Those hot Menno nights (Why Hollywood loves bad Anabaptists)

I’m guessing this might be the most famous scene in all the history of depicting Mennonites and Amish onscreen:

Hollywood does love Mennonites, but it really loves bad Mennonites. If you’re putting 1980s Harrison Ford into a movie about hiding among the Amish, well, it’s not because he’s not going to fight.

That’s understandable: There’s a dramatic tension between Mennonite values and the values of so-called “action” that’s interesting to explore. Gary Cooper nearly made a career out of these kinds of flicks: Sergeant York and Friendly Persuasion don’t either depict Mennonites, exactly, but they do depict pacifist Christians who ultimately decide to fight. They’re charming movies — and, ultimately, they’re propaganda.

Anyway, here’s the next entry, a kind of Mennonite version of Breaking Bad.

From the description:

Pure tells the story of Noah Funk, a newly-elected Mennonite pastor who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police. But instead of solving the problem, he only makes it worse. Now, to protect his family, he must get involved in the illegal operations himself. Starring Ryan Robbins, Alex Paxton-Beesley, A.J. Buckly and Rosie Perez.

This is “based on true events” involving the “Mennonite mob,” so I can’t complain much, but on the other hand: You never see movies about Mennonites struggling to do the right thing … and doing the right thing. There’s plenty of drama in a story like that. But there aren’t guns and drugs, so it’s harder for Hollywood to get interested. Oh well.

Author: joeldermole

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son. He spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His honors include awards for best online commentary from the Online News Association and (twice) from the City and Regional Magazine Association.

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