Brent Bozell
Say the name Emilio Estevez and most people think of the "Brat Pack," when he was a star in popular '80s youth movies like "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire," or maybe the hockey coach in the "Mighty Ducks" films. Compared to his brother Charlie Sheen, he's become the quiet, stable brother.

But with his new movie "The Way," Estevez comes into his own as a producer, writer, and director, telling a beautiful story about death, faith and family. A father -- played by his own father, Martin Sheen -- mourns the loss of his son by walking for months on the 500-mile "camino" to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.

In an interview on the Catholic cable channel EWTN, Estevez joked about the horror of making the pitch for this movie about a pilgrimage -- no massive special effects, no parade of gore or bedroom scenes with nudity. It's just an old man hiking across Spain with three people he meets along the way. It's a small movie, made on a small budget. It's about our humanity and our spirituality. It's so easy to imagine Tinseltown's eyes glazing over.

But what Estevez said in that interview was still striking. "Hollywood is a very difficult place to be earnest and be heartfelt. And I am not interested in making films that are anything but. There's a lot of vulgarity in films. There's a lot of violence, casual sex -- things that make me uncomfortable watching -- and I'm not interested in perpetuating that message."

It must be difficult making that statement when your brother is Charlie Sheen.

A look at the highest-grossing movies of 2011 strongly suggests that lots of fighting with special effects and sequels are what the public wants. Go down the list: the "Harry Potter" finale, a "Transformers" sequel, a "Fast and the Furious" sequel, a "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel, a "Planet of the Apes" sequel of sorts, a Thor movie and a Captain America movie. The only comedies are both vulgar and R-rated: "The Hangover, Part II" and "Bridesmaids," which was surely sold to the studio as "The Hangover, Chick Version." Even the year's top cartoons are sequels: "Cars 2," in sixth place, and "Kung Fu Panda 2," eleventh. Estevez looks at the number-12 movie "The Help," as his kind of film, one that shows that simple movies about human relationships can find an audience. "I think we have a responsibility as artists, and if we live in that community, and we work in that community, we have a responsibility to lift it up and to raise the bar and to reject that."

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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