If you’re reading this, you’ve presumably already decided to imbibe 4 hours of boob-tube today, in addition to spending huge swathes of time cuddling with your computer, desperately hoping some esteemed BCC perma will acknowledge your witty comments. Those of you with a Y-chromosome may also make a trip to the Stake Center later and plop down in front of a make-shift movie theatre. Given your media overload, may I make a simple suggestion for how you might spend the rest of your day?
Watch. More. Television.
That’s right, no sense getting off the couch. Instead, stick around after the second session of GC (today), and check out the 5000 Days Project: Two Brothers, on BYUTV. The modern Mormon men at Modern Mormon Men were kind enough to host an advance screening with the director last week near Seattle which I was able to attend. But I refuse to summarize its contents, so I will let DB do it for me:
At the turn of the century, Award winning filmmaker Rick Stevenson, decided to track the lives of 100 children for the next 5000 Days. Two Brothers follows two of those children (Sam & Luke Nelson) in a surprisingly candid journey through time involving their adolescent struggles with brotherhood, depression, peer pressure, forgiveness, and growth in their Mormon faith. As a Protestant Christian, Stevenson got a front seat view of this oft misunderstood religion.
I confess I was a tad skeptical as the movie started. I am deeply allergic to what I like to call “Mormon cheese.” No, not the top layer of your grandmother’s funeral potatoes. I mean the eye-rolling, cheesey schlock that passes for LDS cinema in many quarters. Oh, don’t ask me to give examples. I can’t remember any. Most of Mormon cinema runs together in my mind like one big overly sentimental mess — as stinky as an over ripe Camembert, but decidedly less tasty upon ingestion. So anyway, I went into the viewing as a closet skeptic, notwithstanding the fact that I knew the filmmaker wasn’t LDS. I just cynically figured anything LDS-friendly enough to play after General Conference had to be more of the same-ole same-ole. But I came away having genuinely enjoyed myself.
Two questions have stayed with me, which I pose to those of you righteous enough to follow my advice and tune in today:
1. The director is not LDS. Can you tell? If you didn’t know otherwise (which you do, because I just told you, as did DB), would you have guessed this flick was made by a Mormon or not? Why?
2. Sam’s mission experiences are obviously the heart and soul of the film. And this is one seriously emotional dude. I found myself impressed and touched by his love and care for the people of Chile. But I wondered why he was so compelling. Was it because he epitomized what the mission experience is for so many of us who serve? Or instead, was it because his deep, enduring emotional connection to the Chilean people was the noble exception, rather than the rule?