Dear Tom Harley:
I can never read that dialogue in the Divine Purpose book and keep a straight face. What do you think of that?
They’re not all that hot at writing dialogue at Bethel, nor are the modern videos, despite clever film technique and historically accurate artifacts, ..um....well, they wouldn’t sweep the Academy Awards.
The brothers are in a bind. They don’t want to go beyond what’s written but what’s written is pretty sparse, so they compensate by staying thoroughly “safe”—with the result of characters who appear to eat Bible sandwiches.
Counsel is generally laid on with a trowel. I was very pleased at the little quip in the Jonah video of he explaining to a traveler just what was his mission—not so much the line, but his facial expression afterwards, because it displayed a light touch of humor not often seen. Let’s face it—not many of the brothers are actors.
Lower your dramatic expectations just a little, and the Jonah and Hezekiah videos overall went pretty well, with some fine moments. I thought the Nehemiah video was a step backwards, and I had a hard time with the video of the Witness kid who leaves his happy construction-business home to take a job in the big city and immediately comes to ruin, because it fulfills every Witness stereotype to the tee.
Ah, well. They are what they are. They are teaching videos for ones who like that means of learning—in short, most people. Do people in the greater world flock to the critically acclaimed movies? Nah. They like schlock, so don’t say it is an attribute just of the brothers. I just came across the factoid that Moby Dick pretty much sank Herman Melville’s career. It was too esoteric for anyone to get their heads around. He had been a well-liked author up that time, but afterwards he fell out of favor and didn’t resurface till much later with a few offerings like Billy Budd.
Besides, the brothers don’t want to go the Hollywood route in which you swoon over the sensitive performance of the leading man, only to learn later that in real life he is some lowlife narcissistic slimeball who beats his wife, snorts heroin, and keeps a boyfriend on the side.
Jehovah’s people are nothing if not upright and real.