I took three of my grandchildren to see The Perfect Game yesterday. My daughter is a manager at a mall theater and she had told me that the movie opened Friday and no one went to see it. I knew it was unlikely that it would stay past the weekend without a major change.
I did what I could. I sent an email blast out to dozens of my correspondents and I told my local friends where it was playing. I pleaded with those further away to please check their local listings and see where it might be playing. I even talked to my priest before the Spanish Mass so he would alert them about this movie.
The kids and I comprised over half of the audience in the showing we went to.
When we left, I asked my 10-year-old grandson what he liked best about the movie. “I liked it when the coach told them that they would rise or fall together,” he said. “That’s how it is when you are on a team.”
Are we on a team? I think so. I think we are on the Catholic team. We will rise or fall together. Together we suffer the damage done to our faith by an entertainment industry unmoored from any moral standards. We suffer the coarsening of our culture, the sexualization of ever-younger children, ubiquitous pornography, and a movie industry that once chafed under guidelines from the Catholic bishops but that now thumbs its nose at every aspect of our faith.
And oh how we moan and groan about it. We deplore the media fare our kids consume. We don’t want to pay good money for movies that ambush us with some gratuitous comment about Catholicism. We are sick of this happening in our homes with television shows. We are disgusted with the way the sleaze factor in everything – from the news to fiction to comedy – inches up year by year, as though carrying out a massive experiment in how to desensitize a population to the cinematic presentation of every kind of obscenity.
And what is the justification?
Money. We complain and Hollywood laughs because Catholics seem as eager to spend money gawking at things the apostle said should not even be named by holy people as the world does (Eph 5: 1-5). Then an opportunity comes along to support a film that portrays our faith in a positive light, shows a truly manly priest being a spiritual father, and shows a Catholic victory – an actual historical event! — won by those who are willing to pray as though it all depends on God while they work as though it all depends on them. And where are we?
Missing in action. Letting the team down. Falling together.
I don’t know why the word got out so late about this film. I don’t know who dropped the ball. I do know that the producers of this film created a treasure and that it is very likely that the only way we will be able to salvage it will be by making it a DVD blockbuster.
That’s sad, team. We should do better.