Saturday, December 5, 2009

Can a PG-13 Film be Family-Friendly?

There have been a great many attempts to write and produce a good faith-friendly movie. The mainstream studios have often missed the mark by adding gratuitous language, which otherwise ruins a warm inspirational story that families would love to see.

Such an opportunity was lost by Miramax in the making of EVERYBODY'S FINE, a PG-13 movie starring De Niro as a widower trying to stay connected with his estranged children who have moved far from home. Unfortunately, someone (a writer, producer, director, or perhaps De Niro himself) decided to insert two blasts of profanity that smacked the unsuspecting audience like an icy snowball on a summer day.

Which begs the question; Can a PG-13 movie be "family friendly?"

As though it was created just to prove my point, Warner Bros. released a PG-13 movie, THE BLIND SIDE, starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Based on a true story, this film portrayed drug use, racism, fighting, and other inappropriate behavior, but none of it was exploitive or explicit. Except for a smattering of expletives, there were no profanities or obscenities. In fact, this movie was a very principled story with plenty of grit and humor presented in a manner that is poignant while not being offensive. Dove was proud to endorse this film for audiences over age 12.

THE BLIND SIDE is, in my opinion, the best mainstream family movie of far.

Discerning families enjoy the same types of entertainment as anyone else. There’s nothing like a good comedy, drama, action/adventure or even thriller. It’s just that most of us don’t want to be assaulted by globs of blood, gore, cursing, on-screen sex, naked bodies and other unnecessary abhorrent junk. 

Some lazy filmmakers will argue that sex or violence or obscene language is necessary to properly characterize the bad guys, or the struggles their heroes must endure to punctuate their overcoming of adversities.  In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, “Bah, Humbug!” That argument is a red herring. To support that case, one would have to discount every movie made prior to 1968 when there were standards of decency in place for mainstream films.  So now what? “The Maltese Falcon” disappears from the scene. Throw a rock through “Rear Window?” Send “The African Queen” up the river? Declare “Citizen Kane” an illegal alien? Bomb “Casablanca?”    I could go on.

According to the American Film Institute, 61 of the top 100 films of all time were produced prior to 1968, the year the first R-rated movie was released. Hmmm, makes you think doesn’t it? 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Next Sherwood Movie "Courageous"

In the Old Testament, God told Joshua to "Be strong and courageous." Sherwood Baptist Church, producers of "FIREPROOF" feel that this is a word for fathers today. thus the new Sherwood Pictures movie is titled, "COURAGEOUS." Get connected!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disney Prexy, Mark Zoradi Steps Down

Disney Prexy Mark Zoradi Steps Down 

Mark Zoradi, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Group, has resigned effective immediately.

Another sad day at the Mouse Factory. I've known Mark Zoradi since his promotion to President of the Disney Motion Picture Group in 2006. He and former boss Dick Cook were, to me savvy businessmen with a special sensativity for wholesome entertainment; the kind that made Disney the most successful family-friendly brand on the planet.  Mark and Dick will both be sorly missed according to a Disney executive I spoke with.  And, I second that emotion. I hope the studio doesn't lose its way in all this restructuring. Faithful followers will notice if the direction changes as little as one degree. We at The Dove Foundation will be watching.

I wish nothing but the best for Mark and his family  as he transitions to the next new thing!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I do not usually comment on television programming, since The Dove Foundation’s focus is movies and DVDs. However, once in a while someone points out a critical issue that impacts media-watching families everywhere.

Such an issue was recently reported by our friends at the Parents Television Council. PTC’s newest report, Women in Peril: A Look at TV’s Disturbing New Storyline Trend, is a stark reminder to those of us who enjoy an occasional crime drama on television. (My favorite is NCIS.)

Until this important study came out, I was not aware of a disturbing pattern; creators of these crime drama shows are writing a disproportionate number of stories, whether intentional or not, that emphasize violence against women…usually young, attractive, vulnerable women. This mixture of violence and sexual images is referred to as “sexploitation.”

According to a PTC spokesperson, “Just last week actresses like Nicole Kidman testified before the Congress that ‘Hollywood probably has contributed to violence against women by portraying them as weak sex objects.’” The PTC rep goes on to say, “We all must pay attention to the fact that this is a problem in our society. The fact is that children are influenced by what they see on TV and that certainly includes media violence.” We only have to look around at all the copycat crimes that are committed almost daily, due in part to electronic news media.

I encourage you to read the report and download the PTC study, Women in Peril. We must always guard against becoming coarsened against violence by over exposing ourselves to those media platforms that focus on violence and sexploitation; whether television, movies, DVDs, videogames or the Internet.

The maxim, “you are what you eat” not only applies to our food selections, but our entertainment choices as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DOVE SPOTLIGHT clips online

In case you missed DOVE SPOTLIGHT during one of its television broadcasts, segments from the show are now posted online at, and, and Feedback is welcome.
Dick Rolfe
(616) 454-5024

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dove Foundation's new TV Show

Greetings reader,

After a lot of planning and praying, we at The Dove Foundation are excited to announce the launch of a terrific Entertainment Review TV show called DOVE SPOTLIGHT. You can find more details at

The show reviews movies, DVDs and video games...all based on our familiar ratings criteria. DOVE SPOTLIGHT will air on several national faith and family networks beginning Friday, Oct 9th, as well as our local ABC affiliate, WOTV and WXSP here in West Michigan. Our total reach is over 45 million households. Did I say, we're excited?

Clips of the show will also be streamed on several websites, including ours.

This is the pilot episode. We plan to have weekly episodes up soon.

I'd love to hear from you after you watch the show or view the online clips. We want to make this informative and entertaining and your input will help.

