores, more than any other filmmaker since the ratings began. Erwin had previously received the highest CinemaScore rating for “American Underdog,” “I Can Only Imagine” and “Woodlawn.”

The industry is struggling to explain why this film surpassed box-office expectations. It may have to do with the personal relationship that Christians have with their Savior, which they oftentimes keep to themselves until the right moment presents itself. Like enjoying a meaningful movie together.

Box-office predictors may also have underestimated the star power of Kelsey, the actor best known for the lead role in the long-running television sitcom “Frasier,” which is still going strong in syndication. His expert acting skills, length and breadth of experience, and unapologetic Christianity come to the fore in his Pastor Chuck portrayal.

Kelsey turned out to be a brilliant casting decision, not only because the resonant baritone voice that he possesses is so reminiscent of the pastor he portrays, but also because he’s the real deal when it comes to his Christian faith.

When he spoke during a recent interview about his portrayal of Pastor Chuck, he described his faith walk in a way in which a lot of folks are able to relate.

“I’ve had hiccups. I’ve had some tragic times,” Kelsey said.

He noted something that is a common struggle for those seeking God, particularly when individuals are going through difficult times.

“I have wrestled with those and worked my way through them: sometimes rejecting faith, sometimes rejecting God even, in a period of being pretty angry about it, like, ‘Where were you?’…,” he said.

Kelsey concluded with personal testimony that is unequivocal and at the same time relatable.

“I have come to terms with it and have found great peace in my faith and in Jesus. It’s not cavalier. Jesus made a difference in my life. That’s not anything I’ll apologize for,” he said.

To put it mildly, today’s Hollywood is generally less than friendly toward people of faith, especially Christians.

Leave it to Kelsey to go where most stars dare not tread.

The Devil in Hollywood

There has been a troubling increase within our culture in the use of demonic imagery and ritualistic ceremonies.

Most strikingly, the entertainment industry, with the help of its media accomplices, has been weaving satanic messaging, symbolism and the like into musical compositions, performances and videos.

However, never have things been as explicit and wicked in their presentation as we have seen of late.

It is insidiously corrosive to a society, and likewise dangerous to an individual that dares take such a destructive path.

Here are a few Left Coast examples:

Rapper and singer Lil Nas X was involved in the co-creation of a pair of sneakers that had a drop of human blood in the soles of the shoes. The sneakers were decorated with a pentagram and contained a scripture citation that read, “And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” (Luke 10:18)

Singer Demi Lovato released an album that had a horribly profane title. Its cover showed Lovato posed on a cross and dressed in offensive and debasing clothing.

Appearing together at the recent Grammy Awards show, pop singers Sam Smith and Kim Petras performed what turned out to be a Luciferian tribute. Smith played the lead character, complete with fiery flames and demonic overtones.

On their part, the corporate media was generally seen giving nods of approval to Smith for his reprehensible presentation. CBS responded to a tweet from the singer, which had included a photo of Smith donning horns during a dry run for the awards show.

“This is going to be SPECIAL,” Smith tweeted, tacking on a devil emoji.

CBS replied, “….You can say that again. We are ready to worship!”

Senator Ted Cruz characterized Smith’s Grammy segment perfectly, when he tweeted, “This… is… evil.”

We are seeing a twisted sort of glee being exhibited by elites in the entertainment business and establishment media. Looking at this from a historical and spiritual perspective can provide insight into what’s behind it all.

It seems that the left has been enamored with the diabolical for centuries. Motivations have been mixed. Some look for a way to garner attention. Others just seem to be fascinated with evil itself, and with evil’s chief celebrity, Satan.

For folks like this, the devil is looked upon as a rebel.

Now in books, movies and music, characters that play the rebel can appear intriguing, independent and sometimes even heroic. But here’s the ugly little secret. This is what the devil is expert in – appearing to be something that he isn’t. After all, he’s the Master of Deception.

Radical writer and philosopher William Godwin, Mary Shelley’s father, presented the devil as an admirable rebel against God.

French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty.

Russian writer Mikhail Bakunin described the devil as an “eternal rebel.”

Theosophical Society founder Helena Petrovna Blavatsky published a journal called “Lucifer.”

American activist Moses Harman named his periodical “Lucifer the Lightbearer.”

Saul Alinsky, in an epigraph on the introductory page to his book “Rules for Radicals,” expressed that Lucifer was the “first radical” who “rebelled against the establishment.”

