“That Sounds So Mormon”

I’ve seen New York Doll probably 5 or 6 times with different groups, and discussed it after viewing with probably 30 people, all of them more or less active LDS. We all tended to notice the same things and the comments after viewing the movie with a group of friends could have been recycled from the conversation following a previous viewing. [Read more…]

States of Grace

I know I’m several months over a year behind here, but I finally watched Richard Dutcher’s States of Grace and loved it. Modern Mormon storytelling doesn’t get much better. It has a nice Christmas theme too, so if you haven’t seen it, try and pick it up over the holidays.

My Divided State (a movie review)

Once upon a time, I was an angst-ridden college student living in Utah, shocked and appalled at what I saw as the BYU administration’s inexcusable hostility to academic freedom. I had just returned from my mission and English professor Cecilia Farr was being denied tenure under what appeared to be pretty dubious circumstances. Professor Farr had, among other things (or maybe not among other things, which was itself part of the controversy), publicly espoused a rather moderate pro-choice position on abortion (carefully clarifying that she agreed with the Church’s stand as to abortion’s immorality) and all Hell had broken loose. My vision of what academic freedom at a university should be (yes, even a Mormon one) was not consistent with BYU’s actions, and I was quite the unhappy camper. Although there were a lot of lessons to be learned from this episode (and a lot of different ways of framing the issues that were in play), one of the bottom lines, as I saw it at the time, was this: An inordinately large number of Mormons have an inordinately difficult time recognizing the difference between their passionately-felt political views and the religious doctrines of their Church.

It’s been quite a few years since I lived through the angst and irritation of my BYU days, but much of it came flooding back to me the other evening, as I watched THIS DIVIDED STATE, a documentary that has just been released on DVD. [Read more…]

Why I Hate George Lucas (and you should too)

Over at the Kulture Klub, we all had to endure a recent nerd-filled chatterfest about pointless Star Wars trivia. (Seriously, look at those geeks in the comments section. Sure glad I’m not them). That may have been a fun thread, but trust me, folks — this one is sure to be much more cathartic. Indeed, consider it long overdue therapy at no charge.

As you all know, Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is opening exactly one month from today, and I think it’s time we all release our collective, pent-up angst at George Lucas for how he’s ruined the Star Wars experience; might as well get it out now, so that when you head for the theatre, you’ll have already processed your rage and you’ll have lower expectations, ensuring a consequently less-torturous cinematic experience overall.

(Some might say that this thread would be more appropriate elsewhere, but since Boy George Evans and the other powers-that-be over there didn’t see fit to invite me to participate in their little cinematic & musical love-in, I see no reason to respect their monopoly on all ‘Nacle discussions of geeky films.)

For those wondering what possible “Mormon” connection there is to any of this, I would kindly point out that: (1) George Lucas is Mormon; (2) the “Force” is the Priesthood; and (3) Yoda is President Kimball. Enough said. Or if not, perhaps those of a more philosophical bent can discuss whether and to what extent George’s apparent church inactivity relates in some way to why his movies suck so hard.
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Movies By Rating

This weekend, while rearranging our DVD collection, I decided to conduct a little experiment. Just for fun, I wanted to know how many movies we had of each rating under the MPAA. The results and follow-up findings, while not shocking, started me down the path of, you know, thinking.

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The Passion Recut: Mormon Friendly?

Mel Gibson has removed five to six minutes from his monumental film, which is to be re-released March 11, 2005. Interestingly enough, the film’s distributor, Newmarket, has no plans to release this version on DVD or VHS. Rather, the idea is to release this version of the film each year around Easter, an intriguing marketing concept. But that’s not really the scope of this post, read on for some more details and the real discussion I have in store for you.
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