Dick Rolfe, CEO
The Dove Fountation

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


By Gage Henry of Paste Magazine

August 21, 2009

If the past two Transformers movies taught us anything, it's that you can take a bunch of plastic toys and make them into something fit (sort of, anyway) for the silver screen. Now, the future holds movies not only based on shape-shifting figurines, but also toys you can build stuff with.

With G.I. Joe out of the way, the next trinket-to-film transition is targeting the creative spectrum of child's play, the toys that inspired our engineers-to-be: Legos.

Yep, Warner Brothers is making a Lego movie that will be somewhere between live action and CGI-built. They might even use anything but actual Legos to make it. Either way, the film will be geared like a Pixar production, fit to entertain several generations at once.

Dan Lin, producer of the upcoming Sherlock Holmes, helped Warner Brothers acquire rights for the film, and hired Dan and Kevin Hageman to write the script. The movie will be produced by Roy Lee and co-produced by Stephen Gilchrist.

Related links:
News: Hasbro, Gore Verbinski To Remake Clue
News: Michael Bay preps Ouija movie
News: Candyland To Become A Movie

Monday, September 14, 2009

Family Films are Killing R-rated Movies

Family Films are Killing R-rated Movies

The summer blockbusters are over and the box office results are in — family friendly films are killing R-rated movies in the pocketbook. Only one Rated-R film, The Hangover, made the top 10 box office list. The next highest grossing Rated-R film, The Watchmen, came in at a distant #18 on the list. The money gap comes at a time when Hollywood is undergoing historic changes which may alter the movies we see in the future. The top 10 movie profits of 2009 so far;

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Dove TV show - reviews movies, DVDs, Games

Producing a pilot for a new upbeat entertainment/movie review show for TV and the Web. Just finished casting the hosts. Great choices. Rachael Ruiz, loca NBC Affiliate anchor and Brian Burch, PR guy. Gammer host, Derek Emerson, 20-something millenial. Ready for primetime Oct 1st. News story> More as it develops.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Making Movies in Michigan

Here's a link to a magazine we published to call attention to the Michigan Film Production Incentive package. It offers up to 42% rebate on all qualified expenses by any filmmakers who shoot their projects in Michigan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Succeed in Filmmaking, or "The Field of Dreams" is a lie

I usually reserve this column for discerning moviegoers. However, over the past several years we have been consulting with scores of filmmakers at various stages of their craft. I feel it is important to address one particular issue that comes up frequently, especially from those who are just starting out, or those who have had a hard time getting their finished film to market. The common question is, “What must I do to make a financially successful movie?”

There are plenty of experts available to answer this crucial question. I don’t consider myself among them. But after 18 years of watching thousands of projects come through our offices, my observations might be of some value.

My advice begins with the axiom; the bottom line is still the bottom line. Do your due diligence before you roll out the cameras. This is not a Field of Dreams world. You can build it and still no one will come if you haven’t done your homework. After all, it’s not called Show Art…it’s Show Business. (more)

Monday, April 6, 2009

30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family

A survival guide for every parent of a child from birth to graduation!

Rebecca Hagelin is a noted expert, public speaker and commentator on family issues and parenting. She has championed the pro-family message in Washington DC and around the nation for the past 25 years. She is a senior fellow for The Heritage Foundation and appears frequently on FOX, CNN, and CBN as a culture and media analyst.

Rebecca penned her insightful, how-to book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family for parents who are struggling to raise their kids in this high-tech, media-dominated world where young people are bombarded with powerful messages that do not reflect their families’ values. (more)

Crystal Dove Seal trophies given Hollywood execs

Best Family Movies of 2008 Receive Crystal Dove Seal Awards

April 1, 2009 (Grand Rapids, MI) - The Dove Foundation announced today the winners of the CRYSTAL DOVE SEAL, an award designed to highlight Hollywood’s film-making achievements for the vast and diverse family audience. The CRYSTAL DOVE SEAL pays special tribute to those companies that have demonstrated increased awareness in the value of providing the huge family audience with more appropriate choices.

Dove posted a ballot on its website at during the month of February inviting visitors to cast a vote for their favorite Dove Approved movies in seven categories, Comedy, Drama, Action/Adventure, Animated Feature, Documentary, Musical, and Limited Release. Thousands of online voters selected the “best of the best” Dove Family-Approved movies for 2008.

Dove Foundation co-founder and CEO, Dick Rolfe just returned from Los Angeles where he presented the solid crystal trophies for this year's winners. “These outstanding films represent the highest examples of quality storytelling combined with positive values that most Americans hold dear,” Rolfe said.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cussing, Cursing, Swearing and other Vulgarities

In his book, Vulgarians at the Gate, entertainment legend, the late Steve Allen compares vulgar language to smoking. “The hideous stench of smoking befouls the air of every social gathering from eating establishments to airlines,” he declared. Then, Mr. Allen goes on to propose that we borrow the strategy that successfully diminished the popularity of smoking, and use it to attack the onslaught of other vulgarities. In other words, in the same manner that smoking has been deemed socially unacceptable, it might be possible to sway the cultural mainstream into declaring that foul language is objectionable. One small step toward a return to civility -- what a concept! (more)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fox and Walden Team Up for Narnia

Variety announced it as official. As I predicted, Fox will partner with Walden to continue producing the next installment(s) of the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia series. I've been reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader and it should prove to be another hit. My only concern it the dramatically reduced budget, south of $150 million.

Due to recent safety threats they are not going to film this water wonderland movie at the Fox-owned Rosarito Mexico, home base of "Titanic" and "Master and Commander." Instead, they are going to Australia which will add to the overhead.

Fox will certainly have better results with Narnia than they did with Eragon. More as it develops...