Dr. Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College, pointed out that “long before Karl Marx was writing about the hell of communism, he was writing about hell.”

Several years before he wrote the infamous “Communist Manifesto,” Marx penned demonic poetry and prose. His family was originally Jewish, but his father left Judaism and converted to Protestantism, and had all of his children baptized in the Christian faith. Notwithstanding his religious background, in his twenties Marx became a staunch atheist.

Many leftists leaders of today have a deep antipathy toward traditional religions, and just like their inauthentic rebel hero they seek to destroy them. Communism is a proven way to achieve this unholy goal.

From legendary evangelist Billy Graham came the following statement: “Has it ever occurred to you that the Devil is a religious leader and millions are worshipping at his shrine today? … The name of this present-day religion is Communism… The Devil is their god, Marx their prophet, Lenin their saint and Malenkov their high priest.”

The devil is real, and he’s on a seek-and-destroy mission.

What does he want to destroy? Your soul, and the souls of everyone around you.

Bob Dylan put it to song in his inimitable “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Sam Smith and his liberal buddies in the entertainment and media industries should give Dylan’s tune a listen. It will serve their souls well.

The Fate of Disney’s Brand Hangs in the Balance

The Happiest Place on Earth is in pretty sad shape.

A lot of folks, particularly some of the major shareholders and former diehard fans, are well aware of the predicament that The Walt Disney Company currently finds itself in.

Not too long ago Disney pulled CEO Bob Chapek out of his post and brought back the company’s former CEO, Bob Iger.

Iger now finds himself facing an extremely tough task – how to stop the deconstruction of the Disney brand before its too late, and how to then lift the company back up out of the rubble.

Signs of Disney’s decline recently became manifest by the Axios Harris Poll and the 2022 Corporate Reputation Rankings.

Disney’s score on the poll was 73.4, which resulted in the company’s ranking being 65th on the list. The entertainment giant had fallen 28 places since the previous year, experiencing its worst results in the history of the Harris Poll.

The Trafalgar Group conducted its own poll in Spring 2022, which showed that 68% of Americans consider themselves less likely to do business with Disney, due to the company’s activism.

A recent incident illustrates exactly why Iger needs to act swiftly. WDW Pro, a Twitter account that specializes in all things Disney, reported that the company has engaged in something that Christians of all persuasions consider an abomination, blasphemy.

The Epcot Candlelight Processional has been a tradition at Florida’s Epcot Center for the past 64 years. The event takes place at Christmas time and is part of a larger devotional service in which narrators provide inspirational messages that contain heartfelt Christian content.

In the most recent candlelight processional, the Christian content of the messaging was somehow modified. It turns out that within the content of the revised messaging, the actual divinity of Jesus Christ was denied, not once, but five times.

Simu Liu was one of the event’s theatrical readers. The actor performed a passage that actually denied a central tenet of Christianity.

“For all the miracles of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace himself was simply a man, a human being, and he walked through this world in the most human way possible with love…,” Liu said.

Being labeled in the scripted words as “simply a man,” Jesus Christ, who is recognized by hundreds of millions of Christians around the globe as Lord and Savior, was stripped of His divine nature.

Across all of history there have been those who have attempted to rewrite Christian dogma.

But did Disney have to get into the heretical act?

Many may not have heard, but Disney was founded by a deeply committed Christian, Mr. Walt Disney himself. Early Disney entertainment fare was filled with Christian values, imagery, symbolism and storylines.

Here are but a few examples:

Several Christian leaders offered prayers during the opening ceremonies of the original Anaheim, California theme park. The finale of the “Fantasia” film includes the hymn “Ave Maria,” music that was created to honor the Virgin Mary. And even the character of Snow White takes time out to talk to the Ultimate Maker of her universe.

During the 1940s, Walt proved himself to be an ardent anti-Communist. He founded the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group that once stated, “We find ourselves in sharp revolt against a rising tide of Communism, Fascism and kindred beliefs, that seek by subversive means to undermine and change this way of life.”

In an article penned in 1949, Walt revealed how his religious faith had guided him in life.

“I was grounded in old-fashioned religious observance,” he shared. “My people were zealous members of the Congregational Church in our home town, Marceline, Missouri. My father, Elias Disney, who was a contractor, built our local church and was a deacon of the congregation. I was baptized there and attended Sunday School regularly.”

Walt was vigilant in making sure that the company he founded did not stray from the principles of his faith.

