Why Christians Should See Trainwreck (and Other Such Raunch Parables)

July 22, 2015
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years ago, i coined the term
“raunch parable” . .

i used it to describe
admittedly, purposely dirty movies
that not only nevertheless contained
a capsule of moral instruction –
a moral or parable if you will –
but which, unexpectedly,
were actually built around
and focused on
such a moral . .

you can read all about
the idea here . .
(or here or here or here)

anyway, the raunch parable
really hasn’t gone anywhere
(though i haven’t trotted
out the term in a while) . .
a perfect recent example:
the Judd Apatow directed,
Amy Schumer written and starred in
Trainwreck . .

here you have a (hilarious and excellent) movie
which, normally,
those who wear the moniker “Christian”
might naturally shy away from . .
i mean, it’s unabashedly dirty
and raunchy, R-rated,
stars a notoriously “blue” comic, etc. . .

however, as above, Trainwreck
isn’t really about those things,
though it certainly features them . .
what it is about is the main character –
the titular trainwreck –
and how she realizes the error
of her ways and, by the story’s end,
makes a concerted effort
to change for the better . .

sure, this change is self-motivated,
self-directed . .
sure, it’s preceded by
two hours of coarse sex stuff
and punctuated with a
sexy cheerleader dance
and finished with a
couple rolling around
on a basketball court . .
but hey: it’s not
trying to be a
“Christian movie”
(whatever that means)

but also, hey:
that’s the whole point . .
insofar as Trainwreck
communicates to not
be a trainwreck,
to not
be broken, selfish, etc. –
insofar as it is a story
about love leading to change,
it is a Christian movie . .

(isn’t the Christian story one of
love leading to change?)

you see,
that’s the trick of the
raunch parable:
you might not notice the good
because the bad
is so obvious . .

that also, i believe,
is the challenge of the
raunch parable:
to find the gold
in the gutter
of such movies . .
and to wonder at the fact that,
yet again,
no matter what humans do,
we’re forever reaching
for the positive,
for the redemptive,
for the divine . .
even amidst our dirty jokes

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Matt Hill has contributed to hollywoodjesus for the past decade, taking on movies, music, books, games and other topics. He writes from Michigan, where he lives with his wife and kids. Visit facebook.com/sundayiam for free music from his sweet, super-secret Christian rock band.

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