Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure
|Monumental: In Search of |
America's National Treasure
|Directed by||Duane Barnhart|
|Written by||Kevin Miller |
|Distributed by||Monumental Multimedia, LLC|
|Release date(s)||March 27, 2012|
Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure is an American documentary film hosted by Kirk Cameron. Directed by Duane Barnhart and written by Kevin Miller, Cameron's mission in making the film is to "search for the real treasure of America."
Monumental began its box office run on March 27, 2012 with a Tuesday night premiere. Reviews of the film have been nearly nonexistent, with only notable Christians such as Francis Chan and Joni Eareckson Tada praising it.
This is Kirk Cameron's partial description on the film's website:
I’m retracing the footsteps of our Founders from England to America in the hope of discovering our true “national treasure.” I want to listen to them, to learn from them. Because I suspect Forefathers knew we were a forgetful people, that someday we would lose our way as a nation. So they left us a map that would guide us back to the source of America’s success.
I've already completed the first part of my trip, and I’m happy to say, my hunch was right! What I've discovered already is amazing! The key to transforming our nation and securing our children's future is not complicated. Best of all, it’s not hidden away like something out of the Da Vinci Code. It's been right in front of us all along, and I can’t wait to show it to you in this film.
Cameron asserts that such a key is manifest in the National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is a large statue commemorating the Mayflower Pilgrims. Co-writer Marshall Foster ascribes to this statue the contextual validity of Monumental's message, based on the statue's symbolism and engraved dedication. According to Foster, "The monument depicts Faith, and Faith is pointing to God and has an open Geneva Bible in the right hand and a star of wisdom". 
Filming of Monumental was completed in September 2010. The film includes many interviews, conducted by Kirk Cameron, with politicians and religious personalities, including Os Guinness (Christian author), Barry Black (current Chaplain of the U.S. Senate), David Barton (discussing The Godless Constitution), Stephen McDowell, Paul Jehle, Herbert Titus, Alveda King, and Todd Akin (Former U.S. Representative from Missouri).
 Interview with Piers Morgan
In an effort to promote Monumental, Cameron went on the Piers Morgan Tonight and caused a national controversy. Cameron was asked about his views on homosexuality, and he said, "I think that... it's unnatural. I think that... it's detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." This sparked a major controversy within Hollywood with celebrities like Roseanne, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and even former Growing Pains co-stars Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold denouncing Cameron's comments. Cameron claims that the interview was edited down and did not give a proper representation of his views. The controversy may have worked in the Monumental's favor because it raised awareness of the film.
Monumental was scheduled for a one-night theatrical release on March 27, 2012. It was released in approximately 500 theaters. Cameron promoted the film at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference.
 Box office
On its opening day, Monumental grossed $28,340. Regardless, the film stayed in theaters for a few weeks and finally grossed $177,729 as of September 1, 2012.  It has no rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Monumental has received mixed reviews. Joni Eareckson Tada, a renowned author and radio host, wrote, "Informative... Enlightening... Amazing... these are the words that aptly describe my response to this remarkable movie." Francis Chan praised the movie's message, saying "After seeing this film, I have never been more proud of our country’s heritage and more concerned about our future."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Joseph L. Conn wrote "The theme of the movie seems to be that the Pilgrims came to America seeking religious liberty, and they set up a model Christian community that we ought to emulate today," and continued "Well, here’s some news, Kirk and Company. The Pilgrims and Puritans did come here seeking religious liberty, but they set up a regime that gave freedom only to themselves, denying it to others. In keeping with its religious viewpoint, Plymouth Colony prescribed the death penalty for adulterers, homosexuals and witches, whipping for denying the scriptures and a fine for harboring a Quaker." He ended his review saying "Don’t be misled by Kirk Cameron’s charming smile. It masks a chilling agenda." 
Gawker's Rich Juzwiak, in a review titled "Kirk Cameron: A Bigot in Pilgrim’s Clothing", said the movie "is too petrified to say anything, a relic of this era of the shameful bigot who’ll spew hatred and then get mad when it’s recognized as such. Monumental is a neutering of even Cameron’s cowardly waffling, in which he stood by his comments about homosexuality … while clarifying that he loves gay people and don’t [sic] think they should be mistreated. Last night, he didn’t even have the balls to be contradictory." 
Radio commentator Glenn Beck said, "This is A) a great movie to see. B) a great movie to bring your kids to, and teach them about the history of our country, and C) it is important, because we need to start supporting people that are doing things like this..." 
The documentary was reviewed in episode 74 of The Cognitive Dissonance Podcast. The hosts criticized it for the elements of revisionist history, bias, and general poor quality.
 See also
- "'Remember America' Series To Host Institute Founder". EngleOnline.com. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
- Shellnutt, Kate. "Actor Kirk Cameron documentary focuses on God's role in U.S.". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- Leaser, Michael (January 25, 2012). "Kirk Cameron's Monumental task". World. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Kurtz, Jason (March 2, 2012). "Kirk Cameron on homosexuality". Piers Morgan Tonight. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- Setoodeh, Ramin (March 20, 2012). "Kirk Cameron of ‘Growing Pains’ Says He’s Not Homophobic, Explains Christian Beliefs". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- Foust, Michael (March 16, 2012). "Kirk Cameron on 'Monumental,' Piers Morgan & why he hasn't lost hope in America". Baptist Press. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- Vanairsdale, S.T. (January 26, 2012). "Save America For Kirk Cameron's Six Kids". Movieline. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- "America’s National Treasure Resides in Our Homes, Not the White House". Big Hollywood. January 26, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- "CPAC gets a Duggar, a Baldwin and a 'Growing Pains' star". The Washington Examiner. February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Alcorn, Randy (April 9, 2012). "“Monumental” film gains critical acclaim". Oregon Faith Report. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- "Cognitive Dissonance Podcast - Episode 74: Monumental". Retrieved 28 November 2012.