“I have watched constantly that in my work the highest moral and spiritual standards are upheld, whether my productions deal with fable or with stories of living action,” his article read.

The Candlelight Processional incident compelled Dr. Gregory Seltz, Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, to call upon parents to seriously distance themselves from Disney.

“Any Christian parent who allows the glitter and glitz of Disney movies and Disneyland theme parks to take hold of our children’s imagination now delivers one’s children into the hands of people who actively seek to steal our children’s childhoods, and now, even their faith,” Dr. Seltz declared.

He concluded with the following unambiguous message for parents:

“This is about the hearts and minds of our children, not just a ride on Space Mountain. Parents of all faiths need to find other avenues for entertainment rather than anything Disney.”

Other boycotts of Disney are ongoing, including the one from One Million Moms, an arm of the American Family Association.

Iger led The Walt Disney Company for 15 years. It is time for him to do what Chapek failed to do.

He has to dissociate the Magic Kingdom from woke Hollywood. He has to stand up to anyone within or without the company who seeks to undermine Walt’s legacy. And he has to rebuild the public trust in the once-beloved Disney brand.

Big Trouble in Little Hollywood

Over the past year, the gap between Hollywood and its customers has widened to a degree that should send shivers down the spines of every entertainment exec.

The industry has routinely used a fairly reliable gauge to measure the size of this gap. It’s called profit.

Sadly, 2022 was a disaster for the once-golden city. Media companies saw the loss of half a trillion dollars in equity.

A town that for a century had been recognized as the entertainment capital of the world has seemingly been reduced to a shadow of its former self.

How could this have happened?

In my opinion, somewhere along the road a decision was made to have entertainment take a bow so that a one-sided agenda could take center stage.

“Especially this past year, ideology has become more important than art,” Quentin Tarantino recently told the host of HBO’s “Reel Time with Bill Maher.” “It’s like ideology trumps art. Ideology trumps individual effort. Ideology trumps good.”

From the youngest of age, our primal need makes itself known with the simplest of words: Tell me a story.

It’s universal. Human beings crave stories, ones with characters, plots, and themes that reflect life’s truths. This is how Hollywood initially came to be. And how it grew to be an industry like no other, all entwined within our minds, hearts and imaginations.

We were happy when Hollywood profited. It meant more entertainment fare would be forthcoming, maybe even greater than that already experienced.

It’s hard to believe the once-great ocean of entertainment that existed steadily devolved into a digital stream of woke stories.

Evidently, the public doesn’t have the appetite for what the industry has been serving up of late. There are definite consequences when audiences’ wishes are ignored.

Movie theater attendees are now a fraction of what they used to be. Despite the solid successes of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the 2022 multiplexes saw their audiences essentially cut in half, when compared to four years ago.

Of course, movie theater companies experienced record losses in their share prices. AMC’s value dropped almost 80 percent, and Cineworld, owner of Regal, headed for bankruptcy court.

Likely hampered by projects that were saturated with woke ideology, Disney experienced its worst yearly stock-drop since 1974. Disney is the largest, most influential and sole media company that is listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and it saw its shares drop a whopping 44 percent? Unbelievable.

The board of directors suddenly terminated CEO Bob Chapek and brought back former CEO Bob Iger, ostensibly to rescue the Mouse House.

Warner Bros., Discovery and Lionsgate also saw their stock prices take a plunge of over 60 percent.

With regard to television, traditional broadcast and cable TV (aka linear television) saw a significant ratings dip. Similar to what happened earlier to the music business, Hollywood executives discovered that streaming media does not yet provide sufficient revenue to offset the losses incurred in linear television and theatrical film releases.

However, a bright spot appeared on an otherwise dismal media landscape. “Yellowstone,” which is a modern perspective on the classic Western, garnered a huge audience hungry for retro-drama. Consequently, the series is continuing to enjoy stellar ratings.

Another media company that actually saw its investment value rise is the sports entertainment powerhouse WWE, which ended 2022 with a gain of 38 percent. It could be that this increase has to do with the moral sensibilities of a huge segment of viewers that find the clear distinctions between heroes and villains quite appealing.

The studios spent money galore on streaming content in 2022, and the cash layout just never panned out. Executive chairman James Dolan of AMC Networks explained Hollywood’s quandary in a memo that he recently wrote.

“It was our belief that cord-cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming. This has not been the case. We are primarily a content company and the mechanisms for the monetization of content are in disarray,” he stated.

