Grant Horner, an English prof at The Master's College, specializes in the Renaissance and Reformation. But he truly comes alive when talking about movies. He teaches a popular class in film, and speaks regularly about film and popular culture.
His recent book, Meaning at the Movies: Becoming a Discerning Viewer (Crossway), examines how film affects viewers. Believing that every film is essentially a different take on the Fall of Man, Horner says movies are today's most powerful form of expression, and directors are today's philosophers.
Christianity Today spoke to Horner in his Master's College office in Santa Clarita, California.
Your book says that "the suppression of the truth about the fall of man" led to culture—including pop culture and movies. Please explain.
The history of human culture is the history of these suppressed truths bubbling back up; that's what I say is the origin of culture. Why do we have culture at all? I think it's to examine and explain the human condition. We can get along with very little: food, clothing shelter, maybe someone to hug. But we have cathedrals, opera, popular music, sports, comic books, and movies. Why do we spend so much energy on things that are not necessary for survival? I think it's because this repressed truth keeps coming up.
Many of us see film as mere entertainment, but you see it as today's philosophy, right?
Philosophy is the structure that you create to help you understand and live in the world. That's what movies are. Every young man gets his ideas about how to be a man by watching action movies. Every young woman gets her ideas about what romance should be like by watching romance movies. Is a raunchy, sophomoric, toilet-mouthed movie a philosophical statement? At the ...