The AMC executive pointed out a reality that most of Hollywood is facing in 2023 and warned of “a large-scale layoff as well as cuts to every operating area.”

Netflix was first out of the gate to layoff employees, following a substantial loss of subscribers. Other major entertainment companies have also announced or have already started their layoffs, hiring freezes, and/or cost-cutting measures, including Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount and CBS.

Warner chief David Zaslav actually stunned the entertainment world last summer, when he decided to shelve and write off the costs of “Batgirl,” a funded and completed film that was in post-production and had been approved by previous leadership at the company.

At an investor conference in November of 2022, he noted that in the past few months, things had gotten “a lot worse.”

The road that Hollywood will take going forward is yet to be mapped.

With a hope and a prayer, it will be one where entertainment takes center stage once again.

Walter Hill’s Stand against Wokeness

It has been noted recently by many of the greats within the comedy arts that wokeness has killed comedy.

But the truth is wokeness may actually be killing art itself.

Walter Hill is a famed director, screenwriter and producer.

He directed an amazing number of film projects over the years, including “48 hrs,” “Southern Comfort,” “Streets of Fire,” “Red Heat,” “Hard Times,” “The Warriors” and “The Driver.”

He also penned the screenplay for the crime drama “The Getaway” and produced a majority of the “Alien” film franchise.

Throughout his career, his baseline for storytelling has been the venerable western, the singular American genre that once upon a time was the envied export of the world.

He kick-started his Hollywood career as a production assistant. He was afforded the opportunity to work on iconic television shows that were set in the old American West; series such as “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza” and “The Big Valley.”

To this day this classic American entertainment fare continues to be treasured by audiences around the globe.

Walter’s love for westerns has spanned the decades. It was on full display in works that include the 1980 movie “The Long Riders,” the 1995 film “Wild Bill,” the 2004 – 2006 television series “Deadwood” and the 2006 TV mini series “Broken Trail.”

The filmmaker once told a reporter, “Every film I’ve done has been a western.”

In a separate interview, he astutely pointed out that “the Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe” and shared that he likes applying this principle to modern-day tales.

It is precisely this moral universe of which Walter speaks that is part and parcel of the western genre itself. It is also this moral universe that is in direct conflict with the dictates of contemporary woke ideology.

Traditional westerns have storylines that are in complete alignment with the moral constructs of integrity, justice, courage, individualism and loyalty, among others.

At the core of the filmmaking arts is contrast; i.e., clear distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, hero and villain, etc. Not that there aren’t dimensions of character or plot or interrelationships. But good storytelling via film typically demands that the scriptwriter is able to freely create his or her work, untethered by external restrictions. This process results in characters to which viewers can intimately relate and storylines that can provide virtual life experiences that only one’s imagination could ever limit.

The present arts have hit a proverbial brick wall. This is because art cannot survive the current woke restrictions that Hollywood is imposing upon the entire entertainment industry.

Thankfully, the artist in Walter is unwilling to conform. Instead he is going against the grain, giving new life to his favorite genre.

His latest western, which he has directed and co-written, is titled “Dead for a Dollar.” The movie stars Christoph Waltz, Rachel Brosnahan and Willem Dafoe.

Perhaps not surprisingly it hasn’t been easy for even a successful director like Walter to get a western made these days. He recalls in his notes for the film that “getting it financed was a miracle” and that it had to be shot on a “very low budget.”

Waltz portrays a Danish bounty hunter who travels into Mexico. While there he encounters an individual, who years earlier he had sent to prison. The man, played by Dafoe, is a gambler and an outlaw.

While making the press rounds to promote “Dead for a Dollar,” Walter revealed some of his thoughts on the current woke state of affairs. In an interview with Moviemaker Magazine, he said ominously that wokeness is “death to the arts.”

“You’re giving me a chance to say this: this woke environment, politically correct environment, is a terrible thing. And it hurts. It is death to the arts and it’s death to creativity. There’s no question that there were injustices in the past. Nobody is arguing that point. But how you redress it is how you treat the future,” Walter remarked.

Most folks in Hollywood are under pressure to mold their projects to the prevailing woke mentality.

But like a character in one of his beloved westerns, Walter remains steadfast.

He understands that the creative impulses essential to filmmakers and all contemporary artists are thoroughly stifled by woke constraints.

Shallow characters, forced plots, anachronistic themes and the like make for extremely bland product, which is the antithesis of art’s purpose and its very essence.